Get Dense!

We have all seen it, and maybe we have even done it ourselves.

Too often a training session becomes a social extravaganza where we waste time discussing everything from the weather outside to the latest screw ups of The Biebs (which recently have been plentiful), instead of getting to work and getting things done!

I am not suggesting that training should not be a time to socialize, as getting after it with some friends can be a great motivator, but taking 2+ hours to complete a session that should last no longer than 45 minutes to an hour is a problem.

Besides the fact that almost every American complains that they are busy and don’t have time, another issue with slothing your way through a session (yes, I know “slothing” is not a word, but I am the one writing!) is that many of our goals rely heavily on the overall stress and hormonal adaptation that is a result of packing in lots of work in a shorter period of time.

How much work you get done in a period of time is also referred to as your training density.

The more dense a session is the higher the stress is on the body, the greater the hormonal response (higher testosterone and growth hormone) and the better the physical adaptations…as long as intensity and nutrition are sufficient (50 sets of power curls in the squat rack don’t count, and you are just being an inconsiderate INSERT EXPLICIT that is strongly disliked by fellow gym patrons).

Do not be these dudes…please!

Increasing training density is a great way to decrease training time for those of us who can only dedicate a short amount of time to a training session or if something suddenly comes up. Increasing training density is also a great way to further enhance hypertophic adaptations of tissues (muscle growth) as well as promote greater caloric expenditure as heart rate will be kept elevated, and EPOC will be greater (excess post oxygen consumption, or how many calories you utilize to recover after training).

**Note: If your main goal is to increase maximal strength/power or acquire a new skill, taking more time to complete the training session, or at least that piece of the session is warranted. The greatest strength/power gains and the optimal way to new skill acquisition is by taking your time and allowing the central nervous system to recover between sets.

But for the rest of us, just how can we increase the density of our training session? There are a few simple ways that I like to do so with my own training, as well as the training of my athletes.

1)      Use tri-sets and quad-sets instead of supersets: Most programs are written in a superset fashion (1a,1b then 2a, 2b, etc.). To increase density try trisets (running through 3 exercises in back to back fashion) or quadsets (4 exercises grouped). You can take your existing program that may contain 8 exercises for example, and instead of 4 pairs of supersets, make two groupings of 4 exercises (1a, 1b, 1c, 1d then 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d).

2)      Go for time: Typically training sessions are completed based on sets and reps. Instead, try setting a time limit and

completing as many sets of your exercises as possible.

For example, say you are performing a deadlift and push-up superset, instead of going for 4 sets of 6 reps each, try to see how

This gives you a training session of roughly 25 minutes (I am including 4 minutes to get to the next exercises) instead of a training session that is based on 4 sets for each superset.

Time is limited so you have to work as quickly as possible! many sets of 6 you can complete in 7 minutes then move on to the next exercises and give yourself another 7 minutes and repeat one more time with another superset.

3)      Go for sets and reps: The opposite of number 2 is to set a certain amount of sets and reps and try to complete them as quickly as possible.

For example, yesterday I performed a tri-set of forward lunges, feet elevated push-ups with chains and feet elevated TRX rows with chains for 5 sets (after a sufficient warm up). I recorded the time it took me to complete the 5 sets, wrote it down and will try to beat it the next time.

Crushed in in less than 30 minutes, including warm up…boom!

Get Dense

There are 3 ways you can increase the density of your training sessions, save time and compete with yourself to further enhance progress and goals.

The next time you find yourself short on time, in the mood to discuss the travesties of today’s youth or simply unmotivated at the start of a session, get after some one of these density protocols and reap the benefits of increasing the amount of work done in a shorter period of time…yes, bigger muscles, less fat and an overall feeling of badassary!

Like this post and found it useful?…Share it with your friends and family to help spread the good word and help others get after it and achieve their goals!


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