Multiple questions about using the Grease the Groove routine for leg strength.

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Emanuel

First Post
So I am currently doing 5x5x225 w/ 15mins in between sets.
I do this MWF and I am wondering a few things.

1. Can I do this more often? i.e. S-F(6 days a week) since the whole the goal of GTG is to increase strength by doing perfect reps at 30-60% of your 1RM. If I am not tired after could I repeat this 6 times a week without overtraining?

2. Does this volume and time in between qualify as greasing the groove?

3. How often should I increase the weight?

4. How often should I test my 1RM?
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Maybe I'm a bit thick (I am) but what is the movement in question?

Also, how proficient and experienced are you in the movement?

In general, I find GTG best done as often as possible. I can't put it in a time frame, you're either fresh and recovered or not. I find that the weight is good to be heavy, for example 2-3 of a 5 rep max or 5 of a 10 rep max. I prefer waviness in the load and I would change daily, but both up and down depending on the day. The 1RM test I try to avoid as far as I can.
 

ShawnM

Level 8 Valued Member
I guess you could do this 6 days a week but a better question is should you do this 6 days a week. You're doing a 5x5 with 15 minutes between sets, that in it self isn't optimal. You would be better served strength wise by doing a ramp up to a heavy set of 5 and then 5-8 sets with 90% of your top set of 5 for 5 reps. I would do this on Monday, Wednesday do 3-5 sets of 5 with 80% of your volume sets from monday. Friday slowly work your way up to a new 5 rep max and then stop. Monday use your new 5 rep max as your top set.

GTG is great for a lot of movements, I'm not sure Squats are the best move. But then again there are a ton of people here deadlifting everyday. Maybe try the Daily Dead Lift program but for Squats. You'll wave the intensity through the week. Maybe the justas singles program as well.

Either way, best of luck with your training.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Emanuel, welcome to the StrongFirst forum!

There are many approaches one can take - doing something in a single, low-volume workout every day is what we have termed Easy Strength. Doing it multiple times each day, every day is Grease The Groove. They are different but based on the same principles of frequent, moderately heavy practice that stays far from failure.

So the answer to your Question #2 is: No.

-S-
 

Ryan Toshner

SFG TL, SFB, SFL, FMS
Senior Certified Instructor
#3: Increase weight when it feels "really" easy... you'll know when that is. Use easy math when increasing (i.e. add a 10 to both sides... keep it simple).

#4: Rarely. Unless you're competing, does your 1RM really matter? (That's sort of rhetorical...)
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Emanuel, a bit more about testing your 1RM: on an Easy Strength approach, you go for a new max when you feel like it. It's a "sort of" max, not something all out.

-S-
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
So I am currently doing 5x5x225 w/ 15mins in between sets.
I do this MWF and I am wondering a few things.

1. Can I do this more often? i.e. S-F(6 days a week) since the whole the goal of GTG is to increase strength by doing perfect reps at 30-60% of your 1RM. If I am not tired after could I repeat this 6 times a week without overtraining?
Technique Development

Performing perfect reps with 30-60% of your 1RM improve your technique with your 30-60% 1RM. It has a little but not much carry over to your technique heavy loads (85% plus of 1RM).

Baseball Analogy

Practicing hitting a baseball thrown at 60 mph doesn't help you much in learning how to hit a 90 mph plus ball.

Muscle Firing Sequence

Research shows (Dr Tom McLaughlin/PhD Exercise Biomechanics/Former Powerlifter) that the muscle firing sequence is different with light loads compared to heavy loads.

2. Does this volume and time in between qualify as greasing the groove?
It only helps you "grease the groove" (technique) with loads of 30-60% of 1RM.

3. How often should I increase the weight?
You become technically proficient at pushing/pulling a heavy single load, you need to practice the movement with load of 85% plus of 1RM.

The movement need to be preformed for 1 repetition, no more than two reps.

You need to be fully recovered between each 1 repetition movement.

