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The Art of Training Without Training

Here’s a very quick post for you on what we call Grease the Groove or Daily Debt Training.

This is relevant for a few reasons.

  1. It works

  2. If you’re doing rehab, it’s the ideal way to work it into your schedule

  3. It’s coming into holiday season, so it can keep you progressing even if you can’t get to the gym

  4. It’s what I fall back on when my appointment calendar and my kids tell me I’m needed somewhere other than under a pile of heavy Iron.

And if my kids need me, I go.

The idea of this method is very high frequency practice of a particular movement.

That’s it.

End of.

Scatter sets of an exercise through the day so by the end of the day you have accumulated a high volume of that movement.

For Grease the Groove the guideline is to do a test set once per week to gauge maximal reps. Then during the week, perform several sets of the exercise never going above 50% of the test score.

eg: You test pull ups and get 8. So each day you practice sets of 3-4 reps at intervals through the day. Retest at the end of the week to see if you’ve progressed.

The Daily Debt training sets a rep target at the start of the day. You chip away at it over the day “repaying” that debt.

eg: You have a debt of 200 Push Ups to pay off. Maybe you do 20 push ups on the hour every hour, you’ll have that paid off in 10 hours. Maybe you do 25 before you leave the house, 50 on your lunchbreak, drop a few sets of ten through your work day and the rest in evening when you get home.

Either way, it’s a great way to get in a stack of work without ever actually working out.

Which is why it works so well for rehab drills or high skill movements.

No one likes to do rehab. It is boring. But if you do a few reps while you wait for the kettle to boil, a few reps while you wait for that page to print, a few reps while you wait for the train to pull up. Before you know it you’ve done a shit load of reps.

Skill work, well that’s quality driven (as all training should be) This is where the Grease the Groove idea of 50% effort comes in. If you can only do 3 reps of a particular skill, then you work sets of only 1. This may give you a total of 10 over the day, but because it’s so spread out, every rep will be absolutely perfect.

This works.

I’ve had several clients acheive their first pull up from this exact method. Several more have set PR’s in various lifts from this. And others have achieved a new skill.

So what have you got to lose?


Dave Hedges

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