Density Training Workouts for Maximum Fat Loss

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Density training does not simply refer to building dense muscles. Sure, we want to look jacked and muscular, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now. Before we dive in, let’s define our terms.

The first term is training volume. This refers to the total amount of weight moved during a set, or workout. If you do ten reps with 225 pounds, your training volume for that set was 2,250 pounds. Easy enough, right?

Related: Best Biceps Workouts for Exceptional Arm Size Gains

Workout duration, our second term, is even easier. This refers to how long you spent working out. You could break it down by set, or by total workout time, but duration is easy.

With these two terms out of the way, we’re left with training density, which simply refers to a combination of duration and volume. Let’s say you lift 10,000 pounds of volume in 20 minutes. You could increase your density by doing the same 10,000 pounds in 15 minutes, or you could increase your density by doing 12,000 pounds in that 20 minutes.

To summarize, training density is a combination of your total training volume, and workout duration. More volume in the same duration, or the same volume in a shorter duration, means greater training density.

How Training Density Works

Density TrainingWith density training, we aren’t trying to count specific sets and reps, but rather to get as much work done as possible in a given time period. Track your reps, but that isn’t the end goal. You’ll want to set a timer, do as many reps as you can in that time, and then try to do more reps in the same amount of time during your next set.

Before we break down how exactly it should be used, let’s take a quick look at how it works. It was originally made popular by legendary coach Charles Staley, as a muscle building method, but people quickly realized it works equally well for rapid fat loss. Your training volume will be high, which is a necessity for hypertrophy, but this high volume can also induce serious fat loss.

As we know, everything we do expends energy, or calories. If we can do more reps in the same amount of time, we’ve increased our caloric burn. The more calories we can burn, the more fat we can lose.

The goal, however, shouldn’t be a pure caloric burn. Focus on using density training to lift as much weight as you can with good form, and try to really work your muscles. You’ll get stronger, build muscle, and burn body fat as a nice side effect. Chase the strength, and the fat loss will follow.

Density training is very similar to interval training, as it also gets your heart rate elevated, and causes extreme stress on the body. As your body fights to recover from a density workout, your caloric burn will be elevated for hours after you leave the gym. These workouts are not easy by any means, and your body will quickly realize this.

How To Use Density Training

Alright, enough background. Let’s jump into how to start using density training. For this article, we aren’t looking at adjusting workout times or set times, so the focus will be on how to maximize the amount of reps you can do.

For a fat loss workout, you’ll want to create two or three circuits. Each circuit should have five to seven exercises. You can adjust the work times, rest times, and exercise selection based on your individual fitness level, but for the sake of this article, let’s use 40 second work times, with a 15 second rest time.

You’ll work through each circuit, doing the exercise for 40 seconds, resting 15 seconds, and moving on to the next exercises. After completing the circuit, rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat.

The first run of the circuit should be with a weight that challenges you, but not to the point of hitting muscular failure or compromising form. Think of this as a warm-up round. You’ll be trying to get your nervous system fired up and ready to go, but not hit 100% yet. This is the pre-game warm up.

On the following rounds, increase the weight by 10-15%. As a nice bonus, it’s very common to actually get more reps on the second and third rounds, even with a heavier weight. You’ll be firing on all cylinders, and most likely will get the same amount, if not more reps even with a slightly heavier weight.

Muscle Gains

Sample Density Workout

To summarize, here are the rules we’ve established for our density workouts.

  • 2-3 circuits per workout, each circuit consisting of 3-6 exercises.
  • 30 seconds work time per exercise, with 15 seconds rest in between.
  • The first round of each circuit is a warm-up round, with lighter weights.

Using the rules, you can try the following workout next time you hit the gym, or build your own using whatever exercises you prefer. Enjoy!

Density Circuit A

  • Dumbbell Push Press
  • Bent-Over Row
  • Goblet Squat
  • Reverse Crunches
  • Alternating Reverse Lunge

Rest 15 seconds between exercises, and 1-2 minutes between rounds. After 3 rounds of Circuit A, move on to Circuit B.

Density Circuit B

  • Dumbbell Low-Incline Bench Press
  • Alternating Bench Step Ups
  • Neutral Grip Chin Ups or Lat Pulldown
  • Hammer Curl to Shoulder Press Combo
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Cross Body Mountain Climbers

Rest 15 seconds between exercises, and 1-2 minutes between rounds. After 3 rounds of Circuit B, you’re finished. Cool down, stretch, and grab some food. You’ve earned it.

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Name: Matt Dustin

Bio: Matt Dustin, CSCS, is personal trainer, online coach, and fitness author based out of San Diego, California. He has been a personal trainer since early 2011, after he fell in love with fitness when discovered the gym in college.