German Volume Training Review | German Volume Training Workout

German Volume Training Review

When I first started taking bodybuilding seriously in my late teens, I would devour as much information on different training routines and philosophies as I possibly could.

I consumed articles on eccentric training, rest-pause, 5×5, supersets, tri-sets, reading with the frantic energy of someone trying to desperately untangle themselves from a blow up sex doll after hearing footsteps on the stairs.

Above all others, there was one routine that particularly intrigued me.

It was referred to in gym locker rooms in the same hushed tones reserved for what the dodgy-looking Russian guy does in the shower or what actually goes into those cheap protein shakes they sell at reception (cat piss, apparently).

It is one of those regimes that has achieved the status of urban legend.

A routine so tough and brutal that Frank from accounts had to take two months off work and Big Will never set foot in the gym again.

I’m talking, of course, about German Volume Training.


German Volume Training, often referred to as “GVT”, the “10 Sets Method” or, quite simply, “Muscle Genocide”, is a workout which was popularised in Germany (of course it was) during the 1970s by the national weightlifting coach Rolf Feser.

german flag

Like most things that come from the former Eastern Block, GVT takes the term “bad ass” to a whole new level.

It is a routine designed to mercilessly pack on muscle mass… and fast.

The primary goal for each workout is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps for every exercise.

For the biggest pay-off, you should chiefly be targeting the “big daddy” compound exercises (squats, presses, rows, etc) and supplementing these lifts with a number smaller accessory movements involving fewer sets.

Yes, you read that right, you’ll be squatting 100 reps a session.

Good luck with that Sunday morning football match!

The science

The central idea with GVT is to put your muscles under such extreme levels of stress that they have no other choice but to adapt and grow.

In other words, the body is forced to adapt to the extreme strain placed upon it by hypertrophying.

GVT’s monstrous high-rep range will recruit unused muscle fibres to replace fatigued ones, allowing you to attack muscle areas which have never seen the light of day.

The workout

A word of caution: this is an extremely intense programme and as such is only recommended for intermediate to advanced lifters who are prepared to work their testicles off.

If you’re the kind of person who instagrams bicep pics between sets and is more concerned with what the girl on the cross trainer thinks of your new haircut, it’s probably best you stayed at home (or, preferably, threw yourself into a herd of stampeding buffalo).

The following GVT routine is a simplified version of the one originally proposed by Canadian weightlifting coach Charles Poliquin, who, in 1996, was largely responsible for bringing GVT to the mainstream.

I have chosen to replace Poliquin’s five day split with a simplified and more manageable seven day split.

If you’re interested in delving into Poliquin’s original routine and its more advanced iterations, be our guest, but the following workout is a great place to start.

On first inspection it might look deceptively simple, but trust us, after the first 10 sets you’ll be reduced to a quivering, sulking wreck.

The seven day split

Monday Chest & Back
Tuesday Rest
Wednesday Legs & Abs
Thursday Rest
Friday Shoulders & Arms
Saturday Rest
Sunday Rest

 Monday: Chest & Back

Exercise Sets & Reps Tempo
(A1) Bench Press 10×10 4-0-2-0
(A2) Wide Grip Pull Up 10×10 4-0-2-0
(B1) Incline Dumbbell Fly 3×10-15 3-0-2-0
(B2) Single Arm Dumbbell Row 3×10-15 3-0-2-0

Wednesday: Legs & Abs

Exercise Sets & Reps Tempo
(A1) Back Squat 10×10 4-0-2-0
(A2) Seated Leg Curl 10×10 4-0-2-0
(B1) Calf Raise 3×10-15 2-0-2-0
(B2) Crunches 3×10-15 2-0-2-0

Friday: Arms & Shoulders

Exercise Sets & Reps Tempo
(A1) Military Press 10×10 4-0-2-0
(A2) Upright Row 10×10 4-0-2-0
(B1) Barbell Curl 3×10-15 3-0-2-0
(B2) Close Grip Bench Press 3×10-15 3-0-2-0


Explaining supersets

The notation A1 and A2 or B1 and B2 means to superset those two exercises – but not in the conventional sense.

