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Kettlebell Did I GTG Wrong?

Jordan Skinner

Level 3 Valued Member
Hi everyone,

Wondering if I can get some feedback. I've been wanting to get stronger with my kettlebell press so I decided I would Grease The Groove. I was using a 20kg and got my max reps (13 left, 13 right). Initially, I started doing 5 reps (40%) every hour throughout the day roughly 7-9 sets per day. After a few days at this, I felt fatigued and sometimes I could feel the burn during my sets of 5 so I dropped the reps to 3 reps (still doing 7-9 sets per day). This was better and I always felt fresh. As the days went on I got less rigid with the EHOH and would do them sometimes every hour, sometimes every two hours but every day I would knock out between 10 - 20 reps (besides weekends).

This week, after 3 weeks of GTG, I decided to test and I only increased by 2 reps on each arm and they were an absolute slog to do, and the form on these last two reps were horrific so I'm not sure it was a net improvement at all!

Am I doing something wrong here?

I would appreciate any help on this.
 

Adachi

Level 6 Valued Member
My grease the groove experience was very different.

I would just advise backing off from daily pressing.
Try every other day.

And then for pressing... Maybe 2x week, depending on how heavy you go.

I had a great experience with gtg alternating snatch, swings, and presses, and my presses increased one bell size ( from 24kg, to 32kg ) in 3 months. Average 2 days of pressing per week.

I had a less than perfectly great experience with pressing almost daily and increasing from 32kg to 40kg. But. It happens to include a slight injury. Probably just a strain.

EDIT:
I'd like to take a moment to reflect on my pressing and deadlift experience. A cycle which only lasted about 2 months. The deadlift being performed almost every day was very easily achieved at such moderate intensity and I believe it has something to do with how much muscle mass is exerting against the load. A much shorter amount of muscle is involved directly against a pressing weight . I hypothesize that the shorter chain , lower number of muscles , and lessened mass of musculature and fewer levers of mechanical advantage speak to a much lower performance curve ( a term of art in mechanical engineering )

If I had it to do over again, and I will , I would cut my pressing volume by ¼ . I was doing way too much pressing in a very short amount of time. And I'll be doing a lot less in the future. 5x5 with the 32kg bell, for me , was more of a peaking plan, without the tapering, than GPP . I'll be doing a lot more 1-2-3 ladders with the 32kg in the future, focusing on form and execution. Instead of getting the weight overhead. Maybe 2-4-6 with the 24kg bell. And 40kg will be for maybe 1 or 2 singles, Per week.
 
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Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
Hi everyone,

Wondering if I can get some feedback. I've been wanting to get stronger with my kettlebell press so I decided I would Grease The Groove. I was using a 20kg and got my max reps (13 left, 13 right). Initially, I started doing 5 reps (40%) every hour throughout the day roughly 7-9 sets per day. After a few days at this, I felt fatigued and sometimes I could feel the burn during my sets of 5 so I dropped the reps to 3 reps (still doing 7-9 sets per day). This was better and I always felt fresh. As the days went on I got less rigid with the EHOH and would do them sometimes every hour, sometimes every two hours but every day I would knock out between 10 - 20 reps (besides weekends).

This week, after 3 weeks of GTG, I decided to test and I only increased by 2 reps on each arm and they were an absolute slog to do, and the form on these last two reps were horrific so I'm not sure it was a net improvement at all!

Am I doing something wrong here?

I would appreciate any help on this.
I am not experienced with GtG, but offer some thoughts anyway.

a) Use delta-20: That means at least 20% variation in volume from day to day. That could mean keeping sets constant and varying the reps per set (1/3, half, 2/3 of max) or varying the the sets per day.
b) Focus not so much on volume, but on creating and practicing tension
c) Classic GtG would mean finding a variation/weight with maximally a 10RM. As you also adressing strength endurance (13TRM), you would probably need to train for it - and the 3 reps per set might not do the trick for strength endurance (but might for limit strength development).
d) You are allowed to vary the exercise as well: Bottom up presses, kneeling/half-kneeling presses, etc.

I would also suggest re-reading Naked Warrior and applying the principles. Good luck!
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
The GTG sounds fine to me but I wouldn't personally follow such a rigid schedule. I would err more on the intuitive side, and have more variation.

Are you sure you were in a similar condition on both test days?

In any case, you made good progress. I'm not sure how much you can expect to develop in just three weeks. 13 reps to 15 reps sounds good to me. Especially as you didn't really train longer sets at all.

In addition to the earlier point of more variation, I suggest a heavier kettlebell for your next run.
 

