Next Up? Escalating Density Training

Progress:

Return to Ultimate Blueprint

 

EDT has been covered prior but In the event you need further clarity, Charles’ DVD’s/Books are an excellent resource. Probably the best “sample” program he ever wrote can be found here: https://www.t-nation.com/workouts/escalating-density-training

 

http://www.amazon.com/Muscle-Logic-Escalating-Density-Training/dp/1594860831

SOME POINTERS

When constructing your EDT super-sets, I suggest selecting big, basic exercises ideally with dumbbells if possible. The ability to use a pronated (palms turned inward) grip is a lot easier on your wrists, elbows and shoulders since they’re all kept in line. Flat DB bench presses and 1 arm DB rows are a great example.

Second, I really like keeping things to just 2 EDT “PR Zones”, as Staley calls them – both lasting 15-20 minutes. On your upper body day, the above example could be followed by dips and chins for example. Those are two terrific bodyweight exercises that not only work an incredible amount of muscle mass, but maximize the amount of neuro muscular activation (NMA) your muscles receive. Performing your dips and chins FIRST (prior to the weighted stuff), is yet another useful strategy.

Either one guarantees overload, and thus the stimulus for growth.

Your lower body days are a similar story, though I recommend dialing things back during the second super-set. An example would be to start the workout with weighted DB step ups onto a low box, followed by Romanian Deadlifts.

Weighted Step Ups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_ae8IvzCnc
Romanian Deadlift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnBREGM7pE0

These are incredibly taxing, so your second super-set would ideally be something along these lines: 45 degree hyper-extensions and standing cable crunches

45 degree hyper-extensions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHlKcmYnrto
Standing cable crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrsqcIx6uGA

 

REST PERIODS, # OF WORK SETS AND FREQUENCY OF WORKOUTS

The ideal rest periods for 4.0’s EDT is 3 minutes between sets. Using these rest intervals, a constant weight is used and at 3 minutes, almost all of the energy stores are resynthesized when you begin your next set. Assuming that first set is a max effort, you’ll tend to fatigue and lose around 1 rep every set. This way, greater tensile demands are made of the contractile fibers – leading to more myofibrillar growth.

As for # of work sets (supersets), I’d recommend 5. Any less and we risk not enough mechanical overload. Any more, and we risk losing intensity/watering down the message to your muscles to grow.

Workout frequency is always recovery dependent, but I’d suggest a 1 on/2off for most if using a push/pull routine. The best way to gauge this is by keeping track of your strength. Are the # of reps you’re doing going up from workout to workout? If so, you’re on the right frequency. If they start to slow down, insert an extra rest day.

 

WHY NOW

The positioning of EDT at this point wasn’t without some thought on my part. Trainees make their best gains on something like EDT coming off a high intensity cycle, and you’ll absolutely thrive on it after making the switch.

Unlike Enhanced Time Under Tension, you can stay on EDT for a much longer time. I’d suggest at least 6 weeks of it, switching the rep ranges at least once. Meaning start with a heavier weight that sees you able to get 10-12 reps comfortably your first set, then milking that for 3 weeks. The next 3 weeks should be spent in a lower rep range, perhaps starting with 5-6 reps. This should see you fatiguing and performing 3, 2, perhaps even 1 rep with a heavy weight when it’s over.

In this fashion, your body won’t be able to adapt to reps – which I’m constantly reminding you of J They’re the variable that your body adapts to the quickest in any program and thus, my recommendations. Whether its 4 weeks, 6 or even 8 – milk it dry.