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We all love a little muscle.

Not overpowering. Just enough.

You know what I mean. A head-turner. You think ‘wow, they’re in shape. That’s the kinda shape I want to be in..’

With Density, you could become that person. But it starts with understanding and owning the process of wanting to physically change.

We know the drill, we see it every single session. People opt for lighter weights. Perhaps they’re used to that but that’s the reason they come to work out with us. Deep down they know lighter weights that aren’t stimulating aren’t the answer. And hopefully, by working with us they know they won’t get bulky from heavyweights.

Here’s how to pace yourself so you get those show-and-go muscles that turn heads wherever you go…

As you know through coming to the workouts we have blocks of work, 3 to be precise that go through strength and power, muscle building then metabolic stress and mechanical failure.

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For each phase, there’s a timed amount to complete the sets and reps in. For instance, Block 1 – Strength and Power could be 10 minutes, Block 2 could be 12 minutes, and Block 3 could be 6 total minutes.

Here’s how to get the most out of each density block with the time you have.

Block 1:

A1: Incline DB Bench Press x 6

A2: Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunges x 8/s

A3: T Spine Rotations x 5

Depending on your goals, you may look to focus on either A1 or A2. For ease of understanding, most women will focus on A2 as its lower body and glute dominant. On the other hand, guys will focus on A1 as they want a bigger, stronger upper body, so they’re the respective priorities of the workout.

If one of our male clients knows his max effort for 10 reps is 20kg in each hand, he’ll be using 22.5kg for his 8 reps. There’s a slight increase as it’s less reps being completed.

The goal is to complete heavier weights or more reps per set. This way, we ensure clients are getting progressively stronger by managing more load and more volume.

Here’s what it looks like if you prioritised A1:

OrderExerciseSet 1*Set 2*Set 3*
A1Incline DB Bench pressSession 11517.520
Session 217.52022.5
Session 32022.525
A2Front Foot Elevated Reverse Lunges x 8/sSession 112.512.512.5
Session 212.512.515
Session 312.51515
A3T Spine Rotations 4/s
*weight is dumbbells in kg used in each arm

Using this method, they’ve been able to incremently increase their weight, week on week. With Density, we might not necessarily program the workouts week on week exactly like the above, but you will be completing the movements week on week, albeit on different days.

That’s why we recommend keeping a training log, so you know exactly what you lifted on what days and across all the exercises in Block 1.

Here’s a real life example of one of our clients, Harpreet

Below is how we manage to progressively overload our client, Harpreet with her squats. See how we’re not nudging the weights up a lot each week, but rather building 2.5kg per week. That means over 4 weeks we’ve increased her back squat from 60 to 67.5kg which is a nice 4.5% increase in just a month.

If we could do this with every exercise? Imagine how much her physique would change. And it’s that structure that is so desperately needed to advance, progress, and develop your strength and shape.

What generally happens, and what keeps people in the same shape, without any noticeable changes is this:

** What we’re used to seeing and how most people train.

With the above image you’ll see there’s no progress in terms of weight lifted per exercise or per session. Without a new stimulus on the muscle you won’t create a demand on the muscles working and therefore not generate muscle growth or strength as the body has already adapted to the load.

Block 2

With Block 2, the emphasis is a little different, not all exercises can be progressed in the way block 1 can.

B1: Inverted Rows x 10

B2: Heels raised goblet squat x 10

B3: Banded Pull Aparts x 20

Your goal for this density block would be to complete more rounds per block than previous. If we have 12 minutes on the clock to get those sets in, you may only be able to complete 3 sets in the first week of training, but by week 6 you might be able to complete 5 rounds of the above. Therefore you’re able to do a total of 80 more reps compared to week 1. It’s that continual increase that builds muscle and sculpts your body.

Whilst your aim is to complete more reps and sets, you shouldn’t neglect form for reps. Form is always your #1 priority.

You may find with inverted rows you can walk your feet further forward to make the exercise harder as the weeks progress, or you can complete the same amount of sets of B2 but with a 16kg kettlebell instead of a 12kg one.

Block 3

This density block is all about mechanical failure or metabolic stress with a focus on isolation exercises and finishers for certain body parts.

One of my favourites for the glutes is the below:

  • 20 Banded Hip Thrusts
  • 10 Lean Forward Abductions
  • 10 Upright Abductions
  • 10 Lean Back Abductions

You’d complete this for 6 total minutes, back and forth with limited rest.

Here’s another lower body kettlebell finisher for you:

You can see here the burn is going to be brutal. What’s different between the blocks in density, besides the focus is the style of the supersets.

You’ll notice Block 1: A1 & A2 are upper body and lower body. Block 2 is also upper body, lower body, upper body. This gives the muscles time to rest between their sets and allows you to get more work done in less time.

For Block 3 though, there’s a specific body part that we’ll target and fatigue. You’ll get a pump and a complete burnout, whether that’s glutes, arms, core or upper body for instance.

You’ll work to a pace, keep tension on the muscle by not pausing through the reps or fully locking out either. By not locking out (ie standing up straight between sets of squats but instead just squatting up and down without fully straightening your legs at the top) you’ll have more time under tension for that msucle, leading to a quicker burn and greater results at the end of the workout.

In summary, for Block 1 the goal is to lift heavier weights across the weeks, or at least be able to manage more reps with the same weight. The goal is always to progress in some way during this block and not rush the reps during a density workout.

Block 2 is about volume so aiming to complete more sets throughout the timed phase with better form and movement efficiency.

Block 3 is all about that burn and mind muscle connection, really aiming to burn and fatigue that specific bodypart throughout the round.

If you’d like to try this type of density workout, and see for yourself how you can get in great shape with a structured routine that burns fat and builds muscle, then click here and we’ll get back in touch.

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