James Ruckert is an Online and Gym Personal Trainer/ Calisthenics and Movement Coach based in London.
At the time of writing this, for the first time in our lives, time isn’t a scarce commodity. Millions of people are working from home and sadly, millions more aren’t working at all. Even those still working have gained a nice surplus of free time thanks to not having to commute to and from work each day, also.
A trip to any local recreational space will show you just how much of a thriving running community Britain has now! People are using running as a cure for boredom or just to keep themselves sane – or both.
As a matter of fact, I’m intrigued to see if the current situation keeps the running trend going when life as we knew it, returns. Will Britain become a nation of feared middle to long distance runners, or will we slip back to our traditionally poor exercise statistics as a nation?
Digressing, some people have resorted to running because they feel without gym access and their usual gym routine, it’s virtually fruitless to even try. If that’s you, read this: 5 MUSTS For MAXIMUM Gains At Home! – this covers a multitude of ways to keep progress going in environments where equipment could be very minimal.
Conversely, there are those who are still going at it as hard as they were and enjoying the challenge of improvising as best they can, myself being one of them. And with more time than ever before available to miscellaneous tasks, why wouldn’t you work just as hard?! In fact, why wouldn’t you even try to address weaknesses and things you’d always wanted to work on or try?
It’s for this reason I think twice a day training has never been more applicable to the general person than now. You get 2 bites at the cherry – that’s 2 chances to clear and reset the mind, 2 opportunities to spark more progress and 2 chances to productively use your time, instead of watching Netflix reruns.
People will read the above and instantly think, ‘F… that, 2 lots of my normal session each day?! The singular session is hard enough!’
So hear me out. Let me quickly give you a primer as to my sensible definition of twice a day training and its application. The traditional method is often used by athletes and bodybuilders and was a concept made popular by the late Charles Poliquin, as a great method to increase results, bust plateaus and get more work done in a given time frame. Some of Poliquin’s rules were the sessions weren’t long – both around 40 minutes each – and they differed in emphasis. The am/first session was more neurally/strength focused, and the pm/second session was more hypertophy/volume focused. There was also 4-6 hours between the sessions to allow a nice recovery window, where less than that wouldn’t be sufficient and much long would just be too long.
Charles wouldn’t use this approach to rank beginners, he advised having some decent training experience before using this approach. And before that rules you out as you ‘don’t want to kill yourself’, I want to show you how I’ve been using this approach to great effect………..
I’ve been splitting my usual sessions in half or as close to as I can. Most sessions of mine are between 15 and 20 sets across 4-5 exercises. I’ll break up the sessions by 4-6 hours as advised and it should go without saying, the latter exercises are now far stronger and fresher than they ever could have been, had I done them all in one bigger session.
On a movement like a weighted ring dip I can see a 15 kg increase by separating them with the 4-6 hour window! That’s huge over time. More load equals more strength gain, more progressive overload and more results, fundamentally.
There’s also time for far more mobility and prehab work with this setup, as you’re just mentally fresher and it doesn’t feel as time robbing as it does when you try to do it on the back of an already long session. Which makes it perfect for any skill work you want to do, whether that might be handstand training (in the case of a calisthenics orientated athlete such as myself) or you have advanced goals like splits and the like you’d love to get on the side……..
And of course this is subject to time but if you can go out on 2-3 runs/long walks each day, there’s no reason you can’t divide your workouts up to give the mind something to look forward to! Sometimes you might not be able to, other times you will. The point of this is using the unusual circumstances to get creative, think outside the box and excel in areas you still have control over. Exercise and training sure is one!
Try this approach out and see what you think of it. I can almost guarantee you’ll eradicate the performance drop off commonly seen in traditional 15+ set sessions.
- Split your regular routine into 2 mini sessions
- Try and leave 4-6 hours between the 2 sessions
- If you can, split the sessions as close to perfectly 50/50 as possible
- The main benefit is the movements that would be later in the routine are now tackled with more energy and focus than they would otherwise have been.
View this post on Instagram
‘Handstand Flex Presses’ – my current favourite drill for the handstand.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ A great way to improve muscular awareness/activation as you consciously alternate between the anterior delts & the traps.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Been working hard on the straddle position as that wasn’t one I was too used to, and struggled with the right hip positioning and overall muscle activation. Slowly though, we’re getting it ?⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Also been working on cleaning up my entries to handstand, too. With the focus being on getting ‘locked in’ sooner and preserving energy for the hold itself!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Each session I’ll do 5 sets of 3-10 reps of these in straddle & straight body positions. I’ll also vary between the floor & the parallettes. Credit to my man @beautiful_strength_ for introducing me to these ? looking forward to training with you again soon, brother! ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Swipe left for some pancake & ACTIVE side split work. Haven’t worked properly on mobility since 2019 as strength and work capacity were the main focus, but I’ve missed it in a sick way. With the days getting longer and warmer, it only seems natural to be outside getting mobile and improving my movement patterns.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Side splits, you eluded me in 2019. 2020 will be the year I get you ?⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #calisthenics #handbalancing #handstand #parallettes #straddle #pancake #sidesplits #compression #handstandtraining #GST #activemobility #straddlehandstand #gymnasticsstrength #essex #essexpt #essexcalisthenics #outdoorfitness #calisthenicsmotivation #adductors #2020goals #parktraining #bodyweighttraining #theworldisyourgym⠀ ⠀ ⠀
I’ve been involved in fitness for a number of years. I was an overweight teen until my early 20’s when I finally had enough of looking bad and feeling bad…