of "The Complete
Video Guide to EDT"
Video product by Charles Staley
When it comes to training,
there are three key things I look for in a program
to tell me if it's going to be effective or not.
1. Is it practical?
Meaning, can it actually be done without requiring
a ton of specialized equipment and without taking
way too much time for most people to use on a regular
basis? Also, can it be used by any level of trainer
(beginner to advanced), age or gender?
2. Is the program
well communicated so that the user can easily
understand HOW to perform the training without much
3. Is the mechanism
(or mechanisms) by which it claims to operate a
scientifically-proven one, or at the very least
(if no direct research has been done on it), it
is scientifically plausible?
This 3 step test is what
I use when judging training programs (my own included!).
Back to the review...
I'll go through each step
in the test, apply it to Escalating Density Training (the
core concept being explained in the Video Guide) then
let you know my thoughts on the product itself and how
it explains EDT.
WHAT IS EDT?
The basic concept of EDT
is a relatively simple one. It's density training, meaning
you're attempting (over the course of successive workouts)
to do more reps within a set time period, gradually increasing
the DENSITY of your workload, i.e. if you do 40 reps in
15 minutes then do 50 reps in 15 minutes the next week
with the same weight, you've increased your training density.
So basically how EDT works
is that you take a 15 minute block of time and select
two exercises. Charles recommends two antagonistic muscle
groups like back and chest in a block. This helps prevent
fatigue and actually helps activate the nervous system
more effectively - working antagonistic muscle like this
is a VERY powerful training technique.
In that 15 minute block
of time, you attempt to perform as many reps of both of
those exercises as possible, going back and forth between
sets of each, e.g. 5 reps chest, then 5 reps back, then
5 reps chest, taking as much or as little rest time as
Here's the key...you're
NOT training to failure. You're staying AWAY from failure
so that you can PERFORM better and get more reps.
When you stay short of failure, your body doesn't accumlate
metabolic waste products as quickly and you'll be able
to perform more reps for a longer period.
You'll accomplish by training
volume what other programs attempt to accomplish with
The other main benefit is
that your muscles will be able to generate more average
power of the course of those reps than if you went to
failure. Charles explains this very cool concept all in
detail on the EDT page (which you can view by clicking
Bottom line, your muscles
not only get trained with a good amount of volume, they
also get trained for more power, which makes you STRONGER
much faster than with conventional training. It's a potent
combination, which I can tell you from experience is VERY
So let's apply out 3 step
test to EDT...
1. IS EDT PRACTICAL?
As I mentioned above, EDT
utilizes 15 minute blocks of time called PR Zones (PR
stands for Personal Record - this is key so remember that!).
The starting point when being EDT is to work with one
PR Zone. This makes your workout exactly 15 minutes long.
From a time standpoint,
15 minutes is a VERY reasonable amount of time. Even with
performing one PR Zone per workout, you're going to get
results. This only needs to be done 3 times a week to
So 15 minutes, 3 times
a week...that is DEFINITELY practical, even for the busiest
The next level is to perform
TWO PR Zones in a workout - this allows you to work 4
exercises in a session. This is the level I find I gravitate
to. It gives me a nice balance of workload and doesn't
result in too long of a workout.
The final level is a THREE
PR Zone session. This is useful if you're an advanced
trainer and your recovery systems are highly tuned. I've
tried a three PR Zone session but found that for me, the
volume was too much all at once. I prefer to do the two
PR Zone sessions but more frequently so I'm not knocking
down my recovery system so much each time.
The next question about
practicality is does EDT require specialized equipment
or even regular GYM equipment in order to be performed
And the answer to that is
a resounding, NO. In fact, EDT is one of the few systems
that I've found to be very effective with just about ANY
exercise you can imagine.
You can use it at home
OR at the gym, using whatever exercises and equipment
you have available to you. Naturally, the more equipment
you have access to, the more options you'll have. Gym
equipment will also allow you to use more mass-oriented
exercises like squats and deadlifts.
But doing chins-up for a
15 minute PR Zone will challenge even the strongest trainer.
I can attest to that from my own experience!
That's the beauty of the
EDT system. It can be used by absolutely ANYBODY, from
the total beginner to the very advanced athlete, the EDT
system adapts to whatever workload you're capable of.
You're competing against
YOURSELF, not some arbitrary standard. You're competing
against what YOU did in your last session! For example,
if you did 42 reps of the bench press last week (your
PR), in order to improve and progress, you need to get
more than 42 reps THIS week.
You're competing against
the standards you set yourself and by beating those standards,
you AUTOMATICALLY progress.
It really is that simple.
And if you're at all competitive
you're going to fighting to beat those records on a weekly
Bottom line here, it
really doesn't matter if you've never touched a weight
in your life. You can do a 15 minute PR Zone and get
10 reps with just the bar on a bench press. As long as
you get 11 reps next week, you're improving.
If you're advanced, you're
going to be selecting tougher exercises, using more weight
and probably pushing yourself harder and faster. But the
BASICS of the program remain the same...more reps within
the time frame. It's just elegant in it's simplicity.
This program is right now
in use by men, women, young and old (I think 78 years
is the oldest I know of).
So don't think for a second
you can't use this because you're over 60 or 70 or even
80. Or if you're a woman who doesn't want to "bulk
up" (women don't have the hormonal apparatus to gain
monster muscles - I always say I WISH I could gain muscle
as fast as many women FEAR that they will).
2. IS THE EDT PROGRAM
Absolutely. As you can see
from my quick explanation above, the concept of doing
more work within a specific timeframe is really not that
hard to grasp. This is the core of Escalating Density
Training. Charles does a nice job of explaining how EDT
works in the Video Guide.
