CST Density Question

Forums Your Workouts CST Density Question

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    Noah Meade

    Coach Dos,
    I do a 3-day per week full-body density routine. I’ve discussed it before here, but I break it into 2 mini-circuits of 3 exercises each for 4 rounds. For instance today was [Hang Snatches, 1-leg DB RDL, DB Bench] then [Front Squat, Cable Face Pull, Cable Rotation]. I also alternate every 3 weeks between strength (3 reps on Olys and 5 for everything else) and hypertrophy (5 on Olys and 8 everything else) rep range. Now, with all that preamble, here’s my question: on my strength weeks, I’m routinely hitting 24-26 minutes, but I’m often well above 30 minutes (36 today) for 4 rounds. I’m not sure how to diagnose where the slow down is. I feel like the loads are such that, as I understand the density concept, I can only do the 5 or eight but not more. I’m not sure if I’m just not pushing hard enough or if I should back the loads down and work at a higher rep-intensity/speed. Do you have any advice or thoughts on where I may be missing the marks?

    Thanks as always!

    Noah Meade

    Sorry – I misspoke – on strength weeks I’m hitting 24-26 minutes, but on HYPERTROPHY on at or above 30 min.

    Robert Johnston

    Hi Noah,
    I do 3 x density workouts a week as well but I run the full program with every movement in one circuit. Your recovery might be limited due to combining just 3 exercises in the one circuit. If you run with all x 7 in one circuit you get more recovery time before starting the circuit again.

    Noah Meade

    Robert, that’s an interesting thought. I began this modified routine about 7 months ago as a means of reducing the amount of equipment I need at one time – i.e. if I’m doing Hang Cleans, Push Presses and RDLs, I don’t need 3 barbells or I’m not continually changing weights (which I would be would put me in just as bad of a spot timing wise as this). I looked back at my times for my hypertrophy sets before I moved to this 2-mini circuit style and they were still well beyond the 24 minute mark. And I’m always much closer to 24 in the strength cycle as well.

    Any other thoughts on diagnosis or ways to dial in the load to get closer to the target time?


    When I talk to trainers in big box gyms the best set up for densities and heavy timed sets is to just use pairs of exercises then perform all 3-4 rounds before setting up the next pair etc. Much easier on equipment and space etc.

    Scott Tighe

    I workout in a busy gym and I use the pair method for most of my workouts whether it’s circuits,density, or strength. Anything more than 2 exercises in a row it’s hard to maintain a good pace because someone is always going to hope on the equipment you were using.

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