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Originally published January 12 2007

"Muscle Logic" book introduces revolutionary strength training concepts for building lean body mass

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Every once in a while, something truly revolutionary comes along in the world of strength training. The latest is a system called Escalating Density Training, or EDT for short. It is a revolutionary training system, but it also has its roots in some basic strength training concepts. One of the most comprehensive sources of EDT information is "Muscle Logic : Escalating Density Training" by Charles Staley, available in bookstores and at It gives you a solid introduction to escalating density training, simple rules for following EDT, and then provides photos depicting exactly what to do.

To explain where this comes from and how it works, I first have to give you a brief history of Power Factor Training. Peter Sisco and John Little, who wrote the book of the same title, developed power factor training. In this system, you move increasingly heavy weights in short periods of time in an effort to boost your overall power output. You are only dealing with two variables: time and amount of work.

The power factor system created a way to measure power output by taking the total amount of work that was done and dividing it by the number of seconds it took to produce that work. The difficulty with the power factor training system is that it uses a very small range of motion, eventually becoming static contraction training, which has no motion whatsoever. Muscle contraction without movement makes it very difficult to understand the concept of work, since nothing is actually moving. In my own experience, I maxed-out and plateaued quickly, unable to see continued gains even though I was pushing a tremendous amount of weight very short distances. For example, I was bench-pressing 550 pounds for half-an-inch, or leg pressing well over 1000 pounds for 1 to 2 inches, but couldn't get past that.

Escalating Density Training takes the concepts of power -- the amount of work produced over a period of time -- and encourages you to perform that work over a fixed duration. In this case, it's 15 minutes. So in EDT, you would perform two exercises alternately for 15 minutes with small rest breaks in between. I started out doing squats and push-ups.

Even though your body may be used to pushing heavy weights, your muscles typically aren't used to doing it for a sustained duration, which is what EDT encourages you to do. The idea is that you do as many push-ups and squats as you can during the 15 minutes, and the next time you come around to that same exercise set, which might be one to two weeks later depending on your schedule, you try to do more push-ups or squats in the same period of time, or use more weight; doing squats while holding onto kettle bells or dumbbells, or push-ups with a weighted vest.

The fun thing about this training program is that it gives you a numeric goal to beat. You know exactly what your power factor rating (seconds divided by reps) was the last time you did this exercise set, so when you're doing it again, you know what you have to beat. You begin to compete with yourself, which makes exercise more fun and rewarding. It's also startling to learn just how quickly you can gain power.

Your body will adapt when you use this program. Even though you may have been extremely sore just doing squats with no weight whatsoever, after a few weeks, you'll find that you can squat for 15 minutes doing 180 repetitions and won't be sore at all. Then, you can start adding weight. If you do this long enough, you may be able to squat 20 pounds, 40 pounds or maybe even 80 or 100 pounds eventually. You'll be both strong and functional, and your leg muscle mass will increase in size because that is a necessary adaptation for increased strength.

The EDT program seems so simple that you might wonder why nobody thought of it before now. Part of the answer is that people who engage in strength training and bodybuilding tend to over-complicate things. They like to have all sorts of cascading systems, numbers of reps and sets, days on and days off, ladders and all kinds of numerical contortions that may not actually lend themselves to the most efficient strength enhancement system. Escalating density training puts it all in simple terms, and makes the whole thing remarkably easy to follow.

“Muscle Logic” explains the whole system in about 40 pages, and then in the other 200 pages shows you examples of how to use this system. It actually gives you photographs and exercise combinations that you might use. A lot of it is actually redundant, which is my only complaint about the book. It could have been half its size and still been just as good, but overall, “Muscle Logic” delivers exactly what it promises. It shows you how to participate in a revolutionary yet incredibly simple strength training system that could be the most important breakthrough in strength training for everyday people that we've seen in a long time.

I think this system is ideal because it doesn't require a lot of heavy machinery or endless trips to the gym. A lot of these exercises can be started with merely your own body weight, such as the squats and push-ups. It’s also practical for women, who generally want functional strength and not cosmetic strength. “Muscle Logic” shows you how to be truly strong in the way your body moves, not just the way it looks.

If you're interested in experiencing the greatest strength gains possible in the least amount of time, I believe that EDT is a system that will allow you to do it. The book does a great job of teaching you how the system works and how to get started no matter what your age, gender or current level of strength. Don't be misled by the huge bicep on the cover of this book; this book is for everyday people who want to gain strength and all the benefits that go with it, including enhanced bone density, increased resilience, reduced risk of injuries, improved joint and ligament strength, plus all the cardiovascular and weight loss benefits. If you follow this system, you cannot help but get healthier and stronger.


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