For Size and Fat Loss_ Levergaing GBC Training

With the recent resurgence of some of the late Charles Poliquin’s work, I thought I would pay homage to one of my first exposures to one of his popularizations: German Body Composition (GBC).

This will not be a historical review of GBC but rather a quick guide to setting up and providing room for experimentation with this training methodology. As with all training methods, understanding the goals and potential pitfalls is crucial when prescribing this for yourself or a client; be your experiment before taking others through it!

The Purpose

The premise behind GBC training is to recompose a trainee’s body (build muscle and burn fat). Though these may seem to be conflicting goals, the premise is simple; by stimulating the development of lean tissue, you will inevitably increase your resting metabolic rate and thus energy expenditure. This is one of the reasons I would prescribe GBC over purely aerobic exercises for recomposition goals; not to say aerobic exercises should be avoided, but depending on your goals, it may be less optimal.


Basic Guidelines

Time Under Tension (TUT)

  • 25 – +70 seconds per set


  • Range
    • 6-12+ per set
      • Dictated by goal TUT
    • A majority of training will exist between 8 – 12.
      • 40-60 seconds of TUT.

Rest Time

  • 30-90 seconds
    • Incomplete rest times
      • Multi-joint / more tissue – longer
      • Single-joint / less tissue – shorter

Number of Exercises

  • 6-9 per Workout
  • 2-3 per muscle group

Order of Exercises

  • Super sets
    • 2-4 exercises per superset
      • More exercises, more time between repeated exposures.
      • Greater potential for intensity

Lower body to upper body is an excellent ordering option.

  • Biggest to smallest
    • Prioritize multi-joint exercises first
      • The most complicated the trainee can execute to a high degree of proficiency.

*NOTE – Ensure low back integrity is maintained.

  • Example – A deadlift to a goodmorning would place tremendous strain on the lower back and limit the total load a trainee could endure.
  • Example – A deadlift to a seated dumbbell press allows the lower back to rest while continuing to train.


  • 90% relative intensity for given prescribed reps
    • Example – 10 RM weight for 8 reps prescribed.


  • Week to week your goal should be to increase the total tonnage and density of training.


Example Workout

A1) Back Squat – 3×8-10 Tempo: 3,0,1,0, Rest: 60s

A2) Lat Pulldown – 3×8-10: Tempo: 2,0,1,1, Rest: 60s

B1) Romanian DL from Rack – 3×8-10 Tempo: 3,1,1,0, Rest: 60s

B2) DB Press 75 Incline – 3×8-10: Tempo: 3,0,1,0, Rest: 60s

C1) Walking DB Lunge – 3×16-20 Tempo: 1,0,1,0, Rest: 45s

C2) Single Arm Bentover DB Row – 3×10-12, Tempo: 2,0,1,1, Rest: 45s

D1) DB Press 15 Decline – 3×10-12, Tempo: 2,1,1,0, Rest: 45s

D2) Back Extension 45 degrees – 3×10-12, Tempo: 3,0,1,1, Rest: 75s


Troy Wilson Wilson Kinetic Health

BScKinH, MScKin, PKin
Team Canada Athlete
CANFund Recipient