As you know may or may not know, I’ve registered for my RKC Level 2 Certification at the end of October. You can follow my progress HERE…
Level 2, unlike RKC Level 1 is very strength focused. Among the tests that I will have to perform to prove my worth are:
1. Being able to do a chin-up/pull-up from a “dead hang” position with a 24kg kettlebell hanging from my foot AND
2. Pressing 1/2 my bodyweight over my head with one arm.
The former (the chin-up) I’ve got down pretty well.
The latter is what I’m focusing my training on.
A couple of days ago I get an email from my good friend, Master RKC Geoff Neupert, on how to gain as much strength as possible in the least amount of time.
In fact, there’s a training program in there with my specific numbers on it. In addition to that, he likens this type of training to that of Olympic Gymnasts.
And with the Olympics going on, who doesn’t want to look like an Olympic Gymnast?
How To Gain As Much STRENGTH As Possible In The Least Amount Of Time
By: Geoff Neupert, Master RKC, CSCS
Itʼs the Olympic season again. For two weeks every four years the greatest athletes on the planet assemble in one place to see who truly is the “best” in their chosen event.
Citius. Altius. Fortius. Faster. Higher. Stronger.
One of the most impressive displays of strength, besides the Olympic Weightlifting, is Menʼs Gymnastics. These men display a rare level of muscularity and body control.
How do they do it?
Practice. Lots and lots and lots of practice.
They break down the skills found in their routines and practice those skills and the skill progressions.
Many of them use an approach called “synaptic facilitation.”
I first read about “synaptic facilitation” – also called “Greasing the Groove” – from Pavel Tsatsouline, the “father” of the modern day kettlebell movement.
And contrary to what most people believe about becoming strong, itʼs not based on lifting heavy weights. Quite the opposite, itʼs based on the understanding that strength is based on overcoming resistance [of any kind] and using moderate amounts of resistance instead of the popular but wrong – “go heavy or go home” mantra.
The key to “Greasing the Groove” is the frequency of training. You essentially end up training every day or multiple times per day.
This practice is best used for one or two exercises you really want to focus on improving. Then you will train them every day, five to six days per week.
It works because it is actually a form of skill practice or movement rehearsal that makes the body more adept at performing the given task. Makes sense when you think about it.
If you wanted to get better at a sport like tennis or golf, you wouldnʼt go play to failure once or twice per week. No, youʼd go to the court or the links and practice different parts of your game as often as possible, probably every day. And over the course of time, youʼd see improvements.
And thatʼs exactly how many gymnasts train. They practice variations of exercises daily in order to get stronger at them. Doing so enables them to move on to more challenging exercises. The greater the frequency of practice in the absence of fatigue, the greater control you can acquire, allowing you to see results faster.
Hereʼs how youʼd set up a GTG program for yourself.
Letʼs say you wanted to improve your kettlebell Clean and Press. First, find out how much you can Clean and Press.
Second, use a lighter kettlebell and perform a few sets of Clean and Presses daily, practicing perfect form. Keep your volume – the number of total reps low between 5 and 15 reps per workout/training session.
Third, rest as much as needed between sets. Donʼt let any fatigue creep in. Remember, youʼre not “working out” – youʼre treating your strength training like a tennis serve or golf game, you keep it feeling fresh.
So hereʼs how this GTG strength training program might look like:
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The “Grease The Groove” Training Protocol for KB C & Ps
Max Clean and Press: 32kg
Monday: C+P 24kg, 3×3
Tuesday: C+P 16kg, 3×5
Wednesday: C+P 24kg, 2×5
Thursday: C+P 16kg, 3×5
Friday: C+P 24kg, 3×3
Saturday: C+P 28kg, 2×2
You could do this for as little as two weeks, and then re-test your Clean and Press.
I used a program very similar to this in 2006 to train for the RKC Beast Tamer Challenge – which is to do a Pull Up, a Pistol, and a Clean and Press all with a 48kg kettlebell. I used it for three weeks and it worked like a charm. The only thing I was at all concerned about was the Pull Up. In training the most I had done was 40kg for 3 reps. I nailed the Pull Up on first attempt and successfully completed the Challenge.
Give the “Grease the Groove” method a shot on one or two of your exercises and see how you make out.
Oh yeah, one more thing, if youʼre worried about whether youʼll gain any muscle using this program, go back and take a look at those gymnasts again and then go look in the mirror…
I’ve been using a similar program and I’ve not only gained STRENGTH and muscle, but my waist measurement has dropped 1.5 inches as well.
Pretty crazy since fat loss isn’t my focus right now.
Let me know if you have any questions about “Grease The Groove” strength by leaving a comment below and I’ll make sure to get to it when I film this Friday’s QnA.