I am trying to grease the groove with pull ups.
I wonder how many times per week should someone workout eg. 5 consecutive days, and 2 days rest? 6 consecutive days and 1 day of rest?
Or should the breaks be between working-out days? Does it matter at all?
I've done some research online but I haven't found a consensus on this.

I (female) started from 2 chins, and 0 pull-ups and now I can easily do 2 pull-ups (full range) every time. However, I have trouble with the third one for about 2 weeks. I find negatives really exhausting. Lately my daily volume is 24 (12 sets of 2 reps) per day.

  • 1
    What is greasing the groove?
    – Thomas Markov
    Sep 10, 2022 at 19:00
  • According to this method you do a lot of repetitions of your submaximal effort, many times per day,(almost) every day, without reaching failure in order to train your CNS and finally increase your reps.
    – fit2u
    Sep 10, 2022 at 19:05
  • How many chin-ups can you do now? For how many weeks have you been doing this?
    – Andy
    Sep 11, 2022 at 15:48
  • I haven't tested chin ups to be honest as I wanted to focus on pull ups because i find them harder. I've been doing pull ups for about 1 month and it seems that I have reached a plateau( xd ) as @Andy suggests. However, sometimes if I test i can complete 3 full ranged pulls.
    – fit2u
    Sep 12, 2022 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


Congratulations on your great progress using grease the groove (GtG)!

However from what I read GtG only works for 1 month ca. Why is that? Normally when one lift weights one can progress for years.

As a mental model I use:
Strength = Hypertrophy * Neural efficiency * Skill
Hypertrophy: muscle size.
Neural efficiency: brain and nervous systems ability to engage max amount of muscle fibers in a muscle simultaneously.
Skill: brain and nervous systems ability to engange the correct muscles at the correct time.

I think your fast progress is due to that you have been working on the neural efficiency and skill components. Progress here is much faster than on the hypertrophy component. However the ceiling is also much lower. In one months time you can max out on these factors, which I suspect you have done.

I think the solution is to switch to working on the hypertrophy component of strength (1).

Take a look at the following mental model from the "The Art of Lifting": enter image description here

It shows that doing pull-ups when you can only do 2, is very fatiguing (negatives: > 100 % even more so).

Also the muscle building effect (hypertrophy) is very low.

I think you should stop doing negatives and switch back to chin-ups at least for some of the sets. Hopefully this allows you to do between 6 and 12 reps each set (while keeping 1-2 reps in the "tank") which is ideal for both building muscle and strength. Doing that you can also do far less sets.

(1) Do More Pullups Now

  • 1
    Thank you! I will try out switching to hypertrophy by doing some sets of chin ups! Yes it was indeed fast progress during a month but now it has slowed down significantly!
    – fit2u
    Sep 12, 2022 at 15:25

I've found that following the StrongFirst Fighter Pullup Program has worked wonders for me and others that I've recommended it to.

Although it's not a true greasing the groove program, you can use it as such. The rest between sets is the interesting thing here, if you're able to, then you're better off stretching the sets throughout the day so your body is fully recovered between them. If you don't have that capability, then I'd suggest a minimum of 10 minutes between sets to allow CNS and muscular recovery before the next set (making it more like a GtG program).

Since you currently max out at 2 reps, if you're able, I'd add a band into the mix to bring up your reps more to a rep max of 3 or 4 reps.

This program has you doing pull ups for 5 days, taking day 6 off, then starting again.

If you're going to stick with a GtG program that has you doing 50% of your rep max (so, 1 rep) for multiple sets throughout the day (I have a pull up bar on my stairs, so I knock out a couple of reps every time I walk into the kitchen), then you'll probably find that the ebb and flow of everyday life means you'll take a day off on occasion anyway. For me, when I go to visit my partner at the weekend, there's no pull up bar, so obviously I can't train pull ups GtG style.

If you've been training GtG style non-stop for a few weeks, then don't be afraid to take a few days off and see how you're progressing.

  • It's true that it's not always convenient to train with GtG since you can't always find a pull up bar available every day. I just find using bands counter-productive sometimes because they boost you most when you are at the lowest position which I find harder compared to top position.
    – fit2u
    Sep 12, 2022 at 15:44
  • Today I maxed at 3 (with body weight) so I started the fighter-method you mentioned! It seems promising!
    – fit2u
    Sep 13, 2022 at 9:49
  • @fit2u Awesome, good luck, hope it works for you as well as it did for me :)
    – Dark Hippo
    Sep 13, 2022 at 10:30

Most routines, even if they are 6 days per week, separate body parts to avoid over-training. This could be anything like:

  1. Upper body/lower body
  2. Push/Pull/Legs
  3. Legs/Chest/Back/Shoulders/Arms

That way, even if you were to do Upper Body on Monday, and Lower Body on Tuesday, you could work Upper Body again on Wednesday because you let it rest a day and allowed the muscle to heal some.

Certain muscle groups (abs & calves) tend to take less time to recover and can be repeated quickly, but most usually take a couple of days if not a week (depending on how intense your workouts are)

You might want to try giving your back a rest day and try after that, to see if you're able to do more!

I workout 5 days a week and aim to have the weekend as my rest days, but it doesn't hurt if I switch one of my rest days to Wednesday. In fact, when I did 4 days per week, I would workout M/T then Th/F.

  • Thank you for your help and time!!
    – fit2u
    Sep 10, 2022 at 19:43
  • This does not appear to address the question of greasing the groove.
    – Alec
    Sep 11, 2022 at 15:48

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