Bigger, stronger, leaner – anyone who hits the gym on a regular basis does so with the aim of achieving at least one of these goals. When it comes to weight training, it’s important to keep in mind that the total volume and intensity of training you accumulate is more important than how the training was carried out. For example, if you wanted to add size to your arms, a certain volume of exercise at an appropriate intensity would be needed, but how you go about doing those exercises would be entirely up to you. While this doesn’t mean that the amount of work you need to put in is reduced, making use of training strategies like Escalating Density Training (EDT) help make your journey to achieving your desired results much less complicated.
EDT is based on the concept of organising sets and reps in a way that allows you to amass maximum training volume within a minimal amount of time. One of the ways you can achieve this is by modifying your sets to make them shorter over the course of your workout rather than forcing yourself to power through them. Many people make the mistake of assuming that this shows personal weakness, however, the truth of the matter is that how much achieve within a session is more important than how much you achieve in a single set. In fact, pushing yourself to complete sets can actually cause premature fatigue and lessen the effectiveness of your workout as a whole. Instead, make use of these strategies to incorporate EDT into your training and maximise the results of your workouts.
- First, establish time limits. EDT workouts comprise specific Personal Record (or PR) zones of 15-20 minutes, where you strive to accumulate as many total reps as possible on two opposing exercises.
- Next, designate oppositional exercise pairings to be performed. Alternating between sets of front squats and hamstring curls, for example, would be a good example of an oppositional exercise pairing because performing front squats requires your hamstrings to be relaxed in order to let your quads contract. This reciprocal innervation allows for quicker muscle recovery than just resting it would.
- Finally, reduce reps as you progress through sets. For instance, you may begin the 15-minute PR zone with sets of 5 reps, but drop down to sets of 4, then 3, and so on, as you grow more fatigued. How long you rest in between sets is completely up to you but remember: the clock’s ticking!
In order for EDT, or indeed any training, to yield your desired results, you need to craft a working progression strategy. When you perform the same exercise pairing, you should be aiming to improve your PR, which in this case refers to the total reps completed in your last session. Once you increase your baseline PR by 20% or more, you can increase your weights by 5% or 5 pounds, whichever is less, the next time around!