Grease The Groove is a technique I learned many years ago when reading a book from Pavel, Power To The People.
Essentially, you perform an exercise of choice several times a day, several times a week (4 - 7 x week), each and every set performed when you are fresh without going to muscular fatigue. Usually, this works best when performing the practice exercise for anywhere from 2 - 4 weeks.
There are several ways to apply Grease The groove (GTG) for maximum effect.
The length of time you stick to Grease The Groove (GTG) depends on your level of physical fitness. A beginner and intermediate can work on increasing their pull ups by following GTG for 4 weeks straight without a problem. An advanced lifter might work best when using GTG for 2 weeks.
I'm gonna tell you a few experiences I had with Grease The Groove (GTG) and these experiences will show you how they've shaped my own training with GTG as well as give you the knowledge to choose how you want to implement GTG.
First of all, you can utilize GTG using bodyweight exercises, basic barbell lifts, olympic lifts, kettlebell training....
I first began using GTG to increase my pull ups after Jeff Martone and I did a seminar together with some friends. Jeff was doing a small portion on tactical pull ups. It was amazing how he broke down the pull up all the way from how you grip the bar, why you should grip the bar a certain way, how to activate the lats and save the shoulders along with tons more of kick ass info.
But, the part that REALLY hit me was when Jeff Martone spoke about his day at The Arnold Sport's Festival and he was demonstrating weighted pull ups all day with an 88 lb kettlebell (AKA The Bull Dog). Rep after rep, 1 rep at a time, fresh for each and every set.
To Listen To Jeff Martone's Underground Audio Interrogation, Click HERE
At the time, Jeff was pushing to do pull ups with the BEAST, the 106 lb Kettlebell. A few days after The Arnold Sport's Festival, Jeff attempted the 106 lb Kettlebell Pull Up and he hit a single rep with ease, he told me.
Why was it so easy? He trained his body with "perfect practice", 1 rep at a time, using Grease The Groove.
I began to take heed and started doing high rep pull ups 2 - 3 x day on my own, in an effort to get back to doing 20 + pull ups in a row. I would wake up and stroll down to my garage gym, bang out a submax set of pull ups, then showwer & have breakfast, then before heading to work I would get one more set of submax pull ups.
On my lunch break I would walk up to the playground and do another set or two of submax pull ups. In a very short time my pull ups climbed up to the 20 rep mark. Before GTG my pull ups were around 15 - 17 reps.
For bodyweight training, GTG is the perfect answer to increase your pull ups, increase your push ups and if you're advanced, you can do GTG for muscle ups on the rings or the bar.
I have taken the GTG approach towards some powerlifts and olympic lifts as well, following the "Be ready to GO at any time" motto.
In the tactical community, you can't only be ready for action after a thorough warm up, soft tissue work, etc. Sometimes you gotta hop out of your car and sprint. Other times you sprint and then engage in a physical scuffle.
If you have a job where you must be ready to go at all times, aka, "Ready To Go When the Shit Hits the Fan", then GTG is going to be a critical component in your training. You have NO choice but to learn to implement GTG so you can be strong, explosive AND as safe as possible when you are called upon for duty.
In the tactical community you need to utilize GTG for bodyweight training, powerlifting, odd object lifting, sprinting, fire arms training, self defense / personal readiness, etc. This CAN save your life. Once again, this is a critical reason why you should NOT follow every perfectly planned, scientifically perfect training regime. You are training for the REAL World, not for a game.
My practice began with the olympic lift, the snatch. I kept only a 10 lb bumper plate on each side of the bar, a measly 65 lbs to practice the snatch.
My skill quickly improved in the snatch - greater speed, greater strength and greater technique. I was quickly able to begin snatch 85, 95 and 115 lbs on the bar.
I then began testing GTG with the deadlift. It sounds crazy, and many experts would claim over training can set in with deadlifting every day. But, I felt GREAT doing so and kept a bar in my garage loaded at 275 lbs. I would bang out 1 or 2 reps, a few times a day, for 2 weeks in a row.
During my regular strength workouts, I did NOT deadlift very heavy. Most workouts were under 405 on the deadlift. When I tested my deadlift I crushed a 525 deadlift (photo below).
Final advice for using Grease The Groove techniques to increase your strength:
- Use GTG on bodyweight exercises that you are aiming to improve. Pull Ups, Push Ups, handstands, hand walking, Muscle Ups and Pistol Squats work great. 1 Arm Push Ups and other challenging bodyweight exercises are also a good fit.
- Use GTG on powerlifts and olympic lifts, but perform these only with moderate weights or moderately heavy weights, NOT maximal loads.
- Focus on ONE movement during your GTG training cycle. For example, if you want to increase your pull ups, ONLY GTG pull ups, do not GTG with pull ups and other exercises. Focusing one ONE target is much more powerful and effective
- Allow each GTG cycle to last for 2 - 4 weeks. If you're a rank beginner, you can work on pull ups, push ups and other bodyweight exercises for several months. Be honest with yourself. If you are weak as rag doll, then get busy with GTG and commit to kicking ass with bodyweight exercises.
Get after it and start experimenting with Grease The Groove (GTG) to build up your weak areas and turn them into strengths.
Live The Code & Live HARD!
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