Escalating Density Training Review

This article was submitted by J.R. Smith, a Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist over at Total Healthcare Fitness.

Escalating Density Training – Part 1

Got the videos and all the other stuff. The “other stuff” isn’t much. Just a collection from other trainers that have an association with Charles. Some of it I chucked in the trash because it’s not worth much and has nothing to do with Escalating Density Training.

I have studied the videos and today I started Escalating Density Training on legs. I will say that it was challenging but I may not have started with enough weight but heck, this was my first time doing the program so I will give myself a break. After all, this is supposed to be about managing fatigue, not developing it. So I think I did okay, after all, I was really seriously sweating and breathing hard.

Am I sore right now? No and I don’t know if I will be but that isn’t a factor in determining if you had a good workout or not, is it?

I did 3 PR Zones on the program today. Each PR Zone is 15 minutes in duration. The goal in each PR Zone is to pick two exercises that are antagonistic. I chose the leverage squat machine (because I wanted to be as safe as possible and this really feels good on my knees and back) and the decline leg curls.

I chose a weight that was challenging to get 10 reps on each exercise. Then I drop down and do only 5 reps on each exercise. The idea is to get as many reps as possible during the 15 minutes. There is no preconceived number of reps to attain and you can rest as long as you want during this 15 minutes. The idea is to manage fatigue not develop it. But you also don’t want to sit around and drink coffee and have a discussion about politics between sets either. That’s not the idea. I think I did something like 5 or 6 sets back to back before I actually took a breather.

The idea is once the 15 minutes is up, you total up your reps and then at your next session like the one you did today, you attempt to get more reps in the same amount of time. I think I got 50 reps on both the squat and leg curls. And that was PR Zone 1. I did two more PR Zones and got about the same number of reps on those as well. I was able to maintain the 5 reps during all my sets but you can drop down to 4 then 2 then 2 then 1 if you need to. There is no predetermined number of reps that you need to finish with, just start with 5 and let your fatigue determine how much you should finish with.

I am doing back and chest tomorrow and I will give you a report on that as well.

So far so good but nothing earth shattering or ground breaking. Just another way to do superset training. Of course there is a fat burning program as well and I am using this on a couple of my female clients and I will report on that also when the time is right.

Escalating Density Training part 2

Okay, I did chest and back on my Escalating Density Training program yesterday. I did it a bit different as I focused on ALL chest and back. I am back into bodybuilding and want to possibly compete sometime next year….no promises there as it depends on how I am doing in the next couple of months. Afterall, I am 52.

I set my PR Zones up and did HIGH incline bench press followed by a unique exercise I developed called Chain Pullup Rows on the incline bench (killer pullup for the back for those who can’t do pullups).

Each exercise was no more than 5 reps and I monintored how I felt. Although I hit fatigue on my pullups, I was able to continue with the 5 reps on the bench press. Again, maybe I started too low in weight but there is no rule that says I can’t finish the sets doing 5 reps either. I just have to beat the number of reps I did on this workout at my next one.

I followed this by a low bench press and pulldowns. Same scenario.

I really put out some volume on both of these workouts. Even though I got in almost 5 minutes rest between the two PR Zones, I was really sweating. But I ask myself is that all this is going to do, make me sweat? I had an okay pump but again that isn’t the primary reason for training although it is highly coveted by bodybuilders and it does feel great.

As I sit here today, I would have assumed that my legs and and hammies would be screaming from the workout on Tuesday. Notta! No pain, no discomfort. I know that with a normal workout, I usually have a fair amount of DOMS. Is that normal? Is THIS how I should feel? Don’t know for sure.

What I do know is this: This program is boring. Yes, boring. You have 15 minutes to do this superset of exercises and try to accumulate as many reps as possible in that amount of time. Then your goal is to beat that in the next workout. You are constantly moving from set to set and in one way, that is great. This thing really does burn some calories and gets you sweating big time. That I like because I hate cardio. My breathing and heart rate are highly elevated during the 15 minutes. So this is better than cardio in my opinion. But trying to get my mind wrapped around this is going to be tough if I don’t see the results promised.

