Grease the Groove Pull Ups

In this article you will learn about grease the groove pull ups – in other words, how the training principle of greasing the groove can be applied to your pull ups in order to help you improve them.

What You Need to Know About Grease The Groove Pull Ups

‘Greasing the Groove’ is a phrase created by Pavel Tsatsouline in his book ‘Power to the People’.

In the book Tsatsouline talks about the importance of the neurological groove firing in a particular sequence and at a specific intensity in order for the exercise being undertaken at the given time to be successful.

He identifies that it is just as important to build up a neurological pathway with regards to an exercise as it is to build up muscle strength if it is to be completed successfully on a regular basis.

How does Grease the groove training work?

With this in mind’ greasing the groove’ has become a training practice aimed at increasing these neurological pathways at the same time as increasing an individual’s strength and ability to perform a given exercise.

The chosen exercise is repeated with low numbers of reps but many numbers of sets.

This means that the muscles never become exhausted but the muscles and the brain build up the strength and neurological pathways required.

Greasing the groove pull ups

Grease the groove pull ups employ this training technique to the pull up in order to improve an individual’s capacity to successfully perform pull ups, particularly in large numbers of reps.

So how can you practice grease the groove pull ups if you wish to try out this technique?

  • Work out what your maximum reps of a pull up are on a good day. Let’s say, for example, on a good day you can manage 8 pull ups.
  • Half that number of reps – so in this instance we are now imagining 4 reps.
  • Perform 4 reps of pull ups multiple times a day, but allow yourself plenty of rest time in between the sets of reps. This may see you do 6 sets a day, for example – whatever is practical for you with adequate rest time in between (aim for at least 15 minutes rest)
  • Repeat this every day – this shouldn’t cause you any injury as long as you take the usual safety precautions as performing within your limits prevents muscle exhaustion
  • Listen to your body and take a rest day when you feel you need it

You are aiming to perform less reps but with perfect form on a regular basis so it is important not to push yourself to do too much or risk injury.

Doing pull ups using the grease the groove technique will allow you to build up the neural pathways which carry signals between the brain and the muscles.

Doing so in this manner means that you allow your body plenty of time to build up these pathways without injury or lethargy getting in the way.

The better the form of the pull ups you manage whilst using this technique the more successful you should ultimately be in improving your pulls using grease the groove.

Common FAQs About Greasing the Groove

Does Greasing the Groove Build Muscle?

Greasing the groove is not a technique which is focussed on building muscle, though as a result of performing a large number of reps on a daily basis it is likely you will build muscle to some extent as a result of using the technique.

Rather, the technique focuses on improving your form and technique in undertaking the specific exercise concerned as well as on building the neural pathways within your body which facilitate this technique.

You are more likely to build muscular endurance rather than muscle mass through greasing the groove.

Does Greasing the Groove Work?

Greasing the groove does work depending on what you expect to get out of it.

If you expect to build extensive muscle mass then you are in for disappointment – while some muscle mass will be built greasing the groove is not focused on this.

However, if you are seeking to build muscle endurance and improve your technique for specific exercises then greasing the groove does work.

If greasing the groove is to be successful then it does require dedication and hard work, with the regular reps needing to be undertaken on a consistent basis in order to build up the required neurological pathways which are the aim of the technique.

How Long Can You Grease the Groove?

Greasing the groove can be used indefinitely as part of your exercise routine.

However, there is likely to come a point where you reach a natural plateau with the number of reps of any given exercise of which you are capable, given factors such as your height and weight.

When this is the case greasing the groove is unlikely to help you improve any further.

At this point you may need to look at options such as adding weights to your routine to increase resistance.

However, greasing the groove works for a whole range of exercises and so can be employed elsewhere in your exercise regime.

What Muscles Does Close Grip Pull Ups Work?

A close grip pull up is great at working the following muscles:

  • the inner latissimus dorsi (lats)
  • the lower traps
  • the biceps
  • the pectoral muscles

In addition to this the close grip pull up builds muscle coordination and functional strength due to the athleticism required to complete the maneuver. The exercise is also credited with improving posture.


Hopefully now you know much more about grease the groove pull ups.

In this article we have covered:

  • What the grease the groove technique is and its benefits to an individual’ training regime
  • How to perform grease the groove pull ups
  • That greasing the groove does not focus on building muscle mass but rather on building muscle endurance and exercise technique
  • That greasing the groove can work depending on what you want to get out of it
  • Which muscles close grip pull ups work