A lot has been written about the idea of training twice a day, and the practice has both scientific as well as historical justification. Despite this, many people who attempt two-a-days tend to quickly burn out and dismiss the idea altogether.
To better understand the applicability of this method to your own situation, it’s helpful to first delineate between the physiological versus the practical realities of two-a-days.
First, the physiology: Noted strength training authority Vladimir Zatsiorsky has observed that, in order to get strong, you should life “as heavy as possible, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as possible.” This statement can certainly be used to justify the idea of two-a-days. After all, if forced to choose between a single session lasting 90 minutes, or two daily sessions lasting 45 minutes each, it’s clear that you’ll be in a fresher state using the latter method…at least from a physiological point of view.
Now, the practicality: Unfortunately, life can sometimes get in the way of the best-laid plans. Most people obviously work for a living, they have stresses and responsibilities, and in general, “stuff” tends to get in the way. And certainly, for some people, two-a-days are not a practical option. However, by employing a few simple guidelines, the two-a-day method can become a useful training method.
Here then, are my guidelines for successful two-a-day training:

  • Instead of dividing your current workouts into two equal halves performed at different times of the day, think about having a “main” workout and then a second, shorter, second workout.
  • Ideally, the main workout will involve “core” lifts that stress the nervous system and large amounts of muscle. In other words, maximum strength and/or speed-strength parameters applied to full-body compound lifts.

The second workout should ideally involve less stressful loading parameters applied to “smaller” exercises that don’t require extensive warm-ups.

  • Further, if possible, the second workout should be such that it can be performed with little to no equipment, specialized facilities, or equipment. I like some of the strongman-inspired events for this, such as vehicle-pushing, sled-dragging, or carrying heavy objects. Personally, I like to walk my dog while wearing an X-Vest and listening to audio-books on my iPod.

The overriding idea is that the second workout should be short, uncomplicated, relatively less stressful than the main workout performed earlier that day. Also remember that you don’t need two-a-days to be the mainstay of your training schedule- if you work a normal 40-hour week for example, you might train once a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then a two-a-day on Saturday, when you’re not as busy.
I’m always interested in hearing your questions, suggestions, and experiences, so don’t be a stranger- let’s have your comments!

  1. David Tutten 15 years ago

    Hi Charles,
    I follow a similar type approach and have seen good gains, two post workout windows ain’t no bad thing either.
    One body part AM, compound , hard and heavy, one smaller bodypart evening, less balls to the wall.
    Seems to be working fine, 2 days on max for me though personally, 3 days on would be pushing it.

  2. Hamish 15 years ago

    I have just started training twice a day, 3 days per week, but am doing the aerobics first thing when I wake up (run, row, cycle) and weights in eve. Only 30 mins in morning and about 1hr in eve; really pleased with initial results.
    If I have a late night, or something has to be reschedulled it’s a lot easier to alter training to suit.

  3. Author
    Charles Staley 15 years ago

    Good work Hamish!

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