T Nation

Physio Advice,,German Volume,,

Hi everyone

I suffered a tear on my rotator cuff in march but didnt require surgery. I have since done very little wupperbody work, mainly working around the injury and a little bit of rehab exercises but last week my physiotherapist gave me the green light to return to “proper” training because I have full ROM and my pain level is only about 20% and progressively decreasing.

The physio has told me that i need to build my back and mainly my lower traps because the chest/back imbalance was what caused my escapula to tilt forward which resulted in my injury. In other words I need to do lots of back work and for chest only maintainace for the time being.

Apart form back my other major weaknesses are forearms, abs and calves. For chest and biceps i only want to maintain until my forearms and back catch up.

Im starting a mass cycle for the first time in 10 months and I had never tried the german volume workouts.

Given the info i just provided about my goals can you guys please critique and pimp my workout regime which i plan to start next week.

i can only train 4 days a week maximun

Monday: T-bar row 10 x 10
E-Z reverse curls 10 x 10
Hanging leg raises 10 x max

Tuesday: DB Floor chest press neutral grip 5 x 10
DB Lateral raises 10 x 10
DB overhead triceps ext 10 x 10
calves presses 5 x 10

Thursday: Standing straight arm Lat pull down 10 x 10
Rope reverse curl 10 x 10
Abs crunch machine 10 x 10

Friday: BB front squat 10 x 10
DB Romanian 10 x 10
calves presses 5 x 10

I plan to rest 60 secs between sets and 180 secs between exercises and in any case the whole workout shouldnt last more than 50 - 55 minutes

please please advice me

many thanks

Fuck you, man. Seriously. You need to bring your back up to par as well as external rotators to prevent another tear and you have t bar rows and stright arm lat pulldown as your only back exercises? What the fuck? You come on here with this shit and expect people to “pimp your workout regime”? This is not a regime, but a pile of shit.

Prone y dumbell raises
high dumbell rows
wide grip barbell rows
external rotations with dumbells, both lying on your side, and seated with arm at 90 degrees
pullups/pulldowns focusing on scapular depression
rear delt laterals face down on an incline bench

Shit like that, man. Save the fucking gvt for when you are in balance. Get yourself fixed up first before you go worrying about anything else, man.

blacksabbath was a bit harsh…I can see this is your first post

I personally wouldn’t recommend GVT for anything, let alone bringing up a lagging bodypart(s).

Lifting a load that you can do for 10 sets of 10 is, in my opinion, not heavy enough to get much strength.

Deadlifts are the king of back/posterior chain builders. Also heavy bent over rows (DB and BB) and pull ups.

If you’re a MWF type lifter, you could shoot for a back session on both Monday and Friday with Wednesday being a maintenance day for whatever else you wanted.

I’d recommend using a 5x5 scheme with straight sets trying to increase the weight each week.

a sample could look like


Deadlifts 5x5 (these also kill your traps)
1 arm bentover DB rows 5x5
seated cable rows 1x25 (stretch both ends and hold for 1-2 seconds on the concentric portion)


More deadlifts! 5x5
medium to wide grip pull-ups (palms facing away which is pronated grip) Add weight using a dip belt if possible 5x5
back extension or pullovers or more cable rowing 1x25

For your wednesday maintenance work you could take in to consideration the fact that will all that rowing and DL’ing your bi’s and hams could be considered covered. You’d need something for chest, tri’s,shoulders, quads (although your legs and ass are already jelly) and abs if you train them which I don’t directly

That would leave us with something like this


Standing BB military press 5x5
weighted dips 5x5 (lean forward a bit if you want more chest activation)
Bench press 5x5
maybe some type of curl variation if you want something extra for the guns

there you have a basic but very effective workout focusing on bringing up the back/traps, increasing strenth and size, and maintaining other parts.

your not really going to bring much up using german volume training , most likely you’ll loose weight, your gonna have to watch your rotor cuff , as the guys say use exercises that will brig your back on , not sue if i would do any major shoulder work but thats just me , when your deadlifting shrugg at the top traps cover to, good luck

I’d forget about programs like GVT for a while and ease back into it with something like a 3x8 variation for a month or two.

Also look into adding face pulls and read some Eric Cressey articles on shoulder rehab/strengthening

A simple 5x5 plan might be a better overall choice for you partner. Start light and work your way up to ensure that nothing is re-aggrivated in your shoulder.

Workout A:

Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5
T-bar bent row 5x5
Dip 3x failure *

Workout B:

Squat 5x5
Press 5x5
DL or alternate row 5x5
Chin/pull up 3x failure *

*When you can do 10 BW without a problem, switch to weighted and do 3x5.

Start light and add 5lbs per workout. Goal is 1.5 x BW for the squat. It is simple. Doesn’t take a long time. Builds mass and strength and is progressive. Might be a good choice after the lay off you’ve had. Once you’ve built the weight up as well as the mass then switch over to something else.

Hi guys

Many thanks for all your advice I’m taking it on board, you all very helpful (except Blacksabath who doesnt have any advice to give but only self srving pleasure in insulting someone who’s obviously ignorant about training).

It seems like german volume is not a good idea and I’ll ditch it for now, but I’m a bit confused that charles poliquin calls it “the best plateau buster ever”.

I also apologise that I failed to provide more information about my training.

