Many of us want to be lean and have a defined, muscular shape. And we want it fast – both in terms of the time it takes to achieve it, as well as efficient and fast workouts. This article is aimed at people who have this goal.
There are training modalities that when executed properly, can help you achieve the above. That’s not to say this is a ‘quick fix’, not at all – quick fixes don’t exist, remember that, okay? This said, more effective and efficient modalities do exist, and when used in conjunction with appropriate nutrition and lifestyle you can achieve significant muscle gains.
So what is the solution? Density training.
Density training is about combining training volume and duration. So we take into account weight, reps and time, where: • Volume = reps x weight used • Duration = the length of time taken.
Essentially, we want to get a lot of work (i.e., volume) done in a chosen period of time; and progressively do more / better / faster as we move from session to session.
How does density training work?
We can set this up a number of ways and in many differing combinations, but for ease of application, we’re going to focus on two options:
- Time-based: working within a set time period with a chosen weight, you complete as many reps as you can in that time. The variable that changes workout to workout here is your total reps. For example, let’s say you were doing a back squat, and you had 60kg on the bar with the timer set for 10 minutes. You would aim to get as many reps done in that 10 minutes.
- Rep-based: working with a chosen weight, and designated reps, you are going to get those reps done as fast as you can. The variable that changes here is the time taken. Using the same example, you would set yourself a target of, say, 50 reps with the 60kg, and then see how fast you can complete those 50 reps.
The weight used can vary, however, for our purposes let’s say you’re going to use a weight that you could safely complete 10 (or up to 15 depending on your ability or conditioning). It then becomes up to you how you actually structure the breakup of mini sets within the overall density set. The general idea would be to keep one to two reps ‘in the tank’ each effort, so your rest is shorter and you can maintain a regular and consistent pace. So you may have a ten rep max (RM) on the bar and aim to do eight reps each effort. Or you might do five each time, and rest for a shorter time.
The idea is to rest as and when needed, but keep it as brief as possible.
A couple of different options are outlined below, but first – why density training?
With density training we are essentially taking the best of all elements of training and rolling them up into one efficient package. Although it’s traditionally designed to help achieve hypertrophy (i.e., muscle growth), when used in the recommended way, it can also help promote fat loss. This is because with the voluminous nature of density training, you can burn a lot of calories. However, you’ll also increase your overall work capacity, which will continually improve your ability to get more done on subsequent workouts.
You’ll also be encouraging a physiological response that sees your hormones wanting to build muscle and burn fat, leaving you in a state of high lactate, which causes your muscles to burn, heart to pound and lungs to ache. And, with density training all of this occurs in a very time-efficient manner.
Here are two sample workouts using two different density sets. Set the weight based off your 10RM for each exercise. And remember to ask a fitness professional if you need assistance.
A1: Barbell back squat
A2: Chin up (assisted if need be) Your aim is to get 50 reps of each as fast as you can. B1: Dumbbell goblet squat
B2: Dumbbell single arm bent over row Set the stopwatch for 12 minutes and get as many reps as you can done in that time.
A1: Barbell deadlift
A2: Dumbbell chest press Set the stopwatch for 10 minutes and get as many reps as you can done in this time.
B1: Barbell push-press
B2: Dumbbell Romanian dead lift Your aim is to do 75 reps of each, as fast as possible.