By: Greg Presto
Muscles are funny things. They respond to just about any type of training, as long as it’s hard and as long as it’s not the same damn thing you’ve always done. That’s the beauty of density training: It’s a whole lot of stuff you haven’t tried yet. And best of all, it’ll hit your major muscles in a fraction of the time. Instead of counting reps and sets, you’ll focus on the total amount of work you can accomplish in a fixed amount of time. As you progress, you’ll naturally increase your sets and reps, be able to use more weight, and perform exercises that are more challenging.
Try this plan, created by David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, Massachusetts, to increase the intensity of your workouts. In just 4 weeks, you’ll create a lean physique that looks like the product of hours a day at the gym—not 15 minutes or less.
Do three density workouts a week, with at least 1 day off in between. Start with the first workout, and then move on to the next option every other day, progressing from the basic to the expert workout in each series (click “next” below to begin scrolling through the exercises for each workout). By the end of 4 weeks, you’ll have completed all 12 workouts. Perform each one as a circuit, completing one exercise after another and resting as indicated.
Weeks 1 and 2 Do 5 reps of each exercise, going from move to move without any rest. For weighted exercises, select a weight that you can lift 10 times. Keep repeating all four exercises until the workout time is up.
Workout 1: Basic Perform for 10 minutes.
Workout 2: Basic Perform for 15 minutes.
Workout 3: Advanced Perform for 10 minutes
Workout 4: Advanced Perform for 15 minutes
Workout 5: Expert Perform for 10 minutes
Workout 6: Expert Perform for 15 Minutes
Week 3 Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.
Workout 7: Basic Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.
Workout 8: Advanced Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.
Workout 9: Expert Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles
Week 4 Perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Complete 4 sets, rest 1 to 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise. Advance to the more difficult versions after you can complete at least 8 reps of each exercise in 20 seconds.
Workout 10: Basic
Workout 11: Advanced
Workout 12: Expert
Basic Workout: Exercise 1
PUSHUP Assume a pushup position, with your hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart, feet together, and body in a straight line from head to ankles. Lower your chest until it’s an inch above the floor, and then push back up. That’s 1 rep.
Basic Workout: Exercise 2
REVERSE LUNGE AND 1-ARM PRESS Stand holding a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders. Step back with your right leg (as shown). Then press the dumbbell in your right hand straight above your shoulder. Lower it, and stand back up. Now repeat with your left side. That’s 1 rep.
Basic Workout: Exercise 3
INVERTED ROW Lie underneath a secured bar. Grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, your arms and body completely straight, and heels on the floor. Pull your body up (as shown), and return to the starting position.
Basic Workout: Exercise 4
PRISONER SQUAT Place your fingers on the back of your head, pull your elbows and shoulders back, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can (as shown). Pause, and return to the starting position.
Advanced Workout: Exercise 1
Advanced Workout: Exercise 2
REVERSE LUNGE WITH 1-ARM PRESS Perform a reverse lunge with your right leg as you simultaneously press the dumbbell in your right hand straight above your shoulder. Stand, and then lower the weight. Repeat the move with your left side. That’s 1 rep.
Advanced Workout: Exercise 3
Advanced Workout: Exercise 4
GOBLET SQUAT Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands. Keep your elbows pointed down toward the floor, and perform a squat. Then push back up.
Expert Workout: Exercise 1
Expert Workout: Exercise 2
ISOMETRIC REVERSE LUNGE AND PRESS Do a reverse lunge, but after you lower your body, pause for 3 seconds. Then press both dumbbells above your shoulders. Lower them and return to a standing position, and repeat with your other leg. That’s 1 rep.
Expert Workout: Exercise 3