T Nation



Okay, I just finished reading a lot about German Volume Training. (As I've mentioned, I'm currently doing Waterbury's 3 Day a Week Full Body workout and am 45.) But GVT really intrigues me. Here are the reasons:

  1. I'm 45 and I find it significantly harder to put on muscle with a demanding job, a new marriage and family and, well, the ravages of time. And GVT has only one purpose in life: hypertrophy.
  2. One objection to GVT is that you may lose a little strength. At 45 I don't care about losing strength. Just give me an extra inch around my arms - that's all I ask.
  3. Another objection is that it's boring. Again, I could care less: just give me more muscle. I can dream about lying on the beach in San Carlos.
  4. Another objection is that it can be non-athletic in nature, because it is concentrated around one exercise (at least in the original GVT from what I understand). And again, I could care less: I'm not in any sports or athletics so that's not a big deal. With GVT I'll still be stronger and more athletic than 98% of the guys my age any way!

Now tell me:
1) do I have a bad attitude? If I just want to boost T and gain muscle, isn't GVT one of the safest and most effective ways to get there?
2) I'm saying that because as I age I find that the more I lift, the more the injuries. It's almost as if there is a threshhold with each lift where injuries will occur and GVT will keep me under that threshhold while still granting me the prize I long for?

Let me know the error of my thinking because, otherwise, in a few weeks, I'm going GVT...


Sounds good to me.

The only thing that stuck out in my mind is that you listed several factors that lead me to question if GVT won't be too demanding for you. The chance of overtraining is high on GVT. One way to counter this though is to start the load quite under the recommended. Make the first workout rather easy and inch up on the load.

If you try it let us know how it goes?

Good luck,


I actually wondered about this myself. But I think I can do it. The full body workout 3 days per week is working quite well and I can see the gains in the mirror (although not as fast as I'd like). But, for example, today I was quite sore on my chest after 48 hours, so this morning I had to actually back off on the weight on my benches. But the rest of the bod was okay and I seem to be making slow but steady progress.

Is GVT much more difficult than the my current program (assuming I follow the standard guideline of no body part sooner than five days)?


I have finished phaze I and I'm now on recovery phaze and my gains for now are 5lb(2 kg).
GVT is great but is hard . But I think phaze II would be easyer .


I think the three a week full body programs are great and have done them more than not. That said, the two times that I did GVT was after a FB3xW routine. It seems to me that the volume was so high in the one workout doing GVT that it was quite a change and quite a stressor. By doing the 3xW program, your body is adapting to high frequency, when you switch it will go to lower frequency and more volume per session. That hurts! trust me, the soreness can be high.

I guess I'm really only saying that the training stimuli is significantly different and the volume per workout rather high. That is enough for me to keep over training in mind.

As I said earlier though, I think by just making the first GVT workout rather easy by lowering the load and then sneaking up on it over a couple of weeks will do the trick. Ultimately only your body can tell you if it is effective.

I'd give it a shot. If it does result in over training, you'll know fairly fast. At that time you can do a couple of things. Take a week off and allow for super-compensation to occur. (If you haven't done this before it can be pretty cool to see yourself grow from a week off) The other thing would be to focus on low volume and high load for a couple of weeks. This will act as an intensification phase after an accumulation phase. Either way you'll succeed.

After coming to a better understanding of accumulation then intensification cycles I am no longer afraid to over train. I just need to be aware that it is happening and switch to intensification.




I've not ever tried the original GVT, but I have done the "new" or advanced GVT and CT's OVT. I like the Set/Rep scheme of the Adv. GVT, and the OVT allows for varying lifts, thus cutting down on boredom. I made both size and strength gains on both. Anyway, food for thought.


This was brought up in another thread. What are some of the signs of overtraining? Here is what comes to mind for me: 1) no gains or little gains 2) excessive fatigue 3) no increase in weights or reps 4) too much muscular soreness 5) elevated pulse in mornings 6) depressed immune system.

But I?m wondering if there?s a more definite protocol to observe?


And you really feel you've gained muscle on a week off ?!?


Yes, those articles looked interesting. But I actually thought I'd go in order. Start with "basic" GVT, then Advanced, etc. I've been liftint a lot of years but doing more "maintenance" lately, i.e. just trying not to lost muscle. So I'm really a beginner when it comes to putting on muscle at least at this age. So that's why I want to probably do each program separately cuzz, from what I've read, the key is to keep finding different programs to implement to keep the growth coming in.

Also, one issue I had with some of the more advanced GVT's is that it can be difficult at the gym to have four exercieses set up so that you can go back to back with only a 90 second rest in between, don't you think?


Well, it's not really four lifts going all at once. What you have are two primary lifts (one for each body part) and then two ancillary lifts that follow. So you shouldn't have more than two lifts going at once, and if you want you can go one at a time if you like. What I do is superset with and use similar weights.

So if I'm doing flat bench I get right up and then row with the same weight and grip. So I'm not taking up excess space. Then you can superset your ancillaries for 3X6-8. However, if I'm wasted from the two major lifts, I have no problem skipping those altogether, and I still made good gains. The other nice part about advanced is it "forces" the volume change by manipulating reps and weights each time.

Sounds like you have a good plan, so I don't want to discourage you from trying GVT, just offering up options.


You know I hadn't thought that all the way out, so thx for getting specific there. That does seem more doable. I might still try the Beginners GVT though, but we'll see...


I just did the original GVT this spring as one of the first real workouts after a shoulder injury in the winter. I chose GVT because I thought the high volume with low intensity (60%) would be a good way to train hard without using weights that would be heavy enough to hurt my shoulder. If you are looking to avoid injury I think it is a safe route.

The super sets were killer, especially on leg day. I think it was full-squats with leg curls in the original. I always had to get really hydrated and eat alot of carbs early on those days or I would get nauseous toward the end. Definately start with a light weight for squats the first week and keep strict with the rest periods.

I actually thought it was fun the first week but I did get really bored by the third. I gained some muscle during that time so If you eat enough it should work for a while.

I also did CT's OVT a long time ago and I don't think I gained much muscle with that, but that could have just been my diet.


That's interesting. I wake up at 5:00 am and don't feel like eating when I go to the gym. I can see I may have to rethink that one!



You bet I've grown on a week off.

A lot of people have hit plateaus, started to feel like crap, hated going to the gym, had poor sleep and said to hell with it and quit for a week or two. Only to find they came back bigger and stronger, by a lot.

I notice overtraining when I don't feel like being at the gym and my lifts start to suffer in either form, reps or in just how they feel. When I've been training for a good few weeks and performance drops I'll take a week completely off. If the overtraining isn't too bad, I'll take the week off of weights and do GPP, if I notice overtraining and performance is just starting to suffer I'll do an intensification phase. In all cases I grow. The reason is the overtraining has a cumulative effect and the break allows for super-compensation. It's like the body catches up to the training.