Since 1998, T NATION has been supplying readers with cutting edge weight training programs designed to pack on serious shirt-stretching size. It begs the question though: Among the hundreds (thousands?) of hypertrophy protocols in the T NATION archives, which would be the best for rapid size gains

To achieve maximum size, many lifters opt for a program that keeps the reps at around 8 or lower. Nothing's wrong with this method, as the muscles are significantly challenged, and more importantly, hypertrophy-stimulating hormones are
released from lifting the heavy loads

On the other hand, most high-rep programs are more geared towards general conditioning, fat loss, and "leaning out" without a real emphasis on getting huge
But then there's German Volume Training
It's simple, but its effectiveness is undeniable, The standard protocol for German Volume Training (GVT), made popular by strength training guru Charles Poliquin, is comprised of choosing a large movement for a given muscle group and performing 10 sets of 10 reps with only 60 seconds rest between sets

With parameters like this, it makes for a good way to make a lighter weight feel real "heavy" real fast

GVT: The Pros

On paper, GVT looks like a Sunday stroll in comparison to most higher intensity programs. Sixty percent your one-rep max? How the hell is this supposed to build muscle
Don't be fooled, The effectiveness of GVT is revealed when you look at things from a "total weight lifted" perspective. For example, say you were to do a max strength workout and you squatted or benched 300 for 8 sets of 3 reps
This means in total, you lifted 7200 lbs. over the course of the workout. Compare this to a GVT workout with a meager 100 lbs. for 10x10: By the end of this workout, you've lifted 10,000 lbs

Simply put, while giving your CNS a break by not pounding it with super heavy loads, you're increasing your time under tension (which can actually potentiate hormonal release), and as a bonus, the short rest intervals will improve the muscle's conditioning and strength endurance, and (depending on the workout) aid in cutting body fat
Plus, you spend less time in the gym as the workouts are usually much shorter than normal

GVT: The Cons

Alas, no hypertrophy program is perfect. Because of GVT's comparatively high rep range, there's no max effort work in this program; after the actual 10x10 exercise, most lifters are too fatigued to even attempt lifting any heavier than a tube of Traumeel

Subsequently, you may not see a notable improvement on your 1RM from a program like this – 1RM performance may even decrease, temporarily – which is about as appealing to the typical fast twitch 1RM junkie as a soy and wheat grass enema. But if strictly size is what you're after and you can handle staying away from the big loads for a while, you've chosen a great program

How to Play This Game

Since introducing the mainstream strength training world to GVT over 15 years ago, Coach Poliquin has come up with much more advanced, specific forms of the system to implement with his athletes. For simplicity's sake (and to cater to the most readers) we'll stick with its most basic, straightforward outline

German Volume Training can be incorporated in many different ways. Some lifters prefer using it in entire upper body and lower body workouts (for instance, supersetting 10 x 10 of bench press with 10 x 10 of T-bar rows or 10 x 10 of squats with 10 x 10 of leg curls)

This method is certainly effective, but because of the blood shunting away from one particular group, and even further limits to ATP restoration, I prefer targeting individual muscle groups in isolation on a 4-day rotation

Since we're working so far away from max strength, the right exercise selection for 100 repetitions is vital. It's important to make sure that it has the most "bang for its buck," or you could just be wasting more time, effort, and energy than trying to wean Charlie Sheen off hookers and blow