Greasing the Groove

Greetings Barbarians! Long days and pleasant nights!

A few days ago, I made a poll on my Twitter and Facebook account about what to write next. I gave yoga and the frequency method (Greasing the Groove) as options and yoga won in a landslide. However, given the situation, it would be more ideal to write about Greasing the Groove. So, I apologize to those who participated in the poll, I will still write about yoga in the future.

So what is Greasing the Groove? It is a training principle to increase neurological pathways, gain strength, and improve your ability to do an exercise. To make it even simpler, Strength is a skill and much like any other skill, it needs to be practiced to gain mastery. That is what Greasing the Groove is all about, it is a consistent practice of an exercise movement. 

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Anyone who knows their weight in gold at the gym knows about “noob gains”. Noob gains (newbie gains) is the significant increase in strength in beginners. This increase in strength is the body becoming efficient in learning the movement. In short, strength is gained through consistent practice. 

Muscle fibers receive the same signal from repetitive movements thus developing efficient neuromuscular motor patterns. Practice makes the nerve impulse to move faster and allows more capacity for work.

Greasing the Groove is the consistent practice of a movement used in developing an efficient motor pattern. An increase in the efficiency of the motor pattern leads to more reps which in turn leads to strength. 

Now, enough of the explanation and let’s go on the actual implementation of the principle. 

Pick an Exercise

Pick an exercise you suck at. Push-ups, dips, pull-ups, and chin-ups are a great start but you could also use barbell exercises. Bodyweight exercises are ideal because it’s easier to do regularly. 

Determine How Many Reps 

Greasing the Groove is not training to failure. In fact, you don’t want to become sore or fatigued. The idea is to accumulate volume with low reps performed throughout the day. I prefer to aim for an easy number like 40% or 50% of your max reps rather than challenging yourself. What we want is to make it enjoyable enough to make it a habit and stick with it. So, if you could do 12 perfect push-ups a day, 4-6 reps would be great.

Determine How Many Sets Spread Out Throughout the Day

Now that we have an idea of how many reps per set, we will now determine how many sets. So, if you could do 12 perfect push-ups a day, a logical computation would be 12 divided by reps + 1. If you choose 4 that would be (12/4)+1 = 4 sets performed throughout the day. You’ve already exceeded the max push-ups you could do per day without fatigue (4X4 = 16 > 12). You may spread it every 1 hour or 3 hours or whenever you take a bathroom break. The important thing is to perform the determined amount of reps for the number of sets for the day. 

Determine When and How to Progress

So, once the total reps per set become relatively easy, you may choose to increase either the reps or the sets. However, try to give it a week before doing any jump, take into account that there are off days and great days. 

So there you have it, the Greasing the Groove principle. I hope that you find it useful during this time of lock-downs and quarantines. If you’re looking for something else to do during the lock-down, this might be a good idea. Basic fitness is paramount especially during this period, so there is no excuse not to. We now both got the time and the reason to pursue fitness. 

To Courage and Freedom, and in Greasing the Groove!


“A man cannot understand the art he is studying if he only looks for the end result without taking the time to delve deeply into the reasoning of the study.”
― Miyamoto Musashi

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5 thoughts on “Greasing the Groove

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  1. You explained it so well and made it look so well its really true…everything that you’ve said here…having been doing strength training for the longest time..i just would like to add that some women dont want to lift weight because they dont wanne be bulky like men..its a wrong connotation..we can lift weights and we will never be like men because our is basically different from them..

    Cheers to strength training…i highly recomend it


    I will wait for you yoga post…

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. It is a great method. Far better for pull ups and push ups than trying to do countless sets to failure and crushing yourself with volume. I wrote about this same topic on my blog not too long ago in regards to doing more pull ups. Good topic, important and well done.

    Liked by 1 person

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