End Your Strength Plateaus NOW

EDT for Maximal Strength Breakthroughs!

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When I first introduced some of the concepts behind the EDT system in Testosterone, I purposely focused on muscular hypertrophy and body composition, assuming that this would be the primary interest of most T-mag readers. I was pleasantly surprised, however, at the large number of requests I’ve received asking for EDT applications for maximal strength and other performance targets.

As it turns out, strength training was actually the first application of EDT, as most of my clients are athletes and therefore have performance-related goals. However, I’ve never shared EDT strength-training concepts in print before, since the origins of the system involved the use of force measurement technology which was thought to be financially prohibitive for the average person.

Over the past year or so, however, I’ve managed to modify these methods such that they’re not dependant on the technology just mentioned. Now, of course, if you’re an international-caliber competitive athlete with medals on the line, I’m still going to insist on knowing your exact mean power and speed (which I need my force-measurement device for).

However, if you’re not on a Professional level, and you’re interested in getting significant new PR’s on your core lifts, I’m more than confident that this program will deliver in spades. In fact, although I’m typically uncomfortable about blowing my own horn, I really want to do whatever I can to convince people that they should take a serious look at EDT, so I’m going to share a recent e-mail I received from Malinda Baum, who is a member of my private coaching group. Although we never had a chance to work face to face, we were able to work “virtually” through my coaching group and I was able to give Malinda a program based on these principles that produced an all time personal best:

“Charles, I had my powerlifting meet this past Sunday. I had the best meet of my powerlifting career, going 9-9 (which was also a first for me) with personal bests in all three events and personal best total. My total increased 77 pounds from my last meet which was a mere 6 weeks ago. I had a squat of 364, bench press of 214 and deadlift of 402 for a total of 980 pounds. I now hold the state firefighter records in all four areas.

“I have been powerlifting since February 2000 and the most I have ever increased my total in one meet was 30 pounds and that was with a 6 month training time between meets. My best total prior to this meet was 903.

“I can’t wait to see what a full three month training cycle will increase my lifts by!

“Thanks, Charles”

OK, with the self-promotion taken care of, I want to get right into the program. The cycle I’m presenting here involves a 6-day split with two of the days involving “active recovery.” In other words, you work Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and do light aerobic work for recovery on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You’ll take Sundays off.

I fully expect that the particulars given in this program can be modified by knowledgeable readers. For example, the auxiliary exercises should address weaknesses in specific muscles or muscle groups. Also, if any of the core lifts presented here are problematic due to injuries, lack of equipment, and/or lack of familiarity, go ahead and make the appropriate substitutions. For example, you can substitute power snatches for cleans, front squats or deadlifts for squats, pull-ups for chins, etc. The key thing is that you choose four testable, multi-joint exercises which address the majority of the body’s musculature with minimal redundancy.

While these workouts might look brief on paper, you’ll understand why once you start doing them!

Monday

Pre-workout (optional):

500mg Vitamin C (3-4 hours prior to workout)

One serving Power Drive (use club soda instead of water)

First Personal Record (PR) Zone (15 Minutes):

A: Snatch-grip Deadlift, Heels Elevated about 1.5 inches

Loading: Select a weight that comfortably allows for 5 sets of 2 repetitions within the 15 minute PR Zone. (Do not lift for longer than the 15 minute “zone.”) Then add 5 pounds each week for 4 successive weeks. Use lifting straps, and do not allow the hips to rise prior to shoulders when viewed from side. Attempt to lower the bar using nothing but knee/flexion (i.e., don’t lean forward at all, just bend the knees)

Second PR Zone (15 Minutes):

B-1: Leg Curl

B-2: Reverse Trunk Twist on Ball

Editor’s note: To refresh your memory, EDT training typically involves moving back and forth between two movements in a set time period, in this case, 15 minutes. As the 15 minutes wanes, you’ll find that you’ll be doing fewer and fewer reps, as Charles explains below (remember, in EDT training, you don’t go until complete failure; you only do reps until your speed or your form deteriorates). The key is, on subsequent workouts, to improve on the previous workout’s total volume. If you’re confused, or don’t remember the tenets of EDT training, refer to the original article in issue #196.

