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Russian Bear VS German Volume Training

I am preparing to embark on a high volume, mass gaining phase and I wanted to ask if anyone had tried one or both of the aforementioned protocols? Which one do you guys think will pack more muscle on me in, say, a 10 week period? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Both have their merits. For me personally, keeping load high 75%+ with as much volume as I can stand works well, regardless of which program. My biggest problem when ever I use GVT or any other concentrated volume program (as opposed to a distributed program like GVT, TBT, even upper/lower splits) is that the fatigue and DOMS make moving around difficult! With distributed volume programs, I am not as completely wiped. Only way to find out is to try! You could go 4 weeks GVT, 1 week reduced volume, 4 weeks Russian Bear, 1 week reduced volume, repeat until huge!

I’ve tried both the original, 10x10 GVT and the bear, and would struggle to choose between the 2 - both were very effective. I read, (and have experienced) that more advanced trainees respond better to lower reps, so maybe you could consider this when choosing, as the Bear tend to be done with a higher average intensity and lower reps.

Have you checked out Poliquins updated GVT article on this site? I’ve not tried it myself but that’s what I’d probably go for if I were to do this again.

One last thing though - take a walkman in, and maybe some porn - these workouts are boring as hell.

[quote]Jprocrastinator wrote:
I am preparing to embark on a high volume, mass gaining phase and I wanted to ask if anyone had tried one or both of the aforementioned protocols? Which one do you guys think will pack more muscle on me in, say, a 10 week period? Thanks in advance for your thoughts.[/quote]

Everything is good, but not everything is best.

I don’t like GVT (not familiar with bear). I think it is excessive volume. Work hard, but if you are working on every set with 5 to 8 reps then 5 or 6 work sets are plenty.

[quote]juninho wrote:
Have you checked out Poliquins updated GVT article on this site? I’ve not tried it myself but that’s what I’d probably go for if I were to do this again.

One last thing though - take a walkman in, and maybe some porn - these workouts are boring as hell.[/quote]

I cannot speak to the original GVT (the ten sets of ten), but I that could probably seem like a long workout. I did try AGVT and got great results (packed on a good 10-12 lbs) on it. The workouts felt pretty crisp and I was not in the gym forever, so on that, I never felt bored.

[quote]juninho wrote:
I’ve tried both the original, 10x10 GVT and the bear, and would struggle to choose between the 2 - both were very effective. I read, (and have experienced) that more advanced trainees respond better to lower reps, so maybe you could consider this when choosing, as the Bear tend to be done with a higher average intensity and lower reps.

Have you checked out Poliquins updated GVT article on this site? I’ve not tried it myself but that’s what I’d probably go for if I were to do this again.

One last thing though - take a walkman in, and maybe some porn - these workouts are boring as hell.[/quote]

Thanks for the input. As I have only been lifting regularly or the past 8 months or so, I think German volume training sounds like the better approach. I’ll save the Russian Bear program for when i’m a little more advanced.

You’d like it Zeb, it’s from Pavel.

[quote]ZEB wrote:

(not familiar with bear). [/quote]

I have personally tried Adv GVT and on my fourth week; the first week was hell, but once I adjusted to the volume work, I am seeing the gains now. never really tracked of the weight–I just like what I see on the mirror. So far, seeing more muscle on the frame.

However, even with upping calorie intake, I noticed significant loss of fat especially on my midsection. Which was a welcome surprise despite little or no cardio.

I’ve done both, and prefer the Bear, mainly for the higher loads. The only issue I had with it was scheduling, as after 12 to 16 sets for just one body part, you don’t have a lot left in the tank for anything else, not to mention the time factor.

Since I like to train each body part a minimum of twice per week, I gave it a shot with a 3-way split done 5 days per week, which burned me out fairly quickly (keeping in mind I’m part of the Geezer Brigade at 41 years of age).

I’ve since modified it by raising the load, and sticking with 10 sets of 5, which has allowed me to hit more than one body part per session without turning the workout into a marathon time-wise, and provided for more days off with about the same frequency.

[quote]TapHappy wrote:
I’ve done both, and prefer the Bear, mainly for the higher loads. The only issue I had with it was scheduling, as after 12 to 16 sets for just one body part, you don’t have a lot left in the tank for anything else, not to mention the time factor.

Since I like to train each body part a minimum of twice per week, I gave it a shot with a 3-way split done 5 days per week, which burned me out fairly quickly (keeping in mind I’m part of the Geezer Brigade at 41 years of age).

I’ve since modified it by raising the load, and sticking with 10 sets of 5, which has allowed me to hit more than one body part per session without turning the workout into a marathon time-wise, and provided for more days off with about the same frequency. [/quote]

Whenever I hear of programs like the one you describe I always think to myself: how much possible good is derived from set 8 to set 16? In fact, ask yourself a question: how much good do you think is derived from doing one set?

The first set of overhead presses, for example, (not a warm up) has to be the most beneficial. How much better is that one set than doing no sets?

Now let’s take a look at set number two, also quite valuble, but probably a bit less valuble than set one. Set three less valuble than set two and so on. At what point are you actually doing more harm, in terms of recovery ability?

Personally, I feel you get about 98% of all the good you are going to get that day from doing five (6 or so with warm-ups) quality sets! Sure, I know you can grow doing it other ways, but for peak efficiency I think about five sets is best, give or take.

