T Nation

Two Day a Week Training

As great as T-mag is all the training routines outlined seem to involve 3 or more days in the gym. Does anyone have any good routines for just 2 days a week training.

I’m looking primarily for size rather than strength and consider myself to have a low recovery rate (which is why i only train 2x a week). I have been training for about 4 years now and just about consider myself an intermediate lifter but have had some success as ive managed to put on 42lbs of LBM in this time. The last year though feels like it’s been a bit of a waste as i’ve made no gains what-so-ever (except bf!).

Anyway that’s enough background, if you’ve any routines you’d like to share i’d like to see them and if you’ve any opinions (good or bad) on training only two days a week i’d like to hear them as well.

Cheers.

You may have stopped making gains because your training volume may actually be too low. At first, I’m sure your volume was too high, so when you went to two workouts a week, you probably made good gains. But you may really need to go to four or five workouts a week or at least three. If you really want to do only two workouts a week, then I’d suggest you read some of Pavel’s articles and books (Power to the People) to set up a program. But it’s going to be tough to make mass gains on two days a week.

I kind of doubt that you’re only able to train 2 days a week. You should at least be able to pull off 45 min sessions three to four days a week. I just wanted to help support that theory for you. You could always try HIT, but I think you’ll just get fatter if you do that. Good luck!

I can help you out but first need to know more info. about you and your routine. 42 lbs of l.b.m. is not a shabby increase by the way! What does your current routine look like? Are you hitting the entire body in each session or are you on a split? How many sets reps, max lifts etc.

Cheers Guys, here’s a bit more info. I’m currently doing a split routine with legs and chest work on a Monday and back and shoulders on a Thursday. I’m not currently doing any direct tricep or bicep work as i think they get enough work as secondary muscles. I’m curently doing 2 sets and two exercises per bodypart. I am probably still influenced by HIT as i dabbled with that a while back and gained a few pounds of LBM. I am quite prepared to believe that i can do more workouts a week but from my previous experiences of volume training i didn’t make much progress. I’m also just starting the T-dawg diet to lose the few pounds of bf i put on doing the ‘Get Big’ diet, i got fat with no muscle gain! Any further advise you can give me would be greatly recieved, i know i’ve not yet reach my full potential!!!

I also only train with weights 2 times a week on average. Other 2 training days I do gpp work. Many cycles I tried 4 to 5 day workouts with weights but ended up only having 2 good ones so I cut out the extra 2. I,m no powerhouse, but feel alot better in the gym and continue to break strength and mass plateaus. If you can pick up the book Beyond Brawn, it has good info on training for people who have average and below average recovery ablility for whatever reason i.e.stressfull job, kids etc.

If your perceived recovery ability is poor, then it is important you pay extra attention to post-workout nutrition and nutrition in general. In addition to that, sleep quantity and quality cannot be underestimated, as well as stress levels. Its possible you’ve been beaten around by a bad genetics stick, but try to maximise what you’ve got to the best of your ability - hopefully then you might see fat gain becoming muscle gain in addition to recovering better.

I too would suggest reading the book Brawn or Beyond Brawn. Both have good programs for those looking for 2 day a week workouts. And to let you know my brother religously followed one of there 3 day a week programs for around 6 months and got his bench up to 315lbs at a weight of 175lbs. Not bad.

Youshould try reading Dinosaur Training by Brooks Kubik…he has listed some two day a wekk training routines (Mon and Thurs) that are so brutal it will take you at least 2 days to recover from each workout. I’m currently training 3 times a week on alternate days just using basic exercises for no more than 5 reps (5x5) and about 3 exercises with 1 finisher per workout. And i have been making the best strength and mass gains of my life.

You’re probably not getting enough quality volume in. Hitting everything once/week with 5 rest days is leaving you a lot of recovery time. Try hitting each muscle group twice/week with full body routines. Vary the exercises you do for each particular muscle group during the different training sessions. So for example you might do bench press on the first workout day and incline dumbell press during the next. Have one workout heavy with lower reps and longer Rest Intervals with antagonistic supersets with full recovery. On the other workout utilize straight sets, higher reps, and short R.I. I can lay out a sample workout schedule if you’d like.

