Ahh two a days.
Thinking about two a days takes me back to high school and college football in the August sun trying like to find the energy to push through one more tackling drill. After college I honestly never thought that I’d need to do two a days again, or even remotely WANT to do two a days.
Sometimes though you just want to train so much that you physically can’t fit what you need/want to do in to an hour long session.
This is where two a days comes into play.
While this isn’t sustainable for the long term, it is very viable for a short 4-6 week cycle. Whether you’re training for a body building show and need to fit in all your body parts, you’re training for a sport and you need to fit an incredible amount of field time into an always too short pre-season or if you have the time and desire to go absolutely balls to the wall with your training for awhile…two a days can be very, VERY beneficial.
Since they are best done in short spurts, it should come as no surprise that you can’t just jump into doing two full intensity sessions each day for 5 days a week. It’s not going to be effective and frankly it’s just not that smart. You still need recovery in order to make any progress. In addition, when you’re worn out and exhausted from busting your ass in the gym or on the field twice a day it’s easier to justify bad decisions. You still need to be in the right mindset to resist eating a full box of lucky charms when you get home.
Tips and Tricks for Two a Days
Keep the cycle short
I already alluded to this above, but you really can’t expect to use two a days for more than 4…maybe 6 weeks and still be able to get the right amount of intensity for each training session. Two a days a better kept to short, intense cycles to quickly get you back to base line or change up the routine a little bit.
Separate each session by 6-8 hours if possible
It wouldn’t really be a two a day of training session #1 went from 7-8 and training session #2 went from 8-9. So don’t try to pull any of those shenanigans. Ideally you would be able to have 8 hours in between each session. So if your first was from 6am-7am your second wouldn’t start until at least 3pm. I’ve had success with as little as 6 hours in between. Any less than that and it starts to get iffy.
Supplement with BCAAs in between
Not only do I think BCAAs are great because I’ve gotten into Intermittent Fasting lately, but also because it’s easier to use them post session #1 and not feel sluggish and full when it’s time for session #2. The whole point of resistance training is to put on muscle mass and BCAAs have been shown to spare muscle being used for energy after intense sessions. Plus they’re cheap so why the hell not?
Train Opposite intensities
Morning yoga, afternoon sprints. Morning max deadlift, afternoon foam roll/mobility. Morning 400m repeats with incomplete rest, afternoon form drills. By training opposite intensities for each session it’s less likely to burn out or get run down. Also let’s face it, if you plan on doing max deadlift in the morning and 400m repeats in the afternoon it’s very unlikely you’ll even get to session #2. If you do we can assume that you won’t be able to complete it worthwhile intensity.
Grease the Groove
Sometimes you might not even need to do two a days. If you’re goal is to increase the number of pull-ups you can do there really is no reason to throw in a dedicated session each day to pull-ups, bent over rows, lat pull-downs and back extension. You’re better off doing pull-ups every chance you get for a few reps spread through out the day. Not only is this fantastic for adding volume to your training plan but it is also great for getting you proficient in the movement pattern. It really is simple…just get a pull-up bar for your door and stick it in the door leading to your office, kitchen, bathroom or anywhere you walk in and out of a lot on a given day. Now every time you want to walk through that door you can’t pass until you do a few reps of the exercise. Throw in exercise breaks instead of smoke breaks and you have even more opportunities to grease the groove. You can do this with KB swings, KB snatches, push-ups, squats and pretty much every other body weight exercise.
What are your thoughts on two a days?