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GVT shoulders and arms [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Nov 16, 2018 9:30:00 AM

GVT shoulders and arms

GVT shoulders and arms

German Volume Training can be used to train your shoulders and arms. Stick with free weights for a bias towards strength. Use machines if you mainly care about building extra muscle. The template is 10x10 at 60% with 30 seconds rest. 

What are your goals 

Why do you research GVT for shoulders and arms? Do you want to get stronger because of someone else’s life seconds on it? Is your next casting for Baywatch? Did your coach say you need to tackle harder? Whatever it is you want to achieve, it is important that you know why you are doing it. Your why will keep you going forward when you get injured. Everybody is beast when times are good. You need to be one when times are tough. That separates the champions from the rest. I usually see three main goals in fitness:


  • Looks 
  • Performance 
  • Health


Some are mainly interested in the improved looks that a fitness regime promises. If you are in this group you strive for what is shown in the media. You might want to impress the other sex. The next presentation has to be a hit and you want to look the part. Your wedding is coming up in half a year. All of these goals are valid. Be prepared that the road to a chiseled physique is hard. Staying around or below 10% body fat is no walk in the park. You will be hungry, tired and exhausted. In return, you might make the cover of men’s health and enjoy life as a model. 


If you are into performance it is all about your next competition. You want to win and you push hard on all levels. Your main concern will not be diet. The focus is on intensity and tenacity on the field and in the gym. Injuries are part of your professional development. You will take the risk to blow out a shoulder or hip to become the greatest of all time. Food is merely your fuel. It has to be good but is not the deciding factor for success. You might not always make the healthiest choices. Sometimes you will look like you got hit by a train. But you will be proud to put your heart into your sport. 


The last group is mainly interested in Health. You mostly care about balance. Extremes are avoided. You do not want to be the best looking or greatest of all time. You have realized that the stress involved in these goals is crushing. Body and mind should be healthy and active to live a fulfilling life. You try many diets because you are interested. A gym is a place of community for you.


As you are researching GVT for shoulders and arms you are very likely interested in looks. Take a step back and think whether this is actually the case. Prioritise the topics of looks, performance, and health for yourself. It will hugely influence which training choices you make.


German Volume Training


German Volume Training is one of the most popular beginner hypertrophy programs. There are many variations available so I will give you my basic template which has worked well:


  • 10 repetitions 
  • 10 sets
  • 60% of one repetition maximum 
  • 30 seconds rest between sets


With this template, you do 100 repetitions per exercise which is a lot. You can use this template for free weight and machine exercises. I used the barbell back squat, barbell bench press, and barbell deadlift. Other options are the leg press, leg curl, lat pulldown and cable work. 


The biggest advantages of German Volume Training are its simplicity and effectiveness. You do not have to do complex calculations to start. There are many positive reports about the programs. I was able to pack on 2.5kg of muscle in a month with it. 


The biggest disadvantages of German Volume Training are the time it takes and lack of clear progression. Doing 10x10 for an exercise takes a lot of time. If you take 2 minutes rest in between that is already 20 minutes doing nothing. Some people run a 10k race in that time. That is why like a variation with 30 seconds rest. Above this, it can be hard to see whether and how to progress on GVT. The number of reps you do can be hard to track. Especially for beginners. 


Shoulder training


Shoulder training is an area that Bodybuilders tend to do too much of while powerlifters could do more. Exercises to train the shoulders are:


  • Front Raises
  • Shrugs
  • Pull-ups
  • Rows 
  • Lat Pulldowns 
  • Barbell overhead press 


That already leaves you with a solid routine where you can get two days a week together. Apply the template I have given you and work away. 


Arm Training


Most exercises that target the shoulders also train the arms. To pump your biceps and triceps up beyond that you can use:


  • Hammer curls 
  • Preacher curls 
  • Rope push downs 
  • Croc rows 
  • Skullcrushers
  • Cable Work in various positions 


That will keep you busy enough. No need to overthink it. 


Can GVT make your shoulders and arms grow? 


Yes, it can and it is not the most important factor. The most important factor in muscle growth is food. Being disciplined around your diet is usually harder than in the gym. Spent your time and effort there and the rest will become a breeze. 


Further reading 




Topics: Lift stronger, German Volume Training, Fitness, Strength