What The Hell Is German Body Composition Training? And Why Should I Be Using It?

When it comes to precise and organised training for maximum results, there’s no better stereotype than the Germans. Putting the images of the cold war, the Berlin Wall and, that other event, to the back of your mind, Germans have pioneered all sorts of wonderful innovations (may we call your attention to Andre Hamann), so it’s no wonder that the most efficient workout plan for burning fat and building muscle has German origins.


The origin of German Body Composition Training

According to fitness legend, an Eastern Bloc scientist during the Cold War defected to West Germany. There he conducted experiments on the influence of weight training on body composition, finding that pairing upper- and lower-body exercises, performed in moderate rep ranges with limited rest between sets, led to increases in muscle size and fat loss.

Well, this is according to Men’s Health, who produced a book on German Body Composition (GBC) training as a go-to template for trainers who need to get clients into shape as quickly as possible.

The basics of German Body Comp training

So, it’s fairly straightforward. You basically superset upper- body exercises with lower-body exercises when you plan your workout. Pairing exercises that target the upper body then the lower body allows one area to recover while the other works; making for an incredibly efficient workout. Hence, the German influence.

It also means that the constant workload places added demand on your cardiovascular system, increasing calorie burn at the same time as building muscle. Super efficient! Super German!

Examples of GBC exercises

  • Squat + shoulder press or chest press
  • Shoulder exercise + bicep exercise
  • Romanian deadlift + row

Tempo and rep range

These kinds of workouts work best with a moderate rep range and tempo. Since the workout involves pairing strength exercises back-to-back (plus you can throw in some quick HIIT cardio at the end to really kill yourself) then it’s not a good idea to overload your muscles.

Keep your weights to a level that you can manage 10 to 15 reps of each, with just a short rest in between exercises of about 30 to 60 seconds.

The tempo of your lifts should also be quite controlled. Think more along the lines of a Body Pump class rather than a typical weightlifting session. Tempos of 2110, 3010, or 2020 suit GBC training well.

Note: the first is the number of seconds you should take to perform the lowering portion of the exercise. The second is the length of time you should pause in the bottom position. The third is the time you should use to lift the weight, and the fourth is the length of the pause at the end position.

Weekly split

Hitting multiple muscle groups means it’s difficult to perform the workout day after day without overlapping training days. So it’s best to leave at least one day in between sessions so that your muscles have enough time to rest and recover.

Ask a gay personal trainer

If you’d like to try out German Body Composition Training, or something else that sounds weird and intimidating, ask a gay personal trainer for some advice and help planning your weekly sessions.

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