• If this is your first visit, please visit the FAQ. Please register before posting. To start viewing messages, select a forum below.
The world’s premier network for those seeking to share and discuss high-impact,high results, super practical information for the developmentof superiorphysical performance.

Density Training-Different Approach!

Ethan Reeve

New member
To all concerned,

This may be a little different training than many are accustomed to:
I have had many types of athletes have great success increase their strength
as well as strength or power endurance doing what I term "density training"
For instance, let's say your goal for the 2 pood kettlebell clean-n-press is to do
12 reps in a row. First, you want to use double the voume of your goal which is
24 reps. You will only do this workout twice per week. You will start out
doing 12 sets of 2 reps in 12 mins. Meaning you start a new set every 60 secs.
At first your rest periods will be about 50-55 secs. After this becomes easy to
you move to 8 sets of 3 reps in 8 mins. When this becomes easy move to 6 sets
of 4 reps in 6 mins. When this becomes easy move to 5 sets of 5 reps in
5 mins. You will notice by now your rest periods become shorter as your reps
increase. After this becomes easy move to 4 sets of 6 reps in 4 mins. When this
has become easy for you I can promise that you will be able to do the 12 reps
goal on the clean-n-press. Using this formula I have had many, many athletes
perform between 30-45 reps on chinups in a row. I had one wrestler do 600 chinups
in 63 mins., he was a 3-time state champion.While I have had many other
athletes do between 400-500 chinups in 90-120 mins. Our goal at UT Chatt.
was to have 90+% of our wrestlers do 10 sets of 10 reps on chinups in 10 mins.
We started with 20 sets of 5 in 20 mins. then working to sixes to 7's to 8's
to 9's until we reached 10 sets of 10 in 10 mins. This took a period of 3
months to reach.
However, we then did the 100 reps each day throughout the season along with
our rope climbs, and 3x's per week power cleans, front squats, rdls,
standing presses, bent rows,dips, etc.

Let's say your goal is to do 2 pood kettlebell snatches for 40+40. The total
volume will be 80+80. Do this only twice per week. First you might do 40
sets of 2+2 in 40 mins.
When this becomes easy move to 26 sets of 3+3. Then move to 20 sets of
4+4 in 20 mins. Notice that at first your workout might only be snatches.
However, as you spend less time on the snactches you will be able to put
more lifts into your program.Then move into 16 sets of 5+5. Then 13 sets of
6+6 in 13 mins. After this becomes easy do 11 sets of 7+7, resting one minute
after completion of each set. Then work on 10 sets of 8+8, resting one mins.
after completion of each set. Once you have reached the 10's decrease the
volume to the goal volume because now you are going for pure quality. So,
you will do 4 sets of 10+10 with one mins. break after completion of set.
Then move 4 sets of 11+11. Then to 3 sets of 12+12. Then to 3 sets of 13+13.
Once you have reached 2 sets of 20+20 WITH ONE MINS. BREAK AFTER COMPLETION OF SET
you will be very clos to the 40+40 goal. My caution to you is that you will want to do
this only twice per week. It can be very taxing. Density training is basically
squeezing alot of volume into a short period of time to make it more quality.

If you have any questions, please reply!
In Strength,
Ethan Reeve


New member
Coach Reeve,

Thank you for another excellent training idea. I plan to use this to increase my chinups. One clarifying question: after achieving the 10x10 goal by training 2x/week, did you have your wrestlers do that EVERY DAY (6-7 days/week) or just every workout day (3x/week)?

Again, thanks for your time and wisdom.

Re: Density Training-Different Approach! WOW

Wow Coach Reeve, looks like a great program! Also, looks like a great article topic.

Stephen Wedan

New member
Density Training

Ethan, this is great stuff. It reminds me a little of a series of articles I wrote years ago on a concept I called Total Reps, but you've gone significantly beyond it.

If you have more to report on this, whether it's students' progress or further refinement of the technique, please do so.


Pavel Tsatsouline

Com. Ethan, exceptional! May we post your piece as an article? Please e-mail me to Pavelizer@aol.com.

Ethan Reeve

New member
Even on the days we competed we would do 10 x 10 on chins every day especially
on the last 60 days of season. Many teams gave up all strength training at
season end. We kept it up and won the Southern Conference the last 5 years
in a row. For folks that are not competing in wretling and doing olympic lifts
and kettlebell lifts I would recommend only doing chins twice per week when doing
this density training. Once you do this you will understand. I just completed 20 sets
of 5 reps myself in 20 mins. At my body weight today it is alot harder than when I was
a competitive wrestler.

I think you will find with modifications that density training will work on
almost any kind of training for strength and power endurance lifts.

In Strength,
Ethan Reeve


New member

That's a cool idea! Did the athletes gain a noticeable amount of muscle doing this? I would assume they didn't gain much overall weight since you said wrestlers did it. The reason I ask is that it sounds a little bit like the Bear, in that your examples are high volume and low rest.

Also, how's it work for fat-burning? It sounds great.

I second the idea of an article on this, if you have time! Thanks for the interesting idea!


Ethan Reeve

New member
Re: Amazing!

For Mother Russia,
Well it's something I have done for many years since the 1970's and has worked
very well. You are not going to gain any muscle because you are still practicing
wrestling. While I was moving up the volume in the density in the chins I
was decreasing the volume in the wrestling skill and scrimmage work. I wanted the
wrestlers to be fighters at season end. I hope this helps! Remmber,
Wrestling is a very intense sport for 6-7 mins. with little rest periods
(going out of bounds, injury timeouts, etc. ) so you want to condense the
intensity into short periods of time with little rest. Look at Steve Maxwell's
workout, very intense for short time frame. This is the sport of wrestling.
This is why the 10 mins. drill I designed for wrestling works so well. It is
20 sets of olympic lifts taking only 10-15 secs. with bodyweight on bar with 15-20 secs.
rest. So, you are starting a new set every 30 secs.This is tough and should
be performed only 1-3 times per week.
In Strength,
Ethan Reeve

Comrade Yuri

New member

Comrade - I was just about to write to you, Pavel and Coach Davies asking for a protocol to get me to 30 bodyweight bench presses and an 18 minute 5K for next year's Arnold Pump 'n Run. You answered my question before I even asked it. Thank you! Power to the people!

