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Muscle Mass: A 20-Minute Full-Body Workout



Escalating Density Training (EDT) by Charles Staley is a favorite around the Muscle & Fitness office for two reasons: It's efficient in two ways: first, it's fast, and second, it works! Rather than counting sets and reps, the aim is to work opposing muscle groups for a fixed period of time. As one muscle group recovers from the set, you work the other, gradually increasing the strength.

Start with ten sets of ten reps at a weight that is approximately equal to your 20 rep limit. This will seem easy, but keep in mind that you'll be doing this for 20 minutes with as little rest as possible, so the lactic acid will build up quickly. When you're finished with one set, switch to the exercise for the opposite body part and repeat until the timer goes off. The trick is to keep track of how many reps you did in that time frame and then increase it the following week. You'll be constantly improving in this manner, which is essential for muscle growth.

Front Squat 


Shoulder to Shoulder Dumbbell Press and Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Circuit Workout

8-10 reps deadlift

8-10 reps of front squat

8-10 reps incline bench press

8-10 reps of shoulder to shoulder dumbbell press 

Repeat the circuit as many times as possible in under 15 minutes, with as little rest as possible between sets (just to catch your breath). It will kill you, but that is just what you need to gain muscle. You won't be able to complete 8-10 reps of each exercise with the same weight after the first or second round – don't worry about it; just do as much as you can until failure.