Today I want to talk to you about a very interesting method that can help you to add up to 10 lbs (5 kg) lean muscle mass in 30 days without the use of steroids or other stuff! You read it right, 30 days/10 lbs without drugs! Sounds crazy doesn't it?
According to my own experiance and the words of the famous strength coach Charles Poliquin aka “The Guru of GVT” this is actually possible. The magic method that can get you there is the so called German Volume Training (GVT)!
If you search the internet for GVT you can find several articles about GVT including some of Charles Poliquin (e.g. here) and one that I've recently written for HealthMeUp.
In this post I'll provide you with the knowledge to do GVT like I do it, which is similar but still a bit different from the commonly used method (mainly because I switch/exchange some exercises from the "normal" workout design). Normally GVT consists of 2-3 stages, but as we aren't professional weigthlifters or hardcore budibuilders the first stage is enough for spicing up our regular workout routines. I recommend to integrate the first 30 day stage of GVT in every training year once (but not before you have at least 1 year of training experiance because it's really hard and you have to be safe with free weigths).
About the origin of this method exist several rumors but all of them have in common that it first got pretty famous in the 70s in Germany (which is the reason why it’s called German Volume Training).
The main principle of GVT is to use an extensive volume (10 sets of 10 reps) with some basic exercises (4 exercises each session) in a 3-day split which works your muscles so hard that they are forced to grow rapidly to stand the load.
Here’s how it works:
Guidelines – In every training session you should perform 10 sets of 10 reps of two main exercises as supersets (meaning 1 set of exercise 2 is directly following 1 set of exercise 1 then 90 seconds rest) and then 3 supersets of 10-12 reps of two supplementary exercises (only rest 60 seconds between the supersets here). If you don`t want to train with supersets,you can do the exercises with normal sets, what means you do exercise 1 with 10 sets followed by exercise 2 with 10 sets (in that case rest time should be only 60 seconds between the sets). Use 60% of your 1 rep maximum load (the load you can lift only once) for the main exercises (which represents approximately the load you can lift 20 times to failure). For the supplementary exercises use the load that you can lift around 10-12 times to failure. Don’t change the weight during a session, even if you think it’s too light during the first sets (what you probably will think when starting with the first sets of the main exercises) or too heavy (probably the case in the last sets of the main exercises). If you can’t manage the 10 rep target in the last sets that won’t be a problem (in fact it’s quiet normal in the beginning). Once you’re able to perform 10 sets of 10 reps properly you should increase the load by 4-5% and go on.
Regarding the cadence: 4020 for example means that you lower the weight for 4 seconds (eccentric part) and directly lift it for 2 seconds (concentric part). No short rest at any position.
My (adapted) 30 day plan of GVT:
Day 1 – Chest & Back:
Main exercise 1 – (Decline) Dumbbell presses (or Bench Press); 10 sets of 10 reps; cadence 4020
Main exercise 2 – One-Arm Dumbbell Row; 10 sets of 10 reps (each side); cadence 4020
Supplementary exercise 1 – (Incline) Dumbbell Flyes (or Cable Flyes); 3 sets of 10-12 reps; cadence 3020
Supplementary exercise 2 – Chin-Ups (or Lat Pulldowns if you can’t do chin-ups); 3 sets of 10-12 reps; cadence 3020
Day 2 – Legs & Abs:
Main exercise 1 – Barbell Squat; 10 sets of 10 reps; cadence 4020
Main exercise 2 – Lying Leg Curls; 10 sets of 10 reps; cadence 4020
Supplementary exercise 1 – Hanging Leg Raises (or Bent Leg Raises); 3 sets of 10-12 reps; cadence 2020
Supplementary exercise 2 – (Seated) Calf Raise; 3 sets of 10-12 reps; cadence 2020
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Arms & Shoulders (I decided to start with the supplementary exercise here, because handstand push ups need all your concentration and shouldn't be done with tired muscles):
Supplementary exercise 1 – Handstand Push Ups (or Inverted Shoulder Press); 3 sets of 10-12 reps; cadence 2020 (find an explanation here)
Main exercise 1 – Parallel Bar Dips; 10 sets of 10 reps; cadence 4020
Main exercise 2 – Hammer Curls; 10 sets of 10 reps; cadence 4020
Supplementary exercise 2 – Reverse Cable Flyes; 3 sets of 10-12 reps; cadence 2020 (find an explanation at Steves blog here)
Day 5 – Off
Start again with Day 1 and continue this 5-day-cycle for 6 times.
I advise you to use a stop watch to control rest times and to use a training log to control improvements!
After 30 days you can either follow another workout routine or you can continue with GVT. I used to switch to another routine afterwards, but if you want to continue you can find a lot of possible workout designs in the internet.
Btw.: If you follow the GVT it is important that you eat a lot of good proteins and that you rest and sleep enough for getting the best results!
Have fun bulking up!