Ethan Reeve on density training

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Ethan Reeve on density training

Post by Trip » Sun May 10, 2009 11:04 am

This may be a little different training than many are accustomed to:
I have had many types of athletes have great success increase their strength
as well as strength or power endurance doing what I term "density training".
For instance, let's say your goal for the 2 pood kettlebell clean-n-press is to do
12 reps in a row. First, you want to use double the volume of your goal which is
24 reps. You will only do this workout twice per week. You will start out
doing 12 sets of 2 reps in 12 mins. Meaning you start a new set every 60 secs.
At first your rest periods will be about 50-55 secs. After this becomes easy to
you move to 8 sets of 3 reps in 8 mins. When this becomes easy move to 6 sets
of 4 reps in 6 mins. When this becomes easy move to 5 sets of 5 reps in
5 mins. You will notice by now your rest periods become shorter as your reps
increase. After this becomes easy move to 4 sets of 6 reps in 4 mins. When this
has become easy for you I can promise that you will be able to do the 12 reps
goal on the clean-n-press. Using this formula I have had many, many athletes
perform between 30-45 reps on chinups in a row. I had one wrestler do 600 chinups
in 63 mins., he was a 3-time state champion. While I have had many other
athletes do between 400-500 chinups in 90-120 mins. Our goal at UT Chatt.
was to have 90+% of our wrestlers do 10 sets of 10 reps on chinups in 10 mins.
We started with 20 sets of 5 in 20 mins. then working to sixes to 7's to 8's
to 9's until we reached 10 sets of 10 in 10 mins. This took a period of 3
months to reach. However, we then did the 100 reps each day throughout the season along with our rope climbs, and 3x's per week power cleans, front squats, rdls,
standing presses, bent rows, dips, etc.

Let's say your goal is to do 2 pood kettlebell snatches for 40+40. The total
volume will be 80+80. Do this only twice per week. First you might do 40
sets of 2+2 in 40 mins. When this becomes easy move to 26 sets of 3+3. Then move to 20 sets of 4+4 in 20 mins. Notice that at first your workout might only be snatches.
However, as you spend less time on the snactches you will be able to put
more lifts into your program. Then move into 16 sets of 5+5. Then 13 sets of
6+6 in 13 mins. After this becomes easy do 11 sets of 7+7, resting one minute
after completion of each set. Then work on 10 sets of 8+8, resting one mins.
after completion of each set. Once you have reached the 10's decrease the
volume to the goal volume because now you are going for pure quality. So,
you will do 4 sets of 10+10 with one mins. break after completion of set.
Then move 4 sets of 11+11. Then to 3 sets of 12+12. Then to 3 sets of 13+13.
Once you have reached 2 sets of 20+20 WITH ONE MINS. BREAK AFTER COMPLETION OF SET you will be very clos to the 40+40 goal. My caution to you is that you will want to do this only twice per week. It can be very taxing. Density training is basically squeezing a lot of volume into a short period of time to make it more quality.


I want to get a little (maybe a lot) ahead of myself to reinforce my understanding of the density training concept. After I reach my initial snatch goal of 30 reps/arm with the 2 pood (I did 12 x 6+6 yesterday, and may move up to 9-10 by 7+7 soon), how would I proceed to a new goal of 50 reps/arm? I’d think dialing back the reps very far and adding back lots of sets would sacrifice the gains made. Just work on adding reps to 2-3 high rep sets?

Could you suggest a formula for ratcheting up after an initial goal is met?


When you have reached your goal of 30 reps per arm and have changed your goal
to 50+50 your volume has to change. However, you must be cautious about the
volume. Since you are training for Master of Sport in Kettlebells and there are
two lifts that complement each other I would recommend a little different split.
Day 1(Monday): KB Snatch-Total Volume-100 reps(10x10+10)
Day 2(Tuesday): KB Clean-n-Jerk-Total Volume-50 reps-(10x5)
Day 3 (Thursday): KB Snatch-Total Volume-50+50 reps-(10x5+5)
Day 4 (Friday) : KB Clean-n-Jerk-Total Volume-100 reps-(10x10)

Of course this is a start once you have achieved your 30+30 goal and decided
a new goal of 50+50 on snatch. Notice that the total volume is different
for each of the two days of each lift. Both of these lifts will make each
other better. You just don't need to overdo the volume and stress. Let the
progression come about naturally without forcing it. This will help so you
don't get stale or discouraged.

Also, be sure to do other lifts and exercises on these days but keep the focus
on your major lifts of KB snatch and Clean-n-jerk.

I have helped some of the former football players to do their rep max best in the
225 lbs. bench.
My recommendation is:
Day 1 (Monday)- 225/1 set of max reps then take 10-15 mins. break followed by
doing the sum of the volume left after one set and do sets of 5' or 10's to
complete the 100 reps total volume. Afterwards I recommend 4 sets of 8 reps
of each of the following lifts: dumbbell triceps extension, plate raises
and dumbbell rows.
Day 2 (Thursday)-start light on bench and work up through 10-15 sets of single
reps until reaching 1RM. Afterwards I recommend 4 sets of 8 reps
of each of the following lifts: dumbbell triceps extension, plate raises
and dumbbel rows.

I had one player do on test day 225 lbs. for 48 reps and another test day
do 45 reps on the 225 lbs. bench.

I would recommend the same sort of thing on KB snatch and Clean-n-Jerk
except you are working with the same fixed weight of the kettlebell.

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