Escalating Density Training

In General, Movement by Mikki ReillyLeave a Comment

In my most recent post, I discussed the idea of increasing the density of your workouts by using supersets and complexes as a way to cut back on the amount of time spent in the gym.

Escalating density training (EDT), devised by my old friend, Charles Staley, is another simple yet effective training method which emphasizes training density.

The EDT system is built on time frames of 15 or 20 minutes, which Staley calls PR (Personal Record) Zones. The idea is start with a workout where you perform as many repetitions as possible for two exercises, of opposing muscle groups, within the time frame. Then in each progressive workout perform more total repetitions than you did in the previous workout.

For example, instead of performing three exercises for back and doing three sets of eight repetitions for each exercise, Staley recommends performing as many multiple sets, of two antagonistic movements (such as dumbbell press and dumbbell row), as possible, within the time frame.

To select the load for each exercise, simply choose a weight that you would use for sets of 10 repetitions, and then start with sets of five repetitions or so. You determine the number of sets, reps and the length of the rest periods.

Most people tend to perform higher repetitions and shorter rests between sets in the beginning and then gradually progress to fewer repetitions and longer rests between sets as the muscles begin to fatigue.

Once you can increase the total number of repetitions by 20 percent, increase the weight for the next workout by five percent. That’s all there is to it!

For more information on Escalating Density Training, pick up a copy of Staley’s book, Muscle Logic : Escalating Density Training.

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