For example, on Chest and Back day, perform 10 reps on Bench Press, rest, perform 10 Pull Ups, rest, repeat.

For the more advanced lifters out there, if you’re feeling particularly sadistic then you can perform an actual superset (no rest between A1 and A2), then rest and repeat.

This will greatly enhance the fat burning potential of your GVT routine but will bring you to your fucking knees!

Rest intervals

You should take between 60 seconds rest between each set or 90 seconds if you choose the ‘actual superset’ method.

This may seem like a lot during the first few sets, but come sets 6, 7 and 8 you’ll be on your knees praying it was longer.

Make sure you are disciplined when it comes to accurately recording your intervals, otherwise you will hamper your progress.

Calculating which weight to use

For the main lift in each workout you should start with a weight that you can easily lift for 20 reps.

This should be around 50% of your 1RM.

So if your 1RM on squat is 150kg, you would commence your GVT cycle by squatting 10×10 using a weight around 75kg.


Once you can perform 10 sets of 10 reps on an exercise with constant rest, increase the weight by 4-5%.

Usually, during a first iteration of the cycle, you’ll find your rep range dropping to to 8, 7, 6 on the last few sets.

Alternate Exercises

Feel free to substitute in some different exercises, provided you are still hitting the big compound lifts.

For example, these could be:

  • Chest: Incline Press, Decline Press, Barbell Press
  • Back: Bent Over Row, Lat Pull Down
  • Legs: Deadlift, Front Squat, Leg Press, Seated Calf Raises
  • Abs: Twisting Crunches, Weighted Sit Ups
  • Arms: Hammer curl, Parallel Bar Dips
  • Shoulders: Seated Dumbbell Press, Dumbbell Lateral Raise

Mixing up movements will allow you to trigger different pools of motor units, helping you to steer clear of redundancy and plateaus.


‘4-0-2-0’, for example, means:

  • Take 4 seconds for the eccentric contraction (negative part of the lift)
  • Take 0 seconds rest at the bottom of the movement
  • Take 2 seconds for the concentric contraction (the push/pull movement)
  • Take 0 seconds rests at the peak contraction of the movement

Rest days

By all means fill you rest days with some cardio, although I guarantee that your body will be so fried with DOMS that anything other than a light jog will be completely out of the question.

However, any cardio you can manage will help reduce stiffness and sooth recovery.


A cycle of GVT should be performed for roughly six weeks.

The borderline insanity of this routine means it’s simply not sustainable for much longer than that.

And unless you have extraordinary willpower, you’ll soon get bored of working through 10 sets every session.


During a GVT regime you’ll need to make sure that your diet is absolutely loaded with calories.

Eat aggressively and often.

This will help your body recover sufficiently in addition to aiding hypertrophy.

My thoughts

First off the bat, let me just say that German Volume Training is without doubt the hardest muscle building routine I’ve ever experienced.

It makes most hypertrophy workouts look something like this (the worst workout of all time – watch it, you won’t regret it).

However, if you can get through GVT in one piece, the gains awaiting you are astronomical.

It is a programme I return to again and again if I’m looking to get jacked quickly.

To give you an idea of just how effective this workout is, the German weightlifters who used this programme in the 70s would typically be able to move up an entire class just by following the routine for three months.

Charles Poliquin said:

To say this program adds muscle fast is probably an understatement. Gains of ten pounds or more in six weeks are not uncommon, even in experienced lifters.

Personally, I’ve never gained so much muscle mass in such a short period of time.

I pretty much had to shop for an entirely new wardrobe once the six weeks were up.

My advice for those contemplating this routine (good luck!) would be to pay close attention to the tempo for each exercise as this really makes a difference.

If you thought 100 squats sounded bad, 100 squats with a measured, four second eccentric movement is some serious next level shit.

The lactate build up during the middle sets will break you.

However, I’d generally get a second wind during the last two sets, which, as Poliquin suggests in his original write up, is due to neurological adaptations.

There are, however, some downsides to German Volume Training.

The sheer volume of this routine will leave you sore as fuck, to the extent that moving your body to do anything becomes a chore.

So ensure you are eating and sleeping well (at least eight hours per night) as this will play a huge part in optimising recovery, in addition to ensuring that you wont overtrain and crash.

