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Some Questions Regarding 5x5 & GVT


I’m 21 years old & have been bodybuilding now for around 6 years. A few months ago I came across the Bill Starr 5x5 workout program, which is shown in the following link - http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Periodized_5x5.htm

I found this program to be amazing in Strength/Size increases. I then came across another link, which explains what to do AFTER the 5x5 program. He says that after the 5x5, you should do a cycle of EDT (Escalating Density Training) or GVT (10x10 German Volume Training) in order to break out of the high weight training & shock your body into producing more muscle, by incorporating more volume.

I won’t ask you to read through the WHOLE thread I’m linking but I’d greatly appreciate it if you could at least read through the specific POST I link to, as that’s generally what I’m asking about in this thread. And who knows, you may learn something!

The Original Thread - http://www.eclipsegym.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57

The Specific Post I Need Help Understanding - http://www.eclipsegym.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=219#219

As far as I know, he’s basically saying carry on with the 5x5 method of training which is SQUATS/BENCH/ROW on Mondays & Fridays and SQUATS/DEADS/MILITARY PRESS/PULLUPS on Wednesdays, BUT this time you do 10x10 instead of 5x5. I’ve added a picture in, to show what a typical 5x5 program looks like.

Picture - http://img02.picoodle.com/img/img02/3/10/16/f_Madcow5x5m_10bdb3b.jpg

Am I right then in thinking that he means use the above program, but just do 10x10 instead of 5x5? If so, I have a few questions:

  • Surely doing the Bill Starr routine but using 10x10 instead of 5x5, would cause overtraining & be counter-productive to gains wouldn’t it? I mean, I thought that with high volume routines such as GVT, you needed extra rest due to the very fact it is HIGH VOLUME, but the Bill Starr routine has you training the same muscle group/exercises 2-3 times a week. What do you make of this?

  • In the original Bill Starr 5x5 article shown in the very first link, he says to NEVER substitute the exercises for other variations (e.g. Back Squats for Front Squats) because the exercises chosen are THE BEST for what you are trying to achieve. OK, well this may be true, but what happens when you stop growing or making progress on an exercise, because your body has become adapted to it? Surely I can’t be squatting 3 times a week in BOTH routines (5x5 & 10x10) and carry on making progress.

For this reason, would it not be a good idea to perhaps do Back Squats for the 5x5 routine, and Front Squats for the 10x10 routine so that I don’t get accustomed to a specific exercise? I guess this also goes for the other exercises used in the 5x5 which are Bench/Row/Deadlift/Military Press. Would it be a good idea to also switch THEM up for something like DB Bench/DB Row/Rack Deads/DB Military Press?

I’m just a little concerned that I’ll plateau on a particular exercise because I’ll be doing it for so long without any change, but I’m also concerned about actually substituting the exercise for something else, because like I said, in the Bill Starr article about 5x5 above, he says that bodybuilders have a ridiculous tendency to want to CHANGE everything, and that’s one of the reasons people don’t make progress.

  • In the post I linked to above (the one saying you should do something like EDT or GVT after 5x5), it says something about doing 10x6 (6 sets of 10 reps), although it doesn’t say HOW you should implement this, unless I’ve missed something. Here’s what it says:

^^ OK fair enough, but WHEN do I use this method?

Anyway, I don’t want to make a long post any longer, so for now that’s all the questions I have. As stated above, any help is greatly appreciated & hopefully somebody has the time to give me a hand with all this.

Thanks a lot!

whether you switch exercises, or switch routines you will be changing the workout and giving your body something else to respond to which is the whole point of trying another routine.

If you just did 5x5 and switch to 10x10 or 10x5 not going to get the exact same physiological responses so no it doesn’t necessarily mean you are overtraining.

Technically it should be a different weight, which along with a different rep range and rest period will give you slightly different hormone and repair responses.

It’s also psychological. Being able to focus and grow on the same exact program can be boring and cause you to lift with less intensity.

That’s a good point, thanks. Although, at some point I WILL have to change exercises won’t I? Surely doing the SAME exercises in BOTH routines will cause my progres to come to a halt somewhere down the line, which will require me to change exercises won’t it? I’ve always trained in a way which makes me change exercises (e.g. DB Bench for BB Bench) every 8 weeks or so, so that I don’t plateau, but with the 5x5/10x10 it seems as though if I was to change any of the exercises, I wouldn’t be getting the best results because like Bill Starr said in the article linked above “Bodybuilders have a tendency to want to change everything”, but what can you do if you stop making progress on an exercise? You’re gonna HAVE to change it aren’t you…? There’s only so many things you can do to keep an exercise fresh & to carry on making progress with it (supersets etc).

I know it seems like I’m overanalyzing & worrying about things before they’ve happened, but I’m just trying to figure out WHAT to do WHEN a problem occurs.


of course you change exercises, bodybuilding is the pursuit of building an aesthetic body, which means bringing all areas of muscles symmetrically, bill starr was just getting a little carried away i’m sure so he could drive home a point by exaggerating.

I’m about 5 weeks in to OVT (Thib’s enhanced and improved version of GVT) and I have never gained so much size and strength. I absolutely love it. My poundages are going up like crazy

It’s still 100 reps per body part but with more of an emphasis on strength than GVT.

After next week I’ll be changing up the exercises and also the rotation of them but will continue to do OVT for at least another 5-6 weeks.

I don’t feel overtrained at all, if anything I finally feel like a beast and can’t wait for my next training session.

When I’m done I may do Thib’s Beast Building 1,2,3 but may look in to something else.

I am no expert but I would never do GVT. Why bother lifting a load that you can do for 10 sets of 10 for 4-6 weeks or however long…you’re certainly not getting any stronger by doing that. Some people have even reported getting weaker after GVT. I can understand the merits of taking a week and doing some higher rep schemes to give the joints a rest but the only way to get stronger is to lift heavy shit.