Ethan Reeve

New member
Re: That is BRILLIANT!

take your bodyweight on bar and start where you feel your level is:
30x2 in 30 mins.
20x3 in 20 mins.
15x4 in 15 mins.
12x5 in 12 mins.
10x6 in 10 mins.
8x7 in 8 mins.
7x8 in 7 mins.
6x9 in 6 mins.
3x10 with 1 min. break after set
3x11 with 1 min. break after set
3x12 with 1 min. break after set
2x13 with 1 min. break after set
2x14 with 1 min. break after set
2x15 with 1 min. break after set
2x16 with 1 min. break after set
2x17 with 1 min. break after set
1x18, 1x12 with 1 min. break after set
1x19, 1x11 with 1 min. break after set
1x20, 1x10 with 1 min. break after set
By this time you should be pretty close to 1x30 reps with bodyweight.

I have had football players do 48, 45, and many in the 30 reps range training
this way for the NFL test on 225 lbs. bench. We also had them do this only
once per week while doing heavy singles once per week. Along with this we
did 4x8's twice per week on dumbbell bench triceps extensions, plate raises,
chinups. We used the 225 lbs. on bench only when we went for reps. On
singles we worked up to only did 1 single at 1RM.I'm sure there are many ways to attack
this so be creative. I tend to not like the bench all that much. I still
don't care that much for this as a test of strength for football players. I
wish they would test the kettlebell clean-n-press for reps with a 72 lbers.
In Strength,
Ethan Reeve


New member
Ethan: Hypertrophy and compressed time intervals?

First off, I think this training model is really fascinating, I wouldn't mind trying it out for a spell myself. I do have a question however. With the amount of reps noted, won't this lead to increase an in hypertrophy? The reason I ask is that it seems alot like bear training where you try to get many as many sets completed as you can with short rest intervals. This also reminds me of Charles Staley's Q4 hypertrophy phase of training, where you try to plug more and more reps into the same time frame. Am I way off base, or will you get bigger in addition to stronger? If size where your objecitive, would you just plug in more reps? Thanks again for the great post!



New member
Density training vs. Ladders?

I'm gonna try this for kettlebell snatches. I say start w/ 40, divided into 8 sets of 5 with a minute rest.

One question, how is this different from a ladder? What does this do that ladders doesn't?



New member
As a variant of this approach, albeit, not as scientific, I have done as superset of 2kb military presses and 1 pood snatches for an hour Initially I started off at 10 reps with the 1 pd snatch in each hand and 5 l and r military presses with the 2pd. When I got tired with 5, I went to 4, then 3, then 1 rep sets. My goal was 60 in an hour. I really busted ass with 2 minutes to go and having 52 done. I pulled off an 8 rep set with the 2 pood to get 60 with the r. THen I did 4 with the left and rested 30 seconds, then 2, the rested 15, then another 2. When I got tired with the snatch, I cut the reps in half to 5 rep sets. I got a damn good ab workout to boot. However, next time, I try this I'll try to get the same in 55 mins...thereby increasing work capacity. Your approach crystalizes my understanding of work capacity and density training.

Ethan Reeve

New member
On step #1 do 2 reps every minute until your form changes then switch to singles to finish out the total volume. I know this adds more time to the lift but it is important. This will also happen when switching from each level. For instance, if you are doing 8x3+3 and form changes at set 6 then finish out the total 24+24 in either 2+2's or 1+1's. But still keep doing the 1 mins. sets if possible. I find it better to keep using the 1 mins. sets. However, I think your way of doing it by adding more rest will work also if you keep trying to push the density with as many sets as possible within the 1 mins. range. This approach really does work. However, I'm sure there are many ways to skin a cat. I especially like to do this training when working with alot of athletes together. It can be very motivating. I have had many of our football players over spring break doing the kettlebell clean-n-press with the 2 pood for total volume of 24+24. Some have started at 12x2+2 in 12 mins. some at 8x3+3 in 8 mins. and some at 6x4+4 in 6 mins. I really want to work the whole team on this lift scheme twice a week but we only have the 5 sets of kettlebells. We are planning on purchasing more kettlebells until we get one or two sets at every one of our 20 lifting platforms. Kettlebell training is great for athletes of all sports especially when mixed with with olympic lifting and squatting movements. I hope this answers your question.
In Strength,
Ethan Reeve

Steve Freides

New member
Andy, if I may be so bold as to attempt an answer here, Coach says one is to continue with each level until it is "easy". I think that means one would do each level until it can be successfully completed in good form, however you get there, before moving on.

That makes the most sense to me, too.


chris m.

New member
see the Charles Staley article @ T-mag

Charles Staley wrote an article about density training. He advocated it primarily for purposes of hypertrophy.

It can be found at:


New member
Comrade Ethan,
A truly outstanding article. I currently work at a high school (college) in Australia as a strength and conditioning specialist. As the kids are restricted in their times to workout, the density program sounds like a great way to pack it in when they do work out. As we have adolescents, and not fully matured athletes training, are there any major restrictions you can think of for them to do this type of training? The weights room is supervised at all times, so safety is paramount. I tend to favour the bodyweight exercises for the younger guys as a good lead in to when they mature and are able to start moving iron.
Appreciate your thoughts on this.
Cheers mate
Free Course