How to Get Stronger by Greasing the Groove

The human body has an amazing capacity to adapt and react to a changing environment. If you want to become stronger, your goal should be getting in the best shape possible without putting too much work into it.

The “greasing the groove pushups” is a technique that has been used for years to get stronger. This technique involves doing pushups in sets of 10, 20, and 30.

Get stronger by greasing the groove illustration.

Tennis practice is required to become a better tennis player. Cooking practice is required to improve as a chef. You must practice piano in order to become a better pianist.

And you must cultivate strength to become an all-around stronger guy.

You may not have considered strength to be something to work on, but you should. “Strength is a talent,” says Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Soviet Special Forces instructor and the creator of the kettlebell in the West. And, like any other ability, it’s one you’ll need to practice on a regular basis.

The practice of “greasing the groove,” as Pavel refers to it, is one approach to improve strength. Today, we’ll go over what greasing the groove implies and how you may utilize this workout strategy to improve strength.


The Muscle-Neuron Connection, Practice, and Skill

Your muscles flex when you lift a big weight (whether it’s yourself or a barbell). When your nervous system delivers a signal to your muscle fibers, they contract. When a movement is repeated several times and the muscle fibers get the same signal each time, a more efficient neuromuscular motor pattern emerges.

Myelination is the process through which neurons become more efficient. A fatty white material creates a sheath around the axons of nerve cells with repeated repetition of a movement, allowing the nerve impulse to travel more swiftly.

The more embedded a motor pattern develops in your neurobiology, and the smoother and more natural a movement becomes, the quicker your nerve cells fire and your muscles contract. You haven’t had to think about walking in years since you’ve been doing it every day. If you began playing the piano at the age of 30, it would be incredibly uncomfortable at first, but with years of practice, it would become more and more automatic.

Movements with efficient neuromuscular motor patterns are not only simpler to accomplish, but they also have higher potential force. The bigger the number of muscle fibers that really contract when a signal is received, the quicker the muscles contract. You can apply greater force if you combine quicker muscle contraction with more fibers contracting. As a result, neuromuscular efficiency improves your strength. Cheers to science!

As a result, one technique to get stronger is to practice the skill of strength, which you may accomplish by lubricating the groove.

Greasing the Groove is one way to practice the strength skill.

There are two major methods for gaining strength. With the first, you gradually increase the weight you lift, causing micro trauma (small rips) in the muscle fiber. Muscle fibers recuperate and then adapt to the strain, resulting in a stronger rebuild than before.

Another strategy to build strength is to undertake strength exercises with lower repetitions and weights more often than you would a heavier session. This “greases the groove,” as it were, by teaching your muscles to fire more effectively.

Pavel invented the expression “greasing the groove” (GtG) to describe what you’re doing when you constantly practice a strong ability. The more you practice, the stronger the link between your muscles and your neural system becomes. Or, to put it another way, the more you practice, the more “grease the neural groove” you develop. We can speed up the myelination process and improve the effectiveness of the neuromuscular connections engaged in strength workouts by executing them on a regular basis. The more effectively you do an activity, the more repetitions you can complete, and the more reps you complete, the stronger you will become.


You may “grease” the neurological groove that enables you to fire the muscles involved in pull-ups efficiently and effectively by executing appropriate pull-ups on a regular basis. Greasing the groove on a regular basis can make flawless pushups seem more natural and easy, enabling you to progressively increase your repetitions and strength in that activity.

Here are the essentials for using the GtG tool into your strength-building arsenal:

Choose an exercise in which you wish to improve your strength. Pull-ups, push-ups, and dips are the ideal workouts for easing the groove since they’re simpler to practice on a daily basis than, say, barbell exercises.

I used to do push-ups in law school to keep the groove lubricated. Pull-ups and kettlebell swings are currently my GtG exercises. Jimmy Sonni, managing editor of the Huffington Post and author of a fantastic book on Cato, maintains a kettlebell at his desk for GtG. Do his coworkers see him as odd? They did at first, but now they don’t even think about it.

Perform the exercise with low repetitions many times a day. You are not exercising to failure when you lube the groove. This will simply result in overtraining, which will obstruct your primary strength training program and overall improvement. You don’t even want your GtG session to make you tired.

Rather, the idea with lubricating the groove is to accomplish a large number of exercises each day, spaced out throughout the day. If you’re going to use a kettlebell, be sure the weight isn’t too heavy. You want to hone your strength-building skills without becoming exhausted. It’s unlikely that you’ll even break a sweat. Some people suggest completing 40 to 50 percent of your maximum weight/reps, while others suggest 50 to 80 percent. My advice is to start slowly and progressively increase volume and intensity as your groove becomes more greasy over the weeks and months.

There is no defined number of sets of a workout that you should perform every day. “Train as frequently as possible while being as fresh as possible,” Pavel suggests instead. That sweet spot will vary from person to person.

Here’s an illustration of how a groove-greasing process may operate. Let’s suppose you can perform 10 pull-ups right now. Start with 40 percent of it, or 4 reps, to get started with GtG. You may choose to complete 5 sets every day or 20 pull-ups in total. Add another rep to your sets in a few weeks. After a few weeks, add another. You’ve increased your pull-ups to 30 each day. If you’re feeling tired at the conclusion of your set at the end of the day, you’re adding too much too quickly. You shouldn’t feel exhausted or over-trained since you kept the workout far from failure and had more than enough rest time between sessions to recuperate. Instead, you should experience a sense of empowerment.


