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20-Minute Full Body Workout for Muscle Mass

Charles Staley’s Escalating Density Training (EDT) is a favorite around the Muscle & Fitness office for two simple reasons: 1, it’s quick and 2, it works! The idea here is to work opposing muscle groups for a given amount of time, rather than simply measuring sets and reps. When one muscle group is resting from the set, you’re working the other - continually building the intensity.

Choose a weight that’s roughly your 20 rep max and start with sets of ten. This may seem easy, but remember that you’re doing this for 20 minutes with as little rest as possible so you’ll definitely feel the lactic acid building. When you’re done with one set, move right into the exercise for the opposing body part, and continue in this manner until the time is up. The key is to count the total reps done within that time frame and then increase it the next week. In this manner you’re constantly improving, which is the key to building muscle.


Front Squat
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Shoulder to Shoulder Dumbbell Press

Workout Circuit

    Deadlift – 8-10 reps

    Front Squat – 8-10 reps
    Incline bench press – 8-10 reps
    Shoulder to shoulder dumbbell press – 8-10 reps

Repeat the circuit as many times as you can in under 15 minutes with minimal rest between sets (just to catch your breath). It will destroy you, but that’s exactly what it takes to build more muscle. After the first or second round you won’t be able to complete 8-10 reps of each exercise with the same weight – don’t worry about it, do as much as you can till failure.