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High-Frequency German Volume Training Live Tutorial Transcript

Confused about how my version of German Volume Training works? Here's my walkthrough of this brutal and effective technique.

High-Frequency German Volume Training Live Tutorial Transcript

Note: This tutorial video was recorded as a live Facebook event. The text below is an edited transcript of the tutorial intended to provide members with a convenient means of referring to and further researching the topics and content detailed in the video.


Hey, Jym Army. Today I'm going to do—first, I'll say greetings from here in Cincinnati. I'm actually at the 21C Hotel here in Cincinnati, and in their gym here. This trip—for those of you that are expecting a GNC drop-by—haven't we done a GNC drop-by in the area? So we won't be a doing a GNC drop-by.

The purpose of this trip isn't promotion; it's really R&D. Cincinnati, or at least the area—it's not technically Cincinnati—but this is where one of my flavor labs is, and that's where I come to make all those amazing flavors that you love: Gingerbread Cookie, Root Beer Float, the Rainbow Sherbet Post- and Pre-Jym. So that's what I'm working on—new flavors, perfecting the other flavors, and switching out some of the ingredients.

But what I'm doing is we're in the middle of—for those of you following my Train with Jim series, what's so special about the Train With Jim series is—there are a few things. First of all, this is my personal training program that you get to follow. You get to follow along any way you like, because I post these every day.

So you can go to JimStoppani.com and get these workouts for free, and either go back and follow them, or you can jump in and start training what I'm training right this day. The choice is yours. But these are my personal training programs.

And so, what I do each week—what's nice about it is not only do you get to follow my training program, you get the results that I'm getting. But I switch up my training all the time. So just about every week, we're changing up the training techniques, so you're learning new techniques.

Old-School Intensity – With a Blistering Twist

This week, we're into what I'm calling my High-Frequency German Volume Training. And the reason we call it high-frequency is because of the times that you train each muscle group per week.

So I typically follow a full-body training program, meaning that each workout I train my entire body. And I typically break it down into 10 main muscle groups. We have basically chest, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, traps, legs, calves, forearms, and—what did I miss? Abs—abs is the final one. So those are the 10 main muscle groups.

With German Volume Training, however—for those of you who aren't familiar with what German Volume Training is—German Volume Training is basically 10 sets of 10 reps. You have to get all 10 reps. And you're typically using about a weight somewhere around—you can go as low as 50% to as high as about 70% of your 1-rep max, depending on your muscles' ability to recover between sets.

My style of German Volume Training, you have to do those 10 sets with only one minute of rest between each exercise. So if we were doing German Volume Training as a full-body program—meaning we're going to be doing 10 different muscle groups—that's a lot of training. It's a lot of time to spend in the gym. I mean, if you do the math—and you can see how I've actually broken it down here into two separate workouts. So instead of doing the full body, we'll be doing half the body in one workout, and then the next day we'll do the other half of the body.

Breaking Down the Two-Day Split

So we'll have 6 workouts this week, meaning we're going to train each muscle group—here's chest, we do bench press on day one; back, we do barbell row; for shoulders, barbell shoulder press; for traps, shrug; and then crunch. That's Workout 1.

Then we complete the workout the next day—or the full body, I should say—with squats for legs, calf raises for calves, triceps pressdowns for triceps, inclined dumbbell curl for biceps, and wrist curl for forearms.

So we're doing this week—we're not doing full-body training. We're actually doing a two-day split. Now, while I'm a big proponent of full-body training for numerous reasons—you guys can watch my video on, actually, bodybuilding.com. That's a new video on why you should be doing full-body training. It's my video, as well as an article. You can read about all the benefits of full-body training versus split training.

However, when you get into a technique like German Volume Training, full-body training doesn't make sense. So sometimes, we'll be switching it up. And this is the case, where we're switching up. We're not doing full-body training, but we're still training with high frequency, meaning we're training each muscle group three times a week—not once a week, like most people typically do with German Volume Training.

And it comes down to the time component, and the intensity. It's a brutal technique. When you're done—for those of you who've done Workout 1 yesterday, those first 5 exercises—that took you at least an hour to complete. And it's a brutal workout, 10 sets of 10. So your body is completely wiped.

There's no way you can do all—you could, but again, let's do the math: We're doing 10 sets of 10, right? So let's take the bench press, for example. If you have one minute of rest period for all 10 sets, you basically have 9 rest periods between those 10 sets. So that's 9 minutes for one exercise, just in the rest period. It takes you about 15 to 30 seconds to complete 10 reps. So you have to add that in, times 10. So each exercise is going to take you a minimum of 9 minutes to complete, just for the rest periods. That's not including how long the reps take.

