Greasing the Groove

I’d never heard of this terminology, although I occasionally practice it while covering an event from my shed. With the amount of sitting (or standing) I do while typing into a digital rectangular box, I’d go bonkers without a little movement, a few pushups every now and then. Apparently there’s a term for this and it’s called greasing the groove.

Here’s an explanation.

Greasing the groove, as Tsatsouline explains it, means not working your muscles to the point of failure. A common idea in weightlifting is that you should lift until you can’t do another rep, purposely damaging muscle tissues so they grow back bigger. But muscle failure, Tsatsouline writes in his 1999 book, Power to the People! Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American, “is more than unnecessary—it is counterproductive!”

Instead, Tsatsouline advocates lifting weights for no more than five repetitions, resting for a bit between sets and reps, and not doing too many sets. For a runner, this would be like going for a four-mile jog, but taking a break to drink water and stretch every mile. Tsatsouline’s book suggests spending 20 minutes at the gym, tops, five days a week. In this way, he claims, you grease the neurological “groove,” or pathway, between your brain and the exercises your body performs. It’s not exactly the brutal routine you’d expect from someone billed as a Soviet weight lifter. But Tsatsouline contends this is the most effective way to build strength.

[The Atlantic]

Pushups are an easy example here, and so is stretching. This is also one reason I want to get a pullup bar in whatever the next iteration of my shed looks like.

h/t Kottke

A Long Obedience …

Eugene Peterson — I believe — coined the phrase “a long obedience in the same direction,” which ended up as the title of one of his many terrific books. I was reminded of that when I read this today.

In all of the Christian life, we need to have confidence in the process and we need to maintain confidence in the process. We need to believe that God really does work and that he really does work over time. Too often we overestimate the growth we can gain in a week, but underestimate the growth we can gain in a year.


I needed to hear that on this day, at this time. I’m not sure why. I feel like I’ve been getting my butt kicked in small ways for the past few days, and it was a good reminder to endure until the end.

King of Kings

I was listening to this song at the gym this morning and was stunned by the lyrics. I’ve heard the song before but never truly internalized the words. They’re staggering.

Verse 1

In the darkness we were waiting
Without hope without light
Till from heaven You came running
There was mercy in Your eyes
To fulfil the law and prophets

To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt

Verse 4

And the Church of Christ was born
Then the Spirit lit the flame
Now this gospel truth of old
Shall not kneel shall not faint

By His blood and in His Name
In His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ
Who has resurrected me

This in particular had me wound up …

To a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory
To a cradle in the dirt

The gospel in 18 words. You can’t make it any clearer, can’t make it more efficient or succinct. Praise him for giving us words that stir our hearts and our affections.

Whatever a Man Trusts In

I have been knocked off my feet by the Valley of Vision in recent weeks and months. I try to read aloud one prayer per day, normally just after lunch. Today’s was convoluted, but from within it shined this jewel.

Be happy in him, O my heart, and in nothing but God,
for whatever a man trusts in,
from that he expects happiness.

Valley of Vision

How true are those words? That whatever I find to be trustworthy is the very same thing I look to for fulfillment and happiness. May it always be the Lord foremost, for it is the only place where I shall never be let down.

The Beauty of Grace

I read this this afternoon and was again reminded of the magnitude of not only my sin but also the grace that covers it.

There is no treasure so wonderful
as that continuous experience of thy grace
toward me which alone can subdue
the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.

My heart is wretched — as all hearts are wretched — and but for the goodness of Jesus Christ, I would simply go on sinning deeper still, even though it may not always look (externally) like I am sinning at all.