Remember, your muscles grow during recovery, not during the act of lifting weights, so optimising your time away from the gym is just as important to driving muscle growth

Also, because of the high set and high rep range, bear in mind that there’s no chance of lifting anything near max effort.

This is not a strength workout.

Moreover, you may even see a decrease in your overall strength and 1RM.

But so long as your ego can handle that, stick with it.

Just think of the muscle gains, my friend.


German Volume Training is barbaric, tried-and-tested muscle building routine which will sort the men from the boys.

Pushing your body to the limit with six weeks of GVT is the ideal way to shell-shock your body and smash through any muscle growth plateau.

You’ll end each session weeping, cursing and crawling your way out of the gym!

German Volume Training

Any takers?

Any of you guys and gals fancy giving GVT a shot?

Have you tried any other mass building routines that you’d recommend?

I’m excited to hear your thoughts – and if I can help you out in any way let me know!

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  1. Hi Gym talk,

    Could you clarify if this program will work for non germans?


    1. Hi Cliff, being German will definitely help with your gains. However, it is possible to ‘trick’ the body into believing it’s German by consuming lots of sauerkraut, listening to techno music, and hating a Jew or two. Hope that helps, and good luck.

  2. Can you advise the order of the exercises? Is it, bench press for 10 sets straight, then pull ups for 10 sets straight, then move to your dumbell flyers for 3 sets then your rows for three sets?

    1. The whole idea of this is to superset opposing muscle groups, not do straight sets.

    2. Hi John.

      I have updated the post as I made a mistake explaining this at first – and I realised that it wasn’t clear at all.

  3. Currently 3 weeks into my first GVT programme and ache like hell most days!! Kinda enjoying it though!!

    Great article and great website, keep up the good work guys!!

    1. Haha, I know that feeling well. You’ll be aching in places you didn’t even know existed!

      Thanks for the kind words Jase, hopefully we’ll see you around soon. Good luck with the rest of your GVT programme!

  4. Would it be possible for you to go into a little more detail surrounding the loss in strength experienced from this type of training? For example – if you can squat 405 for 4 – 6 reps prior to a GVT program, how much will that poundage go down to after completing the program?

    Just curious as I’ve been thinking about doing a GVT program as my next routine and am trying to weigh the pros and cons of this program.

    Thanks in advance for the reply.

    1. Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by.

      As mentioned in the article, GVT is geared towards hypertrophy and muscle endurance, so it will help you gain lean muscle and shed fat.

      However the weight used is too low to affect strength gains. To the contrary, GVT was originally used by weightlifters in the off-season ‘deload phase’ to give the CNS a rest from the stress caused by maxing out on lifts.

      Speaking from personal experience, the strength loss after one cycle of GVT is nothing to major, maybe a few pounds here and there. It certainly wont take you long to get your strength training back on track.

      I would definitely give GVT a go. It’s worth it for the unique muscle stimulation and size/endurance gains – and you can’t beat that feeling of being 100% spent after every session!

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions. Good luck, and let us know how you get on 🙂

  5. What would be a good routine post GVT, maybe 5×5?

    Also what are some good ways to customise the GVT program in diffrent ways just to change it up a bit?

    What are the top supplements used while performing GVT?

    Thanks for your time

    1. Hi Rodney

      5×5 or 5/3/1 would be good routines if you’re looking to regain a bit of strength after a cycle of GVT, but it all depends on what your goals are and what type of training protocol your body responds best to, as everyone’s different.

      With regards to customising the standard GVT programme, you can apply the 10×10 model to most exercises, but, like I say, you’ll get the best return from hitting the big compound lifts.

      For a few specific variations, just Google it, there’s loads out there catering for different goals/levels of experience. Here for example.

      Regarding supplements, again, it depends on your goals. If you’re looking for a lean bulk, any plain old whey protein shake should do the trick. For more of a ‘dirty’ bulk, try a mass gainer or GOMAD (gallon of milk a day).

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.

    2. Mr. Croft, sorry I wasnt more specific but I want to put on as much muscle mass as genetically possible.

      I’ve been making progress by doing around 8-12 rep ranges switching back and forth from compounds and isolation exercises getting that good pump.