So even if you banged out your 10 reps in 15 seconds, 15 seconds times 10 reps—that's 150 seconds. That's basically 2 minutes—a little over 2 minutes, right? 2 1/2 minutes, added onto 9 minutes, right? So each one of these is going to take you at least—let's just round about 10 minutes. Let's just say 10 minutes, right? It's going to take you at least 12 to 13, about 15 minutes. But let's just say an even 10.

5 exercises, that's 50 minutes. You did all 10? That's 100. You're not going to—who wants to be in the gym that long? So we're going to split it up. And like I said yesterday, we did the first half. Today is the second half. And then we're going to repeat, on Wednesday, going back to chest. However, when we go back, we'll now do a different exercise, because we're only doing one exercise per muscle group to hit a variety of muscle fibers. We want to use different exercises.

High Volume Calls for Variety

So instead of doing bench press on Monday, then bench press on Wednesday, and then bench press on Friday, we're going to switch it up and we'll be doing cable crossovers come Wednesday, to hit more lower pecs. Then we'll do reverse-grip dumbbell bench press on Friday, to hit more upper pecs. So over the course of the week, we're hitting a wide variety of muscle fibers within each muscle group.

And so what I'm going to do today, basically, is take you through a sample set of German Volume Training. So today's Day 2. I'm here live for this one in Cincinnati. So I'm going to go right in. I can't—because of my knee surgeries that I've had—I really can't. I'll do 10 sets. I'll probably do leg press today and go very light, 10 sets of 10.

But I'm going to demonstrate for you guys with triceps pressdowns. We'll just consider that I've already completed my squat, my standing calf, and now I'm going to go into triceps pressdown, just so you guys have an idea of how to set this up and what it's going to take.

Weight Selection

So as I said, you're going to choose a weight—you've got one minute of rest between all 10 sets—so you're going to choose a weight somewhere as high as 70% of your 1-rep max, to as low as 50%. So it's typically a weight that you can do somewhere around 15 to 20 reps.

Now, what happens if you're in a new gym? I've never—well, I've done triceps pressdowns before here, many, many months ago—but I really don't recall what my 15 to 20-rep max is on tricep pressdown on this particular machine. And remember, machines are going to vary based on the pulley system, and so you can't really say that 60 pounds on this triceps pressdown pulley is the same as 60 on my one at home or my one at Gold's Gym.

So you're basically going to—if it's not an exercise that you tested for and you know—then just eyeball it. Don't worry about if it's exactly—just kind of get a feel for can you get 15 to 20 with this weight, before you actually do 15 to 20 and fatigue yourself. Now, I would say if you're guessing on your weight, you're better off to err on the lighter side versus the heavy side. It doesn't matter, as I'll show you.

Even if you go too light—and 10 sets of 10 is fairly easy, again—doing 10 sets of 10 with any weight is not going to be easy. But even if you went a little too light, and then the very last 10 reps you're ready to get them without really hitting failure, you're still going to experience a lot of DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness—tomorrow. So don't worry if you're going too light.

If you go too heavy, well, it's as simple as—once you realize, "I'm not going to be able to get 10 reps, going forward," you've got a couple options. If it's in the first half of your 10 sets—meaning the first 5 sets or fewer—where you can no longer get 10 reps per set, then what I would do is reduce the weight and find the weight that allows you to get 10 reps.

However, if you're in the later range of the sets, meaning you're at like 6, 7, and you're going, "Oh, there's no way I'm going to be able to get 10 on sets 8, 9, and 10," you can keep the weight the same if you want, and then use rest pause to complete all of those 10 reps. So let's say on set 7, you can't—you stopped at 7 reps on set 7—put it down, give yourself about a 10-second rest pause, and then continue until you get 10 reps. Then your minute starts, and then you do the same thing on set number 9 and 10, whatever, until you get 10 sets of 10. But it's imperative that you get the 10 sets of 10.

Modifying for Beginners

However, I will say if you're a relative beginner who's following this program, if you have less than a year of consistent training experience and you're doing the 10 sets of 10, the German Volume Training, and you realize there's no way—with the weight you chose—that you're going to get all 10 sets of 10—let's say as long as you get at least 5 sets of 10, you can stop. You don't even have to complete all 10 sets of 10.

Like I said, this is a brutal technique, so if you're a relative beginner you are going to get a benefit even if you're not able to get all 10 sets of 10. So for those of you with less experience, you can stop short when you hit muscle failure.

For those of us with over a year experience, you want to get all 10 sets of 10. Trust me. Especially if you've been following my Train With Jim series, because this volume—we're not used to because we've been training full-body, meaning we've been lower volume per workout. But over the course of a week, we're doing a lot of volume.