TRICEPS DIPS: before my injury I was doing bench to bench triceps dips with an extra 110 pounds on my lap for about 3 x 10 or something like that, but i havent done dips since march because of the pain,

i love that exercise and i was wondering whether i could return to use it with a slightly shorter ROM?,is that a good idea?, is just cos i love the exercise

ROTATOR AND SCAPULA WORK:I forgot to mention that whatever workout regime I go for it will always include rotator work and scapula activation exercises for the rest of my training life, in fact the last few months my upper body “workouts” have been mostly that kind of rehabilitation work. How much is too much rehab?

GVT NOT GOOD AT ALL?: I was only thinking of doing GVT for 4 weeks mainly because is something really new and different and I enjoy trying new things. But now im not sure whether GVT is worth at all?, or is it simply not good for me at this particular time in my training life?

SHOULDER PRESS: I wish I could do overhead shoulder press but it hurst too much and only aggavates my impigment and the psysio said it was better to wait a few more weeks before doing overhead presses.

That’s the reason I go for lateral raises in “L” grip becuase it allows em to work my rotators better and is better for activating the scapula with that movement than with overhead presses

TRAPS: According to my physio I have a very active upper traps because those fIbers have had to compensate for my poor lower trap activation, this is why as part of my rehab work i do a kind of lower traps “shrugs” which is somethin like the normal shrugs but inclined forward a little to activate the lower portion.

CABLE ROWS: they would be brilliant for my situation but my gym just hasnt got that machine!

I’m gonna ditch the GVT idea and I will do something like dabvidtower advises with lots fo deadlifts because I love the feeling of the deadlift!

BICEPS: I’m also glad to find out that I dont need direct biceps work for maintainance if i do enough rowing and other compounds,the biceps and chest are the only well developed parts.

One more question: I was thinking of doin chest just once a week and then onyl 5 sets of it because I wanna bring my back up to standard with my chest, but si 5 sets a week enough?, I was thinking floor db chest presses because they’re easy on the shoulder?

Many thanx for your help folks!

No pleasure was derived from it at all, I assure you. Your problem requires you to bring up a specific area to prevent reinjury, an issue you are fully aware of. Yet you came on with a program that obviously lacked what you already knew you needed. It shows not a lack of training experience, but more a lack of common sense.

People like to help people who also help themselves. No one wants to help someone who is not trying. I’ll try to be a kinder, gentler BlackSabbath if that helps.

In regards to previous suggestions, people are making an unintentional mistake giving suggestions for such upper trapezius oriented lifts. You do not need to hit more shrugs. Further increase in upper trap development will further unbalance you and cause more of a problem.

Your main focus needs to be on scapular depression and retraction, not elevation as seen with normal shrugs. Your idea of doing them at an incline is good, and even better would be doing them bent over parallel to the floor in the manner of a bent over row. You can also do them lying prone on an elevated bench. Try prone dumbell y raises as well.

Your continuance of doing external rotation exercises will help you. Don’t think of it as rehabilitation. Your external rotators need training just like the rest of your muscles, and it will pay off in the long run with increased shoulder stability and strength.

You say you like doing lateral raises with an l grip. Doing them straight armed with the thumb pointed medially towards your legs (a pronated grip) will serve you better. This charles glass style not only hits the medial delt, but also targets the supraspinatus, a rotator cuff muscle that you likely need to strengthen.

You have no cable station, so substitute wide grip barbell rows and/or dumbell rows lifting high to your chest and wide to preferentially target you upper back.

Unfortunately tricep dips are very hard on the shoulder joint due to the position of the arms behind the body. Save that movement for after your shoulders are healed. Same goes for the overhead pressing.

Once you have balanced yourself out, your shoulder and scapula will be in better position to overhead press without impingement. You seem intent on keeping your chest up, but you must understand patience.

If you correct your upper back deficiency, you will experience better gains when you go back to a full routine. One of the most common problems with those with kyphotic posture is both shoulder problems, and a lack of chest development.

Their shoudlers are rolled forward and take over pressing movements. Wait until you are balanced out and healed. Yes, 5 sets is enough in the meantime, and yes floor presses will be better for now as they limit the range of motion to prevent shoulder issues while you are getting back up to speed.

As far as biceps, you can hit them, as there is no real reason not to. Just avoid movements that require shoulder stability for now like lying dumbell curls.

On gvt, I don’t know why everyone is bagging on it. It works fine, just save it for when you are fully functional and can go at it 100%. Like all programs, use it until it stops working, then switch to something else.

Good luck.

They call it the best plateau buster ever because if you dont do a program similar to it, nothing compares to the short term gain you get from it. It is usually only used as a plateau buster because the body gets used to it quickly, like 3-4 weeks.

hi guys, thnx for the advice

Following advice I started yesterday with this program which I plan to do 4 or 5 weeks

Monday: BB Deadlift 5 x 5
DB Row 5 x 8
Straigt arm Lat Pull Down 5 x 12
DB floor press 5 x 10
DB Lateral raise pronated grip 5 x 10

Wday: BB Front Squat 5 x 5
DB Romanian 5 x 8
DB Lunges 5 x 12
Calves Press 5 x (6,8,10,15,20)

Fday: BB Deadlift 5 x 5
Long Bar Row 5 x 8
wide grip LPD 5 x 12
Hammer Curl 5 x 10
DB Overhead Triceps 5 x 10

Then maybe once or twice a week some abs work at home if I find the time

Does this look better?, Im feeling my back got a nice workout from yesterday, spedially the deadlifts which I was missing so much ,and Im lookin forward to fday next back workout!, guys pls critique


You have no cable station, so substitute wide grip barbell rows and/or dumbell rows lifting high to your chest and wide to preferentially target you upper back.

I did yesterday like blacksabath said and it felt g8!, I’m feeling my upperback nicely sored!,thnx man