TLDR: In this guide we take a look at a GVT arms workout plan. Why you should consider it and how it works as a program and physiologically. This has been written by someone who applies German Volume Training into their own training during periods of the year.
Highlights: This article is experience led – the writer’s own GVT arms training routine
Highlights: This article suggests a quicker way to complete an intensive training session for biceps and triceps.
Intro – GVT Arm Training
German Volume Training, also known as GVT, is a popular workout technique that involves performing 10 sets of 10 reps for a single exercise, with a short rest period in between each set. While GVT is typically used for overall muscle growth and strength, it can also be highly effective for developing the arms.
What are the benefits of trying GVT arm workouts?
The benefits of using GVT arms training include:
- Increased Muscle Growth: GVT arms training is an excellent way to promote muscle growth, as it places significant stress on the arms and triggers the body’s adaptive response to build new muscle tissue.
- Improved Strength: By challenging the muscles with 10 sets of 10 reps, GVT arms training can improve your arm strength and help you lift heavier weights over time.
- Efficient Use of Time: GVT arms training is a highly efficient workout technique that can be completed in a relatively short amount of time, making it a great option for busy individuals who want to maximize their training results.
- Variety in Your Workout: Incorporating GVT arms training into your workout routine can add variety and challenge your muscles in a new way, helping you to break through plateaus and prevent boredom.
- Enhanced Mind-Muscle Connection: GVT arms training requires focus and concentration, which can help you develop a stronger mind-muscle connection, allowing you to better isolate and target the muscles in your arms.
Overall, GVT arms training can be an effective way to build muscle and strength in your arms, as well as add variety to your workout routine. By challenging your muscles with high-volume sets, you can stimulate growth and strength, helping you to achieve your fitness goals.
So, now you know the official benefits let’s talk about why I use it and what I do when it comes to my GVT arms workout.
Personal GVT Arm Training Experience
I’ve trained for years, I’ve helped others and helped myself. I go through peaks and troughs with intensity in the gym and that is definitely affected by the time of the year and what I’m doing or what I’m planning on doing. Right now it’s mid february and I’m getting to a pivot stage in my training. Having spent the last 6 months training heavy 5 x 5s, I need to sweat a bit more in the gym and think about the summer. Yes, vanity is real!
Weight moves weight, as Lee says, and I’ve definitely eaten more protein and focused less on cardio as I strived to achieve some long term strength goals. I always wanted to bench 120, I always wanted to bench reps of 250 lbs to the NFL combine standard for my weight and I wanted to deadlift 200 kg.
I’m not quite there yet on all of them, but I’m getting there. I’m at 130 now on flat bench, with the 3 plate benchmark in sight, I can do 4 to 5 sets of 10 reps 250 lbs and I am at 185 kg deadlift.
Good numbers for me, but certainly not the strongest.
10×10 vs 5×5 lifting
With these workouts, I have cut back the number of exercises I perform each session, focused on rep quality and then bouncing.
I am following a modified Reg Park 5 x 5 plan. It’s been amazing for building size and strength. I’ve begun to build teardrop quads – a personal goal of mine. You can read that workout plan in my 5 Day PPL Split Guide.
With this 5 rep range training, I’m done in 45-50 minutes, except maybe a legs day. But with all this low rep, high weight training it has two impacts on you. 1. It definitely risks injury and 2. It gets me used to short heavy sessions with a focus on conserving muscle energy for lifting only.
In short, I’ve put on size AND fat. Time to change that up.
So where does this GVT arms workout come into play?
Why I like GVT For Arm Workouts
Well, if you’ve just spent the last 6 months doing short hard sessions, and now want to get in some cardio, some sweatier sessions, but don’t want to lose your muscle gains, it’s important to think about how you can make that transition and not lose your way – mentally.
Going from a 45 minute push session, which has me leaving the gym feeling pumped, to thinking about 45 minutes cardio, 45 minutes weights, is a daunting thought. That means I need to find ways to conserve time, still get my workouts in during a lunch break or after downing suitcases and getting ready to head out.
This is why I love a good GVT arms session, that can also become a calorie burner too.
Getting 20 working sets squared away in 20-25 minutes with a 5 minute superset after, means no time for rest, a serious pump and hopefully a sweaty set of garms to make you feel you’ve done good work.
