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One Year Guide To Two-A-Day Training

Articles Strength and performance Training / 11 September, 2018 /

By Stephane Cazeault

For advanced lifters, training plateaus are likely to occur. The key to break stagnation in the weight room is to implement training methods that will require further adaptations. There is a multitude of training techniques and methodologies that can be used to advance your gains, but for the purpose of this article, the focus will be on how and when to implement two-a-day training with a structured plan of action.

You need a solid program in order to reach the highest level of strength and mass development and timely use of increased training volume and frequency can go a long way in keeping you on the right track.

The first time I ever did two-a-day training was at the age of 17 during the winter of 1995 before a football spring training where I needed to prove myself as a running back. I was so motivated to become the next Bo Jackson that I was willing to train all day. I remember buying an old school Cybergenics supplement kit that came with an AM and PM stack alongside a training booklet.

The program from the brochure called for double sessions based on giant sets. Needless to say, my friends and I decided to give it a go for a solid 16 weeks. The morning after our first day, one of my training partners was missing in class. During lunch break, we went to check on him at his dorm and we could still hear his alarm clock buzzing through the door. We got in and he was stuck in bed and couldn’t move since he was so sore.

Funny story is that at the end of winter, this guy put on so much weight that the coaches switched him from tight-end to offensive lineman. In retrospect, this approach was probably not the smartest for athletic development purposes, but the journey was a great learning experience. 

In this article, I want to demonstrate how two-a-day training can be implemented towards a yearly plan to benefit both hypertrophy and strength goals. I will present the different training splits used for each phase as well as proper timing of double sessions for the desired training outcome.

For the purpose of this article, I will propose an intermediate one-year plan where the information will be presented via different 12-week cycles to better reflect the yearly periodization model. If you want to optimize two-a-day training for long-term progress and help you break through strength and mass plateaus, keep reading!

The training year will involve four 12-week cycles comprised of four 3-week phases. Each cycle should be followed by a week of active recovery.

Here is an example of when and how two-a-day training should be implemented throughout a training year:  

Cycle 1

Accumulation 1
4 x 8-10

Intensification 1 
8,7,6,5,4

Accumulation 2
AM – 10,10,8,8,8
PM – Triset

Intensification 2
6 x 3-5

The Accumulation phases will assume this 3-week training split :

  • Week 1

Monday: Arms & Shoulders
Tuesday: Lower Body
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Chest & Back
Friday: Off
Saturday: Arms & Shoulders
Sunday: Lower Body

  • Week 2

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Chest & Back
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Arms & Shoulders
Friday: Lower Body
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Chest&Back

  • Week 3

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Arms & Shoulders
Wednesday: Lower Body
Thursday: Off
Friday: Chest & Back
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

The Intensification phases will use this split :

  • Weeks 1 to 3

Monday: Upper Body 1
Tuesday: Lower Body 1
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Upper Body 2
Friday: Lower Body 2
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Here is an example of the training sessions for Accumulation 2:
AM – 10,10,8,8,8

Arms & Shoulders

A1Seated DB Press 10,10,8,8,8 4010 90
A2EZ Bar Reverse Scott Curl 10,10,8,8,8 4010 90
B1Decline EZ Bar Triceps Extension 4 x 8-10 3110 75
B2Incline DB Curl 4 x 8-10 3011 75
C1Standing DB Lateral Raise 3 x 10-12 3010 60
C2Standing Low Pulley Rope Curl 3 x 10-12 3010 60

Lower Body 

ASquat 10,10,8,8,8 4010 180
B1DB Split Squat 4 x 8-10 3010 75
B2Standing Leg Curl 4 x 6-8 4010 75
C1BB Side Step-Up 3 x 10-12 1010 60
C2BB Romanian Deadlift 3 x 10-12 3010 60

Chest & Back

A1Incline Press 10,10,8,8,8 4010 90
A2Close-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 10,10,8,8,8 4010 90
B1Flat DB Press 4 x 8-10 3110 75
B2Medium-Grip Semi-Supinated Row 4 x 8-10 3011 75
C1Decline Low Pulley Fly 3 x 10-12 3011 60
C2Seated Row To Neck 3 x 10-12 3011 60

