Is this German workout method the best for leaning up?

Is this German workout method the best for leaning up?

by Ashley Tan 03 Feb 2020

We’ve all heard of the term “body composition” and how it focuses on a lean and muscular physique, but how many of us have actually heard of German Body Composition (GBC) training? This unique form of training was first popularised in America in the early 2000s, and has been lauded as a revolutionary fitness programme by several professionals in the fitness industry. 


Specially created by Charles Poliquin, who has also promoted and popularised other fitness protocols including German Volume Training and Wave-Like-Loading, GBC training is characterised by extended periods of work coupled with short rest intervals in between. In truth, GBC training is specifically designed towards helping the individual lose fat and gain muscle by pushing the lactate threshold.


While the plain-vanilla GBC programme has its own merits, Poliquin has also altered it slightly by incorporating tri-sets and varying the tempo of the exercises. This helps more experienced individuals to attain higher lactate levels, increase muscle mass, and challenge the anaerobic lactic capacity system. The modified GBC training programme also involves varying the weights that are lifted for increased success in terms of losing fat and building muscle. A detailed sample of the Poliquin workout is as follows:


Day 1 (Monday and Thursday)

A1. Front Squat, 4 x 4-6, 5010, rest 10 seconds

A2. Back Squat with Heels Elevated, 4 x 8-10, 3010, rest 10 seconds

A3. Jump Squat, 4 x 12-15, 10X0, rest 90 seconds

A4. Chin-up, 4 x 4-6, 5010, rest 10 seconds

A5. Lean-back Wide Grip Pulldown, 4 x 8-10, 2011, rest 10 seconds

A6. Sled Face-pull, 4 x 15-20, 10X0, rest 90 seconds


Day 2 (Tuesday and Friday)

A1. Deadlift, 4 x 4-6, 5010, rest 10 seconds

A2. Lying Leg Curl, 4 x 6-8, 3010, rest 10 seconds

A3. Snatch Jump, 4 x 12-15, 10X0, rest 90 seconds

A4. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press, 4 x 4-6, 5010, rest 10 seconds

A5. Incline Dumbbell Press, 4 x 8-10, 3010, rest 10 seconds

A6. Supine Med Ball Chest Pass, 4 x 12-15, 10X0, rest 90 seconds


At this point, you may be somewhat convinced, but also find yourself questioning whether the GBC workout is truly effective. After all, there’s not much point in embarking on a new fitness regimen if it’s not going to help achieve the results you hope to see, right? While some have labelled GBC training as a mere “fitness fad”, there are several success stories in Poliquin’s book The German body comp program: Burn fat and build muscle on the only program that uses weight training for weight loss which affirm the programme’s ability to assist in fat-loss and hypertrophy.


Of course, one’s diet will also affect the effectiveness of the GBC workout. Meals that are excessive in carbohydrates generally do not work well with any fitness workout, while consuming vegetables and protein during the fitness programme is always encouraged for optimal results.


Contrary to what its name suggests, the GBC is not just for a specific group of people of a particular nationality. It is a training programme that is suitable for almost everyone, and if you’re willing to work hard to shed the weight, then this programme is definitely worth considering. After all, there’s a great amount of truth in the maxim, “no pain, no gain”!