Simplified Exercise Routine - Would Appreciate your Thoughts


As I have been away from the gym for a couple months and focusing entirely on bodyweight workouts at home, I started doing my excercises in a different way, no longer counting sets, but instead doing x amount of reps in a certain amount of time, say 5, 10 or 15 minutes - for example, 200 push-ups in 15 minutes - and trying to beat that record next time.

I am wondering if anyone has done something similar with weights?

My idea would be to eschew the traditional reps x sets entirely, and start doing this instead. For example, with the bench press - getting as many reps with a 200lbs barbell as I can in 10 minutes, doing as many or as few reps at a time as I can/want, and resting in between as much as I need, not checking the timer constantly. I would achieve 20 total reps maybe like so - 9, 4, 2, 2, 2 and then 1 last rep.

If I beat the record the next time, I will increase the weight.

My workout would look as follows:

-Incline bench 140lbs max reps in 10min
-Chest press ?lbs max in 5min
-etc. for every other excercise

This to me feels far less boring than having strict sets with a fixed number of reps, and maybe only occasionally an AMRAP set.


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Yep. I believe the common nomenclature is “escalating density training.” You’re not on an island.

These don’t seem like compatible statements to me, but it may not matter that much depending on your goal.

If this is your primary goal, and it’s a fine one, I’d certainly say go forth with gusto.

Thanks for the feedback. I can see the flaw now.

I would probably do it like so - pick a weight, and every time I train, try to increase the reps in 10 min until I hit, let’s say, 50 reps, and then increase the weight by a good amount and start climbing again.

This would create natural waves of higher and lower intensity - on week one, I would pick a weight with which I could maybe push out 10-15 reps in 10 minutes, and it would slowly increase over the weeks as I adapt to the weight, get in more volume and less intensity as I approach 50, and then increase the weight again.

Seems to me like it would work and it would be far simpler to program than, say, 5/3/1 (which may be more optimal, but I am after simplicity right now.)

Btw i’ve never heard the term “escalating density training” before in my life.

What’s your criteria you’ll judge against? Like how will you know if it’s not doing what you want and you need to adjust?
I like to say it all works, but that can certainly be taken to silly extremes - like I could definitely prove myself wrong if I’m using a bench press specialization program to improve my 5k.

Today has been a productive day!


With how you talk it sounds like you want to do some reps, rest a bit, and do a few more, rinse and repeat. Sounds very similar to EMOM training.

I think if I were to apply it I’d do something like this:

10 minutes EMOM
Week 1: 3 reps EMOM - Total 30reps
Week 2: 3 reps EMOM first 5 minutes, 4 EMOM last 5 minutes - Total 35 reps
Week 3: 4 EMOM - Total 40 reps

That’s not strict and depending on how hard you make it in the first week you may not be able to progress that fast. Auto-regulate it based on feel during the workout, as long as you get more reps than last week. Eventually you get your 50 reps in then add weight and start over.

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Like the other dudes said, you’re not crazy. Here’s something kinda similar from Chad Waterbury.

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The counting reps method works for any exercise of course, but I especially like it for chin-ups. Even more so when bulking. I just used to make sure I at least got more reps in than last week.

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Chin ups are weird like that. Unless you’re awesome at them straight sets can be a little tough to use. Total reps seems like a great answer.

I’m gonna do that.

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