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Splitting Strength workout into 2 in a day

  • 19-01-2022 1:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭

    Anyone know if it's possible to do main lift in morning eg squat and then in afternoon(say, 6 hours later) , do accessory lifts eg single leg stuff. Will be back in office and won't have time for full workout in morning..I'm wrecked by afternoon so wouldn't have energy for the heavy lifts then . If this is an option, then it would work really well for me. Been lifting consistently for 4 years and at this stage, happy enough with maintaining my strength and muscle


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 2,901 Mod ✭✭✭✭Black Sheep

    The issue that usually comes up is recovery. Pro athletes or college students can train in the AM, rest, and train again in the PM. But the afternoon nap, the lack of outside stresses related to work etc are big enablers of being able to train this way.

    The issue for the rest of us is related to fatigue and it generally it would be suggested that if you are training hard then you want to consolidate your workout rather than spread it out in order to allow recovery and adaptation to take its course unimpeded. Train hard and then have down time for the body.

    I don't know exactly how much time you have, but have you considered whether if you were to use techniques like rest/pause, super sets or drop sets for the accessories is it possible you could shave enough time off do everything in the morning?

    But really, if you're a fairly casual lifter, if this is a schedule that works for you then have at it and review in several weeks.

    Post edited by Black Sheep on

  • Registered Users Posts: 578 ✭✭✭foxsake

    its possible but long term I would agree recovery (esp around CNS ) wouldn't be great at all esp if you were hitting the same body part in the same day. if you could achieve this , you may not be hitting the morning squat with the full power you could/should.

    Assuming you are sleeping and eating sufficiently , it may be better to examine why you are wrecked in the afternoon.

    Also you could consider training in the evening anyway (wrecked or not - take a pre workout) and see if your energy cycle adapts .

    I know it's the opposite switch but over 10 years ago I moved to training at 6am - 5.30 rise - after a previous lifetime (over 20years) of evening training - and it was hell for 3 weeks . soon it became natural .

  • Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭Bellie1

    I have to cycle to and from work( an hour) and walk dogs before work so physically wrecked by afternoons. My partner is my spotter for bench and squats and he can only spot me before work . So mornings are really only option for the main ifts By the time I load the weights into sitting room etc it will take an hour for the main lift( including warmup). I don't think I could face into doing accessories on top of that- It wouldn't be a good start to the day ! So as black sheep says, I might just try it for a few weeks and see how get on . I was reading that if take a break every few weeks and just do the one workout then helps recovery. Also Weekends I'll do in one session ( full lower on the Sat and full upper on the Sun)so really just looking at 2 days midweek when will be splitting into morning and evening.

  • Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭Bellie1

    I just thought, for upper body, maybe do bench in am and then do accessory shoulder work and pull ups/rows in afternoon so not really hitting the same muscles? The leg day could be tough alright but will be just one day of this with a split session..

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 2,901 Mod ✭✭✭✭Black Sheep

    Well, you could try it and see.

    If you can train "normally" at the weekends then if it were me I would make them the main training days and do an upper day and a lower day and throw the kitchen sink at them.

    Your set up for during the week sounds like an exercise in frustration, you're carrying weights in to your training location each time, and presumably then removing them?

    I don't know how much volume you're doing, but you could move towards a high intensity, low volume approach. I used to spend 1.5 hours on a session, but now I am often in and done in 45 minutes to an hour. I'm often doing just one work set or cluster on a lift, whereas in the past I would never have done less than 3-5 sets, it was time consuming.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭Bellie1

    Have been following a powerlifting program with volume blocks etc. I guess . It was great being able to spend so much time working out at home, I guess I'm afraid that dialling back will lead to loss of strength etc

    Do you find you're maintaining strength and muscle with one set only? Had to google cluster.

    Dear god , yeah, the setting up is head wrecking. Only one barbell so hard to superset. Had to get rid of dumbbells due to lack of space under the stairs .

    House is taken over, racks are permanently in kitchen now for the last month, bench in the shed, plates under the stairs.

    If I'm simply splitting up a workout into 2, not doing any additional volume or anything overall, then issue is whether the second issue is impeding recovery from the morning session. I'll try it out and I'll know pretty quickly. Better start before actual return to the office as be hard to disentangle if exhausted due to commute etc or due to split.

    If that doesn't work, then can try just having one work set in midweek sessions

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 2,901 Mod ✭✭✭✭Black Sheep

    I suppose holding onto top end strength is a slightly separate thing to holding onto muscle mass, although they're related.

    Top end strength has a big neurological component and will dissipate relatively quickly on a given lift if you stop practising it regularly enough, or stop touching heavier weights. The first week off there could be a bounce due to better recovery, but after that, if you stayed off a lift or dramatically reduced frequency then unless you're a really advanced lifter, who needs less practice and is capable of doing some much work in a session that they might benefit from a longer recovery, your top end strength would reduce. However, training at the weekends and doing some kind of session during the week should be enough to maintain what you have at the moment. It could be hard to progress, but you never know.

    But just talking about muscle mass, the good news is that if your protein intake stays high and you do your training as outlined above it's doubtful you would lose much, if anything.

    When it comes to the question of one workset versus greater volume, I would suggest that there's a long established argument that this is as good as or potentially better than higher volume approaches IF you are not a novice and IF your goal is hypertrophy. What I do on a movement now isn't literally one set, anyway, my work set is going to be heavy enough that I will do a couple of warm-up sets before I attempt it, and then yes, that set is going to be a set to failure and it might use a technique like rest/pause or a drop set or a follow-on back-off set to further increase the intensity.

    If someone's goal is more top end strength I do think the idea of a single work set can work too, you'll see programmes that use a single top set or a max effort set, but you'll still tend to find volume is worked up on a separate day (Texas method) or else its in the assistance and accessories (Conjugate training).

    To be honest no matter what someone's goal is I've become less and less a fan of moderate to high volume unless it's for a novice who needs a lot of practice and maybe can't go that hard, or if it's on a particular exercise that lends itself to it without a problem (I would still do high volume of lunges and push-ups at times as finishers, as accessory movements).

  • Registered Users Posts: 247 ✭✭Bellie1

    Used an online powerlifting coach for much of last year and my god he loved lots of sets. There was one block where I only had 3 sets of 5 and it was bliss. I need to start looking at some online programs with less volume. Am no spring chicken so probably should be decreasing anyway.