      Right now I’m taking the Universal line of supplements as far as, Animal Pak, omega paks, PM pack, creatine and whey protein.

      I did a lot of reading on their product line and they’ve been around for a long time so they would have to be good to stay around that long right?

      I read up on the article you attached earlier and it’s definitely a great article and I will put that to use most definitely.

      I’m a big fan of the GVT because when I walk out the gym you know without a doubt you had an awesome workout.

      If you don’t mind can you give me a couple more mass building and so called hybrid routines, that would be awesome.

      Also just wondering for sore muscle have you heard of anybody involved with bodybuilding using the shock muscle stimulators.

      A friend showed me this website otcwholesale that sell these things pretty cheap.

      I read that using rollers and having massages is pretty important when trying to gain lots of muscle.

      Do you think that a muscle stimulator would work just as good?

      Oh by the way, I did try it on my hamstring after leg day and OMG that shit felt great!

      I’ve been having major issues with delayed muscle soreness while doing GVT and just thought this might help.

      I’m just curious if you’ve heard other bodybuilders using shock muscle stimulators?

      Thanks for your time

      1. Hi Rodney

        I haven’t had any experience with the Universal line of supplements that you mention but I’ve heard good things. As far as your basic whey, creatine, etc, supplements go it’s hard to go far wrong.

        Regarding your goal of putting on as much muscle mass as possible, I would say experiment with cycles of a few different training protocols to see which yields the best results for you.

        As I mentioned above, everyone’s different. Personally, I’ve never seen solid results with the 8-12 rep range – but as soon as I started hitting 5×5 my body responded instantly.

        By the same token I know guys that have struggled to put on mass with 5×5 but have gotten amazing results by hitting 8-12 reps on every exercise.

        So try it all, have fun, and assess progress!

        If you’re looking for some different routines, check out our Workout Review category, as we’ve written about quite a few there.

        As far as these so-called ‘muscle stimulators’ for enhanced growth, I would stay clear. It’s important that you get the basics nailed first before you start experimenting with gimmicks.

        DOMS is part and parcel with GVT, but it’s nothing that stretching, mobility work and some light cardio won’t fix.

        Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  6. Hi Henry,

    That’s a great article, I will definitely try GVT once I have finished Y3T, which is also great.

    I got one question though: I see that you wrote just one exercise for biceps and triceps.

    Also you are supposed to do just 3 sets for these muscle groups, is this enough?

    I’m afraid that I will not hit my bis and tris equally hard as with any other routine.

    Can I use 10 sets for biceps and triceps as well?

    Btw, have you tried Kris Gethin’s DTP routine (4 weeks), it is also a high volume workout?

    All the best, thanks for the great stuff that you write.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for your comment.

      I’ve heard some interesting things about Yoda 3 Training. I’m going to give it a spin soon and follow it up with an article here on GymTalk. I’ll also add Kris Gethin’s DTP routine to the list, although I must confess I know little about it (aside from a quick Google after I read your comment!).

      For me, minimal arm isolation work was enough with GVT, as your arm muscles are getting plenty of stimulation from those big compound movements. In fact, I would say that GVT has been the most effective routine I’ve ever tried with regards to growing my arms, despite lack of isolation work.

      But everyone is different, so feel free to add in some more arm work, provided you have completed everything else prescribed for that session.

      1. Not a fan of YT3 – definitely for the advanced bodybuilder who’s just looking to sculpt rather than pack on mass.

        “Strength” week consisted of sets of 8 – you’re expected to complete sets of 50-100 leg extensions & heavy reliance on machines and isolation exercises.

        Works for Flex Lewis, not one for beginner/intermediate lifters.

  7. Just learned of GVT and began the routine about a month ago.

    I consider myself a moderately advanced bodybuilder who perhaps didn’t give this routine the proper respect it deserves.

    After several weeks of settling into what I thought was a manageable GVT routine, my immune system crashed big time and I was sick in bed with a bad cold for a week.

    Make damn sure your immune function is at its peak.

    In my case, I was only getting 4-6 hrs of sleep on average during this time, which no doubt hastened my demise.