Once you become fatigued, STOP. That because your technique falls apart when fatigued. You technique and "groove" change, reinforcing/developing poor technique.

4. How often should I test my 1RM?
Perhaps once every 6-8 weeks.

However, you eventually learn where you 1RM is based on your exercise reps.

Kenny Croxdale
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@kennycro@@aol.com, thank you for that detailed reply, and I also want to say that it's great to see you here.

I want to explore some of what you said - I don't disagree outright with anything but I think bringing the StrongFirst approach to things makes a difference, and I'll explain below.

Performing perfect reps with 30-60% of your 1RM improve your technique with your 30-60% 1RM. It has a little but not much carry over to your technique heavy loads (85% plus of 1RM).
This may be true for lots of people but we do our best to make it _not_ true at StrongFirst. One of the things we talk a lot about is the idea of having a 'volume control' on each effort, and matching the volume control setting to the weight you're moving. The idea of the volume control is that you don't use different technique for a light weight than you would for a heavy one, you just dial back the intensity.

It's easy enough to read what I just wrote and say, "yeah, that sounds nice, but it doesn't work that way." I think part of what we try to teach here is making it 'work that way' as much as possible. How many people achieve some/most/all of that? I couldn't tell you, but it is something we're big on around. We don't want the muscle firing sequence to be different with lighter loads.

One point I made recently in another post here was that there is a "right" weight to use to learn a new skill for each person - too light and, to use your terminology, the firing sequence would be different. That's why I encourage everyone to go heavy enough in weight to make yourself respond in the same way as you would with something truly heavy. And as I mentioned in that other thread, as one's skill improves, one starts to be able to demonstrate good form with lighter weights as well as with heavier.

@Emanuel, you mention doing 5 x 5 with 225. I assume you mean pounds - if you mean kilos, ignore what's to follow. :) For most healthy adult males with experience deadlifting, 225 isn't heavy enough as a working weight. I know a 62-year-old who lifts raw in the 148 class and he does 5-10 singles at around 285 lbs., 4-5 days a week. That's fewer deadlifts in a week than you're doing in a day. Unless you've got particular reason to do so, I'd rather see you achieve volume in your training program by some other means and change your deadlifts to be heavier in weight and much lower in volume.

And not that there aren't reasons, but we don't know anything about you. If you want good guidance, we need an exercise history, and injury history, all the activities you're currently doing besides weight lifting, where weight lifting fits in your priorities list, and how you see the deadlift helping you. Armed with that, we might be able to talk about specific programs and approaches you could try, but without that, it's a lot of theory without practical application.

-S-
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
Practicing hitting a baseball thrown at 60 mph doesn't help you much in learning how to hit a 90 mph plus ball.

Don't know about others, but I would have never been able to handle faster pitches without a lot of time spent on technique with the machines set at 60-75mph. You can practice being more relaxed, preset, quicker, and shorter stroke with the slower pitches. Similar to slow practice in music- it's invaluable. Trick is, though, you set your metronome slow so you can process more information, but you still make the transition to the next note as quickly as you can. If you try to hit or play faster than you're able to, you just fall apart and can't learn it or do it.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
@kennycro@@aol.com, thank you for that detailed reply, and I also want to say that it's great to see you here.

I want to explore some of what you said - I don't disagree outright with anything but I think bringing the StrongFirst approach to things makes a difference, and I'll explain below.

This may be true for lots of people but we do our best to make it _not_ true at StrongFirst. One of the things we talk a lot about is the idea of having a 'volume control' on each effort, and matching the volume control setting to the weight you're moving. The idea of the volume control is that you don't use different technique for a light weight than you would for a heavy one, you just dial back the intensity.

It's easy enough to read what I just wrote and say, "yeah, that sounds nice, but it doesn't work that way." I think part of what we try to teach here is making it 'work that way' as much as possible. How many people achieve some/most/all of that? I couldn't tell you, but it is something we're big on around. We don't want the muscle firing sequence to be different with lighter loads.
Muscle Firing Sequence In Regard To Load

Steve, it now what I might say. It come down to what the research has demonstrated. And the research clear has show that the muscle firing sequence is different with different loads.