Does it not make more sense to do 5 or 6 sets then return twice more that week to do the same thing? The total sets by weeks end for that particular movement would be 18. As opposed to one or two big days.

Coach Waterbury also seems to think that frequency is far more important than one or two huge volume days. Review his latest training information.

Also don’t forget the old man himself: Bob Hoffman (York Barbell founder) who was the creator of the three day per week system of heavy, medium, light. They got big in those days and without the use of drugs!

In my opinion fequency trumps excessive volume which makes GVT, and others like it inferior if they cannot be done three times per week.

ZEB, You’re saying that like you can’t pile on more sets and still keep the frequency. I’m finding if I don’t go to failure I can. (Right now I’m doing 10 sets of 5 for dips.)

[quote]NateN wrote:
ZEB, You’re saying that like you can’t pile on more sets and still keep the frequency. I’m finding if I don’t go to failure I can. (Right now I’m doing 10 sets of 5 for dips.)[/quote]

I stated that in my final sentence:

“In my opinion fequency trumps excessive volume which makes GVT, and others like it inferior if they cannot be done three times per week.”

However, I would like to know how many Dips you could actually perform in a one set blow out!

I think that is important information.

Heck I don’t know.

[quote]ZEB wrote:

However, I would like to know how many Dips you could actually perform in a one set blow out!

I think that is important information.[/quote]

[quote]NateN wrote:
Heck I don’t know.

ZEB wrote:

However, I would like to know how many Dips you could actually perform in a one set blow out!

I think that is important information.

[/quote]

Hey, I know we can all train differently and achieve almost the same goals. But…

If you don’t know how many Dips that you can do then how do you know that sets of “5” is a good idea?

I’m not following you. Beginners can benefit from sets of 5, and so can advanced lifters. Why would the number of dips I can do in a row matter?

(Besides, Pavel says do sets of 5. Or else.)

[quote]ZEB wrote:

Hey, I know we can all train differently and achieve almost the same goals. But…

If you don’t know how many Dips that you can do then how do you know that sets of “5” is a good idea? [/quote]

I also find that you can train with high volume and high frequency(obviously avoiding failure).However, there are ranges of productivity so to speak. In other words if you want your workouts to last no more than an hour and train say 5x/week, then there’s only so much volume you can tolerate in a day. I once did 5x/week with a volume of 80 per muscle group per day and it worked well, I made big gains. But I had to severely lower the weight to 15-20rm.

Ofcourse if you have money and time on your hands you can afford to train several times a day heavily or have three hour sessions, but I think you would rather have a life.

Muscle building workouts work in two ways - tension and time under tension(I’m not talking about moving the weight very slowly, that’s obsolete). Lighter weight and high volume workouts build muscle with time under tension. Heavier weight, lower volume workouts do it with the intensity of tension. Certain volumes must be met, but that’s the gist of it in my view. Otherwise just eat enough quality food and you’re set.

I personaly think limit-strength is overrated and you get better development and fitness level with strength-endurance ie. higher reps. I want my strength to last more than a few moments.

[quote]NateN wrote:
I’m not following you. Beginners can benefit from sets of 5, and so can advanced lifters. Why would the number of dips I can do in a row matter?

(Besides, Pavel says do sets of 5. Or else.)

[/quote]

Okay…if I am capable of 50 reps in one set of Dips then doing 5 gets me no where!

Now if you are talking about adding weight my question is the same. For example if you add a 45lb. plate how many max Dips are you capable of? If you are capable of one set of 8 with a 45lb. plate than doing several sets of 5 is probably pretty good.

By the way Pavel also calls everyone “Comrade.” Do you do that too?

[quote]ZEB wrote:

Whenever I hear of programs like the one you describe I always think to myself: how much possible good is derived from set 8 to set 16? [/quote]

Plenty. Why? Because its much different than the training protocol from the cycle that precedes it.

Exactly how I train in the cycle that precedes the higher volume, lower frequency (2 times per week) cycle.

[quote]Coach Waterbury also seems to think that frequency is far more important than one or two huge volume days. Review his latest training information.
[/quote]

I base all my loading paramers on CW’s stuff, specifically his Set/Rep Bible. That’s where my modfications come from. In fact, my “modified Bear” is simply CW’s Anti-Bodybuilding Hypertophy program, minus the constant alernating of 10 x 5 and 5 x 10. I alternate my “modifed Bear” with one of CW’s whole body 3x per week routines.

I find that is true as well. At least until my body adpats to those loading parameters. Than the higher volume/less frequency seems to be better. Until my body adapts again. Then lower volume/higher frequency is better. Until my body adapts again…

Comrade, I just use the amount of weight needed so I can do 10 sets of 5 with a minute of rest between each set. And I come pretty close to failure on the last set. If I make it, I add 2.5 pounds next time.

No clue what my max reps with 45 extra pounds is either. I think the only time this would come in handy is when choosing your starting weight. I just started with no extra weight.

[quote]ZEB wrote:

Now if you are talking about adding weight my question is the same. For example if you add a 45lb. plate how many max Dips are you capable of? If you are capable of one set of 8 with a 45lb. plate than doing several sets of 5 is probably pretty good.

By the way Pavel also calls everyone “Comrade.” Do you do that too?[/quote]

[quote]NateN wrote:
Comrade [/quote]

LOL…pavel would be sooo proud of you :slight_smile: