If you’re a fan of German Volume Training, you may be able to train a little bit less.
*image courtesy of Binyamin Mellish*
I posted this study a while ago, but never took the time to break it down. It turns out that greater increases in strength are seen following a 4-6 set range when following a 10 repetition German Volume Training model, rather than following the traditional 10 repetition range.
Researchers put 19 males on a 6 week training protocol. Participants trained three times per week, and followed a training split where they trained different movement patterns throughout the week.
Participants either followed a 5 set, 10 repetition protocol, or a 10 set, 10 repetition, traditional GVT protocol.
Participants who followed the 5×10 protocol saw greater increases in trunk and arm lean body mass as well as muscle thickness, though neither group saw significant changes to their leg measurements.
In addition to that, researchers found the greatest strength increases in the bench press and the lat pulldown in the 5×10 protocol, with no significant differences found for legs.
The moral of the story?
Save yourself some time. If you like German Volume Training, you could save some time by dropping your total sets down to a 4-6 range, rather than hanging around to finish 10 sets.
If you haven’t tried GVT before, and you’re looking to try something different, give it a shot! It will definitely increase lean muscle mass and strength, especially in your upper body.
A sample day might look like the following:
- Strength – 4 sets of 10 w/ minimal rest in between movement 1 and 2, and 60-90 seconds of rest in between each set (the finish of movement 2, before re-starting at movement 1)
- Back Squat
- Bench Press
- Secondary – 4 sets of 10 per side
- Walking Lunge
- Look at me – 4 sets of 10
- Hammer Curls
- Core – 4 sets of 10
- Russian Sit-Up
- Iron Man Extension
Another (important) variable: Tempo. Make sure you’re paying attention to your tempo during the negative or eccentric portion of the movement. That’s when you’re lowering your weight against gravity. A 3-4 second negative tempo — taking 3-4 seconds (one-thousand) to lower your weights will create more stress and damage in the muscle, leading to greater hypertrophy, and lean mass gain in the long-run.
You could take the programming one step further and add one set every two weeks, finishing with 6 sets of 10 reps by the end of week 6, before moving into your next phase of training.
Also, remember to hit each of your functional movement patterns: squatting, hinging, gait, vertical and horizontal pushing and pulling, as well as all of that core function (bracing, flexing, extending, rotation, side bend, etc.)
*image courtesy of Isabella Mendes*
Get out there.
Get after it.
Go do something different.
Remember that adaptations to training are highly individual. I may respond really well to GVT, while you might not. That doesn’t mean that I‘m making this stuff up. It just means that you might be training the wrong way for your genes.
Spend some money on some genetic testing if you’re interested in finding that kind of info out.
Remember to give yourself some time to actually adapt to this training protocol – as you should with any training protocol. I’d recommend sticking to the program for 4-6 weeks (remember this was a 6-week study) before making a judgment as to whether or not it’s working for you.
Secondly, make sure you’re taking objective measurements. Weigh yourself, get your body fat checked, and use some tape to measure changes in girth!
Lastly I’m not a doctor. This is not medical advice. I’m just a nerd who likes to read research, and this is my way of sharing that with the world.
I read it so you don’t have to.