The other great thing about
the Video Guide is that you will also get to see two ACTUAL
PR Zones, performed by a few of Charles' fellow trainers
as he explains what's going on all the way through each
one. These are actual Personal Records for both these
guys (could be the pressure to perform on camera!) so
you'll see EXACTLY what a full PR Zone looks like.
Learning by reading is one
thing. Learning by WATCHING is a step above. When you
DO a PR ZONE, you'll know what you're doing every step
of the way.
Which brings me to the next
point about communication...
In the Video Guide, Charles
and Tim Larkin (one of the other trainers I was telling
you about) go into great detail about how the mechanics
of the program work...things you might right into, problems
that could crop up, and, most importantly, HOW you can
SOLVE each and every one of them.
There is some excellent
troubleshooting advice not only for EDT itself but for
training in general. You can apply a lot of it to pretty
much any program you're using.
"The Complete Video
Guide to EDT" will have you up and running with EDT
right after you finish watching it.
3. IS THE MECHANSIM
OF OPERATION SCIENTIFICALLY VALID?
Honestly, this is where
EDT really shines.
Here it is right now in
black and white...muscles don't have brains...they don't
KNOW that the fancy program you're on is supposed to build
muscle and strength.
All your muscles know is
that they are told to contract to move a resistance. They
know that if the workload that they're subjected to is
greater than what they have experienced before, they need
to get larger and stronger to be prepared for it next
And that's about all they
EDT reduces training to
this very basic level, simplifying things for your muscles.
One week you do 42 reps of bench press with 200 lbs.
your muscles, "let's prepare for doing that again
But next week, you perform
50 reps with 200 lbs.
your muscles, "let's rebuild so that we're bigger
and stronger so we can handle 50 reps next week."
And so on...every time
you increase that workload, your muscles HAVE NO CHOICE
but to adapt by getting bigger and stronger. You're pretty
much giving your body NO CHOICE but to get results.
Then when your muscles have
adapted really well to that number of reps, you increase
the weight and force to adapt AGAIN.
I'll use the old suntan
analogy here - the best way to get a tan is not to go
out in the sun for 5 hours the first time. You go out
for 15 minutes and build a base. Then you gradually increase
your time in the sun to increase your "tanning workload".
It's the same thing with EDT.
But the key difference with
EDT is this...you don't ever "burn" yourself
with EDT! The increase in workload is based completely
on the size of the base you've built up, meaning you can
only progress at the rate your body is capable of so you're
not pushing TOO hard and actually setting yourself back!
This is a real problem with
a lot of training programs. There is no systemized method
for increasing workload. With EDT, the whole PREMISE of
the system is on systematically increasing workload.
As I keep saying, the design
is just elegant in it's simplicity. The theory of it is
scientifically valid and the results you'll get with the
program bear that out.
WHAT I DON'T
LIKE ABOUT EDT
Yes, there are things that
I don't like about EDT but many of them just spring from
own personal training preferences. Heck, these things
may actually be POSITIVES from your standpoint!
I'm a notorious "mad
scientist" in the gym. I tend to invent new exercises
and training techniques almost every time I set foot in
the gym. When using EDT, because you're sticking with
just two exercises in each PR Zone, it does limit the
training variety at work in the program.
Here's the thing...for most
people, limited training variety can be a GOOD thing.
In my experience, many people actually use TOO MUCH variety
in their training. The body doesn't get a consistent stimulus
to adapt to and progress goes nowhere. With EDT, because
you keep working with the same exercises, the stimulus
is consistent and your body can adapt very effciently.
For me, I've gotten around
this issue by changing up one or more PR Zone exercises
in every third or fourth session, kind of like auditioning
a new member of the cast when the lead is out sick. If
it works better, I'll keep it in the line up. If it's
not as good, I'll bring back the original.
This keeps me mentally focused
while still providing the consistent training stimulus.
"Easy" First Few Minutes
This springs from my own
bias and tendency to work myself too hard. At the start
of EDT, you're staying pretty far away from failure (e.g.
you're doing 5 rep sets with a weight you could normally
get 10 reps with).
It can be tough to force
yourself to throttle back the first few times you do EDT.
But believe me, when you push too hard at the start and
you're at minute 13 and you're struggling to get single
reps with a weight you blew out easy reps with at the
beginning, it's a humbling experience.
If you're a trainer that
likes to get "eased into" the harder sections
of a program, EDT is PERFECT for you. You'll start fairly
easy and the reps will get harder very gradually. Towards
the middle and end THAT is where you'll really be pushing
It's great for injury prevention,
to be honest. You're never pushing yourself too hard when
3. I DIDN'T
THINK OF IT FIRST
Just kidding :). Well, no,
not really... I've got a lot of respect for Charles and
I think the basis of this program is a stoke of genius.
He's really boiled it down to the basics. I HAVE modified
some aspects of the program, though, to better match my
own preferences but the overall concept of EDT is just
It really IS so simple that
you won't even believe it'll work. In that simplicity
lies a LOT of power.
"The Complete Video
Guide to EDT" is an excellent product. EDT itself
is an extremely useful training program that can be used
by absolutely ANYBODY. The videos do a very nice job of
explaining how EDT works and many ways you can adapt and
fine-tune the program to maximize your results.
This is a powerful, information-packed
product and definitely worth the price, especially when
you consider all the bonuses you're going to get with
And, if you ARE interested
in learning more about EDT before purchasing it, we offer
5 sample videos taken directly from the Video Guide so
you can see and hear the type of information you'll be
getting. You can sign up to receive those when you click
on the link below.
Learn more about
"The Complete Video Guide to EDT"