However, in learning any new movement light to moderate load is where you start. While some training with light to moderate load can be utilized in a training program to develop technique. they are not as effective as load of 85% plus of 1 Repetition Max.

Thus, the skill need to develop Limit Strength (a 1 Repetition Max) in movements like the Powerlift's Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift and Weightlifting's Snatch and the Clean and Jerk, etc need to be practiced with load in the 85% plus of 1 Repetition Max.

One point I made recently in another post here was that there is a "right" weight to use to learn a new skill for each person - too light and, to use your terminology, the firing sequence would be different. That's why I encourage everyone to go heavy enough in weight to make yourself respond in the same way as you would with something truly heavy. And as I mentioned in that other thread, as one's skill improves, one starts to be able to demonstrate good form with lighter weights as well as with heavier.
Technique Training Progression

There's a definitive load progression in the development of skill; starting out with light to moderate load. It somewhat I going through grade school. Before you advance to the next level (increased load), you first must have demonstrated a proficiency with the present load.

Once that is accomplished, the training load percentage is increased.

IF the lifter is unable to preform the technique with the increased load, the load is decreased to a training percentage which allows that lifter to preform the movement correctly.

With that in mind, let's look once more at the...

Baseball Analogy

Before you learn to hit a 90 mph pitch, your first need to hearn to hit a 60, 70 and 80 mph pitch.

Hitting only 60 mph pitches makes you really good at hitting 60 mph pitches. A 90 mph pitch (as with a 1 Repetition Max) is a completely different animal.

Kenny Croxdale
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
Practicing hitting a baseball thrown at 60 mph doesn't help you much in learning how to hit a 90 mph plus ball.

Don't know about others, but I would have never been able to handle faster pitches without a lot of time spent on technique with the machines set at 60-75mph. You can practice being more relaxed, preset, quicker, and shorter stroke with the slower pitches. Similar to slow practice in music- it's invaluable. Trick is, though, you set your metronome slow so you can process more information, but you still make the transition to the next note as quickly as you can. If you try to hit or play faster than you're able to, you just fall apart and can't learn it or do it.
Technique Development Progression

Matt, there is definitely a learning progress in technique development.

You need to start out with slower pitches and learn to hit them and progressive learn to hit faster pitches. The same applies with lifting.

Practice And Confidence

"You can practice being more relaxed, preset, quicker, and shorter stroke with the slower pitches."

This is an excellent point. The skill development mastery at with slow pitches/lower loads ensure all of the above, increasing you're confidence in advancing.

As someone once said, "Whether you think you can or you can't, your right!"

Kenny Croxdale



 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
@kennycro@@aol.com, thank you for that detailed reply, and I also want to say that it's great to see you here.

I want to explore some of what you said - I don't disagree outright with anything but I think bringing the StrongFirst approach to things makes a difference, and I'll explain below.

This may be true for lots of people but we do our best to make it _not_ true at StrongFirst. One of the things we talk a lot about is the idea of having a 'volume control' on each effort, and matching the volume control setting to the weight you're moving. The idea of the volume control is that you don't use different technique for a light weight than you would for a heavy one, you just dial back the intensity.

It's easy enough to read what I just wrote and say, "yeah, that sounds nice, but it doesn't work that way." I think part of what we try to teach here is making it 'work that way' as much as possible. How many people achieve some/most/all of that? I couldn't tell you, but it is something we're big on around. We don't want the muscle firing sequence to be different with lighter loads.

One point I made recently in another post here was that there is a "right" weight to use to learn a new skill for each person - too light and, to use your terminology, the firing sequence would be different. That's why I encourage everyone to go heavy enough in weight to make yourself respond in the same way as you would with something truly heavy. And as I mentioned in that other thread, as one's skill improves, one starts to be able to demonstrate good form with lighter weights as well as with heavier.

