Twice A Week Workout Routine

Suggest hitting the weight room two days a week to the average trainer and right away you’ll either get strange looks or arguments that its not enough training time to make any real progress towards added size and strength. But there are times that a two day a week gym routine can be the best thing for you. Lets face it, life constantly gets in the way, and stuff happens.

Most of this year is one of those years for me. Earlier in the year, my mother passed away and there has been chaos in my personal life. The weekdays were unrealistically busy for me, and only really had one day a week and the weekends. I had to think of how to get the most out of the least. What I came up with is a split that saw me hitting my upper body on mid-week and the lower on the weekend. I kept up my cardio with some short, intense daily rope jumping sessions at home, lasting about 15 minutes a piece.

Training Two Days a Week

There are many types of trainers out there that might be suited to this model of training on a long term basis: older trainers, people recovering from chronic overtraining or adrenal fatigue, or even those pursuing other athletic endeavors. Which is not to say that training two days a week is somehow “maintenance”, as the vast majority of guys I’ve given this routine to have made steady progress and have had a lot of extra time to devote to other things, like conditioning, MMA/studying a martial art, playing your sport, etc.

Compromises

Since you only have these two sessions, its common sense that we can’t make them into 2-3 hour long workouts with endless exercises. Compounds are the focus, with just a touch of isolation movements. This is a good time to focus on the basics as well. Work on your technique.

Parameters

Since we are seriously low on week-to-week frequency, guess what we need to crank up? Volume. So, a lot of sets and reps of the biggest bang-for-buck movements is the way to go here. What this means is that its a good fit for us to work in functional hypertrophy/hypertrophy ranges. What works well for the major compounds like bench, squat, deadlift and overhead press, is after 2-3 warmup sets is to hit both ranges:

3 sets of 5 reps with 80-85% of 10RM
3 sets of 10 with 50-60% of your 1RM.

So, 6 working sets in total for those power movements.

For the isolation stuff like curls, triceps extensions, calf raises, etc, use a higher rep range throughout for all sets, increasing the resistance with each set. Try to aim for 3-4 sets each exercise. Example:

10 reps with 50% of 10RM
10 reps with 70% of 10RM
10 reps with 10RM
10 reps with 50% of 10RM

2 Day a Week Routine

What follows is what I’ve been doing for this year. I’ve made good progress at this and you will easily get enough stimulus for growth and strength increases with the volume as laid out.
Upper – Wednesday

  • Dumbbell or Barbell Bench Press
  • Seated Dumbbell Press or Overhead Press
  • Kroc Rows or Supported Rows
  • Seated Dumbbell Curls
  • E-Z Bar Tricep Extensions

Lower- Saturday

  • Squat or Front Squat (maybe alternate them every few months)
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Lunges or Split Squat
  • Calf Raises
  • Hanging Leg Raises or “Captain’s Chair” Leg Raises

Feeling Banged Up?

There are times when you have issues from head to toe from long periods of pushing personal bests. One good strategy to give your joints a break is to mix it up with dumbbells and machines.

Upper – Wednesday

  • Hammer Strength Iso-Lateral Chest Press or Flat Dumbbell Press
  • Hammer Strength Iso-Lateral Shoulder Press or Seated Dumbbell Press
  • Chest Supported Rows or T-Bar Rows
  • Hammer Strength Seated Dips or Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press
  • Hammer Strength Preacher Curls or Seated Dumbbell Curls

Lower – Saturday

  • Leg Press
  • Hammer Strength V-Squat
  • Dumbbell Step-ups
  • Leg Extensions
  • Calf Raises

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