    1. Hi Major

      Sorry to hear about that. It just goes to show the importance of rest and recovery when training, which is something that the majority of trainees sadly overlook when trying to change their body composition.

  8. I’m applying for firefighting school here in Quebec, Canada in January.

    I’ve been with a personal trainer for almost a year now and he’s been great!

    He’s helped me achieve a lot of my goals.

    I’m not an out-of-shape person, and never have been, but I do really need to train for this firefighter physical exam coming up.

    So I mentioned this to my trainer, and he has me doing German Volume Training.

    I’m loving the challenge, but I keep reading it’s not great for strength.

    For the exam, I need to improve on my bench press and my chin ups (I meet the girl standards no problem, but I’d like to meet the guy standards, or get as close to them as possible).

    So what do you think of this?

    He’s been great for other goals and such, but I feel like German volume training isn’t ideal for what I’m trying to achieve.

    Do you have any opinion on this or advice?


    1. Hi Brigitte, thanks for stopping by!

      You are correct, if you need to improve strength, GVT is not what you should be doing in the gym, the volume is way to high.

      Instead, I would suggest the 5×5 protocol – try Stronglifts 5×5 or Reg Park’s Beginner 5×5 routine:×5/

      Hope that helps!

      Let me know how you get on – and good luck with your physical exam!

  9. Hello Mr Croft.

    I’m just wondering if GVT is helpful to loose stomach and chest fat?

    And what supplements are recommended to tone my muscle ?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Panda

      I’m inferring from your comments that you are fairly new to lifting weights?

      If so, GVT would be too advanced.

      Instead, I would recommend a more entry-level weightlifting routine (for example Arnie’s Golden Six or the two routines mentioned in my reply to Brigitte above) alongside a cardio programme comprising HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).


      Partner this with a sensible, non-fad diet and watch the fat fly!

      Hope this helps – let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

  10. Hey Henry,

    I’m on my third week on this program and my weight has actually decreased.

    Anything I might be doing wrong?

    I’m 1.75m, 63kg, and keep eating a lot with little result…

    Any thoughts would be welcome, thanks!

    1. Hi Ric.

      Any weight loss resulting from this routine will undoubtedly be body fat due to the strenuous nature of GVT.

      So I wouldn’t be too worried.

      Provided you are indeed consuming enough, working hard in the gym (which you will be with GVT), resting and sleeping well, then you will make gains.

      Just keep at it buddy – and remember consistency is key!

  11. Hi Henry.

    Thought I’d drop you a post as I’m probably the oldest guy here… nearly 60.

    Been in gyms all my life and can’t remember a time when I haven’t weight trained.

    My ‘routine’ routine is 12/10/8/6 and of course the 5×5 etc.

    I’m week three of this GVT and really do notice it!

    I used to hit the gym 5 times a week, with this it’s three.

    I miss the gym but with GVT it whacks you and we all know that growth happens when we rest!

    I suppose the message is this:

    I’ve been weight training maybe 45 years and you are never too old or experienced to try something new.

    Ok, here’s my take on what I do, for a start I have had to swap a couple of main exercises, so, for example, I do seated chest press instead of the bench.

    That’s because I picked up a few knocks over the years and it’s safer for me.

    Secondly try to keep the tempo.

    That’s so important but hey I lose it come set 10 when I’m on fire!

    I agree you do get a second wind come set 7 or 8 – maybe it’s psychological because the end’s in sight.

    I also wear my divers watch and click the dial so I don’t lose track of the number of sets I’m on.

    If you think you’re about to give up, remember it’s a week before that body part gets trained again so just do it.

    That’s it really, 3 more weeks to go, I’ve increased definition and size a tad but definitely lost some weight as my 6 pack which normally hides under a duvet of fat is poking through! 🙂

    Cheers Henry, a good site!

    1. Hi Pento – thanks for your comment, I loved hearing your story.

      Always find it motivational when I hear from readers lifting in their 50s/60s – and still making gains!

      Keep it up, you’re an inspiration to us all.

      And please hit me up when you’ve finished the routine – would love to hear your final word on how it all went.


