Pavel Tsatsouline’s “Grease the Groove” technique is very effective in maximizing the number of chin-ups. The trick is doing multiple sets of chin-ups spread out over the duration of the day, several days a week. This theory is called synaptic facilitation – doing frequent, non-exhaustive sets of a specific exercise to strengthen the nerve pathway. It is said that Bulgarian and Russian Olympic weightlifters have been using this method that makes them so successful in the world stage over the years.
For regular guy like us, the problem is scheduling time to do many sets of an exercise throughout the day. While juggling work life and family obligation, it just seems unpractical for most of us.
There is an article by Pavel in the December 2000 issue of Milo magazine. The article explains “how to grease the groove on a tight schedule”. Pavel reveals that it is a method used by the Soviet Special Forces to meet the Spetsnaz requirement – 18 dead hang pull-ups wearing a 10-kilo (22 pound) bullet-proof vest.
Here is the technique in details:
- Find a partner to do the Chin-Ups Ladders.
- You do a pull-up, he do one. he do two and he matches you.
- Do it until one of you unable to keep up with the other.
- Start over.
What if you are training alone? Simply time your breaks by estimating how long it would take a partner to match your reps. Pavel especially recommend the small-interval so that “your odds of burning out are lower”.
If you want to maximize the volume without over straining yourself (which is always a good idea), learn to limit yourself. Stop each ladder one or two reps short of your limit. Say if you can work up to 10 reps, stop at 8. This approach encourages you to learn to listen to your body, know its limit. In other words, the workout is suited to be in tune with your body. As Pavel says, “The ladder, on the other hand, enables the strong man to grease the groove of his chosen feat with extraordinary volume”.
So go ahead give it a try today!