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Greasing The Groove

Workout at work stretching table desk computer

We all know that sitting at a desk all day is bad for us, but what can be done about it? Greasing The Groove is a workout method that you can fit into your day in order to stay more active and prevent the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. For more information on the dangers of sitting all day and some ideas for working out at work, check out some of our related articles:

Workout At Work: Top Exercises To Prevent Health Issues

How To Workout At Work: Lunchtime HIIT

Reasons To Workout At Work

What is Greasing the Groove?

This term was coined by Pavel Tsatsouline who is a former Soviet Special Forces instructor who brought Soviet training techniques, including the kettlebell, to the Western world. 'Greasing the Groove' or GTG simply refers to repeating the same exercise regularly throughout the day, following the principle that practice makes perfect. The technique works best with bodyweight exercises, making it perfect to implement in the office.

Specificity + Frequent Practice = Success

Pavel's theory suggests that in order to improve an exercise, it must be practised frequently, enabling you to get stronger and be able to do more. In order for this to work and not lead to overtraining, the key is to not train to failure. Due to this, reps should be completed at a lower percentage of your maximum, around 60% of your maximum effort. So for example, if you can usually complete 10 pull-ups with perfect form, you would do 6 reps while greasing the groove.

A good principle for setting your frequency is to then repeat these exercises every hour on the hour (EHOH), but you can fit them in whenever is most convenient for you. For more information on Sundried's EHOH initiative, read the article here.

As the movement becomes easier and more natural, you should be able to do more and more reps. You can then gradually start adding more weight/resistance to keep the exercise challenging.

Top tips:

  • Do it with only 1 or 2 exercises at a time.
  • Do 50-80% of your maximum, never go to failure.
  • Grease the groove only when feeling fresh, if you feel weak or sore, then you have over-reached your recovery abilities.

GTG: Office Workout

Not only can greasing the groove help you develop additional strength for your regular training plan, it can also help protect you from the dangers of sitting by getting your heart rate up frequently. As the technique works best with bodyweight exercises it also makes it really easy to implement in an office environment. Try the following exercises in your office and see how much they can benefit you.

Push-ups: A simple exercise which can be made harder by elevating the legs, try putting your feet on your chair or even your desk.

Burpees: While most people hate burpees, they are great for getting your heart rate up and require little room, making them ideal for an office environment and of course repeating them this often will (eventually) make them easier. 

Dips: You can do these by placing your hands on your desk. To make them harder, place your feet on your chair.

Pistol Squat: A pistol squat is one of the most difficult bodyweight exercises there is and will strengthen the legs and improve your balance. Straighten one leg out in front of you and lower yourself onto your chair then push up again without letting the straight leg drop down.

Greasing the groove is definitely a technique you and your colleagues should give a try. It will make you feel sharper and more alert, increasing your productivity. It will also prevent many health risks that are related to sitting for long periods of time.

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