  12. Hi Henry!

    Quick question: I started what I assumed was GVT this week by doing today, for instance, shoulders 10 by 10 then moved onto traps 10/10 then moved onto 3/10 bicep and 3/10 triceps.

    Can I do straight sets with 60 second rest periods?

    Would this work at all?

    1. Hi Anthony.

      Had to jog my memory on this a little as it’s been a while since I’ve performed GVT!

      As Paul mentions in one of the comments above, the original GVT programme is built around the central idea of supersetting opposing muscle groups.

      For example, A1 Bench Press with A2 Pull-ups.

      You can, of course, adapt this routine to your preference with conventional straight sets, while still incorporating the 10×10 principle.

      Naturally, this will still yield hypertrophy and endurance gains, but it won’t be the original GVT routine.

      Hope that helps – let me know if you have any more questions.


  13. Hi Henry!

    OK here’s my take on GVT after 6 weeks…

    On the positive side, you do gain muscle and there was an increase in weight.

    Arms, chest and back gained definition.

    You also feel slightly more ‘fitter’, maybe because of the increase in heart rate that goes with the volume.

    It also pushes you on to continue as you start to notice improvements after say week 3.

    It is a killer of a routine though and you do have to have good personal determination to take this on, but hey most training guys have this in their genes.

    I did knacker my knee training for a 10k in parallel with this, that knocked my leg routine into rehab mode so I kept the non leg days as they were and then on leg day did the rehab.

    I also took out the usual two day break after legs and reduced it to one as legs were no longer getting the GVT torture.

    So, day on, day off right the way through.

    You really do have to be careful the tempo doesn’t slip to a fast “blast them out” mode, particularly come sets 7 to 10 when you are burning.

    Now I did find a downside, but it’s only slight, so just bear it in mind, and don’t let it put you off giving all this a try…

    I started to get dull pains in both shoulders, it may be rotator cuff not sure, but after research I put it down to me adopting the same chest/back/shoulder exercises which over the weeks built up some muscle at the expense of a more rounded shoulder routine.

    Nothing snapped or stopped me in my tracks, but for example bench press and cable rows although good opposition exercises (which is good thing!) were actually working behind the scenes to create weak spots in the shoulders.

    So, next time I will alter the exercises every two weeks, bench to flies etc.

    That by the way was all my fault, because gains were continuing I didn’t feel the need to change the exercises.

    That was the only negative I found with GVT so go for it guys!

    I’m looking at a new routine now for the next couple of months.

    I’m going to retain the volume principle.

    One guy I know is doing 20 reps (of 60% max) fast followed by one minute off and doing 5 sets.

    If you know of any other post GVT routines that are tried and tested that retain the volume principle please let me know.

    Best Wishes Henry!


    1. Hi Bob, thanks for your comment.

      Glad to see you’ve been getting some nice results, and I definitely agree that GVT has a massive impact on your overall fitness – my lungs were gasping after every session!

      GVT and high rep squats are the only volume routines that I have ever really used, and I only return to them sparingly as my body on the whole responds much much better to low-rep strength work.

      Having said that, if you find another volume routine that works well for you – or if anyone else can recommend one – I’d love to give it a go and do a write-up on the blog!



  14. Hey Henry!

    Nice review, a lot of helpful information.

    I was just wondering if you thought it would be overtraining if I made both accessory exercises for arms a 10 x 10 instead of the listed 3 x 10-15.

    I’m assuming the intensity of the arm training would have an effect on the chest/back workout that would come two days later but I’m not 100% sure.

    1. Hi Bryan.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I would recommend sticking to the programme – if you’ve got room left in the tank after A1/A2, then I’d wager you aren’t working hard enough.

  15. I’ve used GVT and a few variations of it.

    I use the 10 sets of 10 with low rest periods (30 seconds) to shed body fat, and a minor variation of the advanced program as a massing program.

    My massing variation involves doing 10 sets with 80%-85% of my max with 60 seconds of rest between supersets.

    The reps are the max I can do on each set.

    Usually, the last few sets are 3-4 reps each.

    It definitely keeps me in shape, and I recommend cycling it with 4-8 weeks of a lower volume power training routine.

