Not for the faint hearted; German volume training, (also known as just volume training) is your fast track to building muscle. 

So what’s it all about?

In short; volume training works on a 10x10 basis.  So that’s 10 sets of 10 reps no excuses!

It is generally used off season by weightlifters who want to build muscle fast.  And the results speak for themselves; many lifters who use this method have been able to move up a full weight class in just 12 weeks.

How German volume training works

German volume training, like most weightlifting routines, targets a different muscle group in each workout.  Working 5 days on 2 days off.

The ‘volume’ element of this plan suggests using a weight which is around 60% of your one rep max.

Considering you must complete 10 reps of 10 sets of each exercise, you should understand how brutal this training style can be.  Especially considering rest between sets should be kept to a minimum - (60-90 seconds).  And sloppy form/half reps don’t count!

When choosing exercises; choose wisely.  You should not target the same muscle group more than once in each workout.  So if you’re doing squats, don’t follow up with a leg press.

Another aspect of volume training is the tempo of each lift.  You should lower the weight at a slower pace and power back up.  Suggested tempo for compound lifts is; 4 seconds down and power back up for 2 seconds.  For isolation exercises, where the range of motion is shorter, it should be down for 3 and back up for 2.

As soon as you can consistently perform your 10 sets of 10 reps, you can increase the load.  Do this gradually over the course of the 12 week plan. 

Building a volume training plan

If you haven’t already, you will begin to notice that for the most part in weightlifting, the lifts don’t change.  German volume training is no exception to this.  It is the execution of lifts; i.e. Reps/sets/performance/order/rest between sets, and so on, that have evolved in order to affect the outcome.

Therefore, provided you are familiar with a wide range of lifts, have a clear understanding of which muscle groups they target, and you understand the method you want to use; there’s no reason you can’t put your own plans together.

Trust yourself and remember that effort is everything; just keep doing your thing and eventually things will fall into place.

For reference see our exercises database and our pre built workout plans.


As with everything, you won’t know if volume training is for you until you give it a try.  So why not test this method in one of your future workouts and see how you feel.

If you decide to give volume training a go, be kind to yourself.  Yes you should give it your all, but keep in mind that this is an advanced training method used by pros. 

Remember that no workout is wasted, and any effort you apply goes into the gains bank.