Greasing Your Groove
I know, you’re already doubting me with that strange title. But today’s Workout Wednesday concept is one that makes fitting in more exercise so easy (and we all want that!), so bear with me.
I first heard of “Greasing the Groove” from Ben Greenfield (remember hearing about him on my post of my favorite podcasts to listen to while running?). Basically, Ben’s adapted concept is that you form a habit of performing a small number of reps of a given exercise multiple times throughout the day.
So what is “greasing your groove”? The initial concept was created by Pavel Tsatsouline in his book “The Naked Warrior” (which I haven’t read). He created “greasing the groove” because he believed that “Specificity + Frequent Practice = Success” … that being able to achieve a strength goal is not only based on building overall muscle bulk, but also based on practicing that specific activity frequently. For a while, it was mostly used by bodybuilders … an easy way to achieve a goal of bench-pressing 300 pounds, say, was to bench-press 150 pounds several times per day. (And no, I cannot and will never have a desire to bench press 300 pounds, so this does not apply to only bodybuilders! Keep reading!)
Here’s a quote from Ben that explains it well:
This concept works because by performing a movement frequently, your neuromuscular system becomes more proficient at allowing your body, your nerves and your muscles to work in sync to perform that movement more efficiently, and over time the movement becomes more natural and more economical for your body to perform. When that happens, you’re able to maintain better form and do more repetitions.
Now think about how greasing your groove applies to you … if you create a habit of doing a tiny bit of exercise that would otherwise seem inconsequential, you’ll end up fitting in a whole lot more exercise during a regular day than you otherwise would have, without ever spending more than 60 seconds on an activity or feeling like you’re really working out. Sound like a win-win situation? Let’s set up a plan.
One example that I’m going to borrow from Ben is doing 20 squats every time I use the restroom. Let’s just say that I follow my tips on hydration very well, so I’ll be using this one frequently! And while 20 squats at a time isn’t really a challenge for me, I’m certain that adding 200 squats to every day will make my legs stronger and leaner. (Side note: I have started the “greasing the groove” habit once before, but sadly let it drop. I think the breaking point may have been when I was standing in the restroom of a client’s office doing my squats, and one of our main clients walked in, looking astonished. So take it from me … stay in the stall while you’re doing your squats if you’re in a public place!)
Here are the other exercises I’m going to include in my “Greasing the Groove” routine:
Doesn’t that look easy? You want to set up only a few (6 is probably too many, but I’m going to go with it) so that you actually remember them and they don’t put an undue burden on your day. Be sure to adjust the number of reps to something that is not too challenging for you to do at once, but that may add up when you do it throughout the day. Have fun, and enjoy getting stronger and leaner without much effort!
So tell me in the comments … What is one activity you can do to “grease the groove?” Can you commit to adding this into your routine with me? At least for today?