German Volume Training
Just The Thing To Get You Big And Strong
Supersets and tri-sets let you perform a lot of work in a short period. The rest/pause method lets you use heavier weights so you can recruit the higher threshold muscle fibers, and eccentric training lets you overcome strength plateaus. The bottom line is that almost any training method will work—provided you do it with intensity—at least for the few weeks it takes for your body to adapt to it. There is, however, one training system that stands above all the rest. It’s brutally hard, but I’ve found it to be a very effective way to pack on muscle fast.
In strength-coaching circles, the method is often called the “10-sets method.” Because it has its roots in German-speaking countries, I like to call it German Volume Training. To the best of my knowledge, the system originated in Germany in the mid-’70s and was popularized by Rolf Feser, who was then the national coach of weightlifting. A similar protocol was promoted by Vince Gironda in the United States, but regardless of who actually invented it, it works.
In Germany the 10-sets method was used in the off-season to help weightlifters gain lean body mass. It was so efficient that lifters routinely moved up a full weight class within 12 weeks.
It was the base program of Canadian weightlifter Jacques Demers, silver medalist at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. Jacques was known in weightlifting circles for his massive thighs, and he credits the German method with helping him achieve such a spectacular level of hypertrophy. The same method was also used by Bev Francis in her early days of bodybuilding to pack on muscle.
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 the program adds muscle fast is probably an understatement. Gains of 10 pounds or more in six weeks are not uncommon, even in experienced lifters.
Get the rest of the article in the May 2010 Issue of Iron Man Magazine.