The New 10x10 Workout Plan

German Volume Training, Evolved

If you were tough enough to try GVT, you’ll love this version. It’s got pauses, slow eccentrics, and other fun torture. Check out the plan.

German Volume Training (10 sets of 10 reps) has been around since the 1970s. The great results (for those that survive it) are largely a product of accumulated muscle fiber fatigue during sets 6 to 10.

Other coaches have presented unique approaches to GVT by increasing the intensity and reducing the number of reps. But is there a way we can adhere to the 10x10 method and make all 10 sets effective, or at least less mind-numbing? I think so.

This particular 10x10 method applies extended eccentrics (slower negatives), pause reps, and traditional controlled “depth” reps. Think of it as combining traditional GVT (using the same weight over 10 sets) with a mechanical drop set: starting with the hardest variation and working your way down to the easiest as fatigue kicks in.

Here’s What a Workout for One Big Lift Would Look Like

Use the same weight – about 50% of your 1-rep max for the focus lift – for all 10 sets. Rest about a minute between sets.

1. Start with accentuated eccentric reps

Sets 1-3: 10 reps with a 5-second eccentric/negative

2. Now move to normal reps but with a solid pause at the bottom of each

Sets 4-6: 10 reps with a pause at the bottom

3. Finish with traditional controlled “depth” reps (greater depth than 90 degrees if possible)

Sets 7-10: 10 regular reps with a controlled tempo

How Do You Plan This?

GVT is already pretty exhausting. The eccentric and pause reps in this more demanding version provide an even greater muscle-building, fatigue-inducing response. It turns what used to be 4 effective sets into 10 effective sets.

That’s hugely demanding on the body, so four workouts per week are plenty. Give yourself 48 hours between workouts so they land on different (non-consecutive) days of the week.

Workout scheduling example:


  • Workout 1: Monday
  • Workout 2: Wednesday
  • Workout 3: Friday
  • Workout 4: Sunday


  • Workout 1: Tuesday
  • Workout 2: Thursday
  • Workout 3: Saturday
  • Workout 4: Monday

Repeat until you’ve completed each workout 4 times.

What About Intensity?

For traditional 10x10 GVT training, intensity is usually around 60-65% of your 1RM. With this version, use less intensity (50%), which accounts for the greater time under tension in the accentuated eccentric and pause sets.

A Sample Program

Start your workout with the focus lift. You’ll rotate through the squat, deadlift, bench press, and row. Only the focus lift receives the 10x10 treatment.

Then do accessory exercises during each workout to hit muscle groups unrelated to the primary 10x10 exercise. This allows you to use slightly more frequency on each major muscle group throughout the week and mitigate the stress response to the primary muscle group worked.


Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Barbell Back Squat (use 50% 1RM) 10 10 1 min.
B. Barbell Hip Thrust 3 15 90 sec.
C. Band Pull-Aparts 2 12 75 sec.


Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Trap Bar or Conventional Deadlift (use 50% 1RM) 10 10 1 min.
B. Chin-Up 3 8-10 2 min.
C. Sissy Squat 2 15-20 1 min.


Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Bench Press (use 50% 1RM) 10 10 1 min.
B. Seated Low-Cable Row 3 15 45 sec.


Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A. Barbell Chest-Supported Row or Seal Row (use 50% 1RM) 10 10 1 min.
B. Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 12-15 1 min.
C. Hand Release Push-Up 3 3 90 sec.

What About Progression?

Once you’re able to use one consistent weight for all 10 sets of 10 reps, add 5% to the bar.

Let’s say you started squatting 185 pounds for 10 sets of 10 reps, which would equate to 18,500 pounds lifted. If by the third week you’re using 215 pounds, you’d have made a jump of 3000 pounds lifted in one workout. That’s a huge volume increase regarding work capacity improvements and muscle and strength signaling.

What About Fueling?

Consume ample calories around your workouts. A 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio post-workout is ideal. A 2:1 carb-to-protein intake 90 minutes before your workout is recommended. Include an intra-workout drink to fight fatigue.

One Last Thing

GVT isn’t optimal for most people, largely because it’s pretty damn demanding on the CNS. But maybe you’re not most like people. If it’s the right fit for you, it’ll be a great mental and physical challenge worth pursuing.

Make any workout work better:


Good article.

Just curious. Can bodyweight exercises, such as pullups, dips, etc, be molded into the German Volume Training programs.

