With this series on how to build muscle and strength, you will learn which program is right for you, what to eat and how to reach your athletic goals: welcome to German Volume Training.

The first vital point is nutrition. Without a solid nutritional base you will not see results, no matter how hard you train.


German Volume Training is a tried and tested method that many successful athletes have used to pack on mass and muscle. As it involves a large amount of volume, it can also be a great way to improve your strength under fatigue, a useful skill to transfer over into CrossFit.

Source: CrossFit Inc


The core of German volume training is 10 sets of 10 reps for a single body part per workout. Plus accessory work. Rest is vital as this is an intensive program.

  • Day 1: Chest and back
  • Day 2: Legs and Abs
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Arms and Shoulders
  • Day 5: Off

“The program works because it targets a group of motor units, exposing them to an extensive volume of repeated efforts, specifically, 10 sets of a single exercise. The body adapts to the extraordinary stress by hypertrophying the targeted fibers. 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!” – Coach Charles R. Poliquin.


You want to begin with a weight you could lift for 20 reps to failure if you had to. For most people, on most exercises, that would represent 60% of their 1RM load.

Once you’re able to do 10 sets of 10 with constant rest intervals, increase the weight on the bar by 4% to 5%, and repeat the process.

Learn about Wendler 531

Rest Periods

Rest for 60 – 90 seconds between sets.


Chest and Back

  • Barbell bench press 10 x 10 (rest 90)
  • Pull ups or barbell rows 10 x 10 (rest 90)
  • DB Flys 3 x 12 (rest 60)
  • One arm DB rows 3 x 12 (rest 60)

Legs and Abs

  • Back squat 10 x 10 (rest 90)
  • Lying leg curls 10 x 10 (rest 90)
  • Seated Calf raise 3 x 10 (rest 60)
  • Strict toes to bar / hanging leg raises 3 x 10 (rest 60)

Arms and Shoulders

  • Close grip bench press 10 x 6 (rest 90)
  • Incline DB Curls 10 x 6 (rest 90)
  • Seated lat raises 3 x 10 (rest 60)
  • DB Shoulder press 3 x 10 (rest 60)

For a further breakdown and answers to any questions you may have on German Volume Training, check out this excellent article by the Poliquin Group.


“In strength-coaching circles, this method is often called the “ten sets method.” Because it has its roots in both former Germanies, I like to call it German Volume Training.

Try the Upper Lower Split

To the best of my knowledge, this training system originated in Germany in the mid-’70’s and was popularized by Rolf Feser, who was then the National Coach of Weightlifting. A similar protocol was promoted by Vince Gironda in the U.S., but regardless of who actually invented it, it works.”

“In Germany, the ten-sets method was used in the general preparator phase to help weightlifters gain lean body mass. It was so efficient that lifters routinely moved up a full weight class within 12 weeks.”

– Charles Poliquin

Have you ever tried German Volume Training before? Did it work for you? Let us know on social media!

Read More: How to Build Muscle and Strength: The 5 x 5 Program

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