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How a Simple Powerlifting Method Can Up Your Strength Without Leaving You Sore Even If You're Lazy
A quick disclaimer before I begin:
The method Im going to reveal to you is both powerful and effective, and truly requires very little of your time and not much effort but you need to understand its purpose and that is to increase either maximum strength or muscle endurance. Though you will likely experience some cosmetic muscle changes, this is not a program designed for weight loss or muscle gain. Its intent is to increase functional strength and work capacity. Losing fatand gaining muscle along the way is a nice side benefit but the goal is to get strong. If you are already in decent shape, you will get stronger without having to spend anhour or more at the gym. If youre completely out of shape - dont worry - this will get you going on the road to success.
I also want to add that I did not come up with this on my own but its based on principles I learned from some of the great strength coaches of our time. I want to give credit where credit is due and also be as transparent aspossible. The strategy Im about to share with you is based on the "Grease the Groove" method as first described tome by Pavel Tsatsouline. In case you dont know who Pavel is, hes the guy thats generally credited with introducing kettlebells to Americans.
His method is really geared toward elite powerlifters andstrength athletes, but Im going to show you how the same exact concept can be applied to the average guy/gal who works out or even the couch potato whos struggling to get that motivation to start an exercise routine. With that out of the way, lets get down to business.
First, let me describe to you Pavels "Grease the Groove"method - I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous so well refer to it as GtG from now on. GtG can be summed up as:
Specificity + Frequent Practice (Volume) = Success
The technical name Pavel gives this is "SynapticFacilitation". It means you pick an exercise (or two) andyou do it often. Yes its that simple. Before you get angrythat you read this far only for me to tell you that, let me explain it a little bit more.
Ill use myself as an example because I am proof that GtGworks. Ive personally used my own variation of GtG to get my push up, pull up and sit up numbers high enough to gain admittance to the Navy Special Warfare recruitinggroup in my local area and I can tell you its very effective.I achieved maximum results with minimum effort and you can too - even if youre a couch potato.
So for those of you who dont know, candidates who wish to try out for Navy Special Warfare have to successfullypass a series of physical fitness tests. I wont get into all of them here but for the sake of our example, I will tell youthat push ups is one of them. I was required to perform asmany push ups as I could in 2 minutes. A competitive score is considered 80 or higher and if you really want to stand out you need to get a 100.
Now the traditional advice to reach this goal would be something along the lines of doing some push ups, benchpressing, tricep exercises and maybe some shoulder stuff. I didnt do any of that and instead I employed my ownversion of the GtG method. It was much simpler and in myopinion, much MORE effective. Not only that, but it didnt require me to spend hours in the gym. Heck, I didnt even break a sweat doing it and I didnt get sore either.
In fact, soreness is actually a sign that youre doing it wrong. The exception to that statement is if youre someone who has either never exercised or hasnt exercised in a long time. In either case, dont worry because you still wont be as sore as you would fromputting in hours at the gym, and eventually the "getting sore" will go away.
Step 1 - I knew I needed to perform 100 reps so I dividedthem up into small sets that I performed throughout the day. I determined the number of sets and reps per setusing a VERY important rule.That rule is that you NEVERwant to go to failure or even close to failure. Working themuscle to failure will not only leave you sore and unableto continue "greasing the groove" so to speak, but it will also exhaust your nervous system.
Step 2 - To prevent going to failure I needed to see what my failing point was, so I tested my max set of push upswithout stopping. At the time it was 40. I then took half ofthat number - 20 - and divided it into my total reps goal - 100. In case youre bad at math, 100 divided by 20 is 5.
Step 3 - I then began by doing 5 sets of 20 reps (again, that 20 was half of my max set) throughout the day. I made sure that I took at least an hour between sets andsometimes more. By the end of the day I had done a total of 100 but I was neither tired, nor sore and I didnt evenbreak a sweat. In terms of time, just put it in perspective - how long does it really take to do a set of push ups? For most people less than a minute.
The best part is that the next day, I was able to do it againbecause I wasnt sore. My strength went up pretty quickly and so I increased my total daily volume to 200 reps and added 5 reps to each set for a total of 25 reps per set. Divide 25 into 200 and I was doing 8 sets a day - roughly one per hour. Some days when I wanted to take it easy I would only do half of that, but it didnt matter. My strength kept going up and I was eventually doing sets of 50 push ups 8 times a day for a total of 400 push ups a day! Let me re-state that this was all without breaking a sweat or getting sore. On top of that, there were actuallysome days where I allowed myself to be lazy and not finish my daily goal - and it still worked. Keep in mind that I was also training for a very elite test, so if being lazy sometimes and still achieving my goal worked for me,
If youre just an average guy, you can be even more lazy than I was and still get amazing results. If youre a couchpotato who cant get the motivation to exercise, you cantuse the excuse that its too much effort or that it takes toomuch time because as I just described to you, none of that is true with this. If I could use it to pass the Navy SpecialWarfare Physical Fitness Test, there is no reason why you cant use it to get stronger and get in shape. Again, how long does it take to do one set of push ups? Less than aminute. You will not be sweating. You will not be in pain. Just do it a few times a day. Pick a goal. Do the math I described above with your own numbers and just do it. Even if you do only one set every day. You will eventually start doing two. The important part is that you are doing something instead of just sitting on your couch getting
I realize I was mostly speaking to out of shape folks in the above paragraph and some of you more fit guys and gals might be wondering how you can apply this method to working with weights. Its actually completely do-able, because with weights youre not going to be banging out 100s of reps. In fact, even though I used push ups as anexample, the GtG method is actually most commonly usedby Olympic weightlifters. If you have a bench or dumbbells at home you can just do one heavy set of your chosen exercise (up to 6 reps) when you wake up in the morning, one when you get home from work and one later in the evening. Thats 3 sets a day. Do this 5 days a week and your strength levels will quickly rise.
Step 1. Pick an exercise or two that you want to get betterat (bodyweight exercises are best for beginners since you can do them almost anywhere).
Step 2. Pick a goal and figure out your set and rep schemebased on the "dont go to failure" math concept described above. In case you forgot it, its:
a. Pick a Total Daily Rep Goal (ex. 100 push ups)
b. Test your Max Reps (ex. 40) and Divide that Number byHalf (20). Take the Result (20) and Divide it into your Total Daily Rep Goal (100). The answer is how many sets youllbe doing throughout the day (ex. 5). With weight trainingthis is slightly more complicated because you have to take the amount of weight you are using into consideration aswell. A general rule of thumb is that you want to se 80% of your 1RM (one rep max) for 1-6 reps.
Step 3. Just Do It! Even if you dont do all the sets youwant to in a given day, just do some. Even one. It doesnt matter. You just need to be doing something and dont forget to take at least an hour between each set.
One last note I want to re-emphasize is that this strategy isvery effective for increasing either muscular endurance or maximum strength but wont really work that well if youare in a growth stage of a bodybuilding program. If you are a beginner-level bodybuilder you will experience muscle growth simply from using your muscles where you hadnt before, but for an intermediate or advanced level bodybuilder this program will not result in hypertrophy. Thats not to say they shouldnt use it, but use it during a strength cycle or a muscle endurance cycle, not when trying to add mass to your frame. Also, if youre alwaystrying to add mass to your frame, then you need to either speak to a professional like me or read up on program periodization because training for hypertrophy only, will actually result in less hypertrophy in the end. Interesting