Density Training for Fat Loss

Brad Borland

Coach

Strength and Conditioning, Bodybuilding

Fitness, body composition, fat loss, hypertrophy, efficiency, time crunch, superset

 

When you look across the sea of cardio machines at most gyms, you’ll see many individuals with a look of desperation on their faces as they walk, run, step, and cycle. Every one of them hopes that every minute on the machines is burning the fat off their bodies. Turn the other way, and you’ll see others toiling away on the fitness floor, lifting, pressing, pulling, and heaving in hopes of building muscle and strength. 

 

 

One word comes to mind when you survey this all-too familiar scene: boring. Long sessions of brisk walking are great for cardiovascular health, but do little for significant fat loss. On a similar note, traditionally practiced weight training will increase levels of strength and hypertrophy, but long, unfocused rest periods between sets of near maximal loads will yield little else. whrrat?

 

For the normal Joe, a combination of optimal exercise for both fat loss and increases in strength and muscle would the ideal approach. Today I’ll offer a way to do that without compartmentalizing each aspect of training or compromising your goals.

 

Get off the treadmill and put down that one-rep max effort for just a moment, and enter a new mindset regarding fat loss without traditional cardio means. You’ll also be happy to hear you can keep and possibly gain a little muscle and strength in the meantime. 

 

What is Density Training?

Density training can be compared to nutrient density. It’s getting the most out of what you have. Regarding training, it mostly refers to those who are short on time, but still want to do something significant enough to induce change.

 

There are plenty of ways to pack a lot of work in in a little amount of time. All it takes is a little creativity and a lot of effort. In fact, you may actually benefit more from training this way, as it provides a little fire under your butt to get going and get done in less time. 

 

You will mostly use compound, multi-joint movements through each program for efficiency and a more effective workout. If you used a string of isolation moves to get all this work done, you would be at the gym for half the day. Rep ranges will vary throughout each program not only for variety, but also to touch on each variable of training. Hypertrophy, strength, power, and muscular endurance are all included to give you a comprehensive training experience. 

 

Supersets will be another big part of these programs. Normally, most people perform a set, rest, and then perform another set and rest again. Supersetting eliminates rest between sets and utilizes that time for more work. Antagonistic (opposite) muscle groups will be paired for supersets, such as bench presses and rows, or curls and triceps extensions. 

 

Density Training Workouts for Fat Loss

Following are several programs that fit this bill nicely. Consistency and discipline are key for these programs to be effective. Just because they’re short doesn’t mean they’re easy. Put any of these plans into motion for four to six weeks. Once you’ve completed that cycle, either take a few days off and come back to run through a different one, or simply perform the same plan again.

 

I designed each program with the busy gym environment in mind. You won’t need to travel across the gym and monopolize several pieces of equipment only to risk getting a station taken once you turn your back. They are designed to be performed in close proximity and little-to-no major setup. 

 

Rest periods aren’t to be ignored or just winged. Some groups of exercises are performed with very little rest, while others are prescribed with no rest at all. Use a watch or a clock to stay on schedule.

 

Don’t neglect your warm ups. Yes, these programs are designed to be quick and dirty, but not at the risk of potential injury. Take your warm ups seriously. Perform each set, warm up or working set, with deliberate action.

 

Now it’s time to choose which program to start. Each program is listed in ascending order of time and intensity. Whichever you choose, be sure to put your all into it and stay consistent. 

 

Click here for a downloadable copy of these workouts.

 

The 20 Minute Time Crunch

Perform each session twice per week.

 

Seesion 1 Warm Up Sets Working Sets Rest

Flat bench dumbbell press

Two-arm dumbbell row

2 x 15 3 x 8 - 12 45

Standing dumbbell side lateral raise

Seated dumbbell press

3 x 8 - 12 30

Standing dumbbell curl

One-arm overhead triceps extension

3 x 8 - 12 30

Lying leg raise

Floor crunch

3 x 20 30

 

Session 2 Warm Up Sets Working Sets Rest

One-leg calf raise

Box or squat jump

2 x 15 3 x 8 - 12 30

Barbell back squat

Barbell Romanian deadlift

3 x 8 - 12 60

Static barbell or dumbbell lunge

Prisoner squat

3 x 8 - 12 60

Hanging leg raise

Bent leg raise

3 x 20 30

 

The 30 Minute Thrasher

Perform each session twice per week. 

 

Session 1 Warm Up Sets Working Sets Rest

Incline barbell bench press

Wide-grip pull up

Push up

2 x 15 3 x 6 - 10 60

Front plate raise

Dumbbell upright row

Bent-over dumbbell rear lateral raise

3 x 6 - 10 45

Barbell curl

Parallel bar dip

Reverse barbell curl

3 x 6 - 10 45

Hanging leg raise

Floor crunch

Lying leg raise

3 x 20 30

 

Session 2 Warm Up Sets Working Sets Rest

Squat jump

Static lunge

One-leg calf raise

2 x 15 3 x 6 - 10 60

Barbell front squat

Reverse lunge

Dumbbell Romanian deadlift

3 x 6 - 10 60

Bench step-up

Farmer's walk

Incline board crunch

3 x 6 - 20 60

 

The 40 Minute Fat Scorcher

Perform each session twice per week.

 

Session 1 Warm Up Sets Working Sets Rest

Feet-elevated push up

Close-grip pull up

Flat bench barbell press

Bent-over barbell row

2 x 15 3 x 6 - 10 60

Seated dumbbell shoulder press

Seated dumbbell side lateral raise

Bent-over dumbbell rear lateral raise

Standing barbell military press

3 x 6 - 10 60

Incline bench dumbbell curl

Lying dumbbell nosebreaker

Standing dumbbell hammer curl

Diamond push up

3 x 6 - 10 60

Floor crunch

Hanging straight leg raise

Hanging bent leg raise

Bicycle crunch

3 x 10 30

 

Session 2 Warm Up Sets Working Sets Rest

Box or squat jump

Bench step-up

One-leg calf raise

Walking lunge

2 x 15 3 x 6 - 10 60

Barbell or dumbbell Romanian deadlift

Front or back barbell squat

Static dumbbell reverse lunge

Static dumbbell front lunge

3 x 6 - 10 60

Burpees

Farmers's walk

Hanging leg hold

Planks

3 x 10 60

 

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