PM – Triset

Arms & Shoulders

A1Dip 4 x 8-10 3010 10
A2Flat DB Triceps Extension 4 x 10-12 3010 10
A3Mid Pulley French Press 4 x 12-15 3010 180
B1Standing EZ Bar Semi-Supinated Curl 4 x 8-10 3010 10
B2High Incline Neutral BD Curl 4 x 10-12 3010 10
B3Low Pulley Reverse Curl 4 x 12-15 3010 180

Lower Body 

A1Heel Elevated Squat 4 x 8-10 3010 15
A2BB Hack Squat 4 x 10-12 3010 15
A3Wide Stance Leg Press 4 x 15-20 2010 180
B1Lying Leg Curl 4 x 6-8 4010 10
B2Safety Bar Goodmorning 4 x 10-12 3010 10
B3Horizontal Back Extension 4 12-15 3010 180

Chest & Back

A1Incline DB Press 4 x 8-10 3010 10
A2Decline DB Press 4 x 10-12 3010 10
A3Flat DB Fly 4 x 12-15 3010 180
B1Close-Grip Neutral Row 4 x 8-10 3010 10
B2Lean-45°Medium-Grip Semi-Supinated Pulldown 4 x 10-12 3010 10
B3Wide-Grip Pronated Pulldown 4 x 12-15 3010 180

Cycle 2 

Accumulation 3
5 x 6-8

Intensification 3 
AM – 6,6,4,4,2,2
PM – Functional Isometric

Accumulation 4
9,7,5,5,7,9

Intensification 4
7 x 2-3

All phases in Cycle 2 will asume this training schedule:

  • Weeks 1 to 3

Monday: Upper Body 1
Tuesday: Lower Body 1
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Upper Body 2
Friday: Lower Body 2
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Here is an example of the training sessions for Intensification 3:
AM – 6,6,4,4,2,2

Upper Body 1

A1Incline Press 6,6,4,4,2,2 40X0 120
A2Medium-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 6,6,4,4,2,2 40X0 120
B1Decline Close-Grip Bench Press 4 x 6-8 3010 90
B2Close-Grip Semi-Supinated Row 4 x 6-8 3010 90

Lower Body 1

ASquat 6,6,4,4,2,2 40X0 240
B1DB Lunge 4 x 6-8 2010 60
B2Lying Leg Curl (2-1) 4 x 3-5 6010 60

Upper Body 2

A1Dip 6,6,4,4,2,2 40X0 120
A2Wide-Grip Pronated Pull-Up 6,6,4,4,2,2 40X0 120
B1Incline DB Press 4 x 6-8 3010 90
B2Medium-Grip Neutral Row 4 x 6-8 3010 90

Lower Body 2 

AFrontSquat 6,6,4,4,2,2 40X0 240
BAbove KneeRack Deadlift 5 x 6-8 2110 180

PM – Functional Isometric

Upper Body 1

A1Mid Range Functional Isometric Incline Press 5 x 2-4 1016 120
A2Close-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 5 x 4-6 40X0 120
B1Flat DB Triceps Extension 4 x 8-10 3010 60
B2Seated DB Zottman Curl 4 x 8-10 3010 60

Lower Body 1 

ASquat 5 x 4-6 40X0 240
B1DB Step-Up 4 x 8-10 1010 60
B2Wide Stance BB Goodmorning 4 x 8-10 3010 60

Upper Body 2

A1Dip 5 x 4-6 40X0 120
A2Medium-Grip Pronated Pull-Up 5 x 4-6 40X0 120
B1One-Arm Seated DB External Rotation 4 x 8-10 3010 30
B2One-Arm Prone DB Trap 3 Raise 4 x 8-10 3010 30

Lower Body 2

AFrontSquat 5 x 4-6 40X0 240
BFunctional Isometric Above KneeRack Deadlift 5 x 2-4 1016 180

Cycle 3 

Accumulation 5
AM – 12,8,8,8
PM – Post-Exhaustion

Intensification 5 
5 x 3-5

Accumulation 6
AM – 6,6,8,8,10
PM – Agonist Superset

Intensification 6
6 x 2-4

The Accumulation phases will assume this 3-week training split :

  • Week 1

Monday: Chest & Back
Tuesday: Lower Body
Wednesday: Arms & Shoulders
Thursday: Posterior Chain
Friday: Chest & Back
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

