Training twice a day can be extremely hard, but it can elicit bigger gains.
Some people love training so much that they are willing to go to the gym twice a day without any mental effort whatsoever. However, the majority of people don’t exactly have a specific plan on what they should be working when following the twice-a-day approach. Getting this right, will have you double your muscle gains. If not, you’ll only be wasting your time and effort.
You’ll have two main objectives when training two times a day:
- Provide super-compensation
- Manage your fatigue levels in a way you can remain rested and able to lift heavier loads.
To illustrate the benefits of the twice-a-day approach, let’s make a little thought experiment. We’ll have two participants: Jack and Greg. Jack follows a training program where each training session lasts about an hour and a half. He basically does a single long workout which leaves him completely drained. By the end of it, Jack is so tired that he is forced to use the lighter weights so that he could finish his remaining sets.
Greg, on the other hand, follows the same training program as Jack, however, unlike Jack, he splits his training session into two 45-minute sessions and he does the first one in the morning and the second in the evening. During the evening session, Greg is capable of handling heavier weights than Jack could during the end of his training sessions because Greg has already had some time to rest from his workout in the morning.
Both of them did the same workout with the same exercises, sets, and reps, but Greg could lift a lot heavier loads and in the end achieve greater muscle gains.
Two training approaches
There are two general ways to approach this type of training
- You can train the same muscle group in both training sessions
- Or, you can train two opposing muscle groups in each session
For example, if you apply the first approach, and need to train legs, you’ll train them both in the morning and the evening. If you apply the second approach, if you trained legs in the morning, you’ll switch to training your back in the evening workout.
Both approaches produce great results, but many lifters reported that the first approach is better at producing greater muscle gains. And there’s a trick to how it’s done. In the morning, you’ll do strength training with low reps and in the evening you’ll do classic bodybuilding style training with higher reps.
Again, let’s assume we’re training legs. The morning workout would comprise of the following set-up:
- Squats, 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. Rest 3-5 minutes.
- Deadlifts, 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. Rest 3-5 minutes.
- Calf raises 3 sets of 10 reps. Rest 2 minutes.
As you can see, there are only three exercises where you lift relatively heavy weights using low reps.
In the evening workout, you’ll do the following bodybuilding-style workout:
- Front squat, 4 sets x 10 reps. Rest 1.5 minutes.
- Walking lunges, 4 sets x 15 reps with each leg. Rest 2 minutes.
- Romanian deadlift, 3 sets x 8 reps. Rest 2 minutes.
- Leg extensions, 3 sets x 15 reps. Rest 1.5 minutes
- Hamstring curls, 3 sets x 15 reps. Rest 1.5 minutes.
- Seated calf raises, 3 sets x 20 reps. Rest 1.5 minutes.
In summary, you’ll do strength training in the morning workout with 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps and in the evening workout; you’ll do bodybuilding-style training.
Muscle groups split
As we previously said, regarding this type of training, one of the main objectives is promoting super-compensation. This basically means getting as close as possible to becoming over-trained and stopping at the right time and taking a deload week.
During the deload week, the only thing you’ll focus on is recovery. Proper recovery entails eating lots of quality food, quality sleep and resting as much as possible. Don’t worry, you won’t lose any muscle. On the contrary, your body will take the time to repair the damaged muscle tissue and you’ll come out stronger than before. This phenomenon is called super-compensation, and there are numerous cases where people have experienced significant lean muscle gain during the deload week.
Since super-compensation is the main goal, you’ll need to exercise each muscle group more frequently. This is the generally recommended split:
Monday: Chest and arms
Wednesday: Back and shoulders
Repeat the same cycle for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday respectively.
Rest on Sunday.
This means you will exercise each muscle group four times a week. You’ll employ strength training twice and bodybuilding training twice.