Tuesday, November 11, 2008

EDT for the Olympic Lifts

I love a good weight training article, and this one rocks. Steven Morris combines two of my favorite things -- the Olympic lifts and Escalating Density Training (EDT for short), into one kick-ass program.
EDT for the Olympic Lifts

By Steven Morris
Author of Explosive Football Training

There's gotta be a better way!

I've been competing in Olympic Lifting for about 8 years, on and off. It's a wonderful sport filled with great people and challenging, but rewarding exercises.

While the Olympic Lifts and their variations have been a part of my programs since I started nearly 15 years ago, they were, frankly, starting to let me down.

My training became stale and I was not producing on the platform. I decided to take a break from the O-lifts for a while and stumbled on an article by Charles Staley, strength coach extraordinaire, about his Escalating Density Training (EDT) system. For those of you unfamiliar with EDT, here's a brief explanation from one of Charles's Articles.

If you know when it'll be over, you'll work that much harder. The EDT system employs time frames for work sets. When the time frame ends, you're done, no matter what you have or haven't accomplished. Your goal is to discover ways to do more and more work within these time frames. As the old saying goes "You can work hard, or you can work long, but you can't work hard for long."

My take on EDT was always simple. Time your work, record what you do, then, the next week, you try to beat your total number of reps, amount of weight used, or time you completed the work in. It's a very simple and straightforward way of tracking progress.

I liked the idea and formulated a basic template. Unfortunately a football induced knee injury meant I was going to have to scrap that idea for a while. I read about the EDT for Arms program and decided to specialize for a while. Well, 6 weeks later, my knee was healed and my arms were much bigger and stronger. I decided to look at this EDT program much harder.

I wanted to go to one more Olympic Lifting meet. My last 3 had been disappointing, missing weights I had hit in training, always feeling like I'm leaving a ton of potential on the platform, especially in the C & J. I wanted to get one good meet in, then move on to Powerlifting for a while.

But, what to do? My old approach was not working at all. I was on the path of following percentages and extreme specificity. Problem was that I'd often have to go up to 95%+ of my contest maxes and it would just be too heavy and not provide enough reps to really refine the skill.

Then I was watching a tape of the Bulgarian Olympic Lifting team training and I noticed something strange.

They didn't follow any percentages, nor did they worry about a prescribed number of sets and reps. I hauled out a few of my other tapes and saw that while every team did things differently, the one thing they had in common was that they picked a lift for the session, then worked it extremely hard for 30 minutes. Hmm, this got me thinking, "I wonder if I could use the principals of EDT to prepare for my last meet?"

Being a lifter with a decent Snatch, an excellent Jerk, and a sub-par Clean, I needed to formulate a plan to work my weaknesses, yet still hit my strong points.

I came up with a basic template fairly quickly.

Check out the whole article to see the grueling workout.


Anonymous said...


Interesting...because you have added the third of my favorite elements...Buddhism!

Come on, how many Buddhist, EDT-doing O-lifters can there be in the world?

I loved the "Exercise: The Observer Self" post!


william harryman said...


I aim to please, and be a little different than the masses