Pro Tips

Strictly Business with the Kettlebell

In Pavel Tsatsouline’s training program, you need only one exercise.

Pavel kettlebell workout

A former Russian Special Forces instructor, Pavel Tsatsouline is known for his “grease the groove” (GTG) method, which we can sum up as “practice makes perfect.” It breaks down like this: Specialize in one or two moves for months at a time and never go to failure. For example, do a set of overhead kettlebell presses for 1-5 reps with a weight you’re able to handle for 5-10 reps. Repeat whenever you feel fresh for 50 total reps. “You’ll see a strength increase in two weeks,” Tsatsouline says.

BELLS OUT: Pavel Tsatsouline, (shown above) training Hungarian counterterrorists, is the author of Kettlebell: Simple & Sinister. strongfirst.com

Pavel Tsatsouline's GTG Workout

HOW IT WORKS: GTG workouts can be done five to six days per week. They work best with kettlebell moves like an overhead press.

DIRECTIONS: Choose a KB you can press overhead 5–10 times. Do only half the reps you’re capable of for each set. Do 50 total reps. Rest as needed between sets.

EXECUTION: Keep your core stable and don’t cheat the weight up with your legs.

Tsatsouline's Top 4 GTG Tips

1. Use it for slow lifts: GTG isn’t for explosive moves like snatches. Try it on presses and pistol squats.

2. Keep it simple: Eschew any additional upper-body training while doing GTG pressing.

3. Tighten up: When lifting, contract your abs, clench your glutes, and use a crushing grip. This stabilizes you.

4. Don’t test often: Test for maximum reps or a 1RM after two weeks. Then test every four to five weeks.

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