About a year ago, I started using grease-the-groove to go from exactly 0 chin-ups to my current max of 5-6. My schedule is to do GTG 3X/week in a somewhat condensed way: if I'm also lifting that day (modified Starting Strength), I do 6 sets over the course of an hour in between sets, then do another ~3 sets spread out over the rest of the day. If I'm not lifting that day, then I spread out the sets to the extent that my schedule allows. I now do ~3-4 reps/set, totaling about 35-40 reps/day. Once a week, I try for my max on the day's first set.

For the last ~4 months, though, I haven't gotten past my current max. No change in body weight that would explain it. How do I revise my programming? Let's say my goal is to get to an arbitrary 10 strict reps.

Here is a similar question with an excellent answer, but since I am already doing a high volume, I could use concrete guidance about how to implement those (or other) recommendations in terms of exact reps, sets, and days/week.

1 Answer 1


You're not really greasing the groove right now, and greasing the groove may not be the path to your goal.

  • Six sets of 3-4 pull-ups between squat sets is not greasing the groove--three days a week, you're not greasing the groove!
  • 35 to 40 reps per day is not high volume
  • Maxing out once a week is just not very much practice

You're splitting your attention between pull-ups and whatever 3x5 program you're doing, which negatively affects progress in both. Focusing on one could help. But if your goal is a higher pull-up max, then by golly you should try doing more pull-ups! Three sets to "maximum reps minus one" per workout, in at least three workouts a week, would be a start. I've also found success with setting total volume goals: 50 reps a day in as few sets as possible, and when I can meet that goal consistently in 3 sets, make it 60. If there isn't room in your workout for one of those strategies then there isn't room in your program for this pull-up goal.

This is in addition to any potential problems with your form, e.g. bouncing, kipping, swinging, not doing a full dead-hang, and so on.

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