Here, with German Volume Training, you're getting a lot of volume per workout for each muscle group. So for those of you who are advanced lifters following along, make sure you get in all 10 sets of 10 reps.

And so, I'm going to guesstimate that my—let me try 40 on this. I'm going to call—I'll say I can do 15 to 20 with 40 pounds. So I'll shut up now and we'll get the set going, and then I can talk between my minute of rest. So set number 1.

Warm-Ups and Rep Speed

And now, with the first set, because it's going to be light you can go a bit faster and get more explosive power going here to hit more of those fast-twitch muscle fibers. I would say maybe the first 2 or 3 sets, go with a bit of a faster tempo. So now, I'm watching—I'm going to watch the clock here, I've got a minute going.

So the first few sets—now people ask, "Well, what about a warm-up, Jim?" Well, look—you're doing a weight that you can get 15 to 20 reps with. Like I said, those first 10—that's basically my warm-up. And as you'll see, as I progress and the fatigue starts kicking in, that warm-up weight is going to get far harder to complete.

Now, let's talk about the time component. I'm just standing here. Typically for me, standing around a minute is not ideal. I hate wasting time, just standing here resting. So you've got a few options if you want to be more efficient. And my minute's just about up, so let me take this next—this is set number 2.

Now even though I'm doing positive fast and explosive, you notice I'm controlling it on the negative. I'm not doing my reps fast on both the positive and the negative—that's not how you want to do your explosive reps. You want the positive portion to be explosive; you want the negative portion to be still slow and controlled.

Time Management – Adding Cardio to Rest Periods

And so, as I was saying, I really hate wasting time. The last thing I want to do is stand here for a minute. No matter how brutal the technique is, there are other things that you can do. For starters—for those of you who are doing cardioacceleration—one minute of rest between sets for German Volume Training just happens to be the same amount of time used for cardioacceleration. So you've got some options here. If you want to include cardio, you can do cardio acceleration for that minute that you're resting.

Now my minute is just about up, so I'm going to get set number 3 here, and then I'll talk about another option that we can do.

So I've done my first 3 sets, and I'm keeping my eye on the clock. As I said, I'm going to do these first 3 a bit faster. The other thing that you can do here is—you don't need a warm-up, because the weight is relatively light. You're not hitting failure yet. So these are really warm-up sets.

The other thing you can do here is, instead of—now that I've completed fast reps—remember, your explosive reps are targeting those fast-twitch muscle fibers.; those are the ones that fatigue the quickest—so there's no point in doing 10 sets of fast reps. After the first 2 or 3 sets, those fast-twitch muscle fibers are going to be so fatigued they're pretty much done. So after the first 3 sets of explosive reps, you can now move into more slow and controlled reps, because the weight is still light.

So what I'm going to now do, on set number 4 when I start it, is I'm going to do my reps slow and controlled and really focus on feeling the contraction. We'll just say that my minute is just about up—so set number 4. Now we're focusing more on the quality of the contractions, feeling the triceps.

Adding Supersets for Even More Volume

And now my minute begins. So let's talk about the rest period again. I hate wasting time. Like I said, we can do either cardioacceleration—whatever you want to do between your minute—or let's look at the workout, right? What do we have in our workout? Today's workout, we're doing 5 exercises: Triceps pressdown, incline dumbbell curl, dumbbell wrist curl, squat, and standing calf raise. I'm doing triceps pressdown. But I've got a minute of rest.

Now I also mentioned that it takes about 15 to 30 seconds to do 10 reps. So if you can get those 10 reps in that minute of rest, what you can do is basically superset your German Volume Training. Now you've got a couple options. You could superset triceps with biceps—opposing muscle groups here. However, even though it's opposing muscle groups, you may find that because it's arms or upper body, it's a bit taxing on the upper body doing two different German Volume Training techniques.

So I would recommend doing something like triceps and maybe legs, or triceps and calves. And you can stagger that way. But now my minute is up, so let's get back to set number 5. I'm still doing these slow and controlled because it's still fairly light.

So set 5. What I could do here is—I've got a minute on the clock—what I can do is say, "Oh, well, let's stagger the calves and my triceps." So then what I would do here is I would do my 10 reps of calves.

And now I'm going to note that right at about 20 of is when I have to start my next set of calves. On the 12 is when I'm due for my next set. So it complicates it a little more, because you have to recall your rest periods for 2 exercises. But it saves you a lot of time because you can get two done in the same time it takes you to do just one.