Tails

Level 2 Valued Member
I looked at @Adachi log and decided to gtg with a few lifts in rotation. It helped me massively as I have a habit of overdoing it. My 4.5rm (ugly ugly 5rm) went to 7 in under 2 weeks, I then had unrelated minor surgeries (hello appendix).

I'm back doing it but following the DFW system as I'm now climbing again. So I may ruin 2 perfectly good programmes.
 

PeterLuffman

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Some great points being made in this thread already.

2 reps increase for 3 weeks isn't bad.
The weight you used is a bit light.
Every day is not so necessary and you should listen to your body to dictate the schedule.
Focus on the practice rather than getting the volume.

And of course, if you want optimal gains from training, can we assume you have optimal parameters in recovery?
 

TimothyGander

Level 1 Valued Member
A lot of good points have been made already. Some other things that have caught my eye:
  1. It seems you're doing pretty much the same sets and reps every day. Both Naked Warrior and more recent Pavel writings emphasise waving the volume. I. e. it would be better to alternate say 6- and 12-set days than to do 9 every day. Same goes for weeks (it's at least good to have a deload week with much reduced volume once in a while) and apparently even months.
  2. Are you tapering down before a max test? NW recommends starting this at least three days before the test day, with two progressively light training days followed by an off day.
 

Tarzan

Level 6 Valued Member
If you can do 13 reps with a 20kg bell I'd suggest you're more than ready for a 24kg bell.
GTG with that in the 3-5 rep range and the re-test with the 20kg bell, the 20kg bell will feel like a toy after a month or so.
EHOH can get a bit too much for a lot of people if it's done every day. A heavy day and light day could be an option ie. follow the EHOH every second day and just do a "maintenance" day every other day where you just do a set when you feel like it. You don't want to become a slave to your daily routine, it's better to push a bit harder sometimes and back off other times so it doesn't become a challenge either mentally or physically.
 

barrak

Level 6 Valued Member
@Jordan Skinner, my understanding is, GTG is perfect for dialing in form and tensioning techniques. Neither is challenged much by pressing a 13RM weight for 3 reps at a time. Still, you made a decent progress in such a short time.

You can accelerate your progress with such an easy weight (for you) by including varieties such as slow tempo presses, L-sit presses, bottoms-up presses, one-legged presses, TGU with a press at every stage, ...etc.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Wondering if I can get some feedback. I've been wanting to get stronger with my kettlebell press so I decided I would Grease The Groove. I was using a 20kg and got my max reps (13 left, 13 right).
What is the goal here? 13 reps of anything isn’t pure strength. If strength is the goal, then use a heavier weight. If 20 reps with 20 kg is the goal, you’ll need to work up to more reps per set in your GTG training. Sets of 3-5 reps aren’t going to do much for a 13RM weight.

-S-
 

Philippe Geoffrion

Level 6 Valued Member
I think for k.b. pressing, ladders may be a better option. There are several programs devoted to the KB press by Pavel though I’m unfamiliar to them but ladders seem to pop up as widely being successful.

I don’t think you did anything wrong with your gtg but @Antti makes good points. You must adjust your volume/load to fatigue.

Steve makes a good point as well about GTG being better suited to up max strength and improve form for near max weights, although GTG has helped improved pull-up numbers. Pressing the kettlebell for reps, it is easy to lose form and tension without rest or recleaning the bell. Pavel mentions this in BB.

It is not so much the volume that’s important but the practice of the lift to drill correct technique. You should feel invigorated after gtg practices, not tired. When you start feeling tired, it’s time to back down and when you’re roaring to press again, that’s when you should test yourself.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Steve makes a good point as well about GTG being better suited to up max strength and improve form for near max weights, although GTG has helped improved pull-up numbers. Pressing the kettlebell for reps, it is easy to lose form and tension without rest or recleaning the bell. Pavel mentions this in BB.

A point I didn’t make but should have: GTG for strength plays by different rules than GTG for reps. That’s why I commented on a 13RM weight as a strategy for getting “stronger.” Typical strength GTG uses a pretty heavy weight while rep-focused GTG uses a much lower percentage of max reps.

E.g., if I was GTG for max body weight pull-up reps, I’d use around 50% of max reps. But if I was using GTG to achieve Beast Tamer single rep, which is bw + 48 kg, I’d probably use bw + a 32 kg. (And the math for pull-ups adds bw and bell weight together so that’s actually quite a high percentage.)

-S-
 

LLT

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Great points made by Steve. It is Important to keep the goal the goal (as Dan John put it). Then you need a degree of specificity as in regards to pure strength or strength endurance. You will always have some carry over from one rep range to another. But the bigger the difference (think 1RM vs 20RM) the less the carry over. So keep your goal in mind and try to stick to the right range like Steve already made clear.
 
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