  • Week 2

Monday: Lower Body
Tuesday: Arms & Shoulders
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Chest & Back
Friday: Posterior Chain
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

  • Week 3

Monday: Arms & Shoulders
Tuesday: Lower Body
Wednesday: Chest & Back
Thursday: Posterior Chain
Friday: Arms & Shoulders
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

The Intensification phases will use this split :

  • Weeks 1 to 3

Monday: Upper Body 1
Tuesday: Lower Body 1
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Upper Body 2
Friday: Lower Body 2
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Here is an example of the training sessions for Accumulation 5:
AM – 12,8,8,8

Chest & Back

A1Bench Press 12,8,8,8 4010 90
A2Wide-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 12,8,8,8 4010 90
B1Decline DB Press 4 x 8-10 3110 75
B2Medium-Grip Pronated Row 4 x 8-10 3011 75
C1Low Incline DB Fly 3 x 12/10/8  2010 60
C2Straight-Arm Pulldown 3 x 12/10/8 2010 60

Lower Body 

ASquat 12,8,8,8 4010 180
B1DB Bulgarian Split Squat 4 x 8-10 3010 75
B2Standing Leg Curl 4 x 6-8 4010 75
C1Hack Squat Machine 3 x 12-15 3010 60
C2Reverse Hyperextension 3 x 12-15 3010 60

Arms & Shoulders

A1Seated DB Press 12,8,8,8 4010 90
A2EZ Bar Close-Grip Neutral Scott Curl 12,8,8,8 4010 90
B1Low Incline EZ Bar Triceps Extension To Chin 4 x 8-10 3110 75
B2Incline DB Offset Curl 4 x 8-10 3011 75
C1Triceps Pressdown 3 x 12/10/8 2010 60
C2Standing Low Pulley Supinated Curl 3 x 12/10/8 2010 60

Posterior Chain

ALying Leg Curl 4 x 6/4/4 2010 120
B1DB Lunge Step-Up Combo 4 x 8-10 2010 75
B2BB Goodmorning 4 x 8-10 3010 75
C1Seated Calf Raise 4 x 20-25 2010 60
C2Low Pulley Swiss Ball Crunch 4 x 10-12 3011 60

PM – Post-Exhaustion

Chest & Back

A1Incline Press 4 x 8-10 3010 10
A2Machine Fly 4 x 12-15 3010 120
B1Medium-Grip Pronated Pull-Up 4 x 8-10 3010 10
B2Decline DB Pullover 4 x 12-15 3010 120

Lower Body

A1Heel ElevatedSquat 5 x 8-10 3010 15
A2Leg Extension 5 x 15-20 2010 180

Arms & Shoulders

A1Dip 4 x 8-10 3010 10
A2EZ Bar French Press 4 x 12-15 3010 90
B1Close-Grip Semi-Supinated Chin-Up 4 x 8-10 3010 10
B2High Incline DB Curl 4 x 12-15 3010 90
C1Seated Arnold DB Press 4 x 8-10 3010 10
C2Seated DB Lateral Raise 4 x 12-15 3010 90

Posterior Chain

A1Glute Ham Raise 5 x 6-8 4010 15
A2Snatch-Grip Romanian Deadlift 5 x 12-15 3010 180

Here is an example of the training sessions for Accumulation 6:
AM – 6,6,8,8,10

Chest & Back

A1Decline Bench Press 6,6,8,8,10 4010 90
A2Medium-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 5 x 6-8 4010 90
B1Incline DB Press 4 x 8-10 3110 75
B2Wide-Grip Semi-Supinated Row 4 x 8-10 3011 75
C1Flat DB Fly 3 x 10-12  3010 60
C2Lean-45°Close-Grip Semi-Pronated Pulldown 3 x 10-12 3010 60

Lower Body

ASquat 6,6,8,8,10 4010 180
B1BB Split Squat 4 x 8-10 3110 75
B2Kneeling Leg Curl 4 x 6-8 4010 75
C1Narrow Stance Leg Press 3 x 10-12 3010 60
C2Seated Goodmorning 3 x 10-12 3110 60