Decide how you’ll put your GtG settings into action. It’s entirely up to you how you want to divide your reps throughout the day. The idea is to make lubricating the groove so simple that it becomes second nature to you.

You could do something like an hour-on-the-hour regimen, where you do your repetitions at the start of each hour.

You might also conduct your workouts at the start of your break if you utilize the pomodoro approach, which involves working furiously for 45 minutes and then taking a 15-minute rest. This was something I did in law school. When I was studying at the library, I’d work for 45 minutes and then take a 15-minute break to perform 5-10 push-ups.

Set some conditional conditions to control when you oil the groove if you like something a bit less organized. “I must execute five pushups before I sit down in my workplace chair,” for example. You may easily do 50-60 push-ups every day if you get up many times throughout a shift.

You might also place a pull-up bar or kettlebell in a location of your workplace or home where you stroll by regularly. “When I walk beneath the pull-up bar, I must complete two pull-ups,” you may say. “When I walk by the kettlebell, I have to swing 10 times.” Pavel’s 60-year-old father-in-law operated under a similar arrangement. He had to do 5 chin-ups every time he walked down into the basement. Depending on how frequently he went down to the basement, he did anything from 25 to 100 repetitions every day. He was able to execute 20 consecutive repetitions when he tested himself a few weeks later, something he hadn’t been able to achieve as a young Marine.

The repetitions you execute each day will vary with the more unstructured lubricating the groove regimen. It will be a lot of the time, and it will be a lot of the time. That’s alright, as long as you’re not doing so many that you get exhausted. Remember that the aim isn’t to fail. It’s to improve our neurons’ ability to activate our muscles more efficiently and effectively by practicing the strength skill.

The groove should be blasted. Pavel suggests “blasting the groove” on the final rep of your greasing the groove sets by doing the negative element of the exercise (e.g., lowering oneself down on a pull-up) slowly. This results in a strong contraction and “synaptic potentiation.” When I discussed this with my strength coach and friend Matt Reynolds, he suggested limiting how frequently you blast the groove since the negative, or eccentric, half of a movement causes the greatest muscle damage and inflammation. This might obstruct your recuperation for your usual workouts. So, while you’re not performing other specific exercises, or after your major routines, simply blast the rhythm.

Concentrate on achieving excellence. We exercise the skill of strength by lubricating the groove, and as we all know, practice doesn’t make perfect; perfect practice does. Perform the repetitions of whatever exercise you’re doing properly because you want to “program” the action into your neuromuscular system as precisely as possible. If you’re doing a pull-up, make sure it’s a rigorous, controlled pull-up. If you’re doing a kettlebell swing, make sure it’s flawless and crisp. Another reason you don’t go to failure or allow yourself to get extremely tired while you’re squeezing the groove is that your form would deteriorate if you did.


Greasing the Groove’s Benefits and Drawbacks

The greasing the groove technique of building strength has a number of benefits. It’s simple to squeeze into spare moments, keeps you active throughout the day, can be done at work since you won’t get hot, doesn’t need a gym membership or specific equipment, and doesn’t leave you exhausted. For this reason, it’s a good practice for LEOs and other first responders, who must constantly be ready to hit the ground running and can’t afford to show up to work completely smoked after a hard lifting session.

However, there is a disadvantage to GtG. It will almost always solely help you improve in the activity you’re working on. There is minimal to no benefit transfer to other workouts. You’ll see an increase in the number of total pull-ups you can perform if you grease the groove with pull-ups, but you won’t notice much of an improvement in other activities. You can notice some carryover from strengthening your pull-ups on movements like barbell rows or inverted rows, according to Matt, but not much. You need to routinely increase weight to your deadlift and bench press to grow stronger on your primary exercises like deadlift and bench press.

Think of greasing the groove as a complement to your total strength training routine, rather than as a stand-alone regimen. It’s really aided me in increasing the amount of pull-ups I can do so that I can reach my programmed repetitions when I perform them in my dedicated training sessions. So, if the number of pull-ups or dips you can accomplish is embarrassingly low, try greasing the groove to increase it.

Strength is a talent, just like frying a steak or learning a foreign language, therefore practice it!



The “greasing the groove” is a technique that involves repetitively doing an exercise for a specific amount of time. It is used to strengthen muscles and joints. There are multiple exercises that can be used for this technique. Reference: greasing the groove multiple exercises.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does grease the groove make you stronger?

A: Grease the groove will make you stronger, but not by much. However, what it does do is increase your ability to dodge and predict incoming attacks from enemies.

How can I increase my pull strength?

A: There are many ways to do this. First, make sure that you have a good grip on the controller and use your index finger for support. Keep your wrist straight as well with minimal deviation from side-to-side. Make sure there is no slack in the cable before making any pulls at all by using it against an immovable object like a wall or chair armrests.

How do you get into the groove when working out?

A: For this question, the answer is that there really isnt one single correct way to get into a groove. Its all about your personal preference and what you feel will work for you!

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