    Some trainers recommend no more than 2 cycles of this a year, but I’ve had good success with as many as 6, as long as I do a low volume cycle in between.

    1. You touch on an important point there – which is to listen to your body and judge results from your own experience.

      If something works for you, to hell with what all the self-styled gurus tell you!

  16. Great review Henry, keep up the good work.

    I have searched loads of sites trying to find programs to put on mass, but I found about GVT by chance, and then your site.

    Been doing GVT for about 3 weeks now and have seen a difference.

    Put about 1/2 inch on my chest and so I am pleased I have started it.

    But have noticed a dip in strength when doing GVT.

    I want to increase my strength so will try a 5×5 program, my only concern is will I lose size doing the strength part?


    1. Hi David.

      Thanks for the kind words – and great to hear you’ve seen some results with GVT 🙂

      I would highly recommend the 5×5 protocol, it’s a solid all-round size and strength workout that just flat-out works.

      And don’t worry about losing mass, that certainly won’t happen (providing you’re eating enough), in fact I’m sure the opposite will be the case.

      With 5×5 and other more strength-focused routines you’ll be adding weight to the bar consistently and your body will continue to get stronger and bigger in the long-term, whereas I find the body quickly adapts to the volume of hypertrophy workouts such as GVT, making you plateau much faster.

  17. Is it really necessary to super-set all the exercises because I thought that wasn’t really needed, but just an option.

    Or am I wrong?

    1. Hi Nick, that’s certainly the idea with the original GVT routine, however, as I mention, feel free to adapt the 10×10 protocol, like the many other different GVT variations out there, to suit your own needs.

      Any routine with that much volume is going to be a very effective hypertrophy workout.

  18. Good article.

    I recently started a GVT program fairly similar to the one above and am about 3 weeks in.

    One question, on the third day you have more focus on shoulders, i.e the shoulder press 10×10, and make the arms the isolation exercise.

    Most other GVT programs I have seen have arms as the 10×10 and then shoulders as the isolation, any reason for this?

    1. Pressing and rows should definitely be the focus of the 10×10 here, you’ll get much more bang for your buck from these compound movements.

      1. Thanks will make this small change to my program.

  19. What number calorie deficit should I be eating on this program is 350 calories below maintenance OK?

    1. I wouldn’t advise performing GVT on a calorie deficit as it’s an extremely taxing routine – you’re going to need all the energy you can get!

  20. I’m doing GVT now.

    First month is up.

    The only thing I’ve found exceptionally brutal are the squats.

    If you can handle 10×10 squats with strict rest periods everything else is a walk in the park.

    I wonder how it will affect my strength coming off.

    Has anybody found an increase in strength post GVT?

    I find it hard to believe that muscle gains on GVT will not translate to an increased 1 rm provided a follow up strength program is undertaken to restore neural adaptations.

    1. This routine is not designed to build strength.

      The rep range is far too high which means the weight will not be heavy enough for any meaningful development.

  21. Sounds brutal!

    Certainly not for those starting out, or not even intermediates like myself.

    Would suggest, if advanced enough, take a purposeful ‘2-3 weeks holiday’ to achieve the GVT method, if serious about advancement to that level.

    Can’t imagine the food bill after the 6 weeks of training so intensely!

    Save up your hols and household expenditure for this one!

    One of the more interesting routines/muscle mass gain programs I have heard about, always something new to learn, thanks!

    1. Intermediates shouldn’t have an issue following this routine.

  22. I have a serious question.

    Since GVT is only recommend for 6 weeks at a time, how often can I go back to it?

    Meaning, I do 6 weeks of GVT, then go to hypertrophy, but how long do I do hypertrophy before going back to 6 weeks of GVT?

    Meaning how many times a year do I do it or how long after recovering GVT, and I do hypertrophy, can I go back to GVT?

    1. I would go back to it once per year, per the original goal of the routine.

  23. Downloadable pdf? I fb liked the post

  24. What is the ideal way to lose weight quickly while training to gain lean muscle weight.


  25. Hey Gymtalk, I am 51, recently tore my tricep, with the reduced weight for this routine in there any chance of causing further damage?

    Or will this routine help with the healing process?