T Nation

Density Training Setup Opinions


Hello T-Nation,

I didn't have any programme planned for December so thought I'd try my hand at density training. I'm looking for some feedback on the best way to go about it and whether a full body or upper/lower setup is best.

Last week, I did three workouts set up like this:

Workouts 1 & 3

A 10 min SQ/DL @ 85-90%1RM
B1/B2 15 min upper body push/pull (sets of 5)

Workout 2

A 10 min BP 85-90% 1RM
B1/B2 15 min lower body single leg quad/hip (sets of 5 per leg)

I leave myself the option for a little bit of pump, guns, or conditioning work afterwards.

For progression, I will be working towards doubling the reps in block A, and in block B I'll up the weight when I reach 50 total reps per exercise

I've been enjoying the workouts as they are a nice change of pace, but would appreciate any thoughts on how I could improve it, and if I'm being stupid by going full body instead of having block B be upper/lower to match block A.

This week I will probably add in another workout with OHP for block A and lower body for block B.

Look ok?


Just started the second week and beat last week’s numbers so all good.


sup diddy,

Any reason you’re not just doing the old Staley routine?



Not really, beyond wanting to experiment myself. I’ve done a few set programmes this year but had nothing planned for December.

I’ve followed his principles for the 15 minute block, and the 10 min blocks are inspired by a deadlift challenge video I saw on YouTube. Thought it would be a fin way to round off the year.


Sup Diddy,

(quick random note, I saw your update about the Henriques program. Sucks about your shoulder, glad you dug it otherwise.)

[quote]Diddy Ryder wrote:
and the 10 min blocks are inspired by a deadlift challenge video I saw on YouTube.[/quote]
Sadiv sets? I’ve heard very good things.

Seems like you’ve got a good general template in place. I’m guessing you’re just doing singles for the “A” exercises? You could probably drop the weight a little bit and still stick with singles if you wanted to knock out more volume in the same time (reduced weight would require slightly less rest between sets, allowing more total sets per time block).

Another article about density work is this one from Thibaudeau:

Just another way to structure things, still work for density, and manipulate the load and volume over a few weeks. Not saying you need to do that program, but it might give some ideas on how to manage what you’re doing.

As for the upper/lower vs full body question, either is fine ad both can work in a density-based plan. Staley talked about different ways to setup full body or upper/lower EDT splits here. You might be able to pull some useful bits from it:


Sup Chris,

Yeah the shoulder was a nuisance. I think it was quite mild as far as dislocations go: it only popped out for second (was kinda cool to see the humerus bulging out of my arm, I suppose) and the only thing it prevented me from doing was OHP for the first four weeks. At the end of the programme my overhead strength was back to where it was, and the silver lining is that it sent me to the physio where I’m getting some imbalances sorted out.

I plan on running it again next year as both myself and my training partner loved it. It’s a good programme for learning that you don’t always need to work at very high intensities to build strength, and I was thinking that you could use the same scheme to extend the programme by a month at the beginning for extra volume/hypertrophy, or the end for extra intensity.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
Sadiv sets? I’ve heard very good things.

No, it was actually this bunch of crazy Germans

And you’re right I’ve been doing a single every minute on the minute, and this week I’ll be looking to throw in the odd double.

Thanks for those links, I hadn’t seen those when I was reading up on density training. I like Martin Rooney’s stuff, and that Canadian Bear programme is definitely interesting. Looks pretty brutal and I’d like to give it a shot next year. I had planned on just doing density stuff over Christmas but maybe I’ll stick with it for a bit longer as I enjoy it.

I’m still on the fence on upper/lower vs full body. I see CT has a bit of both in that programme, and Staley says full body is fine if you manage fatigue. This week I ended up training three days in a row because of scheduling, and my lower back was pretty stressed by the end of it. I also think that the upper body density stuff I did on Monday meant that the OHP yesterday was harder than it would have been otherwise.