A good number of you are already familiar with Charles Staley's Escalating Density Training (EDT), in which the goal is to perform as many total reps of an exercise during a certain time frame.

What a lot of you may not know is that a similar system has been used by Olympic lifters for decades! Pierre Roy, coach of the Canadian Olympic lifting team who's produced medalists of all kinds, introduced me to this system of training about ten years ago.

Pierre is one of the smartest men in the world when it comes to making someone strong. He trained Jacques Demers, an Olympic silver medalist, who snatched 330 pounds, clean and jerked 418 pounds, and back squatted 600 pounds for sets of ten reps, all at a bodyweight of less than 165.

Among others, he also trained Denis Garon, who clean and jerked 490 pounds in competition (in fact, he clean and jerked 500 pounds, but the lift was turned down because one of his elbows unlocked while holding the bar overhead).

Most recently, he's worked with Olympic team members Marilou Dozois-Prévost and Francis Luna-Grenier.

Marilou Dozois-Prévost

Marilou Dozois-Prévost

His "density" system was built around allocating a certain time frame for each lift; a method previously used by the Egyptian weightlifting team back in the '50s when they were one of the strongest weightlifting countries in the world.

A workout might look like this:

Warm-up (jumps): 10 minutes
Primary movement: 20 minutes
Secondary movement: 20 minutes
Assistance exercise: 15 minutes
Remedial exercise: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Each workout had a certain intensity zone that was defined by the number of reps, and the goal was to complete as many successful lifts during the prescribed time frame. This is a great way to autoregulate training because if you were feeling down and out, you did fewer sets; if you felt like attacking the bar, you were able to take shorter rests and complete more sets.

Understand that the rest between sets is completely arbitrary and entirely up to you. Make sure, however, that you record the number of reps so that you can refer to it, and hopefully beat it, the next time.

While several rep schemes were used, the basic three cycles looked like this:

Accumulation (4 weeks): 6 reps/set
Intensification (4 weeks): 3 reps/set
Peaking (2 weeks): 3/2/1 wave

The first three weeks of the accumulation and intensification phase were "kick yourself in the arse" weeks, while the fourth was more of an unloading week, where you'd shoot for around 50 to 60% of the training volume used in the previous week.

Can this method be used for someone simply wanting to build size and strength? Sure! Look no further than the Canadian Bear program.

The Canadian Bear Program

Day 1: Squat Day

Phase 1: Accumulation (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 6 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Back squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Half squat from the bottom position (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Leg press (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Leg extension (10 minutes)

Phase 2: Intensification (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 3 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Back squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Progressive range of motion squat from the bottom position* (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Leg press (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Double technique back squat (10 minutes)

* Perform a 1/8 squat for week one, 1/4 squat for week two, 1/2 squat for week three, and take week four off

Phase 3: Peaking (2 weeks)

Target rep range: 3/2/1 wave

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Back squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: 1/4 squat (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Double technique back squat (10 minutes)

Day 2: Bench Day

Phase 1: Accumulation (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 6 reps/set

Warm-up: Plyo push-ups, medicine ball throws, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Close-grip bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Lat pull-down (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Dumbbell shoulder press (10 minutes)

Phase 2: Intensification (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 3 reps/set

Warm-up: Plyo push-ups, medicine ball throws, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Progressive range of motion bench from the bottom position* (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Pull-ups (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Double technique bench press (10 minutes)

* Perform a lockout for week one, 1/4 bench for week two, 1/2 bench for week three, and take week four off

Phase 3: Peaking (2 weeks)

Target rep range: 3/2/1 wave

Warm-up: Plyo push-ups, medicine ball throws, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Bench lockout (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Double technique bench press (10 minutes)

Day 3: Deadlift Day

Phase 1: Accumulation (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 6 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Deadlift (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Goodmorning (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Seated rows (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Glute-ham raise (10 minutes)

Phase 2: Intensification (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 3 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Deadlift (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Progressive range of motion deadlift from the bottom position* (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Power clean from the hang (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Double technique deadlift (10 minutes)

* Perform from above the knees for week one, just below the knees for week two, mid-shins for week three, and take week four off

Phase 3: Peaking (2 weeks)

Target rep range: 3/2/1 wave

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Deadlift (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Deadlift from just above the knees (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Double technique deadlift (10 minutes)

Day 4: Overall Day

Phase 1: Accumulation (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 6 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Deadlift (20 minutes)

Phase 2: Intensification (4 weeks)

Target rep range: 3 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Deadlift (20 minutes)

Phase 3: Peaking (2 weeks)

Target rep range: 3 reps/set

Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)

Movement 1: Squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Deadlift (20 minutes)

This program is guaranteed to jack you up fast and bring your strength right along with it.

Granted, it lacks the "beach exercises" like curls and abs, so feel free to add ten minutes of beach work at the end of every workout, but no more than that. However, drop the beach work during the peaking phase.

See ya' next week when I introduce some super strength tactics!