A Woman’s Guide To Warp-Speed Fat Loss (and Free Online BodyWeight Workouts)
Posted Jul 08 2009 9:02pm
Note from Editor: This is a Guest Article from Internationally known Strength and Conditioning Coach Charles Staley (Director of Staley Training Systems )
Ever since childhood, I’ve lived by a simple code: if you want to be successful, do the opposite of what everyone else does (This simple premise isn’t accurate across the board by the way…actually it only works about 98 percent of the time. Oh well…)
Up until this very moment however, chances are that you’ve never even heard of Escalating Density Training, or “EDT” for short. That’s because, for various reasons, I’ve never tried to promote it to women in any type of orchestrated way. Why? Well, it’s mostly because I’m a ….well, a guy. And my thinking has been that women listen to other women a lot more than they’ll listen to a guy. And who can blame you? After all, us guys are a brutish lot.
In fact, my wife still can’t understand why there’s nothing but a toothbrush in my medicine cabinet (OK, I gotta ask- what is it with all these products you girls use? Between my wife and daughter, our house is like a cross between a Bed Bath & Beyond and the pharmacy section of Albertsons!)
But I digress. Over the past several months, I’ve become increasingly aware that EDT may in fact be the world’s most perfect form of training for females- especially females looking to tighten up in a serious way.
I’ll make just one more observation before acquainting you with my life’s work:
You’re gonna really like EDT. Promise.
Imagine a training system where each workout has a time-limit and a concise objective. A system where each workout is a competition with yourself, a game that fires up your competitive juices (even if you didn’t know you had any!) A system that produces measurable improvements every time you go to the gym. A system that finds and exploits the “sweet spot” between cardio and weight training.
With it’s roots in time-management principles, EDT’s simplicity is disarming: there are no pre-determined number of reps, sets, or rest periods. Instead, your goal is to amass as many total repetitions as possible in each 15-minute “PR Zone” (”PR” standing for “personal record.”). If I’ve got your attention, please continue with me as I explain the nuts and bolts of the EDT system. I’ll also provide an introductory program that drops bodyfat so rapidly, it’ll make your plastic surgeon nervous!
Meet Your New Best Friend…
Here’s a quick and painless guide to the nuts and bolts of the EDT system. It’s super-simple, but you’ll need to set aside of your preconceived notions about weight training in order to grasp the concept. Ready? OK, let’s get started…
I don’t use the word “workout.” Instead, we use the term “training session.” Working out implies dull, meaningless activity for the sole purpose of burning calories. “Training” on the other hand, implies you’ve got a purpose, a plan. And you do! So don’t sell yourself short, you’re now in training girl! Leave the workouts to the Tuesday Night Book Club bimbos!
OK, now when you’re “on” EDT, each training session is composed of between 1 and 3 15-minute time periods that we call “PR Zones.” What’s PR Mean? Any takers? Anyone…anyone? OK, it stands for “personal record.” Which is what you’ll be striving to break on each and every PR Zone. Let’s continue…
What Are PR Zones For?
They’re for setting and breaking your PR’s. Your PR’s are like your own personal World records. They represent the best performances you’ve ever done. Ever time you break a PR, you’ve got definitive proof that you’re at your all-time best- numbers don’t lie (unlike your scale and your boyfriend!)
During each PR Zone, you’ll try to rack up as many total repetitions as possible using 2 “antagonistic” or opposing exercises. For example, bicep curls and tricep pushdowns. Or bench presses and rows. There are lots of possible configurations as you might imagine. Don’t get caught up in the details though- just focus on the overriding idea. I’ll provide the specifics in just a bit.
How Much Weight? How Many Reps? How….?
Real women DO challenge their muscles.....just ask my dream girl Jessica Biel (she doesn' t look all bulked up does she?)
OK: let’s say you’re doing a PR Zone for arms…a very simple example that nearly everyone can relate to. Your two exercises are standing dumbbell curls and lying EZ-curl tricep extensions. Before you start your stopwatch and begin your PR Zone, you’ll need to determine (or estimate) your “10RM” weight for both exercises. That means a weight that you can do a set of 10 with before reaching failure.
