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Grease the Groove for Strength Gains

What Does ‘Grease the Groove’ Mean?

Greasing the groove is a training method developed by coach Pavel Tsatsouline. It involves practicing a specific activity often (up to several times a day) without going to failure. Doing so helps improve neuromuscular efficiency, teaching the body to produce more force for the specific movement pattern and helping athletes improve their performance. As a coach, you can think of it as a ‘practice makes perfect’ approach; the more repetitions an athlete does, the better they get at it.

Why Greasing the Groove Works

Greasing the groove works because it provides enough quality practice in a way that doesn’t generate as much fatigue. This allows athletes and everyday folks to practice activities they want to improve more frequently.

Rather than forcing adaptation through physical exertion and fatigue, greasing the groove leverages the nervous system’s adaptive qualities. 

Like our muscles, the nervous system adapts to the specific demands placed on it, leading to improvements in skill, force production, and other qualities directly related to the activity the person practices.

For example, if one of your clients can do a maximum of ten pull-ups in a row and wants to increase that number, one option is to leverage greasing the groove. 

You can have them do sets of 4-6 reps throughout the day, reminding clients to avoid muscle failure. They should do each rep smoothly and through a full range of motion to provide a good stimulus and work on the specific skill.

Track performance from week to week and gradually increase the weekly rep target while keeping the RPE low.

How to Program Grease the Groove Training for Clients

1. Pick an Activity

Choose a movement or skill your client wants to improve––for example, doing more reps on the pull-up or dip.

2. Establish the Frequency

Choose how often the client should practice the activity, depending on their schedule and access to equipment (if necessary). 

3. Determine a Rep Target

Depending on the athlete’s current ability with the movement or skill, start with around 40% as a quality practice target. For example, if the client can do ten pull-ups in a row, start with four reps at a time to minimize fatigue.

4. Monitor Progress

Ask your client to log each mini-session and monitor their weekly training volume. You can easily do that through Hevy Coach and leverage the built-in analytics to see the client’s performance with that movement on a graph over time.

5. Create an Overload

Gradually increase the training volume from week to week, ensuring it’s not too much for the client to handle on top of the other training they do. 


1. What movements is greasing the groove ideal for?

Greasing the groove works best for complex exercises that require more skill. This includes various calisthenics movements, such as pull-ups and dips. It also works for traditional gym exercises, but it might not be practical since most require special equipment.

2. How often should clients grease the groove?

It depends on their schedule, preferences, and how quickly they want to progress. It can range from several mini-sessions daily to 4-6 weekly workouts. Monitor fatigue and ensure proper form for best results.

3. Can grease the groove be part of a training plan?

Greasing the groove is designed to complement the trainee’s main workouts, so it’s essential to control the training volume and per-set effort to avoid overtraining.

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