Have you tried the 20 rep squat routine yet? I used this on Tuesdays and Fridays for 6 weeks (don’t use it any longer than that) and gained 17 lbs of lean body weight.

ok, Im not trying to be a jerk here, but volume is not always the answer… I only 1-2 times a week (5 day intervals, 4 different splits) so each muscle group only gets hit DIRECTLY 2 or so times a month! put on ~50 lbs lbm in this manor. your body only has so much recuperative ability, anything more is simply wasted energy, and possibly doing more harm than good. Thats why overtraining is ones worst enemy. you most likely need a change in exercise and/or volume. im not saying go to a 6day/week split, but maybe cut it back some, or increase it some. But my humble opinion is that your body has adapted to this form of stress, and it is getting very good at coping with it. change is necessary to throw your body a curve ball, so it can overreact, and hence grow. Try a change in your exercises. if you are benching now, try doing dips and crossovers, or incline and flyes… just some kind of variation of movement to work the same area. I agree that change is a must, but which way is totally an individual thing. I am like you, a midget in recuperative ability. I cant lift 3 days a week… it is counterproductive for me. i lose size and strength due to overtraining.
Sorry, got off topic for a minute. Back to the point- change is definately the way to go. Your body needs different stresses because it has gotten used to the ones you have provided for such a long time. What type of change is your call, cuz when it really comes down to it, only you know your body. Good luck, and great gains!

Kelly, i’ll take you up on the offer of some sample routines.

Dave, I have tried the 20 rep squat routine but am having a break from it as i used it quite extensively for some time (too long). I’m not actually squating or deadlifting at the moment as i’m having some physio on my back after attempting a ‘hero’ deadlift and losing my form…Doh!!! Hope to be back with the big exercises soon though, with better form!

Thanks for all the advice guys, keep it coming. There may be hope for me yet!

Try doing a Nautilus style workout. Bout 12 exercises, 2-4 up and down cadence, very short rest between sets. At first you will get you ass kicked with the pace, but you will adapt and really grow. Do the big exercises and the little ones that help out (leg curls/etensions, bent/standing laterals, flyes and forarm curls are all fine exercises). Just make sure you do rows, squats, presses, dips, and chins and you can do real well. Good luck.

Just to give you a sample setup here. One day is a power day and the next day follows a modified pre-exhaustion type routine with lots of exercises and higher reps.You’ll have to figure out what exercises need to be exchanged due to your back problems.
Workout A
a1. power clean 4X4
a2. bench press 4X 6-8
b1. push press 4X5
b2. wide chine 4X6-8
c1. Deadlift 4X6
c2. Dips 4X6-8
d1. front squat 2 X 10-12
d2. Barbell curl 2 X 10-12

Workout B (1-1.5 min R.I.) a. lying tricep extension 2X12-15 b. flat bench flye 2X10-12 c. incline d.b. curl 2X10-12 d. supinated grip seated row 2X12-15 e. side or telle lateral 2X15 f. upright row 2x1012 g. incline d.b. press 2X10-12 h. leg curl or stiff legged deadlift 2X10 i. leg ext. or sissy squat 2X12-15 j. Barbell back squat 2X12-15 k. hanging knee raise 2X20 l. janda sit-up 2X a.m.r.a.p.

Hey dude just keep it simple. If its a 2 day split then you need a good hour to do upper body on one day and about 45minutes later in the week for legs. That’s it. I would suggest trying to go to 3 days split and try to keep each workout at 30-45minutes. If you go longer than 45minutes on a 3 day split you are either taking to long between sets or you are doing some big time powerlifting which in that case longer rest can be very beneficial. By the way on the 2 day split keep it simple for the upper body. Start with chest 4 sets of bench and 2 heavy sets of incline dumbell. Then 3 sets shoulder press and 2 heavy sets of side laterals. Then 4-5 sets of heavy back rows followed by 2-3 sets of heavy shrugs. Then if you want to save time super set arms. Just pick one excercise for each. Example would be Nose breakers or skull crushers and curls. Do 5 supersets as heavy as you can. You may notice I keep mentioning heavy well that is because for a 2 day split to really work you need to be intense. Any other ?'s email me.

The HITers would say that when you reach a plateau you should decrease volume even more. I disagree. I think you need more volume.