Loading: After warming up both exercises, select a load that approximates a 10-12 RM for each. The weight used for each exercise should be equally difficult. It may take a workout or two to get both exercises “evened out.” If so, that’s OK – one of the hallmark features of EDT workouts are their ability to intelligently adjust to your needs.

Generally, it’s most productive to do higher repetition (but not maximal effort) sets and shorter rests at the beginning, and then gradually progress to less reps per set and longer rest intervals as fatigue accumulates. As an example, you might begin by performing sets of 6 with very short (15-30 second) rests. As you begin to fatigue, you’ll increase your rest intervals as you drop down to sets of 4, then 2, and as the 15 minute time limit approaches, you might crank out a few singles in an effort to accomplish as many repetitions as possible in 15 minutes.

C: Post-Workout Cryotherapy (notes on this at the end of the article)

Tuesday

Pre-workout (optional):

500mg Vitamin C (3-4 hours prior to workout)

One serving Power Drive (use club soda instead of water)

First PR Zone (15 Minutes):

A: Push Press: This is simply a standing military press with a barbell, using maximal “body English”/momentum to power the bar to the top position.

Loading: Start with approx 85-90% 1RM and perform as many singles as possible in 15 minutes. Just to clarify, no sets of 2,3 etc., all must be sets of 1. Put a stopwatch on yourself and try to increase total number of singles during weeks 2-4. Really focus on MAXIMAL concentric speed)

Second PR Zone (15 Minutes):

B-1: Incline Hammer Curl (Pause one full second at top)

B-2: T-Bar Row (use lifting straps)

Loading: As before, after warming up both exercises, select a load that approximates a 10-12RM for each. Ideally, the weight used for each exercise should be equally difficult.

Do higher repetition (but not maximal effort) sets and shorter rests at the beginning, and then gradually progress to less reps per set and longer rest intervals as fatigue accumulates. As an example, you might begin by performing sets of 6 with very short (15-30 second) rests. As you begin to fatigue, you’ll increase your rest intervals as you drop down to sets of 4, then 2, and as the 15 minute time limit approaches, you might crank out a few singles in an effort of accomplish as many repetitions as possible in 15 minutes.

C: Post-Workout Cryotherapy

Wednesday (Active Recovery/Prehab)

15 Minutes of light intensity (about a 3-4 on a scale of 10) aerobic exercise of your choice followed by some light stretching for whatever muscle groups that you trained on the previous 2 days.

Thursday

Pre-workout (optional):

500mg Vitamin C (3-4 hours prior to workout)

One serving Power Drive (use club soda instead of water)

First PR Zone (15 Minutes):

Alternate between the following two movements in EDT style:

A: Zercher Squats. Pad the bar with a squat pad or heavy towel and cradle the bar in the crooks of your elbows. Most people quickly get used to the discomfort, let me know how you do. Squat to a thighs-parallel position, hold for 1 full second, and then explode back up to the top, maintaining an upright torso.

Loading: Start with a comfortably-challenging load for 5×3 in 15 minutes… put a stopwatch on yourself. Try to increase total number of singles during weeks 2-4. Really focus on MAXIMAL concentric speed. Then…

B: Back Squats. Use the same load used in Zerchers for one set to technical failure. Take one warm-up set first with a lighter weight to prepare for this.

NOTE: Both “A” and “B” must be completed inside 15 minutes.

Second PR Zone (15 Minutes):

C-1: Hanging Hip Flexions (i.e., hanging leg raises)

C-2: Weighted Back Extensions

Loading: Again, after warming up both exercises, select a load that approximates a 10-12RM for each. Ideally, the weight used for each exercise should be equally difficult

Do higher repetition (but not maximal effort) sets and shorter rests at the beginning, and then gradually progress to less reps per set and longer rest intervals as fatigue accumulates. As stated before, you might begin by performing sets of 6 with very short (15-30 second) rests. As you begin to fatigue, you’ll increase your rest intervals as you drop down to sets of 4, then 2, and as the 15 minute time limit approaches, you might crank out a few singles in an effort of accomplish as many repetitions as possible in 15 minutes.