Wrong Weight? Just Adjust

Now that's Set 6. And I'm probably going to guesstimate that I chose a little too light, because at Set 6, it's still not much of a challenge. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to increase my weight by—let me go up by 10 pounds. So was that 5 or 6? I think that was Set 5. So we're basically halfway through.

Like I said, it doesn't seem like it's heavy enough. So you just simply—you can adjust the weight. It's OK that you didn't start off with the exact proper weight. You can adjust it halfway through. And so let's just say my minute is up, and let's try this 10 pounds heavier and see how it feels.

That's a bit better. That should land you right about there. So I'll keep my eye on the clock. I'm not going to—like I said, I'm just showing you that staggered version or that superset version that you can do. I'm not going to do that, just to not complicate the video. And it'll give me time to talk in between that minute of rest.

Grip Tip: Triceps Pressdowns

Now, one of the things that you'll notice on tricep pressdowns is that when I do triceps press-downs, I don't grab the bar with a closed grip. What tends to happen here is—you'll see, this is the biggest mistake done on tricep pressdowns—is people will grab the bar. And then what they do is they—you'll see them use their wrist. See that? That's the last thing you want to be doing for tricep pressdowns. You want to maximize your force on the push down—my time is up—so what I do is I really push just with my palms. I don't even need my fingers.

All right. Set 7. And on 30, basically I'm due for my next set. So as I was saying, what you want to do with triceps pressdowns is really push through the palm, because what we're trying to do is minimize the other joints that are involved. So if I'm holding it here, I've now involved joints in my hands—I have a joint in my wrists. These are weaker joints than the elbow, the triceps. I'm limiting myself when I'm doing my triceps pressdowns this way—not really the strength at the elbow joint and my triceps, but more of the strength at my wrists.

So by using your palms, what you're doing is minimizing the involvement from the fingers and hands—as well as even the wrist—because now what I'm doing is I'm pushing directly through, almost as if I'm not even using my wrist, but as if the weight was here in my forearms. And so what it does is it shortens that lever arm a bit, and I'm allowed to provide a stronger pressdown here.

So that's set 8 now. You can see it's starting to get tough, so this is the proper weight for me. And I'll keep my eye on the clock. So I've got 2 sets left for triceps, but now you guys can see that the time component here—this is just for triceps. This is a pretty long session of triceps, particularly if you've been training with my Train With Jim series where we're typically just doing one exercise and maybe 3 sets, and then we're moving on.

Here, it's a lot of volume. So to do all 10 muscle groups here would be a lot of time spent in the gym, and it would pretty much zap your energy for tomorrow. It'd be tough to then do it again. So that's why we're doing two days split. And let's just say my minute is just about up here. So set number 9.

So this weight is about perfect for me, because I'm just about hitting failure in the right rep, number 9. And so with this final one minute of rest, I should be able to just complete about 10 reps.

Finish Strong with Rest-Pause

Now, if I can't complete 10 reps, like I said, what am I going to do? Well, I could do a drop set, reduce the weight and complete it, or I could do rest-pause—take about a 10-second rest and then after completing whatever reps I can get, 10 seconds, try and complete whatever reps I have left. Like at 7 reps, I rest 10 seconds, and I should be able to complete another 3. At least 2 to 3. If I can't get all 10, I'm simply going to rest-pause again. Put the weight down, and then do my final rep.

If the weight's too light and I can do 10, you can also go more than 10. You can just go to failure. So let's see what I get here. We'll call this a minute now. Last set.

That's 10. So I could do a few more cheat reps, at least. But that is basically German Volume Training demonstrated with triceps pressdowns. And so now what I'll do is I'll move on to biceps, do the same thing. But we're going to be doing incline dumbbell curls for biceps, and then I'll finish the workout with wrist curls.

Tomorrow, we go back to the other half of the body and start torturing chest, shoulders, back, abs, and traps. So if you guys have questions—and for those of you just joining, this is my tutorial of High-Frequency German Volume Training from my Train with Jim series. I will post this video on Facebook so you can go back and watch it. And then if you have any questions, make a comment. Ask your questions in the comments section, and I'll get you a reply for the answer.

So that's my High-Frequency German Volume Training. Today's Tuesday. We did Day 2. We'll be doing this for 6 days, so we'll end on Saturday. Sunday we'll get an active rest day. And then Monday, we'll start a brand new training technique that's clearly going to be less volume. So expect to hear about that on Sunday. We'll study up on what that technique is during our active rest day, and then we'll tackle it, starting the week on Monday.

So I hope this cleared up anyone's confusion on how to do German Volume Training with the Train with Jim series. Like I said, if you have questions, post it in the comments underneath this video on my Facebook page, and I'll get you those answers. Thank for tuning in, guys. As always, stay Jym Army Strong. See you guys.

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