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101 Kettlebell Workouts Part 3: Introducing Escalating Density Training

Updated on October 9, 2014

Brief Intro

My name is David Bradley, I've been working through an ebook entitled "101 Kettlebell Workouts" by a man named David Whitley. He's a Master RKC instructor. RKC stands for Russian Kettlebell Challenge. In February I went and got my RKC, but I got a long way to go before I can brush the elbow with some of the elite like Mr. Whitley here.

I got his ebook off his website and have been going through all of the Kettlebell Workouts listed in order and writing a Hub on each workout.

One of the reasons I got into this book and am writing a Hub on each one of these is that I am using this to build my repertoire of workouts for my own client base and to have actually experienced the individual workouts for myself.

Also the caliber of these workouts are second to none as they focus on basic, compound, effective Kettlebell exercises that will aid you in your quest for a lean, strong and healthy body.

So far we've gone through 2 sections of the book. The first one was "12 Workouts for General Conditioning" and the second was "30 Under 30." Currently, the section we're about to embark on is called "Size and Strength."

So without further ado...

Upper Body

Double KB Clean and Press
Double KB Clean and Press
Pull Ups
Pull Ups
Ring Push Ups
Ring Push Ups

Escalating Density Training

Escalating Density Training. What's that? This is the first part of the size and strength section. Well let's see how I can best explain this. Escalating Density Training (EDT) is a system that was invented by another gentleman named Charles Staley and it is a simple, effective model for increasing size and strength.

David Whitley recommends EDT in "101 Kettlebell Workouts" and it has also been recommended by Mike Mahler, another Kettlebell aficionado.

I'll sum up Coach Staley with a quote from the magazine I first heard of him and off his own website:

“One of the signs of a great teacher is the ability to make the subject matter seem simple. Charles Staley is one of these rare teachers. After listening and talking to him, you suddenly achieve a new awareness of training. You go to the gym and, suddenly, everything makes sense, and you wonder why you haven’t been doing it his way since day one.”

– Muscle Media 2000 magazine August, 1999

EDT was originally designed for dumbbells and barbells. Plugging Kettlebells into this protocol will only benefit the trainee However, this can work with bodyweight exercises as well.

Here's the gist of it. Take 2 opposing muscle groups and select one compound exercise that targets that area. Alternate between the exercises for as many sets as you can do in a given period of time. Which is usually for 15-20 minutes. This is, as Coach Staley puts it, your "PR Zone."

You'll want to pick a Kettlebell(s) you can complete 10 reps with in good solid form. Then you'll want to perform sets of 3 - 5 for as many sets as you can get in that "PR Zone." Keep the rest to a minimum and work hard. Do as much work as you can with out sacrificing proper form. The next time you train, you'll want to do more reps than the last workout in the same amount of time.

This is simple and brilliant because it it has clear cut goals and specific measurable results. You will know whether or not you're progressing.

Lower Body

KB Front Squats
KB Front Squats
Romanian Deadlifts
Romanian Deadlifts
Box Pistols
Box Pistols
Bull Dog Swings
Bull Dog Swings

My EDT Plan of Attack

In 101 Kettlebell Workouts, David Whitley has multiple options and combinations for Kettlebells drills that can be plugged into EDT. There's EDT workouts that you can do for a full body workout and there's ones that split you up between upper body and lower body.

Since my goal is to do a Hub on all 101 workouts, I had to stop and take look at the big picture. "101 KB Workouts" has 3 options/routines to do EDT to. Which is 12 workouts total. The main goal of this section is "Size & Strength." 12 Workouts with different routines might produce some results but they wont be specific and measurable. So should I just do all 12 and review that or should I work through EDT good and proper?

I've decided to work through EDT good and proper. I've used "101 KB Workouts" as a guideline, then looked at my own goals and things I wanted to work on and devised a workout plan that I will follow for 6 weeks starting January 4th, 2010.

I'm going to train 3-4 times per week and have two workouts. One for the Upper Body and one for the Lower Body. Each workout will have 4 exercises with two drills going into one 20 minute "PR Zone" and two more drills going into one 15 minute "PR Zone." I'll report back on my findings mid February.

For the Upper Body Workout:

20 minute PR Zone 1: Double Kettlebell Clean and Press combined with Pull Ups

15 minute PR Zone 2: Ring Push Ups and Chest Expanders.

(quick note on the Chest Expander: I got one a while back on a trip to Costa Rica. Since I have this affinity for all things "old-school" and traditional physical culture, I figure that this is as good a time as any to use this device in an actual workout scenario... we'll see how it goes!)

For the Lower Body Workout:

20 minute PR Zone 1: Double Kettlebell Front Squats and Double Kettlebell Romanian Dead lifts

15 minute PR Zone 2. Box Pistols and Bulldog Swings

(quick note on the Box Pistols and Bulldog Swings: One of my goals is to be able to perform a Pistol or One Legged Squat. Progressing to a full Pistol, I will use a technique from Pavel Tsatsouline's book, "The Naked Warrior" and do a Box Pistol which is basically a 3/4 Pistol down to a box. When I have the strength to do that, I'll get a lower box. For the Bulldog Swings, I'm using a Bulldog, which in the Kettlebell world is an 88 pound Kettlebell. An 88 pound cannon ball requires laser focus and this bad boy needs to be tamed... the bell... not me.)

Props for the Show

I found the High-Step to be an ideal tool for working on the Box Pistol as it is mobile, small and easily adjustable. Yes there may be a "Reebok with big socks pushed down" joke waiting in the wings, but I don't care.

The Chest Expander is adjustable and since this one doesn't use real springs, your chest hair can't get caught in it...

The portable gymnastic rings are awesome. Fitness on the go. All you need is a strong tree or sturdy place to hang them safely.

And of course Kettlebells....

So, Now What?

I'll report back with the EDT review in mid February where I'll detail each workout and how I improved. Following EDT will be German Volume Training for another 6 weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing the results. Especially with my lower body as I've always felt like I'm lagging in that department, so it's going to be nice to really focus on strengthening the wheels and getting them up to par.

Feel free to leave a comment with any questions.


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