-S-
Steve, what do you think is the general suitable rep range in percentages in a DL cycle? I understand that it is highly individual and varies by situation but certainly there are some baselines or we would have no programs at all. For example, at the moment I try to do half of my training as volume in the 70-80% range and the other half fewer reps in the 80-90% range. I rarely lift anything below my 70% RM.

If I remember right PTTP started with 70-80% of RM and there was also some mention of 3x3 with 90% RM. To me the 85% that Kenny talks about doesn't seem to be so far off from what has been recommended before.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 7 Valued Member
the whole the goal of GTG is to increase strength by doing perfect reps at 30-60% of your 1RM
Don't confuse 1RM with RepMax!

GTG is 30-60% of your RepMax meaning if you can lift 225 for 10reps you perform multiple sets of 3-6 reps with 225 throughout the day.
That's different than performin reps with 30-60% of your 1RM. To continue with the example, we said that 225 is the 10RM, so (according to calculators) the 1RM would be 300. 30-60% of that would be 90-180.
You can see the significant weight difference here (reps with 90-180lbs vs. reps with 225lbs)

To make it clear in another way, in the context of GTG 30-60% of you 1RM would be still performing only 1 rep, but only 30-60% of the ROM of that rep. Not 30-60% of the weight used.

GTG is best used with bodyweight exercises, because the weight stays the same and the goal is to increase reps.

To keep the baseball analogy, the goal would indeed be to get better at hitting 60mph pitches by hitting a lot of 60mph pitches. As was said this won't make you able able to hit 90mph pitches, but by perfecting your ability to hit 60mph pitches you'll also get better at hitting 63mph pitches. After some time you start using 63mph pitches in your training, which over time improves your ability to hit 65mph pitches and then you start using 65mph pitches...
You see the pattern here.
To get back to the weightlifting example (1RM 300, 10RM 225), @kennycro@@aol.com is probably right that a lot of reps with 225 won't make you better at lifting 300, but it will make you better at lifting 235. Because of that you can soon use 235, which also improves the ability to lift 245 and so on.
Down the road you'll be using your old 1RM of 300 for reps.

To make a long story short:
GTG is best used to increase RepMax and not 1RM. Because of the way strength adaptions happen high rep work with lower weights (like GTG) will also slightly improve your 1RM, but if your goal is to increase your 1RM there are definitely better ways.
 
Last edited:

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Antti, it really does depend. PTTP Professional has, if memory serves, a routine in which someone DL's a very low percentage for 20-rep sets, but that's the exception. The original PTTP recommends a "set of singles, " again if memory serves, where you put the bar down and stand up between reps.

I think I've used about every rep/set scheme there is at this point, and I find a place for many of them in my current training. E.g., I learned from Marty Gallagher about doing touch-and-go deadlifts with a very light touch at the bottom. I like them for certain purposes, e.g., for me at my age, a little of the kind of training that might produce hypertrophy in someone younger might just help me break even, so I do these sometimes, almost never more than a double or a triple before putting the bar down and resetting. When it comes to my own deadlift training, I count reps, not sets, since everything I'm doing is a pretty low rep, anyway.

Not sure if I helped or added to the confusion. :)

-S-
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
@Antti, it really does depend. PTTP Professional has, if memory serves, a routine in which someone DL's a very low percentage for 20-rep sets, but that's the exception. The original PTTP recommends a "set of singles, " again if memory serves, where you put the bar down and stand up between reps.

I think I've used about every rep/set scheme there is at this point, and I find a place for many of them in my current training. E.g., I learned from Marty Gallagher about doing touch-and-go deadlifts with a very light touch at the bottom. I like them for certain purposes, e.g., for me at my age, a little of the kind of training that might produce hypertrophy in someone younger might just help me break even, so I do these sometimes, almost never more than a double or a triple before putting the bar down and resetting. When it comes to my own deadlift training, I count reps, not sets, since everything I'm doing is a pretty low rep, anyway.

Not sure if I helped or added to the confusion. :)

-S-
Steve, thanks for your comments. I think that there will always be confusion when we read, it only clears when we do, and do it enough. Many times there are gems among the confusion which help us on our ways.

