If you’ve ever been serious about building muscle, then you have likely come across Strength Sensei. This guy is at the top of the list for Strength Coaches. If you looked there, then you’ve probably checked other sites, too. You’ve probably come across all kinds of methods and maybe even tried a few. Personally, I have tried many and through that journey learned how to drop body fat and increase strength. I’m on this search because strength, both mental and physical, is one of my key values. Physical training builds both mental and physical strength at the same time.
I discovered German Volume Training (GVT) from the link above and decided to try it out to see if I could put more muscle on my ectomorph frame. I just went through the awful but doable protocol for 6 cycles.
My weight when I started on August 4th was 157 lbs and 13.6% body fat. Today, September 6th, my weight is 168 and my body fat is 13.3%. These are the best results I’ve ever had from a training regimen focused on muscle growth.
My daughter and I were looking at some older photos yesterday, and she said, “You look the same, except you are more muscle-y now.” I’ll conclude that it works.
Given my experience with different exercise schemes, I would venture that the key variable in building muscle is time under tension consistently and that thinking a rep count protocol is the main factor determining whether your results are strength, definition, or hypertrophy is very misleading. You could crank out 10 reps in 15 seconds for 3 sets for a total time under tension of 45 seconds, or do a 5×5 session for a total time under tension of 1 minute (excluding rest periods). My normal time under tension with GVT in one set was about 40 seconds: 3 seconds down in the negative, no rest, 1 second contracting up, no rest to the negative. 10 sets of GVT is about 6.5 minutes under tension. I don’t recall any rep protocol demanding that much time under tension.
I had to put my ego aside and do lighter weights to do this GVT protocol. So, if you consider it, definitely be prepared for that length of time under tension. I’m glad to be finished with the 6th cycle. It’s time for a change up. More on that later…