“You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” – David Foster Wallace
Tracking progress, EDT style. Notice how the handwriting degrades rapidly here…
I guess I’m just much too performance driven (or seriously ADHD) to tolerate much in the way of conventional (read, bodybuilding-like), direct arm training in my overall regimen. Not that I have anything at all against the body building scene, mind you (to each his own) — it’s just not my scene. Enter my spin on EDT — Escalating Density Training.
Props where props are due –
Whereas the idea of incorporating the total amount of work done in a particular exercise per unit of time as a measurement of progression has been around since before I was a kid bumbling around in the gym, Charles Staley was the first, to the best of my knowledge, to name and formalize the idea into a comprehensive training program.
And as far as providing an easy-to-understand set of analytics to chase, you could do a lot worse than EDT. But, as always, we need to make sure the methodology we choose matches our goals. Is EDT the correct tool to use for increasing your 1 RM? Is it comparable with heavy, compound movements? The answer on both counts is, of course, no. Is it, however, a pretty good method to use with assistance work? To use in a higher-volume/lower-intensity mass-gain block? You bet. And for good ol’ direct bi and tri work, it’s my go-to template.
In the clip below, I take my fellow Efficient Exercise trainer, Lesley O’Neal, through a truncated, 10-minute EDT bi and tri variation during one of our “train the trainer” gatherings. I explain in the clip how I determine when weight needs to be added to the bar for the various exercises. Essentially, it all comes down to “what can be done to increase the per-exercise work output”. With a given exercise pairing (and, assuming a consistent exercise rep tempo), we can either nail more repetitions in a given time period, or increase the weight on the bar. Simple enough. The real juggle begins, though, when the weight is increased sufficiently to actually reduce (via less accumulated total reps) the overall work output of the exercise.
As far as we’re concerned, here load x distance (reps) = work. And what we’re attempting to increase is work output per fixed unit of time. Simple as that.
Fitocracy; is it for You?
I’ve been test-driving the Fitocracy site for the last few weeks, after having been clued-into it by clients of mine. I haven’t thought much about workout tracking services like this for myself, but after hearing rave reviews from a couple of my clients, I decided to check it out. And I have to say that I rather like it.
Motivation, sense of community, accountability — these are all aspects of the psychological game that keeps people involved in health related pursuits. And Fitocracy is great for this.
Is there much here for the advanced trainee? Well, maybe not. I do find it difficult at times to record some of my workouts (both in exercise selection and modality) — For instance, there’s no way for me (or my clients, for that matter) to log ARXFit work, or barbell/dumbbell complexes. But really, an advanced trainee is probably beyond the kind of motivation incentive offered by this type of community anyway. Nothing says that Fitcoracy can’t morph so as to include this demographic, though, and in time I think that they will.
At any rate, though, I think that Fitocracy is at least worth a look. It won’t cost you anything to try it on for size. I’ve been pretty good about tracking my workouts there over the past couple of weeks, so you can follow the link about and check out what I’ve been up to.
In health, fitness, and ancestral wellness –