T Nation

How Should "Grinders" Grind?


Thank you for all the great learning material on the site and the forum.

There was a concept in the article " Unpopular Opinion: You Don’t Need Chains " that I seldom read about and was rather new to me. You talk about lifters that are more of the grinders types and here is an interesting quote from the article :

“It seems counterintuitive though. If you’re a grinder, it’s easy to believe that doing speed work would allow you to become faster. But the body will always rely on what it’s best at and programmed to do. Someone who’s a grinder will remain a grinder even if he does speed work. In his case, the speed work may actually detrain his grinding capacity.”

I have been much influenced by your earlier writings and concept such as the perfect rep principle and I usually stop my sets and when acceleration is lost or I feel there is a loss of speed or at the slightest grind. It was also my belief that “grinding” was depleting neurological reserve and would cause unecessary fatigue. However, I have never been one of the “fast” lifters even when I try to accelerate the bar and I would rather consider myself a grinder.

My questions are
Is the difference between “grinders” and “speed lifter” a concept that should affect programming beyond the use of chains and bands?
Are these concept only relevant to maximal intensity effort or does it carry over the more general hypertrophy work?
Would grinders benefit from doing more reps in the “grind zone” (2-3 ground slower reps rather than 0-1) to get stronger?

Thank you for your time and I hope this is useful for everyone.

I am referring to the strategy instinctively used by people when they reach their sticking point in a max effort lift (sure it also applies to the last rep in a higher reps set, when approaching failure).

Because someone is better at grinding reps than at using acceleration to overcome the sticking point doesn’t mean that they should do more work where they have to grind reps up. When you are forced to grind a rep, it still has a much bigger impact on recovery than stopping 1-2 reps short.

Read my most recent articles where I discuss the variables that increase cortisol and adrenaline during training. The two main ones are volume and intensiveness (how hard you push a set) and that when one is high, the other one should be low (you can also lower 1-4 of the other 4 variables that have an impact on cortisol/adrenaline). But the bottom line is that grinding, like doing a lot of volume, is costly in terms of recovery and when you grind you need to lower something else in your training.

Thank you very much for all the explanation!