Tuesday, December 18, 2012

German Volume Training, a.k.a "10 For 10"

This is the time of year I like to "go heavy." Baby, it's cold outside, according to the song the radio keeps playing incessantly. So I warm up a little without ending up dripping in sweat the way I would if I were lifting this way in the humid summer months. Also, rather than fight all the holiday food cravings, I take in some extra calories knowing I'll be putting them to good use in my workouts. My current favorite routine is a classic known as German Volume Training, or "10 for 10." It first became popular in the 1970's, it may be even older. German Olympic weight lifters used it to pack on strength and muscle mass in record time. We're talking pounds of muscle in a month. It had a resurgence in popularity about 10 years ago, when legendary coach and trainer Charles Poliquin wrote about it. German Volume Training is simple, but not easy. Because the focus is on building lots of muscle quickly, you want to stick to your compound moves. Often called multi-joint moves, and interestingly, I'm noticing the female oriented exercise magazines are now referring to them as "metabolic moves." Compound moves are your BIG LIFTS; bench press, deadlift, squat... The lifts that build lean, fat-burning muscle tissue, and help everyone read all the words on your t-shirt. So here's the routine: You'll need to know your 1 Rep max (the heaviest you can lift on a particular exercise once.) Take 60% of your 1 Rep Max, and lift it 10 times for 10 sets, resting 90 seconds between sets.
Sounds easy, I know, and the first 3 or 4 sets kind of are, but fatigue sets in quick. There's an interesting neurological adaptation thing that happens around set 8 and 9. I'm not sure why that is, but for some reason those sets tend to be a little easier. If you can safely go past 10 reps (i.e. you have a spotter or trainer with you) I say go for it, but more than likely the 100 reps spread over 10 sets will be sufficient to stimulate new muscle growth. I don't have great bodybuilding genetics, I'm a bit of a hardgainer, but I'm a former fat guy so if I don't train, excess calories go straight to my waist. I don't take any supplements other than a multi-vitamin and fish oil, but I can build up nicely on this program. I like the German Volume approach, because after you get your big move for the day out of the way, you can throw in some sets for arms, shoulders, or whatever to fill out your workout, if you want. Probably don't even need to. Momentary muscle failure is all that's required to stimulate growth. You don't have to keep turning the light switch on, as the old saying goes. It would be an interesting experiment to see if you could seriously grow on just doing one exercise a workout. The Mike Mentzer fan in me, would love to see the results of a few weeks spent doing 3 HVT workouts a week, split between chest, legs, and back. Maybe I'll try it in 2013. If you have any questions about anything, or any advice for me, feel free to comment, or email me at andynieradko@gmail.com, or on facebook at Andy Nieradko Personal Training.

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