Have you ever heard of a concept called 10×10 Training? It is an interesting idea. Well, in fact it has branched out into two ideas. The initial idea came from German Volume Training which is a rather brutal method for shocking muscles.
These ideas were popularized by a German strength coach named Rolf Feser back in the mid-70’s. Whether he actually created them or not is unknown, but other people including Vince Gironda also utilized the idea in the US around the same time.
Why and How?
The basic idea behind 10×10 training is volume. In Germany it was employed as an off-season routine to help add lean mass. As most everyone likes the idea of adding lean mass, this is a program people should learn more about and employ.
Typically for this type of workout you focus on one compound exercise for the muscle group you are working. Then for that exercise you perform 10 sets of 10 reps with the same weight and a short rest between sets.
It is the pure volume of work that creates strength and growth. You can skip using extra intensity techniques like forced reps or burns. Instead your body will adapt from this deep level of endurance and strength training. Usually people end up incredibly sore for many days after first trying this method.
Here is a typical Leg Day Routine:
For each exercise use a weight you can normally do 20 reps with. Rest 60 seconds between sets. Other than a general full body warm-up, you usually do not need to warm up excessively.
- Squats – 10 sets of 10 reps
- Stiff-Legged Deadlifts – 10 sets of 10 reps
- Standing Calf Raises – 10 sets of 10 reps
Because of how brutal this can be on your body it is better to switch to a 7-Day split with extra rest days. This might be more rest than you are used to, but your body will need it.
- Day 1 – Chest & Back
- Day 2 – Off
- Day 3 – Legs & Abs
- Day 4 – Off
- Day 5 – Shoulders & Arms
- Day 6 & 7 – Off
The off days are great for doing cardio work or just resting.
The Other 10×10
You can also employ a slightly different 10×10 program. This involves picking 10 exercises and doing 1 set of 10 reps for each with a 60 second rest period in between.
In a sense this is a lot like a circuit program, except that you are blasting a single muscle group. For example, a chest workout might look like this:
- Barbell Bench Press – 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes – 10 reps
- Cable Crossovers -10 reps
- Dips – 10 reps
- Decline Dumbbell Flyes – 10 reps
- Pushups – 10 reps
- Dumbbell Pullovers – 10 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press – 10 reps
- Machine Chest Flyes – 10 reps
- Machine Press – 10 reps
That is a lot of work and it can be a little tougher to determine the proper weight being used. As you progress you tend to get tired but can also get a burst of strength in the 7-9th sets.
The Bottom Line
Lean muscle is generally a goal of a lot of lifters. Sometimes to achieve that you need to try different methods. 10×10 Volume Training is an excellent technique and should be considered for a 6 to 8 week program.
Lifters have been cycling their training for more effectiveness for a long time. It makes sense to jump into a program like this to see if it can add some across the board muscle to your frame, and then you can move back to your current program to shape and style those new gains.