Friday 1.07.10

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Bench Press 10 sets of 10 (read below)[copied and pasted from]

4 sets of 12 Ring Pushups

4 sets of 12 Dips

First, rest is limited to 60 seconds, and the most "cheating" that is permitted is extending the rest interval to a maximum of 70 seconds close to the end of the workout. Having said that, there's one common mistake people tend to make when German Volume Training: The weight lifted starts within a range of 60 to 70% of the 1RM, and should finish there too.

This means you shouldn't lower the weight, even though you begin to struggle to get all 10 reps in by set 6 or 7. Ten reps is still the number to aim for, but if you've picked the correct weight, you won't get there.

To illustrate: If your 1RM for the bench press is 300 lbs., it would make sense to start your first set of 10 reps between 195-210 lbs (approximately 65 - 70% of 1RM).

At 60 seconds rest between your sets of 10, by the 6th set or so, your strength endurance will almost certainly begin to fade. For your subsequent sets, the temptation to lower the weight so that it's still within your capacity to complete all ten reps as intended will be overwhelming.

The problem with doing so is that slowly but surely, the weight you're lifting will dip further and further below the optimal percentage of your 1RM to still utilize type II muscle fibers (or whatever's left of them).

Due to the low rest interval, tons of slow twitch muscle fibers are already involved towards the end because of the lactate production, shutting down explosiveness. The last thing we want to do is let any of the remaining fast twitch fibers give up their usefulness by lifting below 60% of our max.

Whether you hit all ten reps or not, the training effect will stay intact. Using the example above, here's an idea of what I mean:

Bench Press – 1RM: 300 lbs.

Set Weight Lifted (lbs) Reps Performed
1 205 (68%) 10
2 205 10
3 205 10
4 200 10
5 200 10
6 190 8
7 185 8
8 185 9*
9 180 8
10 180 (60%) 7

*As noted by Poliquin, you can expect to see a minor improvement in your performance somewhere around the 8th set due to neurological adaptations.

As you can see in the above example, rather than dropping to 170 or below to reach all 10 reps, it's a good idea to keep 60% intensity as your basement number.

One thing to remember is to switch up the main movement each week. If you did incline bench for 10x10 in week 1, hit up the flat or decline on the 2nd week. In a program like this, it would benefit you to tap into a different pool of motor units in a given muscle group from workout to workout to avoid redundancy and a possible plateau.

What to Expect

Given its simplicity, GVT workouts tend to take lifters by surprise. Many lifters think they won't get the intensity they need because of how "light" the first 4 sets feel. Remember: if you aren't severely relying on a spotter by the end of the workout to squeeze out anything near ten reps, you didn't use enough weight!

Once you hit the 2nd half of your sets, you can look forward to severe lactate buildup, accompanied by stress, fatigue, mild depression, and feelings of diminished self worth you haven't felt since your high school prom.

Each 60-second break will begin to feel shorter and shorter, and don't be surprised if by the end you've developed a grudge against Germany reminiscent of Europe circa the 1940's.


Mike AlleyComment