Arms & Shoulders

A1Seated Behind Neck Press 6,6,8,8,10 4010 90
A2Standing Thick Medium-Grip Neutral Curl 6,6,8,8,10 4010 90
B1Flat EZ Bar Triceps Extension 4 x 8-10 3010 75
B2EZ Bar Spider Curl 4 x 8-10 3010 75
C1Triceps Pressdown 3 x 10-12 3010 60
C2Incline DB Zottman Curl 3 x 10-12 3010 60

Posterior Chain

ASeated Leg Curl 4 x 4-6 4110 120
B1BB Walking Lunge 4 x 8-10 2010 75
B2BB Romanian Deadlift 4 x 8-10 3010 75
C1Seated Calf Raise 4 x 12-15 2210 60
C2Kneeling High Pulley Crunch 4 x 10-12 3010 60

PM – Agonist Superset

Chest & Back

A1Incline Press 5 x 6-8 4010 10
A2Flat DB Press 5 x 6-8 4010 150
B1BB Bent-Over Row 5 x 6-8 3011 10
B2Medium-Grip Neutral Row 5 x 6-8 3011 150

Lower Body

A1Front Squat 5 x 4-6 5010 15
A2Quad Squat 5 x 6-8 4010 180

Arms & Shoulders

A1Dip 5 x 6-8 4010 10
A2Decline Close-Grip Bench Press 5 x 6-8 4010 150
B1Standing EZ Bar Semi-Pronated Curl 5 x 6-8 4010 10
B2Seated DB Curl 5 x 6-8 4010 150

Posterior Chain

A1Glute Ham Raise 5 x 6-8 4010 15
A2BB Horizontal Back Extension 5 x 6-8 3011 180 

Cycle 4

Accumulation 7
5 x 5-7

Intensification 7 
AM – 5,5,3,3,2,2
PM – Extended Eccentric

Accumulation 8
6 x 4-6

Intensification 8
AM – 5,3,1,5,3,1
PM – 4 x 3-5

All phases in Cycle 4 will asume this training schedule:

  • Weeks 1 to 3

Monday: Upper Body 1
Tuesday: Lower Body 1
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Upper Body 2
Friday: Lower Body 2
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Here is an example of the training sessions for Intensification 7:
AM – 5,5,3,3,2,2

Upper Body 1

A1Overhead Press 5,5,3,3,2,2 40X0 120
A2Close-Grip Semi-Supinated Chin-Up 5,5,3,3,2,2 40X0 120
B1Flat DB Press 4 x 6-8 3010 90
B2Medium-Grip Neutral Row 4 x 6-8 3010 90

Lower Body 1 

ASquat 5,5,3,3,2,2 40X0 240
BTop Range Inertia Squat 5 x 6-8 22X0 180

Upper Body 2

A1Bench Press 5,5,3,3,2,2 40X0 120
A2Medium-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 5,5,3,3,2,2 40X0 120
B1Seated DB Press 4 x 6-8 3010 90
B2Wide-Grip Semi-Pronated Row 4 x 6-8 3010 90

Lower Body 2

ADeadlift 5,5,3,3,2,2 41X0 240
B1 BB Drop Lunge 4 x 6-8 2010 60
B2Standing Leg Curl 4 x 4-6 4010 60

PM – Extended Eccentric

Upper Body 1

A1Extended Eccentric Overhead Press 5 x 2-4 80X0 120
A2Medium-Grip Semi-Supinated Chin-Up 5 x 3-5 40X0 120
B1Flat DB Triceps Extension 4 x 8-10 3010 60
B2Seated Thick DB Neutral Curl 4 x 8-10 3010 60

Lower Body 1

ASquat 5 x 3-5 40X0 240
B1BB Step-Up 4 x 8-10 1010 60
B2Safety Bar Goodmorning 4 x 8-10 3010 60

Upper Body 2

A1Bench Press 5 x 3-5 40X0 120
A2Wide-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 5 x 3-5 40X0 120
B1One-Arm Standing DB External Rotation 4 x 8-10 3010 30
B2One-Arm Bent-Over DB Trap 3 Raise 4 x 8-10 3010 30

Lower Body 2

AExtended Eccentric Deadlift 5 x 2-4 81X0 240
B1One-Leg Standing DB Calf Raise 4 x 8-10 2111 45
B2Incline Garhammer Raise 4 x 12-15 3010 45

Here is an example of the training sessions for Intensification 8:
AM – 5,3,1,5,3,1

