When you’re approaching a bulk, you’ll be faced with a question. Do you continue your normal training schedule and up your calories, or do you try and change your regime to grant the fastest mass and strength gains in the shortest timeframe?
The answer? If you’ve not been growing then you should switch things up. Your own routine might not be effective, as you may not be overloading your muscles or challenging yourself. A training plan that prizes mass and strength gains in a short timeframe is perfect for someone who wants to bulk.
If you do want to bulk up quickly, one of the best ways to slam on mass is via German Volume Training, which focuses on hypertrophy to help you look big on the beach.
German Volume Training
What is it?
German Volume Training is a system that employs punishing amounts of reps to increase muscle hypertrophy and create lean mass. You generally perform one exercise per body part for 10 sets of 10 reps at a sub-maximal weight around 60% of your 1RM.
By performing 10 sets of exercises, your muscles must adapt to cope with the increased workload and therefore grow. Be warned: this is a training regime for people with lifting experience. Newcomers will find it far too challenging due to the stress it puts on your body. For people looking to quickly add mass, German Volume Training has the following benefits for bulking:
It suits bulking schedules
Unless you want to feel sluggish and bloated, most traditional bulking cycles should be short. The Ibiza Challenge is a four-week effort, most bulks don’t last longer than eight weeks. Because of the sheer difficulty of GVT it can only be done in shorter phases. Most people will only do a six-week GVT plan once or twice per year.
While other exercises that help a lifter pack on mass generally build a lot of strength, GVT is designed to throw on as much muscle as possible by exposing muscle fiber to hypertrophy. The huge amount of reps involved force your motor units to contract muscles, which in turn adapt to the stress by hypertrophying those fibers. Not only that, but the sheer volume means that you’re spending more time doing each exercise – meaning time under tension of your muscles isn increased, which in turn increases hypertrophy.
It uses compound exercises
Unlike isolation-based splits, GVT uses compound lifts that recruit multiple muscles in each movement. More anabolic hormones are released the more muscle mass you involve in exercise. You can also lift more weight than you could during an isolation, which increases hypertrophy even more.
Increased volume forces unused muscle fiber into action
One of German Volume Training’s benefits for bulking is that the increase in repetitions fatigues your muscle fibers, which in turn are compensated for by other fibers. This means you’re training muscle tissue that you’d never usually access.
When your bulk is over and you need to lean back out, GVT will have given you the tools to do so by increasing your metabolism. Unlike other training systems that promote growth hormone release, volume training focuses on packing on muscle mass. This increase in mass raises your metabolic rate, which means your body will burn fat at a faster rate.
Increases grit and determination
This is a subjective point – but the insane level of toughness of 10 sets of 10 reps at a 60% weight with minimal rest periods demands incredible mental fortitude. If you can tough out the last few sets in a GVT schedule then you can easily tough out the hardest parts of a bulk, when your hunger vanishes but you still need an extra 1000 calories to complete your day.
Sample 4 week German Volume Training routine for bulking
Perform the sets with 60-90 second rest periods. Add in a rest day between each exercise day. This is a three day per week plan. Focus on hitting your caloric surplus goals between sessions.
Day 1 – Chest and Back
- Bench Press: 10 x 10
- Pull-Ups: 10 x 10
- Deadlift: 10 x 10
- Dumbbell Flys: 10 x 10
Day 2 – Legs and Abs
- Back Squat: 10 x 10
- Dumbbell Lunges: 10 x 10
- Calf Raises: 10 x 10
- Weighted Sit Up: 10 x 10
Day 3 – Arms and Shoulders
- Military Press: 10 x 10
- Bicep Curls: 10 x 10
- Tricep Pull Down : 10 x 10
- Upright Rows: 10 x 10