Training Twice a Week

Tuesday topic: Over the last few weeks I have been meeting with members 1-1 to work on goal-setting and the subject of training twice a week has come up on multiple occasions–usually from a member wondering if 2x/wk is enough training.
My answer is absolutely yes, with one grain of salt: this won’t work to ESTABLISH a routine if you are newer here. You need 3+ times a week over your first year or two to get traction in your routine, establish the habits of lifting and conditioning hard, and to kind of give yourself an idea of where your limits are and how you recover from the work we do in here.
But for folks with a bunch of experience, or for our masters athletes, training twice a week can be just exactly what the doctor ordered. You have additional time for recovery, you are bound by appointments to stick to the big stuff and make the most of your time, and a wonderful simplicity seems to emerge. Here’s a sample idea for training 2x/wk and making use of open gym time to do so:
Warmup: Do something you’ll do and either enjoy or need.  If it’s nice out and you like to run, jog a 400 and do a couple of farmer’s carries outside.  If it’s crappy out and your knees have been wonky, hit the mats and roll out your IT bands after a minute on the bike.

Main lift
: alternate between your favorite lower body (squat or deadlift; trap bar deadlift is a PERFECT choice here) and favorite upper body (press, push press, bench) lift. Start with 50-60% of your actual max or 60-70% of your training max and do 5 sets of 5 at that weight after a few warmup sets.  If you come in on Tuesdays and Saturdays, do your lower body day on Tues and your upper body on Saturday.
Assistance Work: Most of us need assistance or supplementary work in four distinct areas: upper back strength (postural/isometric), hamstrings, shoulder mobility/prehab/rehab, and hips & glutes. So…Do your upper back and shoulder work on your lower body day.  35 reps in each category is a great start.  For upper back: ring rows, bb or db rows, bat wings, reapers, band pullaparts.  For shoulder mobility/prehab: face pulls, Blackburn IYTs, PVC Cuban presses, front plate raises (tuck abs as you do this).  GO LIGHT here on any load-bearing movement…it’s assistance work meant to build muscles while stimulating and repairing the areas you’re working.Do your hamstring and hips/glute work on your upper body day.  50 reps in each category is a great start.  For hamstrings: RDLs, Goodmornings, KB Goodmornings or goat bag swings.  For hips/glutes: Bulgarian split squats (hip flexor of back leg), glute bridges w.slingshot around knees, fire hydrants, banded side shuffles.

Conditioning: You can play it close to the vest and simply do two of the conditioners from our week’s worth of training, or you can go off-script and pick out a couple of your own.  We’re working on putting together a binder with conditioners organized by various time domains; you will generally want to stick to the 5-15 minute domains if you are training in this manner because you’ll have already been moving around at a pretty good clip warming up and getting all your assistance work in.  For those who love Olympic lifting, this might be a good place to work in some of our conditioners with cleans and snatches–you will want to watch the weight as you may be fatigued by the change in training at first, but you’ll soon adapt to this.

For your main lifts, stay at the same weight for 3-4 weeks and just CRUSH the 5x5s.  Take a backoff week at 10% lighter for 3×5; then add 2-5 lbs to the weight you started with and repeat the process.  Done with attention to detail and consistency, this should result in a LOT of good training over a very long stretch.

Notes: two alternate approaches to training 2x/wk, both outstanding:

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