German Volume Training 101

Here is a warning before you move any further: Volume training is not for the faint hearted. You will have to go through some intense workout and train hard. But, if you are someone tired of the usual routine, not seeing significant gain in your muscles and want to try something new, you have reached the right place.“Sprechen sie Deutsch?” This means ‘do you speak German’, because German volume training is doing your regular workout while speaking German.

No, it is not that insane. In fact you don’t need to learn German to start this effective method of training. Then why is it called German?

This style has its roots back in Germany in the 1970’s. National weightlifting coaches introduced it to help some off-season weightlifters gain extra muscle and quickly lose accumulated fat. In this article, I am going to try to answer all the questions people generally have about volume training.

The building blocks of volume training

Volume training is not some technique that needs mastering. It is a simple workout plan that results in huge gain to your muscles. Here are its three building blocks:

  1. One exercise per body part: You only have to train one body part with one exercise. Choose an exercise which is more taxing and affect the major muscle groups. (I will give a sample workout routine later in this article)
  2. More reps, No failures: Volume training starts with 10 sets of 10 repetitions each. This is one reason why you should not start with the maximum weight you can work with. You should start with half of that weight, because the large number of sets would become difficult to handle as you move on. You have to stay away from a failure set, and from taking support throughout the routine.
  3. Fixed resting time: When you are in between heavy exercises like squat, you should take 90 seconds of rest in between sets. For other relatively easier exercises you should take only 60 seconds of rest. Keep in mind that you have to rest no more and no less. Resting less would make it difficult for you to go till the end and resting more would reduce the gain.

These building blocks are what differentiate volume training from any regular workout. Now, since you are warmed up with volume training, let’s get on to a schedule.

Volume training schedule

To start with volume training, you don’t have to make any preparations. All you have to do is strictly follow a routine and stock up your diet with calories. (Why? You will understand that a little later)

The more places you look at, the more training plans you would see. Essentially, all these plans follow the three core principles of volume training I just talked about. They are only different with respect to the exercises they recommend. If you are going to start with volume training, it is important that you restrict the program to 5-6 weeks, after this you would find it difficult to carry on as this training method demands a lot from your body.

Essentially a training plan is split into 5 days:

  • Day 1 Chest and Back
  • Day 2 Legs and Abs
  • Day 3 Rest Day
  • Day 4 Arms and Shoulders
  • Day 5 Rest Day

Once you are done with one 5 day cycle, you start it all over from the beginning.

Originally, the volume training schedule included Arms and Shoulders on Day 2 while legs and abs were left for Day 4.

Over time, fitness experts modified this schedule because after the two days of exercise, your arms would become so sore that it would become difficult to even move. In fact, doing arms and shoulders itself is difficult following the load they have taken on Day 1.

The rest days are very important because volume training is going to push your body to its limit. The rest day would let you pull yourself together and focus again. You can also choose to put a rest day between Day 1 and Day 2 making it a six-day schedule.

There are a number of exercises that you can pick up during volume training, however these are the exercises most fitness experts prefer:[1]

S.No

DAY

TARGET MUSCLE & EXERCISE

REPS

SETS

REST (seconds)

1 (A)

1

Chest and Back – Bench Press

10

10

90

1 (B)

1

Chest and Back – Chin Ups

10

10

90

2 (A)

1

Chest and Back – Incline Dumbbell Fly

3

12

60

2 (B)

1

Chest and Back – Seated Row

3

12-15

60

3 (A)

2

Legs and Abs – Squats

10

10

90

3 (B)

2

Legs and Abs – Leg Curls

10

10

90

4 (A)

2

Legs and Abs – Weighted Sit Ups

3

15

60

4 (B)

2

Legs and Abs – Calf Raises

3

15

60

5

3

REST DAY

6 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Dips

10

10

90

6 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Hammer Curls

10

10

90

7 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Lateral Raises

3

15

60

7 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Lying Side Laterals

3

15

60

8

5

REST DAY

You have to alternate between (A) and (B) till you complete the required sets. For example, on Chest and Back day, do a set of bench press and take 90 seconds of rest. Follow it with a set of chin ups and take 90 seconds of rest, then start bench press again.

You will need to change your dietvolume training

Volume training is just a training method and has no mention of a diet, but believe me you will need more energy than you usually consume in your diet. Everyone going to the gym follows a diet plan. No matter whether you are there for weight loss or muscle-building, there would always be a diet. Volume training in itself is going to eat up lot of your energy.

When you are going through volume training regimen, it is important that you increase your calorie intake by at least 1000 calories. Put in a dozen bananas, 4-5 apples, 3-4 granola bars, an extra scoop of protein shake per day and you are good to go. This will give you enough energy to get through this grueling training regimen.

Eating bananas or apples during the workout is also a very good idea because they give you an instant boost of energy. I recommend that you keep a bottle of glucose along your side during the workout and keep taking a sip every now and then. Glucose is the purest form of energy that we can consume and would keep replenishing your energy stock regularly.

So, can I start now?

WAIT. Before starting any exercise schedule, your first question should be, why am I doing this? Does the schedule fit my goals?

Once you have the questions answered, you would be able to pick up the schedule and stay committed to it. So what is your goal?

If you are someone trying to lose weight, I am sorry this is not the program for you.

Are you someone whose muscle growth has slowed down? Bravo, you should go ahead and start because the sole purpose of volume training is to give you the greatest muscle pump.

Are you beginner but want to get some muscle? It is important that you build your strength first and then move on to building volume.[2]

Now when you have all your questions answered, it is time you stop reading this, put down a comment below, share your new-found info with your friends and hit the gym.

Good Luck!

Source: German Volume Training 101

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