Last week I spoke of my first experience with twice a day arm training, and it left me puzzled. ‘’Should I go the whole hog and try it with all of my body parts?’’ was the question on my lips over the weekend. Yes is what I decided because I am all for trying new things to see if something better exists for my personal progress. Back in the day legends like Arnold, Columbo and the Mentzer didn’t do much cardio – they just trained with very high volume, normally twice a day. Yet they possessed arguably the most aesthetic physiques in the history of the sport and hobby we all love, ‘’bodybuilding’’ or for those who get queasy around that label, maximal body composition training.
Whilst I am speaking from a relatively brief experience of this particular form of exercise, I would like to kid myself in thinking the time I have spent ‘’studying’’ it has at least given me an insight into its potential benefits.
Within the central nervous system are neurotransmitters which signal to our motor units that they need to recruit muscle fibres. This is an extremely over simplified explanation, but it will serve its purpose for this example. In order to maximise muscle growth, especially for those of us who have spent a few years building our physique already we need to excite our high threshold motor units. These are the ones which recruit up to 10 times the level of muscle fibres during a workout, leading to better overall muscle stimulation.
By training in the morning, using relatively heavy weight for a repetition range of 4-6 you will help wake these high threshold motor units up!! Look at the first workout as ‘’enticing’’ the muscles into a state of mind to GROW, we don’t want to completely spanner the muscle fibres in the first workout with complete failure sets and forced reps for example.
The second workout, at least 6 hours apart from the first is the ying to the first workouts yang. The idea here is ‘’maximum tension’’ where you limit rest periods to 30-45 seconds, use giant sets, drop sets and other training tools which mean for the majority of the time spent in the gym your target muscles are working.
In theory it sounds good, and I for one am excited to see if the theory works out to be as productive in practise!
Right now I am doing VERY limited amounts of cardio because I am doing twice the volume of resistance training to what my body is used to, so do I really need to do much cardio? NO! I tend to do it on my days off mainly.
Weight training is inevitably the best way to burn body fat, the calorie expenditure it is able to generate in comparison to almost any other form of exercise in the same given period of time is incomparable in my opinion. However, it gets better because post-training you experience something known as ‘’post-exercise oxygen deficit’’ which means that for over 24 hours the body will burn much more calorie as a result.
Now consider this, you are doing this twice a day! Surely, the fat should fall off? We shall see, but from history we know that the old pros seemed to do ‘’OK’’ with it.
Getting It Right
This isn’t simply a case of saying ‘’OK then, I will just repeat my chest workouts twice every Monday, my back workouts twice every Tuesday . . . .’’ you get the picture. Like I stated in the first paragraph it is essential that you apply the style of training correctly. More than that, it is also essential that you acknowledge that this is part of a training cycle. Therefore there must be ‘’deload’’ weeks where you go back to single day training for a week to help ensure the muscles recover properly, and that your neurotransmitters are replenished successfully. Remember this is all about enticing maximum high threshold motor unit stimulation, battering your CNS will put a stop to this pretty quickly.
Recovery is also extremely important, and I would encourage you to up your protein intake to 2g per pound of body weight and have at least 75g of vitargo after BOTH workouts.
As many of you know, I have just finished my first week in my 8 week transformation so I am able to give you ‘’real life’’ updates on my progress following this style of training. Let’s see if I look like Arnold in 8 weeks shall we!!?
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