grease the groove

Grease the groove for calisthenics

Grease the Groove for calisthenics: an intriguing training method that can assist in breaking through plateaus. This training approach is commonly utilized in calisthenics for exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, and the front lever. In this blog post, we will discuss the ‘Grease the Groove’ (GTG) method and how this technique can be employed to achieve your calisthenics goals.

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How does Grease the Groove for calisthenics work?

Grease the Groove (GTG) is a training method designed to enhance strength and muscle conditioning by combining high-frequency training with low intensity. This approach involves performing the same exercise multiple times throughout the day with ample rest periods in between. For instance, you might practice 5 pull-ups every hour and a half. The key is to focus on submaximal effort during each set, preventing fatigue and allowing for optimal recovery between sessions.

The concept behind Grease the Groove is rooted in neurological adaptations. By consistently practicing a specific movement pattern without reaching fatigue, you stimulate the nervous system to become more efficient in recruiting the involved muscles. This leads to improved strength and endurance over time.

One of the significant advantages of GTG is its flexibility, as it can be applied to various calisthenics exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, handstand push-ups, and beyond. This method aligns well with the principle of skill acquisition, emphasizing frequent, submaximal practice to refine and strengthen specific movements.

By incorporating Grease the Groove into your calisthenics routine, you can potentially overcome plateaus and see progress in both strength and skill development. Remember to listen to your body, maintain proper form, and adjust the frequency and intensity based on your individual fitness level and goals.

Applying Grease the Groove for calisthenics

  1. Choose the exercise for which you want to apply GTG.
  2. Select a rep range, making sure to stay far from your maximum. For example, if your maximum for pull-ups is 10 reps, you can use 4 to 5 reps for your GTG sets.
  3. Plan how many sets you want to perform each day and when. Ensure an adequate rest period between sets. Also, schedule at least 2 rest days per week to prevent overloading your body.
  4. Track your progress by noting the number of sets and repetitions you perform each day.
  5. Adapt GTG to your overall training schedule. It’s essential to incorporate various push and pull exercises to maintain balance in your body.

Cautions when applying Grease the Groove for calisthenics


Gradually increase the number of sets. When you start implementing GTG, aim for no more than 5 sets per day and limit your training frequency to no more than 5 days per week. Ensure you allow ample rest to allow your body to recover. It’s essential to strike a balance between consistent practice and sufficient recovery to optimize the benefits of Grease the Groove. As you become more accustomed to the method and gauge your body’s response, you can consider adjusting the frequency and volume of your sets accordingly. Listening to your body and making incremental adjustments will contribute to a sustainable and effective application of Grease the Groove in your training routine.

Quality of reps

When training with Grease The Groove, it’s crucial to prioritize the quality of your reps over quantity. It can be tempting to rush through your reps, neglecting proper technique. However, this approach won’t lead to strength gains. Aim for clean reps, focusing on maintaining proper form and controlled movements. By emphasizing quality over quantity, you’ll notice more significant and sustainable results in a shorter period. Additionally, concentrating on the precision of your repetitions contributes to better neuromuscular adaptations, enhancing your overall strength and skill development. So, take your time, ensure each rep is executed with precision, and you’ll see improvements in your performance and progress.

Adjust your Training program

When applying GTG, especially for exercises like pull-ups, it’s crucial to avoid incorporating other vertical pull exercises into your training schedule. Doing so significantly increases the risk of injuries or overloading specific muscle groups. By focusing exclusively on the targeted movement—such as pull-ups—you ensure that your body can adapt to the increased frequency without undue stress on related muscle groups. This strategic approach not only minimizes the risk of injuries but also allows you to maximize the benefits of GTG for the specific exercise you are targeting.

Gradual Increase

Keep track of your reps and sets meticulously when following Grease the Groove. Over time, aim to incrementally increase the number of reps and sets to apply progressive overload. However, take small steps to avoid overloading and straining your muscles. By gradually increasing the volume of your training, you allow your body to adapt progressively without risking injury or burnout. This methodical approach to progression is key to the success of Grease the Groove, ensuring sustained improvements in strength and performance over the long term.


Not all exercises are suitable for training with GTG. This training method is primarily advantageous for at-home dynamic exercises like pull-ups, push-ups, and handstand push-ups.

For static exercises, the stress on your joints is higher. As these exercises require more time for recovery, the risk of overtraining quickly arises.

For pull-related exercises such as the Front Lever, you can apply GTG, but do not overstrain yourself.

For push-related exercises like the planche, I advise against using GTG. For 99% of the population, the pressure on your wrists and forearms is too high, inevitably leading to injuries. I speak from experience, as a young teenager, I significantly injured my forearms by employing GTG for the planche.

Starting with calisthenics

Are you not yet familiar with calisthenics, then start with our main blogpost: how to start calisthenics. Or get right into with training and download a calisthenics workout plan for beginners.

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