August 27, 2014
Two a Day Training in the Weight Room Part 1
Ok, this article (which will assuredly be two parts) came out of a question on my FB group regarding two-a-day training for natural lifters. His question, more or less was if it was productive or counterproductive to train twice daily (assuming one has the time) and while the answer is always that it depends the fact is that two-a-day training has a long history and can be very effective if used well.
I should mention that the idea of bodybuilders training twice daily (and in this specific context, training the SAME muscle group twice daily) is one that I first saw discussed by Charles Poliquin (before he lost his mind completely) and I would feel bad for not giving him at least a shout out. It’s a concept that has long been used by performance athletes but I’m not sure I would have considered it for bodybuilding purposes without his mention of the idea.
An Overview of Two-A-Day Training
It’s worth mentioning that performance athletes have been doing two-a-day training for absolutely forever. I can’t begin to tell you when this idea first developed but I imagine it was during the 60′s or so as both world interest in sport (and drug use) started to come to the forefront.
Runners, years ago, found that adding a short morning run (i.e. 30 minutes of endurance work) in the morning on top of their later daily run was a way to reach the next level of performance. It allowed them to bump up the volume of training while keeping individual workouts from going too long and, in recent years, the Kenyans and other East Africans have taken this further with 3 or even 4 runs per day. A typical pattern would be an easy aerobic run in the morning, frequently done fasted, with a higher-quality workout in the afternoon and a third run in the evening.
High-level swimmers have long done two a day training with both a morning (often early morning before school) and afternoon workout. Endurance cycling by and large hasn’t followed this pattern but this is likely due to the general duration of bike rides: when a normal workout is already 4-6 hours, it’s hard to fit in a second workout. The culture and nature of the sport simply hasn’t lent itself to that type of training.