The Atlantic

Lift Weight, Not Too Much, Most of the Days

Have you ever tried to grease the groove?
Source: Noel Celis / Getty

A few years ago, haunted by vague memories of being a weak middle-schooler, Brett McKay decided he wanted to be able to do more pull-ups. McKay, who runs the website and podcast The Art of Manliness,  had in the past tried doing a traditional, twice-weekly regimen, gradually building up his reps. But this time, he turned to a training technique from Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet trainer who is credited with getting Americans into kettlebells, the rounded weights with handles for swinging or lifting.

After reading a book by Tsatsouline, McKay decided he needed a radical approach to his fitness routine. He needed to grease the groove.

Greasing the groove, as Tsatsouline explains it, means working your muscles to the point of failure. A common idea in weightlifting is that you should lift until you can’t do another rep, purposely in his 1999 book, , “is more than unnecessary—it is counterproductive!”

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