Escalating Density Training: for Enhanced Muscle Performance
The Escalating Density Training concept is fairly new but seems to be pretty
solid. With Escalating Density Training, Charles Staley introduces a whole new
Escalating Density Training is not like your traditional
While traditional weight training focuses on
muscle fatigue, EDT
focuses on muscle performance. In this system, you move increasingly heavy
weights in short periods of time in an effort to boost your overall power
output. You are only dealing with two variables: time and amount of work.
The idea is that you do as many
and squats as
you can during the 15 minutes, and the next time you come around to that same
set, which might be one to two weeks later depending on your schedule, you try
to do more push-ups or squats in the same period of time, or use more weight;
doing squats while holding onto kettle bells or dumbbells, or push-ups with a
The fun thing about this training program is that it gives you a numeric goal
to beat. You know exactly what your power factor rating (seconds divided by
reps) was the last time you did this exercise set, so when you're doing it
again, you know what you have to beat. You begin to compete with yourself, which
makes exercise more fun and rewarding. It's also startling to learn just how
quickly you can gain power.
Your body will adapt when you use this program. Even though you may have been
extremely sore just doing squats with no weight whatsoever, after a few weeks,
you'll find that you can squat for 15 minutes doing 180 repetitions and won't be
sore at all. Then, you can start adding weight. If you do this long enough, you
may be able to squat 20 pounds, 40 pounds or maybe even 80 or 100 pounds
eventually. You'll be both strong and functional, and your
leg muscle mass will increase
in size because that is a necessary adaptation for increased
EDT Loading Parameters:
For those not yet familiar with EDT's unique loading
parameters, here's the nuts and bolts:
Escalating Density Training is based on the concept of doing
more and more work from workout to workout. Therefore, it's critical that your exercise biomechanics
(i.e., technique) is consistent on every workout. If you perform strict curls on
one workout and loose form the next, you aren't really doing more work (for the
arms at least!).
It is recommended that you do 10-15 minutes of light to
followed by 10-15 minutes of light
stretching on "off" days
for the purpose of promoting active recovery and reducing soreness.
Each workout in this cycle consists of (3) PR Zones (PR
meaning personal record) of 15-minutes duration separated by a short (5-minute)
rest periods. In each PR Zone, you'll generally perform two exercises, for a
total of 3-4 exercises per workout.
In each PR Zone, you'll typically perform two antagonistic
exercises in alternating fashion, back and forth, using the same weight for all
sets, until the PR Zone has elapsed.
After warming up the first exercise(s), select a load that
approximates a 10RM for each exercise. Ideally, the weight used for each
exercise should be equally difficult.
Sets/Reps/Rest Intervals: This is where EDT is truly unique.
Most people will find it most productive to do higher repetition (but not
maximal effort) sets and shorter rests at the beginning, and then gradually
progress to fewer reps per set and longer rest intervals as fatigue accumulates.
As an example, you might begin by performing sets of 5 with very short (10-15
second) rests. As you begin to
fatigue, you'll increase your rest intervals as
you drop down to sets of 4, then 2, and as the time limit approaches, you might
crank out a few singles in an effort of accomplish as many repetitions as
possible in the time allotted.
NOTE: Do not perform early sets to failure, or even near
failure. My recommended starting point is to do 1/2 of what is possible (e.g., 5
reps with a 10RM weight) at the beginning of the time frame. As the time limit
approaches however, you'll find yourself working at or near failure as you
attempt to break your rep record.
Progression: Each time you repeat the workout; your objective
is to simply perform more total repetitions in the same time frame. As soon as
you can increase the total number of reps by 20 percent or more, start the next
workout with 5 percent more weight and start over. Similarly, if you manage to
improve upon your last performance (for the same workout) by 40 percent, then
you'll increase your weights by 10 percent on the next workout.
If you're interested in experiencing the greatest strength gains
possible in the least amount of time, I believe that EDT is a system that will
allow you to do it.
Dated 27 June 2012