The Escalating Density Training Regime

The EDT program can be of various types. It would be differently taught by trainers and like other workouts does not have set methods and standards. It will vary in terms of repetitions, time, rest intervals, type of exercises, etc.

Below is a workout regime given by Charles Staley.

Lats / Elbow ExtensorsLower Body / TrunkPecs / Elbow FlexorsLower Body
First 20-Minute Time FrameFirst 20-Minute Time FrameFirst 20-Minute Time FrameFirst 20-Minute Time Frame
A-1: Chins (Palms facing you)A-1: Back Extensions (a.k.a. hyper extensions)A-1: Strive Bench Presses (or any machine bench press variant)A-1: Alternating Lunges
A-2: Lying EZ-Bar Tricep ExtensionsA-2: Ball Crunches (Crunches off a Swiss Ball)A-2: Low Cable CurlsA-2: Sit-Ups
Second 20-Minute Time FrameSecond 20-Minute Time FrameSecond 20-Minute Time FrameSecond 20-Minute Time Frame
A-1: Seated Rows (Low cable or machine)A-1: Leg extensionsA-1: Hammer Incline PressesA-1: Seated Calf Raises
A-2: Reverse-Grip Tricep Pushdowns (palms up)A-2: Leg CurlsA-2: Preacher Hammer CurlsA-2: *Russian Twists

Sit on the ground or a bench with knees bent to 90 degrees and lean your trunk back to 45 degrees. Keeping this trunk angle, and with arms out straight, fingers interlocked and arms maintained at 90 degrees to the upper body, rotate the trunk from the waist (not the shoulders!).

Description of the workout

The work out is divided into two parts. Each of which is of 20 minute time frame. The two work outs are separated by 10 minutes duration. Two exercises are performed alternatively in each of the time frame. Altogether four exercises are performed in 40 minutes or two exercises are performed in 20 minutes.

Most people tend to do higher repetition sets for an exercise and then as fatigue sets in, they would slowly reach a point where fewer repetitions are performed with longer rests. For example, starting from eight reps, one might drop down to sets of five, then three and then may be just two until the 20 minute time limit is approached.

Each time the workout is repeated, the objective is to do more number of reps in the same time frame. It is said that as soon as one can increase the total number of reps by 20 percent or more, the next workout should be done with 5 percent more weight. This way the body is challenged to do more work.

The 20 minute time frame is the benchmark. One has just to complete the time frame and strive to push the body a little more in each session. According to Charles Staley - “Muscle is a biological system, and it grows (or atrophies) in direct proportion to the amount of work it is forced to do. The EDT system is just a foolproof way to ensure that you perform more and more work in each workout that you do”.

Happy Exercising!


  1. "High Density Strength Training" ByTom Venuto.
  2. "How to Dramatically Improve Your Strength with "Density Training" Workout Routines" By Jason C. Brown.

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