Do you want to pack on serious mass and strength in the quickest time possible? If so, we’ve got you covered. Working out twice a day can be extremely hard, but it can elicit tremendous muscle 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 you work out twice a day:
- Provide super-compensation
- Manage your fatigue levels in a way you can remain rested and able to lift heavier loads.
How to manage two workouts a day?
Even though this is one of the best ways to ramp up the intensity and start harvesting greater gains, not everyone can endure it and very few have enough free time on their hands to make it work. That aside, training twice per day is one surefire way to step up your game and achieve your muscle building goals faster. By working out twice, you get your protein synthesis and other anabolic systems racing. And if you make sure to eat a proper post-workout meal after each sweat session, you can start to see your gains skyrocket.
However, be warned, when working out twice a day, there is a very thin line between overtraining and making gains. Here’s how to do it right:
How To Do It Right
Working out twice per day is a double-edged sword – if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you can easily shoot yourself in the foot instead of making progress. Do it right and you’ll quadruple your gains. Do it wrong and you’ll quadruple your chances of overtraining and burning out, which isn’t only counterproductive to your training goals but can also be dangerous to your health.
In order to avoid the pitfalls of overtraining, you need to focus on proper warm-ups, hydration, adequate nutrition, good quality sleep, and giving yourself enough rest between training sessions in the same day.
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 When Working out Twice a day
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.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help you get the most out of two workouts a day:
- Hit it heavy first thing in the morning
Do your heavier training in the morning, while leaving the higher-rep sessions for the evening. For example, do heavy sets of 6 reps in the morning workout and work with 15-20 reps in the evening one.
- Hit the same muscle twice
Yep, you’ve read it right. Train the same body part or muscle group in both sessions – hit it heavy in the first workout and hit it again with a lighter load and higher volume in the second one.
- Leave 6 hours between workouts
If you leave less time, say only two or three hours, your body won’t be able to properly recover in time and eventually, cumulative fatigue will hinder your progress. This is absolutely crucial – if you can’t abide, don’t do this at all.
- Strength or mass?
Different goals call for different measures. If your main concern is strength, you should do the same exercises for both sessions. However, if your goal is to maximize hypertrophy, you’ll achieve more of that by using different variations of the exercises for the second workout.
- Take regular breaks
To prevent overtraining, every ten days take a 5-day break during which you’ll continue with your standard (once-per-day) training. On those days, train for 40 minutes in the morning. After 5 days of normal training, do another ten days of twice-per-day training, followed by another 5-day “break”, and so on.
- Keep your nutrition optimal
You can train as smart as you want, but no amount of training can replace the benefits of adequate nutrition nor can it negate the effects of poor nutrition. If you want to grow, don’t skip your post-workout meals and fit in an extra protein shake on your training days.
Training twice per day can help you build mass and strength faster, break frustrating plateaus and allow for more intense workouts each time you grab the weights.
Working out twice a day can take quite a toll on your physical and mental state. It isn’t easy and you’ll have to push yourself harder, both physically and mentally, than ever before. When you start losing your appetite and dread the very thought of going to the gym, that’s a sure sign you are getting pretty close to becoming over-trained. This is the exact time you need to take a deload week. During this week off you will still need to eat the same amount of food you usually eat during the training week, and you’ll notice how your muscles grow before your very eyes.
Twice per day training used to be all the rage back in the 80s, but it seems to have fallen by the roadside in recent years.