T Nation

Two-A-Days for Same Body Part Viable?

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): Is working two workouts per day on the same body part a viable solution to grow?

I try to be science-based in my approaches, and the science claims that working different rep ranges and different weights on a body part works. Specifically, priming growth by hitting heavy, low-rep sets first will potentiate receptors for signals received from natural (or non-natural) growth hormone stimulated by oxygen deprivation and lactic acid production during lighter, higher rep sets (or injection).

In my own current routine I start with heavy compounds in the 3x3-4x4 range, followed by 10x10s of a related exercise (or really 7-9x10s usually since I use heavier weights than I’m probably “supposed to” for GVT and reach failure sooner), ending with isolation movements in the 3x20-30 range, even supersetted.

This takes a good long time as you might imagine, and I’m roasted by the end of it, even before the end. I also bump up against the clock that dominates my busy schedule and I find that I’m forced to cut training short more and more often, so my lagging parts continue to lag, or lag farther. I’m wondering if splitting my routine into morning heavy/night light would benefit me, foregoing my 60-minute fasted cardio for a 10-minute warm-up and some big compounds to start the day, and saving all the higher rep work (10x10s, 3x20s) for the afternoon. Yes, that means hitting two workouts on the same day for the same body part, but as far as I can tell in this instance it would be a good thing. It would allow me to be fresh in the afternoon when I’m grinding through the 10x10s, and I would have more time each workout so I’m less likely to skip the last few exercises if time is short. The downside is no cardio, and since I’m currently 25%bf (down from 34%) fat loss is a primary concern. at the same time iron burns fat too, and I suppose as long as my eating is in line I could still re-composition without discrete cardio work. It also means I’ll only have about 36 hours between repeats instead of 48, since I train (or try to) 6x/wk (Pull/Push/Pull/Push/Legs/Arms).

I know Ben Pakulski promotes this, perhaps others, and again the science says it could be a good thing. I’m wondering what the iron veterans have to say about it.

Example: Pull days:
Deadlift
1x12
1x8
3x3-4x4

Seated Row
1x12
1x8
3x3-4x4

Superset: Narrow/Wide Pulldowns
2x10x10

DB Pullovers
10x10

Superset: Single Arm Rows/Face Pulls
3x3x20 or failure

Incline Curls w/Raise
3x20 or failure

Preacher Curls
3x20 or failure

Reverse Preacher Curls
3x20 or failure

Thanks for any comment.

The key question should be is it necessary.

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Holy shit this looks sick, I think I’ll try this tomorrow during my back workouts (aside from the deadlifts, prefer to do them during leg day as they torch my hamstrings alongside the rest of my posterior chain). gainzzzzzz here we come

I will be blunt if you have to divide it up . It’s a good sign that what you have written up is overkill. More doesn’t equal quality nor does it equal faster results.

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What are your lagging parts?

There was a recent study that had one group doing 10x10 and the other doing 10x5 sets, the 10x5 group made better gains. 10x10 alone is too much, and combined with all that other stuff it’s way too much.

People who train twice a day have no other responsibilities, or they work in a gym. If that’s not you then it probably makes no sense to even try. And even then, I don’t see how it’s going to be better than one reasonable session.

look at your diet rather than killing yourself in the gym. Exercise burns less calories than you think, most energy expenditure is just keeping you alive.

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Unreal, I do legs once a week, with a day between pulling and legs. My quads are my best feature, so I don’t concentrate on them. My hams and glutes could use some work, and the DLs really activate my back so I do them first on back day before rows. When I do, I really feel the rest of the back day much, much more. I currently do conventional DLs, but I’ve done them all before. I love them. You’d think my rear chain would be better considering that, but no.

My worst parts are, in order of worst to less bad:

  • arms (especially tris)
  • chest (goes with the tris)
  • back
  • abs
  • shoulders
  • legs

Bulldog and Chris, both are saying much the same about my volume. 10x5 (5x10?) would fit my schedule better, and reduce total volume, which probably suits me in my situation.

Chris, 5 sets/10 reps, or 10 sets/5 reps? 5 reps would seem to duplicate my starting sets, which could be good for volume reduction if I omit the redundancy, but doesn’t hit the mid-rep-range like I was hoping. Being older and returning after a long layoff, doing a lot of heavy work doesn’t suit my recovery or joints. I want to do some heavy work, enough but not too much, and get the majority of my stimulus from higher volume.

I’m on a 16/8 intermittent fast and center my eating to 3 hours before to 3 hours after the training window, not counting my whey/bcaa/creatine “breakfast.” I aim for 40% pro, and 30/30 carbs/fats, but I’m not precise and I have to adjust my post-dinner snack based on what my wife makes for dinner. Daily cals are between 2400 and 3000 and protein is 200+. 70-90% of my carbs are pre-workout. Recently I started doing 2 30g whey shakes a day to help simplify, with the rest coming from real food. Until this week I was 100% food with no supps at all. At almost 6’ tall, 217 lbs and roughly 25% bf that should put me between 500 and 1000 cals shy of maintenance depending on the day. I tend to eat the same on off-days and treat it like a re-feed, since my calorie expenditure is lower then.

Splitting up the weight training is a time saver for me by omitting morning cardio (brisk walking, dodging old ladies in the dark). So I’m thinking take a 90-minute weight training session, cut it into 30-minutes heavy and 60-minutes reps, remove the 60-minute cardio and replace it with 30-minute heavy and I gain 30 minutes, enough to drive to the gym and back. Time management is really the primary motivation for the split. I train hard, resting on a timer, taking many sets to failure, even 1 or 2 rest/pause to finish. I fvcking love it, but I need to arrange my time to get it all in. When everything is “normal” I can do all this in one session. It’s when the kids need picking up or the boss has a late meeting or there’s a wreck on the highway or any number of other things life throws at you, it impinges on my fun.