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100%. Ideally more higher gross motor movements like pull-ups and dips would be a great body weight choices. Of course if you manipulate tempo, you can certainly try movements like push-ups, if Weight or additional loading isn’t accessible


I couldn’t imagine 10 X 10 with pull-ups …

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I’ve done it paired with 10x10 bench. Set of bench then set of chin ups (I do those because pull ups seem to give me elbow issues). It’s brutal, but it worked for me. Even one rep strength went up doing this routine without doing a peak phase.

I’ll say I did get a few pec cramps after these sessions. They would just lock up if I moved my arm across my body.

I’m just saying how incredibly difficult it would be for chins or pull-ups. I’d never be able to do ten sets of chins . I doubt if I’d get 10 X 3 . Always been a difficult exercise for me and took me years to progress to three sets of 7. I’ve always been a low volume guy with 20-30 seconds between sets so in order to get ten sets of anything, it would have to be something I could reduce the weight as I targeted on ten sets. How much rest were you taking between sets ?

Either way, you’re a beast to do 10 X 10 in chins or pull-ups !! :+1:

With the alternating between bench and chins, I got longer between the same exercise. I would do 3-5 minutes rest then do a set. So between 6 and 10 minutes before doing another set of the same exercise.

The chin ups gave me more recovery time for bench which was the more difficult of the two exercises during that block.

I’d encourage you to try some longer rest periods and see what happens to your strength during those sets. You don’t have to do it all the time, but if you can make some gains on your sets as far as reps and strength, that may help long term.

Yeah, I’ve tried to get myself to take longer rest between sets but it’s become so ingrained in me to do shorter rests. I remember way back when Gironda would say strive to not even put the bar down between sets … I couldn’t get that far as my forearms , etc would cramp but on machines I don’t take my hands off the piece in my 20 -30 seconds of rest.

My rests are brief enough that I’m completing about 18 sets in 30-35 minutes in my workouts. How long would your bench /chin workout take you ? Also , how much time between that and the next workout for recovery ?

Why only 3 sets and 3 reps for hand release pushups? Is that a typo? I would think it would be more unless they’re weighted. Can you explain?

Awhile haha, as it got harder, it would take like an hour and a half just to bench and chin.

I would do that once a week. I would do another day with pressing and back work that same week too, but different exercises (OHP and rows) and reps and sets.

I assume you’re training at home ?

Nope, I go to a gym that is primarily powerlifting and strongman focused. Lots of pull up bars and benches.

Any thoughts on this analysis of GVT? Thank you

That’s every Monday in my training log! Usually I throw in a few sets of 20 just to get it done quicker and add some challenge

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With only 1 minute between sets, very few can do 10 sets of 10 chins/pull ups.

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I got into that habit of a short rest between sets a long time ago when I first started following Gironda’s stuff then it was reinforced by Jones and Dr. Ken about the ‘rush factor’. One minutes is the most I take between sets and that’s only on DL’s and Belt Squats.

Chins and pull ups were always a hard exercise for me but finally worked up to a 12 rep set but even with a minute rest and going for a 50% set , a second set would only result in another 4 reps … maybe.

Best advice I got and which started me on the road of quiting training to failure was someone on Darden’s old board named Turpin telling me to quit doing a set of 12 to failure and instead start doing multiple sets of lower reps and start to progress again from there .

That worked and before I knew it I was doing 3 X 7 which I was happy with as when I started this non-failure way, I wanted to be able to get 20 reps in 3 sets on chins.

On Sunday when it’s back/biceps day I’ll try and see how many I can do doing sets of three with longer than my usual 30 second rest between sets.

Thanks for all your responses :+1:

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With regards to pull ups / chin ups this is good advice IMO.

Do good reps, leaving a few in the tank.

Within reason, just rest until you think you can get the reps in the set. If that’s 5 minutes, that is fine.

It will feel unproductive at first. But, if that allows you to progress over time to doing more reps and sets than you could do before, that is progress in the right direction. It takes more time, and you are doing less in that amount of time, but if that is what makes the reps or sets improve, I think it is well spent.

It’s meant to say, 3 reps short of failure :ok_hand:

Just completed Workout 1-4 today, took around 2 1/2 hours with rest. I am beat ! Am I supposed to train all 4 Workout groups every training day ?

This is one of my nightmares. 5 sets max…there will never again be a 6th set of anything in my life :wink:

Just reading this made me sick to my stomach…