By James Walker CCS, STM, BioSig, Master Trainer
I've wanted to write this article for some time because I think it would help give direction to those who have wanted to work out but maybe lacked direction or a facility or equipment. The German Volume (GV) workout is famous for increasing metabolic rate, natural Growth Hormone production, muscle growth, and fat loss. Since it uses a lower intensity or resistance level, itâ€™s a great way to jump-start a fitness-weight-loss program.
The German Volume uses an intensity or resistance load that is about 60% of a 1 rep max (1RM) for that given exercise, e.g., if you could bench press 100lb for a one rep then you would use 60lb to start the German Volume. Another way to determine the starting resistance is to choose a resistance or exercise or weight that you could do for 20 reps but you youâ€™ll only be doing 10. So, if you can do 20 push-ups thatâ€™s a perfect exercise.
Another key component of the German Volume is performing 10 reps of 10 sets or 10 x 10 for the exercise, which helps to create the volume and the physiological response, i.e., metabolic elevation, growth hormone production, muscle growth, and fat loss. For a de-conditioned person this may seem like a lot but it can easily be modified to suit their starting level. A beginner may start with 5 sets of 10 reps and add one set each week until 10 sets is reached during the next 5 weeks. Continue with the10 sets for the next 11 weeks or 16 weeks total.
One intention of this program is to make it do-able, convenient, and accessible for the participant to do in their home or when away, that doesnâ€™t require a facility or a membership or any expensive equipment. To be most beneficial this program should be performed four times a week. This can be done on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule or a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday schedule.
Download theÂ German Volume Workout @ Home! Part 1 Excel spreadsheet to record your workout.
Below is a brief description of terms followed by a four-day workout example.
- A.1 & A.2 â€“ rank or order of the exercises performed together; also called superset e.g., perform a set of 10 reps for exercise A.1, then does a set of 10 reps for exercise A.2; rest 15-60 seconds and repeat the sequence until all 10 sets are completed.
- Repetition (rep) â€“ is each time a movement of an exercise is performed, either singularly or consecutively.
- Set â€“ a group of reps performed together followed by a brief or long rest interval.
- Tempo â€“ is the rate or seconds that it takes to performed the rep, this regulates the movement, enhances muscle fiber recruitment, reduces injury, and controls the amount of time under tension (TUT) of the muscle; Tempo or TUT is expressed numerically i.e., 302; 302 equals 3+0+2=5 seconds of TUT to perform one rep or 50 seconds of TUT to perform 10 reps (or one set of 10 reps); 402=6 seconds of TUT for one rep or 60 seconds of TUT to complete 10 reps.
- 3 is the negative muscle contraction of the movement and is the lowering phase when pulling or pressing; e.g., lowering down in a squat or push up.
- 0 is the middle phase of the movement; e.g., top or bottom position of a squat or push up.
- 2 is the positive muscle contraction of the movement and is the raising phase when pulling or pressing; e.g., raising up in a squat or push up.
Four Day Workout Example:
Day 1 (Monday) â€“ 10 x 10
A.1. standing bodyweight squat; tempo 4/302 Â â€“ with feet hip width apart or slightly wider and hands on waist, lower body down towards floor as far as possible on a 3-4 tempo and return to start position on a 2 tempo.
A.2. incline pull up with towel or rope with a knot on the end (requires a secure door or rail or banister); tempo 4/302 Â – wedge middle of a folded towel between door and door frame, shut, secure, or lock the door so it doesnâ€™t open and will safely support your body weight; or wrap a towel around a rail or banister thatâ€™s strong and sturdy enough to support your weight; hold the ends of the towel in each hand and position feet on floor close to the bottom of door or rail, lean body away from the door as far as possible, support your weight with the towel and your arms, pull body up and hands to chest on a 2 tempo and return to start position on a 3-4 tempo.
Day 2 (Tue or Wed) â€“ 10 x 10
A.1. lying bent knee hip lift; tempo 4/302 â€“ lying position with feet on the floor or elevated on a step or chair (more difficult), knees bent 90 degrees, raise hips and torso up towards the ceiling as far as possible on a 2 tempo and return to start position on a 3-4 tempo.
A.2. push up against a wall or on the floor; tempo 4/302 Â â€“ with hands against the wall, feet hip width apart approximately 3-5 feet from the wall, lean towards the wall, lower torso towards the wall on a 3-4 tempo and return to start position on a 2 tempo; or in a push up position with hands and feet or knees on floor, lower torso towards the floor on a 3-4 tempo and return to start position on a 2 tempo.
Day 3 (Thur or Fri) â€“ 10 x 10
A.1. standing split squat; tempo 4/302 Â â€“ in a lunge stance with one foot forward and the other foot back, on forefoot with heel raised, lower torso down towards floor as far as possible on a 3-4 tempo and return to start position on a 2 tempo.
A.2. prone arm push & pull with furniture slider or 8â€ x 12â€ piece of card board; tempo 4/302 Â â€“ in a prone push up position with hands on top of slider or cardboard and knees on the floor, push slider away from the body as far as possible on a 3-4 tempo and pull in to return to start position on a 2 tempo.
Day 4 (Fri or Sun) â€“ 10 x 10
A.1. standing good-mornings; tempo 4/302 Â â€“ with a hands by ears and elbow out to the sides and feet hip width apart, keep chest up and shoulders back, push hips back as far as possible and bend torso forward towards the floor (bow position) on a 3-4 tempo and return to start position on a 2 tempo.
A.2. seated dip between chairs; tempo 4/302 Â â€“ position your body in a seated or squat position between two chairs of equal size with body supported by each hand on a chair seat, the legs and feet are 1-3 feet out in front, lower the hips & torso down towards the floor as far as possible on a 3-4 tempo and return to start position on a 2 tempo.
Remember take your time and donâ€™t overwhelm yourself in the beginning especially if you havenâ€™t worked out in a while. Start with 5 sets of 10 reps and gradually build up to 10 sets over a 5 week duration. Each set should take 50-60 seconds followed by a 15-60 second rest period. The entire workout should take between 20-40 minutes depending on the length of your rest periods. This workout can be done for about 16 weeks for the beginner.
Next in Part 2 I will outline a four-day example workout for those of you who have some home equipment i.e., physioball and dumbbells.