Upper Body 1

A1Overhead Press 5,3,1,5,3,1 40X0 120
A2Medium-Grip Semi-Supinated Chin-Up 5,3,1,5,3,1 40X0 120
B1Flat DB Press 3 x 4-6 3010 90
B2Wide-Grip Neutral Row 3 x 4-6 3010 90

Lower Body 1

ASquat 5,3,1,5,3,1 40X0 240
BSafety Bar Quad Squat 4 x 4-6 4010 180

Upper Body 2

A1Bench Press 5,3,1,5,3,1 40X0 120
A2Close-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 5,3,1,5,3,1 40X0 120
B1Seated DB Press 3 x 4-6 3010 90
B2Medium-Grip Semi-Pronated Row 3 x 4-6 3010 90

Lower Body 2

ADeadlift 5,3,1,5,3,1 41X0 240
B1 BB Alternated Lunge 3 x 4-6 2010 90
B2 Glute Ham Raise 3 x 4-6 3010 90

PM – 4 x 3-5

Upper Body 1

A1Overhead Press 4 x 3-5 40X0 120
A2Close-Grip Semi-Supinated Chin-Up 4 x 3-5 40X0 120
B1Flat EZ Bar Triceps Extension 3 x 6-8 3010 60
B2Standing EZ Bar Semi-Supinated Curl 3 x 6-8 3010 60

Lower Body 1 

ASquat 4 x 3-5 40X0 240
B1Russian Step-Up 3 x 6-8 1010 60
B2Cambered Bar Goodmorning 3 x 6-8 3010 60

Upper Body 2

A1Bench Press 4 x 3-5 40X0 120
A2Medium-Grip Neutral Chin-Up 4 x 3-5 40X0 120
B1DB Cuban Press 3 x 6-8 3010 60
B2Prone DB Trap 3 Raise 3 x 6-8 3010 60

Lower Body 2

ADeadlift 4 x 3-5 41X0 240
B1Standing Calf Raise 3 x 6-8 2210 60
B2Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 10-12 4010 60

To better understand the reasoning behing this layout, it’s important to understand that the cycles are undulating from blocks focused on hypertrophy with blocks focused on strength. For Cycle 1 and 3, one of the important factors affecting hypertrophy is volume, I like to use split routines during the accumulation phases to allow more volume of work to be done per body part.

Furthermore, the double sessions would be performed during the accumulation phases where the AM sessions present basic hypertrophy rep schemes and the PM workouts use classic bodybuilding methods. This double session model is a great way to increase overall training volume. The key factor is to progressively increase the exposure to two-a-day training, hence why the first two cycles have one exposure while the last two have double exposures.

Cycle 2 and 4 are more focused on strength and the main driver is intensity and load. For this reason, the double sessions are performed during the intensifications in order to subject the trainee to heavier loads. During the AM sessions, the trainee will rehearse the primary lifts at high intensities, while the PM workouts will focus on special methods (isometric and eccentric) to push further strength adaptations.

As the programs demonstrate, you want to use special methods only on pre-determined key lifts as doing these on every compound exercise would be detrimental on a recovery perspective. Notice that Intensification 8, the last phase of the year, presents a lower volume of work compared to the other two-a-day programs and does not involve any special methods. The purpose here is to simplify the workout to allow for better expression of strength towards the end of the phase.

Obviously, there are many ways to incorporate two-a-day training to your overall plan, but I believe that using a progressive approach while optimizing timing is the best way to reach the best outcome without the negative setbacks. Having a focused training block will facilitate the implementation of double sessions by knowing which adaptation is required for the training goal.

The timing of two-a-days and the special methods used are a direct reflection of what you are trying to accomplish with training. I hope this one-year overview allowed you to better understand how to manipulate your program to introduce double sessions in the safest and most effective way to long-term success.

-SC

www.kilostrengthsociety.com

Stéphane has spent the last 24 years perfecting his work. He has a strong formal academic foundation, earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the University of Montreal. Stéphane recently published his first book, 66 Strategies to Program Design.

In his career Stéphane has personally trained professional athletes in football (NFL), baseball (MLB), and hockey (NHL).

Stéphane’s passion is program design. His program design is carefully structured with every possible component taken into consideration to ensure the trainee reaches and exceeds their goals, making his work a combination of both science and art.

Written by Stephane Cazeault