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Training Twice a Week Only?

Can you recommend an training approach for someone limited to training twice a week please?
I was thinking of running the guaranteed muscle mass routine but just dialling down the frequency to fit twice per week.
Any thoughts/advice please?

Not a coach, but you can do a chest day on day 1 and leg day on day two. Prioritize compound exercsises, instead of isolated ones.

go look at the jim wendler 5/3/1 rest pause challenge ! 2 days a week

I’ve considered something like that, too – compressing GMM into two days. I’ve been running a Wendler two-day routine and it’s working well for me:

Week 1:
Monday: Squats 5/3/1, leg press 5 x 10, stiff leg deads 5 x 10, abs

Thursday: Bench press 5/3/1, dumbbell press 5 x 10, dumbbell row 5 x 10, biceps curls (yes, curls).

Include three days of hard conditioning (hill sprints) on nonconsecutive days.

Week 2:
Monday: Deadlift 5/3/1, safety bar squat 5 x 10, good mornings 5 x 10, abs

Thursday: Overhead press 5/3/1, chin-ups 5 x 10, dips 5 x 10, biceps curls (no, the joke isn’t on you, biceps curls).

Sometimes I swap out the 5x10 to use Carter’s 350 method, especially for back work. It’s really effective.

The 531 rest-pause challenge is a good one, too. It hits upper and lower body twice a week and gets you into 20-rep squats.

So here’s what I advise for training twice a week…

Week 1 -

Day 1 - Lower body strength / upper body pump

Squat - heavy
Deadlift - light triple
Leg Press - 1x20

Db bench - 3x20
Pulldown - 3x12
Curl - 2 x 21

Day 2 - Upper body strength / Lower body pump

Incline - heavy
Dips - heavy
Row - heavy

Leg Curls - 3x15
Lunges - fixed number like 200-300

Week 2 -

Lower body strength / upper body pump

Front squat - heavy (but it will be lighter than heavy squats so the nervous system taxation is less)
Deadlift - heavy triple
Romanian Deads - 5’s

Seated Db Press - 4 x 12
Rear Delts - 4 x 12
Curls - 100 reps empty bar

Day 2 - Upper body strength / lower body pump

Bench Press - heavy
Row - heavy
Db Triceps French Press - heavy

Leg Extensions - 4x20
Split Squats - 4x12

The “off” days do 1 day of hard ass conditioning and the other days do half an hour of steady state.

All bases covered.


That really helpful. I’ll try not to hijack the thread, but I have a few questions:

  • Does “heavy” mean something like 5x5 or 8x3?
  • Are the heavy sets (aside from the light triple DL) to failure?
  • Is it 200-300 lunges per leg or total? And I assume walking or stationary lunges are fine.
  1. Can be either or. Find a “heavy” set and rep scheme you like.

  2. No. Leaving 1-2 reps in the tank, but in the early part of the cycle more like 3.

  3. GUYS!!! If it’s 200 lunges that means you step with the right leg…1 rep…step with the left leg…1 rep.

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Awesome. Looking forward to getting on this.

Fantastic advise - thank you very much!
Presume the pump work should still be progressive but not so hard as to be really taxing and with shorter rest periods?

Not progressive at all. Minimal rest between sets and focus on the pump…not adding weight.


Thanks - sounds mad but I’ve never trained the pump before or given it any consideration! This should be fun!
One more question (sorry!)
Day 2 upper body strength starts with inclines - is that steep incline shoulder press of some form or a chest press on a regular 45ish degree incline?

Will be starting on the new regime on Thursday - very much looking forward to it.

Thanks again!

I’d roll with a lower incline.

About to start with this set up and had one question. For the lower body strength in week 2, you have “Romanian Deads - 5’s”. Is that a bunch of sets of 5 reps? Or working up to a 5 rep max?

Can be either/or. Some auto regulation there is fine. No need in trying to major in the minors. It’s a support movement.

Hi Paul,

If someone only had two days to train, how would you run the Super Soldier Protocol?

I seem to recall you saying that the ‘Stars and Stripes’ protocol could easily be split into ‘Upper/Lower‘ but what about the ‘Shield’ phase?

Would the template be something similar to what you mentioned above where the squat and deadlift are done on the same days? Thanks.

Yeah I would just move the main squat and main deadlift into the same day. Then pick your best support work for those movements afterwards.

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Looking to start this template for the next 6-7 weeks since I’ll be short on time. But my other option would be to get into the gym 5x a week for 30 minutes tops (warm-up included). Which would be a better option for primarily building strength – higher frequency or low frequency? I’m an “early intermediate” lifter, if that helps.

Why not 4X a week and focusing on 1 big movement per session and 1-2 smaller movements?

Thanks for the quick reply, Paul.

I hadn’t thought of it that way, honestly. For the high-frequency option, I was fixated on CT’s 20-Minute Muscle Builder as an idea (original or low-rep), so was thinking only of the two extremes.

Is 30 minutes enough to fit in one big and two small movements? And would something like this be enough to keep building strength?

A. Deadlift 5x3-5
B. RDL 3x6-8
C. Shrugs 3x6-8


A. Deadlift 5x3-5
B1. Back extension 8-12 reps
B2. Lying leg curl 8-12 reps
B3. DB shrugs 8-12 reps

I don’t see how you can’t fit in 1 big lift and 2 small ones in 30 minutes, warm ups included. You said you’re early intermediate so you’re probably not moving massive poundage yet.

2-3 sets of 3-5 on deads, then some lat pulldowns and rows for 1-2 sets each is fine.