The German Body Composition Training Program for Fat Loss

This fat burning routine was inspired by the German Body Composition Training routines popularized by expert strength and conditioning coach Charles Poloquin. If you’ve read any of his work, then you know that Coach Poloquin really knows his stuff when it comes to building the body.

Here’s how this routine is going to work. You’re going to be performing your exercises in supersets with very little rest between pairs of exercises. You’re also going to be increasing your “time under tension.” This is a new concept to some of you but it just means the time your muscles are under the tension of the weight. You will be increasing your time under tension by slowing your movements down.

This program works because of the lactic acid buildup this type of training produces causes the body to release fat burning hormones. This coupled with the increased time under tension leads to not only fat loss, but an increase in lean muscle.

In order for you to know at what speed, or tempo, you’re going to be lifting the weights, I’ll be utilizing the following three number schemes:


In the example above, the first number (3) signifies the lowering, or negative movement in seconds. In the bench press this would be the downward movement, or lowering the weight in three seconds.

The German Body Composition Training Program for Fat Loss

The middle number (0) signifies the hold, or the isometric pause. In the bench press this would be the bottom position, or isometric pause, which in our example, there would be none.

The third number (1) is the return or positive movement, also in seconds. In the bench press this would be returning the weight to the top position in one second.

Here’s an example of an exercise with the sets, reps, and tempo included:

Bench Press 4×12, 312, resting 60 seconds

You’re doing 4 sets of 12 reps. You’re lowering the weight in 4 seconds, 1 second isometric hold, and raising the weight in 2 seconds—total time under tension is 6 seconds. If you perform 10 reps, that would be a total time under tension of 60 seconds. The rest interval is self explanatory (60 seconds).

You’ll be working out 4 days per week on this program. The best days for working out would be on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday which leaves your weekends free. Your workout will look something like this:

Sun – Rest
Mon – Workout 1
Tue – Workout 2
Wed – Rest
Thu – Workout 1
Fri – Workout 2
Sat – Rest

You won’t need to do any type of cardio while on this routine. Cardio tends to waste muscle, especially when done for long periods of time. This is not what we’re after. We want to keep our hard earned muscle. That’s what this program is designed to do–you’ll be able to retain your lean muscle while at the same time melting away that unwanted fat.

The Workouts

Day 1 and 3

A1: One Legged Squat, 3×15-20, 201
A2: Bent Over Alternate Rows, 3×15-20, 201
A3: Leg Curl Ins, 3×10-15, 402
A4: Seated Shrugs, 3×10-15, 422

B1: Russian Twists, 3×10-15, 401
B2: Crunches, 3×10-15, 321

Day 2 and 4

A1: Incline Bench Press, 3×15-20, 201
A2: Seated Curls, 3×10-12, 302
A3: Bent Over Side Raises, 3×10-12, 201
A4: Triceps Dips, 3×15-20, 301

B1: Seated Calve Raise, 3×15-20
B2: Reverse Hyperextensions, 3×15-20, 201

Do this workout for 3 weeks before moving to something else. If after the 3 week workout you still need to lose more bodyfat, you might consider alternating this workout with the High Rep Workout until you reach a satisfactory level of leanness.