In the search for serious muscle mass and low levels of body fat you probably want to know if you can do German Volume Training while cutting.
Initially, this probably seems like a great idea.
By this I mean that your aim is to preserve as much muscle mass as possible when you’re on a cut.
And what better way to achieve this than by following one of the toughest muscle-building programs there is?
However, can this really work or are you just heading for failure?
Allow me to reveal what you need to know about German Volume Training while cutting.
German Volume Training While Cutting
You shouldn’t typically do German Volume Training (GVT) while cutting. GVT is generally viewed as a short-term bulking and strength endurance program. The program has also been specifically designed to be used while on a calorie surplus. When you’re cutting your aim is to preserve as much muscle mass as possible while in a calorie deficit. This is best achieved by focusing more on heavy weight and lower reps.
1. German Volume Training is Better While Bulking
In truth, you can perform German Volume Training whenever you want, although this will very much depend on your powers of recovery.
GVT is extremely tough and as you get more into the routine you’ll typically find that it can leave you feeling extremely tired and sore.
And if you happen to be cutting, so eating in a calorie deficit, your recovery is going to feel even harder.
So, in reality, German Volume Training is usually seen as a bulking and strength endurance program.
Furthermore, you should only really ever perform GVT in the short term, say 4-6 weeks at a time.
The very fact that you’re using so much volume will generally mean that you need to take on more calories in order to aid both muscle growth and recovery.
You have to remember that it is your nutrition that fuels your workouts.
I’m not saying it can’t happen, but this is typically restricted to new trainees or those returning to exercise after a long break.
Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we’re more likely to lose muscle with excessive training and not enough calorie intake.
So, while it’s perfectly possible to do GVT while cutting (more on this in a moment), I would recommend that you’re best off doing GVT when you’re looking to bulk up.
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2. When Cutting Your Aim is to Preserve Muscle Mass
The biggest fear that most of us have while cutting is that we’re going to lose our hard-earned muscle.
As I’ve mentioned, muscle growth is more commonly associated with an excess of calories and higher volume training.
However, you know that when you’re cutting that your aim is to lose body fat, and therefore you lower your calorie intake.
This in itself provides you with less energy to fuel your workouts.
So, it makes sense that your workouts change every so slightly when you are cutting.
With that being said, you obviously still want to preserve as much muscle mass as possible.
The best way to achieve this is actually going the opposite route to German Volume Training and looking to maintain your strength levels.
Therefore, you should really be lifting as heavy weights as your energy levels will allow for, while cutting down your volume substantially.
In fact, an entire week of cutting workouts may only take you a total of a couple of hours to complete.
You’ll generally want to concentrate on the biggest compound exercises, e.g. squat, deadlift, bench press, rows, overhead press, etc.
Plus, you should keep your reps low, typically in the 3-6 rep range, as well as using approximately the same number of sets.
I will also say that the number of exercises you perform during each workout should remain fairly low as well.
So, as an example, a cutting week of workouts may look as follows:
- Bench Press – 4 Sets of 6 Reps
- Deadlift – 5 Sets of 5 Reps
- Squat – 5 Sets of 5 Reps
- Bent Over Row – 4 Sets of 6 Reps
- Overhead Press – 4 Sets of 6 Reps
- Romanian Deadlift – 5 Sets of 5 Reps
- Weighted Pull Ups – 5 Sets of 5 Reps
- Front Squat – 4 Sets of 6 Reps
This way you’re in-and-out of the gym fairly quickly, perhaps your workout will even be over in 30 minutes or under.
However, you’re still doing just enough to maintain muscle, without hampering your recovery efforts.
How to Train When Cutting
3. Use German Volume Training if it Works For You
Okay, I have mentioned that it is possible to do German Volume Training while cutting.
And this will completely depend on you as an individual and how well you recover.
You must remember that your main aim while cutting is to lower your body fat levels.
However, you also want to ensure that you maintain as much lean muscle as possible.
Now, for some of you it may actually feel easier to perform a hypertrophy-based workout like GVT rather than performing short strength-based workouts.
We are all different from each other and we therefore react differently to exercise.
From personal experience I know that strength-training generally wipes me out.
But, for some reason, when it comes to hypertrophy training and higher volume I seem to recover quite well.
I know for a fact that after 5 sets of 5 reps of squats and deadlifts, whereby I have lifted as heavy as I possibly can, that I’m done.
In fact, I’ll definitely need a big meal straight after (so a cutting diet certainly won’t help) and it’s likely that I won’t feel like training the next day.
However, I could pick 4-5 different exercises, perform 4 sets of 8-12 reps of each, and I’ll feel pretty good afterwards.
And yet my volume for the hypertrophy training is dramatically more than the strength-based workout.
So personally, I am obviously quite suited to doing German Volume Training, even while cutting.
And that’s the whole point, you have to find what suits YOU best.
Yes, there are “rules” to training, and they are mostly correct and should be followed.
But, never forget that training and exercise isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” protocol.
You should always train specifically for your needs and what your body allows you to do.
So, I hope you understand that you can do German Volume Training while cutting, although it isn’t advisable.
Basically, GVT is typically used as a short-term bulking and strength endurance program.
So, in effect, to get the best results from German Volume Training you would usually want to be eating at a calorie surplus.
Realistically, when you’re cutting your aim is to preserve muscle mass while reducing body fat.
And this is best achieved with controlled calorie consumption at a deficit, plus lower volume strength training.
With that being said, what works for one person may not work for another.
So, you can attempt German Volume Training while cutting, but keep an eye on your recovery and overall energy levels.
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Hi, I’m Partha, the founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I’m someone who’s been passionate about exercise and nutrition for more years than I care to remember. I’ve studied, researched, and honed my skills for a number of decades now. So, I’ve created this website to hopefully share my knowledge with you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, get fitter, or build muscle and strength, I’ve got you covered.