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I don't know about you but from time to time I am getting obsessed with things. Lately, it is military press and squats. I will leave squats for another day and focus on pressing and how I am planning to achieve my goals.

But I need to mention that even tho we are all the same we are not the same. What I mean by that is we may or may not react the same to the same stimulus. Which means what is perfect for me can be useless for you. Training can be many things, but especially at the beginning, it is about being consistent and experimenting. If you are just starting your fitness journey you shouldn't be worried that much what kind of routine you pick because you will respond to everything. This phase usually is called newbie gains. As time passes your progress will slow down and you will have to start looking for more advanced solutions to push yourself forward. There are many strategies to drive your progress but today I will focus on GREASE THE GROOVE (GTG).I don't know about you but from time to time I am getting obsessed with things. Lately, it is military press and squats. I will leave squats for another day and focus on pressing and how I am planning to achieve my goals. But I need to mention that even tho we are all the same we are not the same. What I mean by that is we may or may not react the same to the same stimulus. Which means what is perfect for me can be useless for you. Training can be many things, but especially at the beginning, it is about being consistent and experimenting. If you are just starting your fitness journey you shouldn't be worried that much what kind of routine you pick because you will respond to everything. This phase usually is called newbie gains. As time passes your progress will slow down and you will have to start looking for more advanced solutions to push yourself forward. There are many strategies to drive your progress but today I will focus on GREASE THE GROOVE (GTG).

First time I came across this term was during reading The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsuline (check out StrongFirst for more info). Basically, GTG is a method of frequent (daily) training while avoiding muscle fatigue. It is an approach when your main focus is put on neurological adaptation without breaking muscle tissue. Why? Because strength is a skill and has to be trained like one. If you want to learn to play guitar or new language you will practice every day, right? Same with strength. But what is a strength? It is the ability to produce force against external resistance. Force is generated when your muscles contract, which happens when your nervous system sends a signal to act. If you practice it often your nervous system can communicate with your muscles in a more efficient way and that leads to better contraction. But remember with GTG staying fresh and being able to perform every rep of every set with perfect form is the name of the game.

The best way to start is to choose an exercise in which you want to get stronger. I would strongly recommend bodyweight exercises because we can perform most of them everywhere. Then pick a number which can describe your MAX REPS and take 50%-70% from it. 

(MAX REPS * 0.50 or 0.60 or 0.70 and round up the result)

That should be your baseline for GTG. There is no fixed recommendation for how many sets of an exercise you should do a day but I would say that 6 is minimum. The next step is to choose when to perform each set. And because you have to do bodyweight movement you do not have to warm up, you can jump straight to it. There are many suggestions when to do them:

- in "every-hour-on-the-hour routine" you perform your reps at the top of every hour,

- you can just blast them whenever you have a break from work/home tasks,

- you can also set a rule like "every time I go to the toilet I must do 10 pushups". 

You will be amused how many you were able to do during a day. For example, Pavel’s 60-year-old father-in-law followed the third option. Whenever he went down into the basement, he had to perform 5 chin-ups. He averaged anywhere from 25 to 100 reps a day, depending on how often he went down to the basement. When he tested himself a few weeks later, he was able to perform 20 consecutive reps, something he hadn’t even been able to do as a young Marine.

This is everything you need to know to start. I have used this method to get my one arm pushup. When I finally decided to do it I was surprised at how easy it was. I am also using it currently to get my kettlebell military press up. Every hour or so I go outside and do a press on each side. Sometimes I do from 10 to 20 singles, sometimes 15 doubles. I keep in mind that I am training the nervous system to utilize muscles to the fullest capacity. By staying fresh and being able to perform each rep in a perfect form I practice muscle firing patterns for max effort. GTG can be utilized during your normal training days as good as during your off days because you never go to failure.

Before I leave you with your first GTG cycle, let me write a few words about progression. Once in a while add a set or rep for each set to your routine. It is up to you because we have to look at GTG as a method, not an actual program. As long as you listen to your body and you feel stronger the next day you are golden. Once in a while, you can test your REP MAX but I wouldn't do it more often than once every 1-2 a month. And once you can perform twice as many reps as your old REP MAX then you should switch to a different exercise. For example - if you were doing regular push-ups you should try diamond pushups, if you were working on pull-ups maybe you should switch to chin ups or wide pullups and so on... and do not forget to choose exercise which engages the most muscles in your body.


Takeaways:

1. Train every day.

2. Train multiple times each day.

3. Never go to failure.

4. Focus on perfection.

5. Stay fresh all the time.

 

Bonus.

My kettlebell military press strategies I was using lately to get my upper body strength up. Keep in mind that the closer you will get to your true 1RM the more creative you will have to be to get your strength up because there is no program which works forever. Both programs can be used with one or two kettlebells. 

Both taken from StrongFirst website - https://www.strongfirst.com

The numbers below are SETSxREPS.

1. Chinese Food for Rapid Pressing Gains (by Daniel Hanscom).

DAY 1 - 15x1

DAY 2 - 10x2

DAY 3 - 20x1

DAY 4 - 15x2

DAY 5 - 10x3

DAY 6 - 25x1

DAY 7 - 20x2

DAY 8 - 15x3

DAY 9 - 10x4

DAY 10 - 30x1

DAY 11 - 25x2

DAY 12 - 20x3

DAY 13 - 15x4

DAY 14 - 10x5

DAY 15 - OFF

DAY 16 - TEST

2. Soju and Tuba Press Program (by Joey Yang)

For this program, you have to use kettlebell 2kg 4kg smaller than your 1RM. I have successfully used this routine to get my press from 28kg to 32kg. 

DAY 1 - 4x1

DAY 2 - 6x1

DAY 3 - 8x1

DAY 4 - 10x1

DAY 5 - 12x1

DAY 6 - 14x1

DAY 7 - 3x2

DAY 8 - 4x2

DAY 9 - 5x2

DAY 10 - 6x2

DAY 11 - 7x2

DAY 12 - 8x2

DAY 13 - 2x3

DAY 14 - 3x3

DAY 15 - 4x3

DAY 16 - 5x3

DAY 17 - 6x3

DAY 18 - OFF

DAY 19 - TEST

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