T Nation

EDT: Increase Reps, Weight & Speed

Like many who have tried EDT, I’ve become a fanatic about trying to improve performance. I don’t worry about results anymore, since I can SEE those. I worry about doing more reps while lifting more weight faster . . . like the title says: increasing reps, weight and speed.

Here are some variables I?ve experimented with. Call these the “non-exercise variables:”

  1. Rest. For me, two days between a chest workout is the minimum sufficient time for continuous improvement. Three days rest is better, but four or more don’t seem to make much of a difference. Bottom line: Find the most efficient rest break.

  2. Time of day. I can hardly lift a shoe a 6 AM. I’m a little stronger by 12 PM but I don’t start to feel human until around 3 PM. Actually, 8 PM seems to be when I feel at my best. But at my age, a workout at 8 PM means forget about trying to get to sleep until 2 in the morning. Bottom line: Pick the strongest time of day to ensure max performance.

  3. Nutrition. I don’t eat grains, sugar or anything fried so my daily carb intake is very, very low. Thats great for cutting fat but lousy for workout energy. I’ve learned to compromise. Bottom line: Get enough carbs.

I’ve also experimented with what I call ?exercise variables.? Let’s say you’re doing a 40 minute EDT routine that consists of two 20 min PRs. PR 1 is bench press and curls. PR 2 is chest flyes and one-arm concentration curls. And let’s say you can do 60 reps of the bench press in PR1.

Now, what if you changed it around and PR1 consisted of 20 min of bench while PR2 was 20 min of curls? That’s still 40 min. You’d expect to at least double your bench press reps and hit 120. But what actually happens is that you do much more . . . maybe 140.


I believe it has to do with efficiency. You spend less time traveling between exercise equipment (or less time swapping plates if you only have one bar). Sure, that “traveling time” is where you get your rest, but I find that my rests are shorter if I just focus on a single exercise at a time.

Now, what if we did this. Let PR 1 be 20 min of bench press and curls, but do it two parts: Bench for 10 min and curl for 10 min. You’d expect to get at least 60 reps and maybe 70 (half of the 20 min result). But what actually happens is that you do much more . . . maybe 80.


I believe it has to do with the body’s energy system. At 10 min, your muscles are still going strong. There’s also a psychological aspect. 20 min for bench AND curls seem like a longer time than just 10 min for the bench. It really isn’t but it makes you work faster and harder when you’re under a mental time constraint.

What about muscle relaxation?

I thought the idea of working antagonistic muscles was to allow muscle #1 to relax while working muscle #2. My experience however, is that muscle #1 relaxes better if I just DO NOTHING. If I’m benching, for example, when I’m done, I just lay there like a beached whale and breathe. Curls . . . sit and breathe. This supports the idea that focusing on one muscle is more efficient.

So, for me, it makes more sense to do an EDT workout by focusing on each body part at a time. A 15 min PR of bench ad curls means 7 ? min of bench followed by 7 ? min of curls.

But before I pat myself on the back at having figured this out for myself, here?s my problem: I’m not a trainer, strength coach, physiologist or bio-mechanic.

Because I’m not any of those things, I don’t know if maybe there is intrinsic value in mixing exercise.

Maybe it’s important to increase reps, weight and speed . . . but maybe there is a wrong way (and a right way?) to do it.

Everyone has experienced this. Say you do 10 reps of an exercise. Is it easier to do the 11th rep . . . or is it easier to pause, rest briefly and then do another rep?

I find that it’s easier to just keep going. There’s a “momentum factor” to lifting and maybe the “momentum factor” helps explains why if you concentrate on just one exercise, you can do more reps.

I’ve always heard that momentum in lifting is not a good thing. It’s a form of cheating. So, I’m keeping an open mind. Sure, there are ways to increase reps, weight and speed . . . by what if those ways aren?t necessarily as effective for your body.

So, this is where I’m stuck right now in my thinking. I need an expert to jump in. If anyone has any opinions or research to share, I would greatly appreciate it. And if Coach Staley is checking out this post, Coach, I’d greatly appreciate any comments from you.

Is increasing reps by focusing on a single exercise (7 1/2 min bech + 71/2 min curl) just as effective as increasing reps when you alternate between the two exercises?



Without answering all of those statements the first question is this why are you doing bench and curls then doing flys and con curls again???..
The beauty of EDT is it works on your energy system as well as your muscle building. So doing each exercise in separetly defeats the core of EDT and becomes just a x amount of sets or more closely to a Rest/Pause workout with multiple reps. I would really think the scheme out alittle better.
Also I agree every 3 days seems to be the best for me in workouts but I am an advocate of Total Body workouts so every 3rd day is great an 1 cardio in between as well.
EDT is very good but no more than 4 weeks before a switch

Bearhawk, I was just giving an example. The starting program Coach Staley presented is two 20 min PRs . . . a press and curl, then another press and curl. Works out to 40 min total workout with 20 pressing, 20 curling.

If the goal is “more reps” then concentrating on one exercise at a time is more efficient. Obviously, there’s a reason why Coach Staley recommends the slightly more inefficient method of alternating exercise. I’m trying to understand what the advantage of that is.

Thanks, John

JJJJ, it seems to me that you are probably not using enough weight for your PR zones. Either that or you are extremely slow twitch dominant. You should be getting somewhere between 45 and 75 reps (approx) of each exercise into 15 mins.

Are you starting your PR zones with sets of 5 using your 10RM weight? If so, and you are capable of doing sets of 5 for 15 minutes in one exercise with no more than a few seconds break between sets, I suggest you just up the weight. The standard starting weight formula doesn’t apply to you.

If the starting weight is right and you are doing a normal (paired) PR zone, you would normally be dropping the reps per set below 5 at around the 8 to 10 minute mark.

My other comment: if you want to minimize time between exercise pairings you should (for example) take a pair of dumbbells to the bench press, then combine bench press with DB hammer curls. You don’t have to move, just sit up after your benches and grab the 'bells.

Try these suggestions and see how you go. Let us know the results.