I haven't read the PTTP Pro so I wasn't aware of the program. Your viewpoint of the PTTP as a set of singles is interesting. I suppose deadlifts are always singles, but the extent to which one goes may differ. I typically always loosen my grip between reps but I don't get back up.

It is also interesting how there are such different ways of programming the deadlift. You do very few reps, and I've seen an article on the site where there can be only four reps a week. Then there is the PTTP, where you can easily have 50 reps a week. Of course it's a matter of priorities and the levels we're at. I've just about hit the "Real adult weights", as put in the article, so it may be that my programming and therefore my experience is different and will change a lot through the years to come.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
Steve, what do you think is the general suitable rep range in percentages in a DL cycle? I understand that it is highly individual and varies by situation but certainly there are some baselines or we would have no programs at all. For example, at the moment I try to do half of my training as volume in the 70-80% range and the other half fewer reps in the 80-90% range. I rarely lift anything below my 70% RM.

If I remember right PTTP started with 70-80% of RM and there was also some mention of 3x3 with 90% RM. To me the 85% that Kenny talks about doesn't seem to be so far off from what has been recommended before.
Antti's Deadlift Program

Your Deadlift Training Program overall Training Percentages look good.

The Deadlift is a completely different animal. Less tends to be more with the Deadlift, when it come to training intensity.

As Dr Tom McLaughlin noted in one of his research article, "The lower back is quickly and easily overtrained."

Louie Simmons comment on the Deadlift was/is, "It a lift that takes more than it give back." That reference was made in regard the recovery time needed between Deadlift Training Session compared to other exercise such as the Squat, Bench Press, etc.

A Strong Case For the Rounded Back Deadlift
A Strong Case For the Rounded Back Deadlift | T Nation

As Dr Bret Contreras's noted in this article on Deadlift Training...

Stick to submaximal training with "perfect posture."
Stay between 60-80% of 1RM

Go heavy but pull back on the reigns a little bit with "sub-optimal posture."
Don't ever truly "max out." Only go to 95% of 1RM.

Kenny Croxdale

 

kennycro@@aol.com

Level 6 Valued Member
GTG is best used to increase RepMax and not 1RM. Because of the way strength adaptions happen high rep work with lower weights (like GTG) will also slightly improve your 1RM, but if your goal is to increase your 1RM there are definitely better ways.
Greasing The Groove Training Percentages

It works with all Training Percentages, 1 Repetition Max Technique Training as well as RepMax Training.

Kenny Croxdale
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
Antti's Deadlift Program

Your Deadlift Training Program overall Training Percentages look good.

The Deadlift is a completely different animal. Less tends to be more with the Deadlift, when it come to training intensity.

As Dr Tom McLaughlin noted in one of his research article, "The lower back is quickly and easily overtrained."

Louie Simmons comment on the Deadlift was/is, "It a lift that takes more than it give back." That reference was made in regard the recovery time needed between Deadlift Training Session compared to other exercise such as the Squat, Bench Press, etc.

A Strong Case For the Rounded Back Deadlift
A Strong Case For the Rounded Back Deadlift | T Nation

As Dr Bret Contreras's noted in this article on Deadlift Training...

Stick to submaximal training with "perfect posture."
Stay between 60-80% of 1RM

Go heavy but pull back on the reigns a little bit with "sub-optimal posture."
Don't ever truly "max out." Only go to 95% of 1RM.

Kenny Croxdale
I have often read and heard that the deadlift takes a lot of time to recover from. I'm not sure I so far agree. Maybe things change when things get heavier. I also suspect that it has a lot to do with how one trains; maybe the DL suffers more from the bench press and the squat than other way round. So as I do not train much else than the DL I do not find the recovery requirements that drastic.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Antti, please also keep in mind that much of what's been written about the deadlift is aimed at people who also squat and bench. I don't do three-lift meets any more, just deadlift, so many things are different.

-S-
 
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