C: Post-Workout Cryotherapy

Friday

Pre-workout (optional):

500mg Vitamin C (3-4 hours prior to workout)

One serving Power Drive (use club soda instead of water)

First PR Zone (15 Minutes):

Weighted Close, Parallel-Grip Pull-ups.

Loading: Start with approx 80-85% 1 RM and perform as many singles as possible in 15 minutes. Just to clarify, no sets of 2, 3, etc., all must be sets of 1. Put a stopwatch on yourself and try to increase total number of singles during weeks 2-4. Really focus on MAXIMAL concentric speed.

Second PR Zone (15 Minutes):

B-1: Incline Zottman Curls

B-2: Lying DB Tricep Extension From Floor (Pause/relax for one second when dumbbells’s touch the floor)

Loading: Select a load that approximates a 10-12 RM for each. Ideally, the weight used for each exercise should be equally difficult.

Again, most people will find it most productive to do higher repetition (but not maximal effort) sets and shorter rests at the beginning, and then gradually progress to less reps per set and longer rest intervals as fatigue accumulates. As an example, you might begin by performing sets of 6 with very short (15-30 second) rests. As you begin to fatigue, you’ll increase your rest intervals as you drop down to sets of 4, then 2, and as the 15 minute time limit approaches, you might crank out a few singles in an effort of accomplish as many repetitions as possible in 15 minutes.

C: Post-Workout Cryotherapy

Saturday (Active Recovery/Prehab)

15 Minutes of light intensity (about a 3-4 on a scale of 10) aerobic exercise of your choice followed by some light stretching for whatever muscle groups that you trained on the previous 2 days.

Sunday: OFF

PROGRAM NOTES:

1) Post-Workout Cryotherapy: The faster you recover from workouts, the more often you can train. The more often you can train, the faster you’ll get your new PR’s. Now that I’ve made my case for the importance of recovery, think about something for a second: recovery can be passive (e.g., it will take place eventually even if you don’t think about it) or ACTIVE (e.g., you force the issue to enable yourself to recover even faster). Immediately post-training, use a cryocup (from Cryo Therapy, 1-800-ICE-5722) on all trained muscle groups – continue the ice massage until the cup has entirely melted. Focus on soft tissue, staying away from bones and joints. Concentrate on long, deep strokes, going parallel to the muscle fibers.

2) Do not underestimate the importance of good biomechanics! For some trainees, there may be a tendency to be a bit to “panicky” and allow form to deteriorate in the attempt to get those last reps in before the time limit elapses. You must adopt a “controlled panic” mindset if you wish to reap maximum benefit from EDT workouts.

3) Progression:

(For “A” exercises): From week one’s weights, simply add 5 pounds a week or 5% (whichever is greater) to the load and repeat.

(For “B-1 and B-2” and “C-1 and C-2” exercises): Each time you repeat the workout; your objective is to simply perform more total repetitions in the same time frame. As soon as you can increase the total number of reps by 20% or more, start the next workout with 5% more weight and start over.

4) Continuity: As a matter of principle, I recommend selecting 4 core exercises that either 1) train the most amount of muscle with the least amount of overlap (if body composition is your primary goal) or 2) train fundamental movements patterns that apply to your sport event (if performance is your primary objective). Secondary exercises are changed every 4-8 weeks to address weaknesses and changing fitness status.

Editor’s Note: Are you looking for the perfect workout that takes the thinking out of your program design? Coach Staley has finally revealed his “behind-the-scenes” arm training program that gives you breakthrough size even if you’ve been stuck in a rut for years. Escalating Density Training will give you massive arms fast! Go to: EDTSecrets.com.

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Charles Staley
Charles Staley is an accomplished strength coach who specializes in helping older athletes reclaim their physicality and vitality. At age 56, Charles is leaner than ever, injury free, and in his lifetime best shape. His PRs include a 400-pound squat, 510-pound deadlift, and a 17 chin-up max. Follow Charles Staley on Facebook