Spent some time working with deadlift, squats, dips and chin ups? Dramatically increase your strength and arm size by Greasing The Groove.

DipsThe quest for bigger arms probably goes back to the beginning of mankind. Every kid that picks up a bodybuilding magazine is probably doing so with the hope that the secret to big arms will be contained within. However, after following a program for six months that was designed for some bodybuilder that takes buckets of steroids, trainees are often disappointed that they did not get the results that they wanted.

Well, if you have at least six months of training down using compound movements such as: deadlifts, squats, weighted dips, and chin-ups, then it is time to try GTG (greasing the groove) to add some size to your arms.

GTG is a technique that I learned from top strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline, author of "Power to the People." It is a technique that he used with the Russian Spetnez to improve strength tremendously. Moreover, Russian Olympic lifters use similar techniques to build their legendary strength. So what exactly is GTG? Glad that you asked.

In a typical bodybuilding program, lifters often train their arms 1-2 times a week. This may work well for some. However, such infrequent lifting is not going to give most lifters the stimulus that they need. GTG shocks the muscles and stimulates growth by applying the law of repetition. The law of repetition basically states that one will get better at any given activity the more often that one practices the activity.

Why should strength training or bodybuilding be any different? The answer is that it should not. GTG works by making your bodywork more efficiently by stimulating the muscles more frequently. In addition, to getting better at doing the exercises, your arms will adapt to meet the new stimulus. In other words, they will grow! Don't take my word for it though. Just try the following program for two weeks and let me know what happens:

Week 1 - Option One:

With this program you do eight sets of five on weighted dips and chins per day everyday. Ideally, you would do one set of each exercise each hour for eight hours during the day. However, this is not practical unless you work at home or have a dipping/chin up station in your office. Thus, try doing four sets in the morning and four sets in the evening.

Use a training load that you can handle for ten reps with perfect form, but just do sets of five. Use four-second negatives and a two-second positive on each rep. If this program is still not doable for you, then try the following:

Week 1 - Option Two:

I prefer compound movements such as dips and chins. However, the above program will also work well. Again, ideally do eight sets total a day spread out throughout the day. If that is not possible, do four sets in the morning and four sets in the evening every single day. Use a training load that you can handle for ten reps with perfect form, but just do sets of five. Use a four second negatives and two-second positive on each rep.

Pull Ups

Week 2 - Option One:

This week increase the weight by 5% on both exercises and do two additional sets per day for a total of ten sets a day, seven days a week. This time around, use a five second negative and two second positive on each rep.

Week 2 - Option Two:

Same thing with option two, increase the weight by 5% on both exercises and decrease the reps by one. Again, do two additional sets per day for a total of ten sets a day, seven days a week. Use a five second negative and two second positive on each rep.

Key Points

  • Do not train to failure. You should not feel tired or strained after each set.
  • Use perfect form. If you cannot, then you are using way too much weight.
  • Focus on flexing the working muscle as hard as possible when doing each exercise.
  • Do the exercises in super-set fashion. In other words, do chin-ups and then immediately after do dips.
  • Cut out arm work in your workouts during the two week period and reduce training volume for the upper body by 50%.
  • Do not do this program for more then two weeks. After two weeks, train the arms three times a week for two to three weeks before doing another two-week cycle.

Okay, there you have it. Try this program for two weeks and watch your arms grow right in front of you. GTG is a very powerful method for increasing strength and size and can be used to blast through training plateaus for any body part. In the future, I will go over some programs for increasing chest size and legs.

Posted on: Fri, 12/08/2017 - 17:08

I am a female dragon boat paddler interested in increasing my pull-up reps.
I started training with the GtG with 5 reps/set, 4-6 sets/day, 5-6 times a seek. No recovery time needed! My goal is to do10 pull-ups consistently. I am a petite person: 5'3", 111 lbs.

Posted on: Tue, 12/10/2013 - 11:45

Don't knock something until you've tried it, sounds good will try 1 day when my arms look laggy.

Posted on: Thu, 09/05/2013 - 12:26

This article seems rather random. The point of GTG is to become better at one specific exercise (and become stronger in the proccess). hence, a challenging variation of the pushup, chin-up or pistol would be a good idea to go with. If your goal is pure sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (bodybuilding style) you should do a more suitable routine with higher reps per set. Also, why stop after two weeks? What should that accomplish?

Posted on: Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:56

What am I missing here? It sounds like GTG ignores the recovery process. When does your muscles get a chance to recovery or are we training them to recover faster?

Posted on: Mon, 04/18/2011 - 16:50

very interesting article, one question though. Would you be able to do one form of exercise (dumbbells) in the morning and the other (pullups etc.) at night? As going to the gym twice a day would be a bit of an inconvenience for most i can imagine

Posted on: Sat, 04/15/2017 - 13:41

GTG stimulates the nervous system in a way that makes the use of each muscle mor eefficient at that firing pattern. If you do not train to failure you are able to exert maximum performance everytime you train and, provided reasonable rest of at least 15 minutes between sets, you can basically train all day long. Once you are able to exert so much strength in any given lift/movement your muscle usage will be better and you will be able to push more also in standard BB lifts with normal mass programs. Let's say that BB lays the batteries on the floor, GTG connects them together.