So start light and do 2-3 sets on both exercises- alternating back and forth between the curls and the extensions. Do sets of maybe 5-6 reps until you hit a weight that’s heavy enough to give you a sense of what your 10RM would be (NOTE: This process of finding your 10RM weight only happens once.
The next time you repeat that same PR Zone, you’ll already know what weights to use). The main thing is that the weights you’ve chosen for both exercises are equally difficult for whatever reps you’ve used during your warm-ups. Got it?
Good. With your weights selected, start your timer. Start by performing your first set of curls. How many reps? 10? No, no, no! We’re seeking maximum performance, not maximum perspiration. Just trust me here. You’ll be in plenty of time by the time the PR Zone ends, believe me!
So you’ve done 5 reps on the curls, so next, do 5 reps on the extensions.
How long should you rest? Get ready….ready?
I really don’t. Rest as long or as little as you like. One less thing to worry about. Now, the clock’s ticking, and you’re going back and forth between curls and extensions, doing sets of 5 resting maybe 15-20 seconds or so between each set. But as time goes on you’ll become fatigued. No- you really will. So when his happens, you’re gonna do two things to optimize your performance: First, you’ll drop your reps. Although you’ll start the PR Zone by doing sets of 5, over the course of 15 minutes, you’ll gradually drop down to sets of 4, then sets of 3, and so on.
Toward the very end of the PR Zone, you may even be doing sets of 1! Don’t worry- by this time, the weight that was a 10RM 15 minutes ago is now more like a 3RM!
The second thing you’ll do- and it’ll happen instinctively…no need to think about it- is you’ll gradually increase your rest between sets.
Your 15 Minutes Of Fame Is Now Over
Allrighty then. You finished the PR Zone. Hopefully you performed “X” number of reps for both exercises. Let’s say you got 64 reps for each exercise. That’s called your Baseline PR. It’ll become your training target for the next repeat of this PR Zone
Now Here’s The REALLY Cool Thing About EDT…
Depending on the program you’re on, in maybe 4-6 days later you’re going to repeat this PR Zone. And when you do, a couple of really neat things happen. First, when you start the PR Zone, you know you’ll be finished in 15 minutes…no matter what happens. It’s not like “OK Susan, here’s your program, enjoy!” and you’re lookin’ at that sucker and your thought bubble is like “Holy frig…how long is that gonna take?” Nope. Not when you’re training with me.
The second thing that you’ll enjoy here is that you know exactly what you need to accomplish…in this case, you need to get 65 reps or better. How much better? Again…
Are ya feelin’ the love? OK look…my point is that we’re all different… some of us are more aggressive than others. Then main thing is to ensure that you’re making progress. And honestly, small margins or progression that you can sustain long term are worth a whole hell of a lot more than big jumps that you can’t maintain.
When Do I Add Weight?
Ah…now you’re thinkin’ like a lifter! OK, here’s how it works: As soon as you can increase the total number of reps in any given PR Zone by 20 percent or more, start the next workout with 5 pounds or 5 percent more weight (whichever is less) and start over. Similarly, if you manage to improve upon your last performance (for the same workout) by 40 percent, then you’ll increase your weights by 10 pound or 10 percent (whichever is less) on the next PR Zone.
Note from Editor: I would like to thank Charles Staley ( Staley Training Systems ) for his article and for detailing his EDT programming. It’s so simple and so effective, that it may actually be the best way for most of us to make fitness fun and time efficient!
FREE BodyWeight Workouts!
In fact….I love this approach so much over the years that I have incorporated it (along with other strategies) into the FREE weekly workouts you will find in the weekly ongoing BodyWeight Challenge at ProjectFit. No more worries about programming your own workouts as you will get new Bodyweight workouts that will challenge any level sent to you 3x a week via email or RSS (like your own personal trainer online). No more excuses….as you can still get a workout in as little as 15 minutes whether you are at home, on the road, in the park or anywhere else. So join the bodyweight challenge community and get signed up today….and did I mention it is FREE? (just click on the link below or here )