I feel like I’m ranting now and not focusing on the goal. Sorry.

For recommendations I have:

  • Do less so it fits into an hour.
  • Do less that might work better than doing more.
  • Do what you need, not more for more’s sake.

So if I reduce the volume by going 5x10s instead of 10x10s, I might could get it down to 30 minute rep workout, so I’d have 1 60 or a pair of 30s

The question remains, would splitting up the heavy and light halves of the workout give me more fuel to improve my 2nd half?
The 2nd question is, if splitting does allow me to up the intensity of the 2nd session, would that increase/speed the gains versus a single 60 minute session? I’m going to be up early anyway, either lifting or doing cardio.

Thanks guys.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to the individual. If you believe in splitting them up and that allows you to push intensity on the heavy and light portions more efficiently, then do it. If you see recovery drop or you see no benefit after a cycle or block of it, then drop it.

Training is all trial and error, but a lot of training also comes down to what you believe in. I’ve seen people make progress doing extremely little volume as well as a ton of it. Just try it and see.

This looks like 60 minutes if you don’t fuck around looking at your phone and you don’t have to wait on machines.

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My only concern is the OPs age and his ability to recover. Since he is actually 2 years older then my old ass.

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theinneroh, I like your enthusiasm, and I would normally agree. I use my phone for music and the Tabata Timer ap. Sometimes there’s gym traffic. My “gym update” will be before or after or not at all.
Deadlifts take 10-15 minutes.
Seated Rows also take 10-15 minutes.
Wide/Narrow pulldown superset takes 20 minutes on a timer. These are awesome by the way.
Pullovers take 10 minutes on a timer.
Single Arm Rows/Face Pulls superset takes about 15 minutes.
All the curls together take about 15 minutes.

Even with minimal rest between exercises it’s 80 minutes. Typically it’s around 90.

Bulldog, you are right on the money about old folks’ recovery. I’m concerned about it too. I’m even more concerned about pushing hard and hurting something and being out again. That’s why I left the gym last time, and that was about 7 years ago. I don’t want a repeat.

I don’t wait like some others do in between sets. I look at my heart-rate. Once it drops into the 90’s, I go again. I follow the HTFU philosophy! The only thing that messes me up is gym traffic. I could do your workout in 60 minutes. Add 15 minutes to get to the gym and change, and then 15 to shower and get back to work.

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How long was your layoff? What type of routine/s were you doing prior to this layoff?

  • Started serious weight training as a newb at 25 during my 1-year Korea tour, went from 155 to 185 and around 12%, continued to train to reach my 195@<12% best shape of my life at 29 y/o, which I continued until about 2000 when I got out, started a family, started civilian life, and started getting out of shape.
  • At 36 went back to college, took a weightlifting class just to get back into the gym after a 6 year break. Went from 215 at about 27% to 205 at about 17% over 18 months, almost like newb gains again. Coach/trainer/instructor measured with calipers.
  • At 42 suffered minor back pull and near simultaneous ab strain. No real damage, but as I was approaching burnout already, that was all I needed to “take a break” that basically lasted 7 1/2 years. Went back to the gym occasionally since then, never really serious, consistent, or dedicated.
  • At 49 was 242 @ 34%bf. Saw my own picture and decided I needed a change. New Year’s resolution didn’t go well. Luckily I got the flu, lasted 6 weeks, couldn’t eat much, lost 15 lbs.
  • May 2019 started walking after work. June started walking early instead, made time for the gym after work. Now up to a 5 miler at a 14:30 pace. Was doing very beginner gym time, 45-60 minutes, medium/light weights, 10-15 reps, 3-4 sets, whole body 3x/week.
  • Sep 2019, turned 50. Time to turn up the wick while it still turns.

When I got hurt I was in a heavy lifting phase, doubles, triples, 5x5s. I was doing heavy squats. My PR was 1x365 and I had a goal of 405 so I was ramping up. I was somewhere north of 3 plates when I felt the pain in my back, and the flex to recover hurt my lower abs. I laid off for a few days and tried to do a lightweight routine but really felt it still. Doc said there was no “damage,” so just a muscle strain, but it nagged for weeks, and as my gains had stalled I “took a break” that lasted over 7 years.

While we’re at it, way back then my PRs were 245 bench, 365 squat, 395 DL. I was pissed that I couldn’t straighten up to standard at 405 on the DLs, but my glutes and grip were weak, so I knew where I had to improve. That was about 2 1/2 years prior to my injury. I was pretty pissed that in over 2 years I couldn’t go from 365 to 405 squat, but clearly something wasn’t right. I wanted the old 3/4/5 plate maxes to my big lifts. Still do.

Now I don’t even look like I lift. If this is my mid-life crisis, so be it.

@bulldog9899 completely missed the age part. Thank you for that. Yeah OP, 2-a-days probably aren’t the smartest route. You could still try, but it’ll be rough.

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Only reason I knew was because I looked at his log.

Are you training for powerlifting? If not, then 3’s and 4’s are probably way heavier than you need to be going on a regular basis.

You seriously do not need to train twice a day. You can only benefit from so much training, if you have that much spare time then find a less intense hobby to do instead of a 2nd session.