The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The AM/PM Split

I've gone through numerous training methods the past couple of years, some of which I recommend, others which were wastes of time and I have deemed "good life experience."

I used to be a regular practitioner of two a day training, and although when I first began this type of training I was on a very aggressive high volume, chase the pump style training, I've refined my ideas and my programming to get the most out of my ideas.


  1. This type of training is not for everyone. This type of training is probably best used by a lifter who is an intermediate lifter, well past the "new to lifting" phase, approaching at least 3 years of experience where you're not having to remind yourself how to do certain movements.
  2. You either need a very flexible or a very awkward lifestyle in order to make it to the gym twice in the same day. If you're a student who has close access to a gym and time between classes, if you have an office training center and have an ample break to wreck a training session mid day, or you're financially VERY well off and choose to live out your life making hella gainz.
  3. Only implement this style of training if you're going to have ample amounts of recovery, meaning lots of calories, lots of rest, mobility work, all that PT supple leopard b.s. that keeps people moving well and still lifting frequently. In the examples I give below you only have 3 training days per week and Do the Big Three every training day, but you rest at least 36 hours before your next session.

The Rationale:

It's difficult to put in the kind of mental focus, mind muscle connection and the mental tenacity required of a decent pump, high volume sesh when you've just spent the majority of that energy ensuring that you won't be crushed by the big movers. The central nervous system is spent and ready to quit by the time a person gets to their "accessory" and weak point work, and the lifts that follow the big fun hauls tend to suffer.

The greatest factor in Hypertrophy is accumulated volume. More volume means more time under tension, more reps and sets, which means Mo' Muscle. But it's easier to accumulate it if there is a base of strength. Doing 8-12 reps with 250lbs will yield a higher volume than doing 8-12 reps with 80lbs. This is why this training style is so effective, you're acquiring strength and volume in the morning, then you're accumulating even more volume in the afternoon/evening and working on more factors that contribute towards Hypertrophy.

Also, if you're like me, you have friends who like lifting but in the words of bros everywhere "They don't lift." Meaning they don't like the Squat and Deadlift (or they fear them for some reason) and much prefer the pretty boy muscles and like to do the traditional bro sessions. Lucky for them, I also love bro lifts and pump sessions. But, I need to get in my strength training in, so I wake in the morning before they have the time to wipe the j├Ągar from their mouths and get in my Power lifts, then I meet up with them later and hit up a mad pump sesh that will wreck them for days to come and help them vomit all of the mistakes they ingested the night before.

I'm being ridiculously facetious, but in all reality, this gives you some flexibility in going to friends with friends, or your special gal or guy and get in more volume but not neglect your true work in the morning.

Now, to the lifting...


The AM: Strength, the Heavy Movers

In my current training I do a variation on a Squat, Press and Deadlift on every training session. It's a program designed to get stronger in the powerlifting style lifts: Squat, Bench, and Deads. In this AM session you will do these lifts....or you could think of it as a Squat, Press, and Heavy Pull.

Only 1 of the lifts you do in the morning session will be a max effort, all out lift, pushing your R.P.E 9-10. The others will be working within that 65-75% and are designed to get in additional volume and technical practice and address the weak points in most lifts.

PM: Hypertrophy, the pm pump sesh

This session is all about getting in volume, the kind of techniques employed in this session include but are not limited to: Drop Sets, Giant Sets, Pyramid Sets, Supersets, sets past failure. Slow eccentric work, tempo sets. Basically the body building book of techniques.

Curls for the girls.

Example 2-a-day Sessions:


Bench Press 75-90%
Pause Squat 65-75%
Deficit Deads 65-75%

Squat (Competition Style of choice) 75-90%
Incline Bench 65-75%
Pause Deads 65-75%

Deads 75-90%
Front Squat 65-75%
Weighted Dips 65-75%


Monday: Chest and Back
Chest Flys
Chins/pull ups
Push up complexes
Pull downs
Rows of all variety

Wednesday: Arms and Shoulders
Presses: Barbell and dumbbell
Shoulder flys and raises
Face pulls
Curls and extensions

Friday: Lower Body
Leg Press
Leg curls
Leg Extension
Goblet Squats
Calf Work
Single Leg Work

I strongly believe that if you're going to do two a day sessions that you don't stick them back to back unless you're a professional athlete and your job is to train. If you have two 2-a-day sessions back to back your strength training in the mornings will suffer, especially if you're giving that pump sesh the hell it deserves. Stick to an every other day training schedule, or put a PM session next to a rest day.

This is by no means a fully fledged out program. There's no inherent progress or periodization written into this, so it's something that could supplement a program that progresses one or all of the big three or a means to break up the assistance work. Do with it whatever you'd like, it is yours for the musing.

Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

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