Get Stronger and Move Better
Grease the groove with three simple techniques
When I first started getting into kettlebell training back in 2002. Pavel Tsatsouline, my kettlebell instructor, would constantly talk about “greasing the groove”.
This is a concept I preach to my clients almost 20 years later now. Dang, can’t believe I’ve been flapping my gums about something so simple for this many years.
I would’ve thought everyone would know about greasing the groove and understand how important this concept is and how to apply it. But, I constantly see people setting themselves up for injury during training because of their poor technique.
Understanding “greasing the groove” is especially important when it comes to fitness and movement skills to improve performance and reduce your risk of injury.
Most likely, you are familiar with this concept though. Another way to put it is that “you get better at what you practice”.
In physiology we talk about the SAID principle, which is a governing law of your body. It means that you Specifically Adapt to the Imposed Demands.
This is important to understand as you try to improve your fitness levels.
If you practice in poor form, you will get better at moving with poor form.
This is what can lead to injuries and wear and tear on tissues in your body that they shouldn’t be getting.
A lot of us just chalk up aches and pains to old age and walk it off.
But, if longevity is one of your health and fitness goals. This concept will have a big impact on your eventual outcome.
When you think of the SAID principle or “greasing the groove” it applies to more than just the fitness realm.
You have to be aware of other areas in your life where you may be causing mal-adaptations. Then you can work towards improving those areas as well, and improving your overall health and well-being.
But, since you’re here for fitness purposes, I’d like to share with you three simple tips I use with my clients to grease the groove with your exercises, so you can become more proficient and less likely to injure yourself with them.
It all starts with moving slower to develop control so you can get your brain to pay attention to the small things during the movement.
Define the target
Where is your starting point? Where is your ending point for your exercise?
Your brain likes targets. Moving slower can help you concentrate and calibrate your movement so you can hit your targets.
If you give yourself a starting point and ending point, your brain, most of the time, will figure out the best path for you to get there.
Connect the dots
During your movement you can simply pause at several places and create an isometric contraction to help your brain pay attention to what you are doing. Then try to smoothly move through each position where you paused to help your brain put the picture back together.
Greasing the groove is something I stress with all my clients to ensure they own their movements and their bodies. Using these three techniques can help you along the way to becoming a more proficient and controlled mover.
The more control you have over your movement the more your brain trusts you and in return will generally give you more strength. Because you have better coordination, you become less of a threat to yourself and your brain takes the breaks off you allowing you to generate more tension in your muscles. But, you also have to work towards other strengths using different strategies to improve your overall fitness levels.
I go over these techniques in more detail and others in my Foundations of Fitness course exploring the body to help you own your movement to develop resilience, decreasing your risk of injury and improving your performance.
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