Getting clients to do this program may be easier than it is for a trainer. They will probably see some incredible results and that is good. And if you stand there with the client encouraging them then it will be good for them. On the other hand, it really reduces the trainer to nothing more than a record keeper. You better have the client do the counting so you can learn your cheerleading skills.

I will say, this is a different program but it is not the program to end all programs. It is simply nothing more than another club in your golf bag of workouts. Don’t give up on the other things but it would be great to periodize with this program if you are looking to strip some fat. At this stage, and I know that Mr. Staley swears this to be true, but I don’t see how this thing is goingg to build all this great muscle. I know I have only done two workouts with it and it will take some time and I will give it time. So we will see.

I will continue to give you reports as I go along. I feel it is highly important for all of us, ISSA trainers on this board, to help one another along and give reviews of programs like this. I believe in full disclosure, not marketing garbage telling me everything I want to hear and tickling my “I hope it will..” button.

If this thing works, then I will highly recommend to you to buy it. If it doesn’t, I will tell you to stay away from it. And that’s my opinion.

Escalating Density Part 3 Final

Okay, did the last part of this Escalating Density Training program. I can say that it is a good program but again, nothing spectacular. All you have to do is use your imagination and you can come up with some great combinations as well.

Now the one thing I can say I did notice is that I have experienced no DOMS. None at all. But I have also not retained the after training pump that I normally have for a day or so. That part I don’t like but I do like the working hard part; I am sweating like crazy.

I did decided to modify the program and do something that really challenged me though. I know the Escalating Density Training program is about managing fatigue but I also believe you need more time under tension in order to get the benefits of growth. Therefore I decided to develop my own hybrid program. It goes like this:

I have 3 PR Zones like the original program calls for. But I have reduced the training time from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. Instead of 5 reps per set, I am doing 10 reps. I have to say, that got me working hard and also kicked my butt. And here is what I found out: I am getting just as many reps, with the same weight at 10 reps as I did with 5 reps in 10 minutes instead of 15. Crazy, huh? So am I working harder? Well it sure feels like it and the muscle felt like it was worked to the bone. The pump was good also and stayed with me a bit longer too.

I did change it up a bit today also for legs. I matched squats with leg curls for a 10 minute PR Zone. BUT I did 10 reps on the squats and 5 reps on the leg curls. I am following some advice that Charles Poliquin gives in his Poliquin Principles book where he says that if anyone is getting any growth on their hams on more than 8 reps chances are they are using performance enhancing drugs. I have noticed that my hammies are getting bigger and stronger on reps less than 8 so I am sticking with the 5 on this one. It worked quite well and felt great and my legs were trashed! Am I fatigued? No not really but I am sleeping much better at night though.

Well that is my final review of the Escalating Density Training program. Would I suggest that you purchase the program? Only if you are bored and have become stagnant with your own training or that of your client’s. It has given me a bunch of new ideas and I am experimenting with them and I know simply because of the new variety I am developing I am going to see some change.

Do I believe that you can lose 1/2% bodyfat per week with the EDT program like they claim? Not on your life. That is purely marketing and only one man’s opinion and experience and I am not talking about Mr. Staley either.

Experiment with the training you are now doing. Hey NOTHING is wrong if you grow from it so go for it. Mix it up and see what kind of concoctions you can come up with and maybe you too can write a book on it.

Have a strong and healthy day.

J.R.Smith c.f.t., s.p.n., s.s.c., m.e.s.
NBFE board registered
Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist – NESTA
Sports, Fitness and Medical Exercise Specialist
Total Healthcare Fitness
Human Performance Systems for Body, Back and Mind
Somerset, Kentucky 42503
Member KAFP
Member Somerset Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce

This article was submitted by J.R. Smith c.f.t., s.p.n., s.s.c., m.e.s. Follow up questions about his EDT experience or his own modifications to this system can be directed to him thru Total Healthcare Fitness.

Want More Information?

Information about Escalating Density Training or EDT by Charles Staley

Amazon Customer Reviews