Although it would be nice to be able to hit PR after PR week after week, that’s not really reality. That may be sustainable in the short run for some of us, but it is never sustainable in the long run….for any of us. But just because you’re not consistently going up in weights, doesn’t mean that your strength gains have to stop. There is another way to ensure that you continue to get stronger during those times that normal weights just don’t want to budge.
When it comes to getting stronger, there are 2 ways to ways to get there:
1) Lift heavier weights – This is an obvious answer, and the one that should be used most often.
2) Grease the Groove – Maybe less obvious, and definitely more confusing (atleast for now).
Greasing the groove is something I wrote about a couple of years back (you can find that article HERE). You see, lifting heavier and heavier weights is not sustainable long term for a couple of reasons, but one big reasons specifically, it kills your joints. I’m a huge fan of lifting heavy and getting stronger. After all, once you hit about 30 your body is fighting you to get weaker and to atrophy. So not lifting heavy weights is not something that I condone. The trick with lifting heavy weights is that, every once and a while you have to take a break. Not from lifting, but from the heavy part. This is where greasing the groove comes in.
Greasing the groove is a very simple concept. When it comes to building strength in this way, efficiency is the key. The more efficient your body can become at performing a movement, the less energy it has to spend maintaining correct form, therefore, the more weight you can use to perform the lift. Confused? Here’s an example: say you want to improve your deadlift, but your form sucks (for lack of a better word). As you’re trying to pull bigger and bigger weight, your form is causing your body to exert more energy by trying to keep you from completely buckling under the weight. Say, instead, you decide to take some weight off and perform the same amount of reps with correct form, this allows your body to become efficient at the movement. With each correct lift you do, your body is continuously adapting.
When you decide you want to take this route, there are a couple of things you should know. Have you ever heard of split routines? If you have ever worked out in a fitness center, then you’ve probably done one. A split routine is essentially splitting the body up into body parts and working the body parts on certain day. When you grease the groove, split routines can’t exist. If you’re working on deadlift, do 50% of your 1RM and do it every day you workout……….yes, even on arm day. At these weights, your nervous system is not getting hit enough to have to take a couple days of rest to recuperate. At 50% of 1RM, you can do it every day as long as you keep the reps low……say less than 6.