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Some people just love to train. So much, in fact, that they’ll train twice per day.
The problem is that most people don’t know what the heck they’re doing when they train twice per day. Do it right, and you’ll quadruple your muscle gains. Do it wrong, and you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot.
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There are two goals when training twice per day:
1. To promote super-compensation (more on that later).
2. To manage fatigue so that you can lift heavier weights and feel “fresh.”
For example, let’s use two people, Tarkin and Finn.
Tarkin’s workout program takes him 100 minutes to complete. He does one long workout and is completely destroyed by the end of it. By the end of the workout, Tarkin is so fatigued that he has to use light weights just to complete his sets.
On the other hand, Finn does the exact same workout as Tarkin, but he splits it up into two 50-minute workouts in one day (once in the morning and once in the evening). In the evening workout, Finn is able to use much heavier weights than Tarkin did near the end of his workout because Finn has recovered from the morning workout.
Both Finn and Tarkin did the exact same workout, but Finn was able to lift more weight, and ultimately make greater gains.
Photo Courtesy of Edgar Artiga
There are two ways to go about twice-a-day training:
1. Training the same body part in the morning and evening
2. Training two opposing body parts
For #1, this means if you trained your legs in the morning, you’d train them again in the evening. For #2, this means if you trained your legs in the morning, you’d then train your upper body in the evening.
While both methods work great, I’ve found that method #1 works best for muscle gains, but there’s a trick to doing so. In the morning workout, you need to train for strength. In the evening, you need to chase the pump in the same body part.
Let’s use your legs for example. In the morning, you would do the following:
1: Squats – 6-8 sets of 3-5 reps. Rest 2-3 min.
2: Deadlifts – 6-8 sets of 3-5 reps. Rest 2-3 min.
3: Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 8 reps. Rest 2 min.
As you can see above, you are focusing on a few exercises and working with heavy weights and low reps.
In the evening, you’d chase the pump like so:
1A: Front Squat – 4 sets of 10 reps. Rest 10 sec.
1B: Back Squat – 4 sets of 10 reps. Rest 10 sec.
1C: Walking Lunges – 4 sets of 20 reps (each leg). Rest 120 sec.
2A: Deadlift – 4 sets of 10 reps. Rest 10 sec.
2B: Romanian Deadlift – 4 sets of 10 reps. Rest 10 sec.
2C: Hamstring Curls – 4 sets of 20 reps. Rest 120 sec.
3: Seated Calf Raises – 4 sets of 20 reps. Rest 120 sec.
Given the example above, you will train for strength in the morning with 6-8 sets of 3-5 reps, and in the evening, you’ll use a 10-10-20 circuit to chase the pump.
Photo Courtesy of Edgar Artiga
When it comes to twice-a-day training, our other goal is to promote super-compensation. Essentially, what this means is pushing yourself to get as close to over-training as possible, but right before you become over-trained, you back off and take a whole week off.
During this week off, you just focus on recovery. This means lots of food and sleep, with minimal exercise. Your body will bounce back and your muscles will grow like crazy while you’re doing nothing at all. This is known as super-compensation, and I’ve seen people gain 5 to 8 lbs. of lean mass during this “off-week.”
Because the goal is to reach super-compensation, you need to train each body part very frequently. I recommend the following split:
Monday – Chest and Arms
Tuesday – Legs
Wednesday – Back and Shoulders
Thursday – Chest and Arms
Friday – Legs
Saturday – Back and Shoulders
Sunday – Off
Judging by the schedule above, this means you’ll train each body part 4x per week (twice heavy, and twice pumping).
Keep training like this until you lose your appetite and your will to train. You’ll need to push yourself harder than ever before. When you don’t feel like eating anymore you dread going to the gym and find yourself in a bad mood, you’re probably close to overtraining. Take a week off and eat like you’re still training, and watch your muscles grow like weeds.