Let’s get into it.
First Up – The GVT Arm Workout Exercises
I’m quite fussy when it comes to my main 10×10 GVT arm exercises. There are some I pick for the 10 sets of 10 reps and some I use as finishers. I’ll break these up now for you.
10 x 10 GVT Arm Primary Lifts
- Barbell Bicep Curls: Barbell bicep curls are a classic exercise that target the biceps, one of the primary muscle groups in the arms. This exercise is a great choice for GVT arms training because it allows you to use a heavy weight and isolate the biceps, promoting significant muscle growth and strength.
- Close Grip Bench Press: The Close Grip Bench Press is an exercise that focuses on developing the triceps mostly, but with some demand placed on your chest, and shoulders.
To perform this exercise, you’ll need to grip the barbell with a narrow grip and lower it towards your chest, then push it back up. This move in my mind is a top pick for a 10 x 10 German Volume Training arms session as it permits the use of heavy weights and places significant stress on the triceps on all three heads of the muscle. This makes it an ideal mass builder.
- Hammer Curls: Hammer curls are a variation of the bicep curl that targets the brachialis muscle, which runs along the side of the upper arm. This exercise can help to add thickness and definition to the entire anterior arm, letting it stand out as a fantastic addition to any arm training routine.
- French Press: This exercise targets the triceps, which are the muscles on the back of the upper arm. The French Press involves lying on a flat bench and holding a barbell with a narrow grip, then lowering the bar toward your forehead and extending your arms back up.
The French Press is effective for GVT arms training because it’s hard! I tend to use dumbbells, as I find the workout easier to set up that way, than finding an EZ bar etc. The move hits the long head of the tricep (the outside) which is the bigger slab of meat on the back of your arms. This is my main reason for picking this boss move.
- Underhand Pull-ups: The Underhand Pull-Up, also known as a chin-up, is an exercise that primarily targets the biceps, but also engages the back and shoulders. This exercise involves hanging from a bar with an underhand grip (palms facing toward you) and pulling yourself up until your chin is over the bar.
The Underhand Pull-Up is an effective exercise for GVT arms training because it places a significant amount of stress on the biceps, promoting muscle growth and strength.
If you really focus on contracting the bicep, you get an amazing workout from this movement alone. Plus it has the knock-on benefits of stimulating other parts of your body.
A modifier (eg: easier) is hanging from a barbell on a rack with your heels on the ground. Floor pull-ups, essentially – they take a bit of the load off.
Finishing Moves / After the 10 x 10 sets
After I have worked through the strength component of a GVT arm day, I tend to pick out a superset of more isolating bicep and tricep exercises. For me my personal favourites are overhead cable tricep extensions and a plate loaded EZ bar preacher curl. I want to get a deep range of motion and focus and for me, these two exercises give me that.
My GVT Arm Training Plan
I’ll add a video at some stage, to talk this through but this is the nuts and bolts of my ideal GVT arm session.
- 1 set of Barbell Bicep Curl @ 50-60% of 1RM x 10 Reps / 1 set of Close Grip Bench Press @50-60% of 1RM x 10 Reps / 1 Minute Rest
- Repeat 9 more times – Avoid spending more than 30 seconds in between exercises of a 10 x 10 superset.
- Superset Finishing
12 Reps – Overhead Cable Tricep Extension
12 Reps – Preacher Curl (With Machine or Cable is fine)
Rest 1 minute
Repeat 3 More times with the last set aiming to rest-pause that weight to 25 reps.
Jog on the spot in your rest periods, start with 100 jog steps on the spot, working up to jogging on the spot for the entire rest period of the 10 x 10 Arm Sets.
Perform 45 second planks in between the finishing moves.
Outro // The Wrap Up
That’s it. A GVT arm workout that has you running a km in the middle of it also.
“Wow, a whole km!”
I know, it’s not the biggest distance in the world, but this is done while your heart rate is already elevated and is alongside any other steps that occur while you’re training. Add the core work at the end during your other superset, you’ll find you leave the gym with your arms bursting, core feeling a little harder, and hopefully burned off a hundred extra calories for good measure with the active rest.
Imagine how your physique goals change when all your rest becomes active rest.
Let me know how you get on with this in the comments below.