Friday 150501

For time:
Row 1500 Meters
9 Power Snatch 155#(105#)
Row 1000 Meters
15 Power Snatch 135#(95#)
Row 500 Meters
21 Power Snatch 115#(75#)

Post time to comments or BTW


Matt on #teamverve working on some weighted pull-ups.

Matt on #teamverve working on some weighted pull-ups.

“I want more pull-ups” “I want more Push-ups” “I want more…” – Anna Mattson

I have heard some athletes asking questions about how they can start getting more of a particular movement, whether it be pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, wallballs, etc.  I hate to bring it up again, but after listening to a Tim Ferris podcast in which he interviewed Pavel Tsatsouline.  Pavel has a training philosophy called GREASING THE GROOVE (GtG).  GtG is a training method in which you perform the desired movement often, perhaps 2 – 3 times per day, in reps much below failure.  Pavel has shown that this will help to build neural adaptation to help your muscles fire in the necessary sequence to perform the desired movement.  So I don’t slaughter this training scheme, I will now reference a great article by T-nation, find the whole article here.

Pavel Tsatsouline is known for creating the phrase greasing the groove (GtG) in his book Power to the People. In the book, he talked about how important it is for the neurological groove to fire in a certain sequence and intensity. GtG is not so much breaking down muscle tissue for more growth, as it is about building up the neurological pathway of lifting heavy weight.

Muscles are made up of many muscle fibers, which follow the all-or-none law – meaning they contract or they don’t. The nervous system sends signals to the muscles fibers to contract. As the signals become more frequent, the muscle fibers twitching overlap and summate to create greater pull.1,2 The faster the signals, the greater the cumulative pull of the muscle (similar to faster revolutions of the engine lead to greater power).

GtG helps build this firing pattern. Furthermore, it trains the inter-muscular coordination that is needed for heavy lifts (helping the muscles get along better with each other)

Here is how Pavel stated it:
Muscle failure is more than unnecessary – it is counterproductive! Neuroscientists have known for half a century that if you stimulate a neural pathway, say the bench press groove, and the outcome is positive, future benching will be easier, thanks to the so-called Hebbian rule. The groove has been ‘greased’. Next time the same amount of mental effort will result in a heavier bench. This is training to success! The opposite is also true. If your body fails to perform your brain’s command, the groove will get ‘rusty’. You are pushing as hard as usual, but the muscles contract weaker then before! To paraphrase powerlifting champ Dr. Terry Todd, if you are training to failure, you are training to fail.

Not Training to Failure – Perfect Practice

One of the biggest keys in the above statement is how important it is to not train to muscle failure. As Dave Whitley has described, lifting heavy weights is a skill. A skill is not learned by completing it over and over until muscle fatigue sets in. The old-time strongmen performed every repetition knowing they would have to do it again soon. It was always perfect practice.

Pavel described the way a tennis player would perfect his serve as an analogy to how to train to lift heavy weights:
How do you improve your tennis serve? Do you hit the court once a week and keep on serving until your balls could not knock out a sick mosquito and you can barely lift your arm? No, you come to the court as often as possible, ideally more than once per day, and slam those little yellow balls until you feel that your serves are about to slow down.

 Frequent Greasing
One of the big keys in GtG is frequent work of the same exercise.
It may seem counterintuitive as we often hear how we need to avoid overtraining. However, if we are not training to failure our bodies can afford to do the same exercises again either later that day or the next day.

Again, we are training the nervous system to utilize our muscles to the fullest capacity. Similar to learning a language, if you only use it once a year we will not retain it very well. However, if we are immersed in a foreign country and use language frequently throughout the day we will learn it quicker.

***Pull Ups With GtG***
One of the questions I hear most often is how to do a strict pull up. Accomplishing a strict pull up makes people very happy. The GtG program is perfect for building strength in this way.

 If a pull up can’t be completed then a ring row is a perfect alternative. However, jumping pull ups, where the person jumps up and then lets him- or herself down slowly are a great way to build strength for a full pull up. The eccentric portion of a movement is an excellent strength builder.

When doing jumping pull ups, only do a few at a time and focus on going as slowly as possible through your sticky points. If you have a difficult time with getting your chin over the bar in a pull up, then focus on holding that part as long as possible on the way down. Over time, try to make the way down slower and slower.

An ideal plan would be to do about one quality negative pull-up every ten minutes while working out other body parts (for a grand total of five in a workout). Do this everyday and a strict pull up will come soon.

I hope this helps some of you create a game plan to get more of what you want.  2 key takeaways are to NOT go to failure, go until quality begins to degrade and DO IT.  The program is only as good as it is executed.


– We will have silent auction items for you to bid on posted in the gym all day Saturday AND at the Verve Outing at Lucky Pie Saturday night.

-Don’t forget about the Verve Outing Saturday night from 4p – 8p @ Lucky Pie Pizza.  Thank you in advance to Lucky Pie for hosting our group!

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