Density training is an advanced form of endurance and mental toughness training used by many professional boxers.  The concept behind it is diametrically opposed to how bodybuilding exercises are performed.  Rather than setting a goal of how many reps to do of a lifting exercise (ex. 12 reps of 100 lbs. with no time limit), the goal in density training is to maximize either the number of reps done within a set time period or minimize the time it takes to perform a given number of reps.  For instance, a boxer could set a time limit of 90 seconds and see how many times he can hit a tire with a sledgehammer.  At successive workouts, he will attempt to beat his prior record.

Most boxers may not even know that they perform density training every day during their regular workouts.  Fighters usually train in rounds during their skill sessions.  For example, a boxer may hit the heavy bag for 5 3-minute rounds with one minute of rest in between.  Assuming that the fighter is trying to hit the bag as much as possible during each of these rounds, he is actually performing a form of density training.

As I alluded to earlier, instead of attempting to maximize repetitions in a certain time frame, you could also attempt to perform a given number of repetitions in less and less time.  For example, you could aim to hit a tire with a sledgehammer 100 times.  At each consecutive workout, your goal would be to reduce the amount of time it takes to complete those repetitions.

If you are really performing the movements as quickly as possibly and trying to beat your previous record during each session, pushing yourself through the exhaustion in the final moments of the exercise will teach you a lot about fighting through fatigue.  Remember that the merits of density training are both physical and mental.  Your body will learn to both delay the buildup of lactic acid and get rid of lactic acid more quickly while your mind will learn how to push through the burn caused by lactic acid buildup.

Some density training ideas to get you started:

  • Lift a kettlebell.  How many reps can you perform in 2 minutes?  Or how quickly can you perform 50 lifts?
  • Hit a tire with a sledgehammer. How many reps can you perform in 5 minutes?  Or how quickly can you perform 100 swings?
  • Sand bag lift and press from floor to overhead.  How many reps can you perform in 5 minutes? How quickly can you perform 20 reps?
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