Performing 10 sets of 10 reps gained wide popularity in the golden age of bodybuilding and is commonly referred to as German Volume Training. Old school legend and trainer to bodybuilding superstars Vince Gironda also advocated advanced trainees train for 10 reps of 10 sets, using the same weight on each rep of every set.
The idea behind the 10×10 routine is that it forces every single fiber of your muscles to be destroyed, meaning worked to the very end. As you start off in the first few sets you will find it easy, but gradually as fatigue sets in and more fibers are recruited it becomes a very tiresome and hardcore workout. If you were using the barbell curl exercise it’s likely wouldn’t be able to move your arms afterward.
You can train any part of your body using 10 sets of 10 reps, from the squat (warning: if you must drive to work after your workout then perform these in the evening.. believe me you will thank me for it – safety first.. trying to brake and use the pedals when your quads and calves have been obliterated shortly after your workout will prove fruitless), to the barbell curl and especially the calves, as they respond well to high volume training.
The important thing to remember when training with high volume is rest is even more critical, far longer periods of rest in fact. Due to the fact you’re burning out nearly all of your muscle fibers you will need at least 5 full days of rest between each large muscle group. That’s my personal recommendation which I find is ideal when training 10×10.
Because you’re lifting such high volumes you will also need to reduce your rest periods between sets to around 60 seconds per set, as opposed to the usual 2-3 minutes when training with low volume.
The 10×10 program is excellent for breaking through plateaus and makes a nice change if you’ve been stuck doing the same old routine with little results for months on end. I would not advise beginner trainees try any 10×10 workout, but anyone over their first year of lifting with a solid base built I would say: Give it a go. You may just grow!