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Barbell Twice Per Week - Heavy - Light

Chase Hines

Level 5 Valued Member
Life is getting very busy again so it’s forcing me take on minimalist approach to training.

I’m planning on Monday (Heavy) & Thursday (Light).

Main movements will be KB C&P , Z Squats & carries.

Volume on heavy days around 25 working reps per movement.

Light around 15 working reps per movement.

Anyone have success/enjoy training in a similar 2x per week heavy/light fashion?
 

solarbear

Level 5 Valued Member
Yep. Currently doing just that. Heavy day I do a cluster 235235235 and light day 5x2 working up to 85-95% of max. I find it really effective.
 

solarbear

Level 5 Valued Member
I know it’s contrary to the accepted wisdom but i‘ve known people to make acceptable gains in strength and hypertrophy training only once per week. My only question is why a light day? If you’re turning up, why not get stuck in?

It is oddly effective. I first encountered it when I played football and we had a 4 day a week program Heavy Upper and Lower body workouts Mon and Tues and Light Upper and Lower body Thurs and Fri. Looked kinda dumb at first but it worked.

I am not sure of the science. I guess it works for the same reason PTTP works. You are just stimulating more protein synthesis and greasing the groove on your light day.
 

Daniel Vintila

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I use that in a slightly different way. I train 4 days per week. 2 days kettlebells and 2 days barbell, alternating between the 2. My main exercise on KB is C+P with doubles. Deadlift is the main exercise on barbell. Works really good.
The volume you chose is ok, but something has to change in it as you progress. Either slowly slowly increase volume or intensity. For example I started C+P on light day as 1,2,3x3 and now I got up to 1,2,3/1,2,3,4x2 as my main goal is to get to 1,2,3,4,5 x5 on the Heavy day
Also if you have 3 main movements I wouldn't have all 3 of them do the Heavy day in the same Day. 2 of them can go heavy and 1 light on day 1 and 2 light 1 heavy on day 2.
 

TedDK

Level 4 Valued Member
I know it’s contrary to the accepted wisdom but i‘ve known people to make acceptable gains in strength and hypertrophy training only once per week. My only question is why a light day? If you’re turning up, why not get stuck in?
If i only trained two times a week. I would train ‘heavy’ both.
 

Chase Hines

Level 5 Valued Member
I use that in a slightly different way. I train 4 days per week. 2 days kettlebells and 2 days barbell, alternating between the 2. My main exercise on KB is C+P with doubles. Deadlift is the main exercise on barbell. Works really good.
The volume you chose is ok, but something has to change in it as you progress. Either slowly slowly increase volume or intensity. For example I started C+P on light day as 1,2,3x3 and now I got up to 1,2,3/1,2,3,4x2 as my main goal is to get to 1,2,3,4,5 x5 on the Heavy day
Also if you have 3 main movements I wouldn't have all 3 of them do the Heavy day in the same Day. 2 of them can go heavy and 1 light on day 1 and 2 light 1 heavy on day 2.
Great feedback here. My plan was to use volume to progress on KB lifts as I don’t currently own my next bell size & intensity on BB using the same volume for both days.

I’m now wondering if I should explore a similar deal that your currently doing using the 4x per week alternating KB & BB/heavy & light days.

My issue it total time invested so spreading it out over 4 days vs 2 could in theory be all the same to me.
 

Daniel Vintila

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I’m now wondering if I should explore a similar deal that your currently doing using the 4x per week alternating KB & BB/heavy & light days.
So if you choose to do 4 days. I would consider only 2 movements as main lifts, as carries being a GPP I wouldn't necessarily have a high or a low volume of carries, I would just do them based on how I feel that day or if you choose to have some days heavy carries and some days light carries you can alternate the days each week. W1 D1 light carries D2 heavy and W2 D1 heavy carries D2 light carries. Up to you how you want to play that one.

So you are left wish zercher and C+P. If you do 4 days you can work a main lift + something else ( if you have time) + carries. For example when I have deadlift day I do DL, pull ups and touchdown squats + some gpp work. When I have c+p I do those + Q&D with heavy swings or snatches and banded pull ups ( I train for TSC). Or you can just stick to just z squats+carry and c+p + carry.

Also as we said the main lift you do 1 day light and 1 day heavy, changing intensity in BB and volume in C+P if I understood correctly.
If you only stick to 2 days we can do Day1 heavy z squats+ light C+P and carries to end and Day 2 the opposite in the main movements.
 

Chase Hines

Level 5 Valued Member
So if you choose to do 4 days. I would consider only 2 movements as main lifts, as carries being a GPP I wouldn't necessarily have a high or a low volume of carries, I would just do them based on how I feel that day or if you choose to have some days heavy carries and some days light carries you can alternate the days each week. W1 D1 light carries D2 heavy and W2 D1 heavy carries D2 light carries. Up to you how you want to play that one.

So you are left wish zercher and C+P. If you do 4 days you can work a main lift + something else ( if you have time) + carries. For example when I have deadlift day I do DL, pull ups and touchdown squats + some gpp work. When I have c+p I do those + Q&D with heavy swings or snatches and banded pull ups ( I train for TSC). Or you can just stick to just z squats+carry and c+p + carry.

Also as we said the main lift you do 1 day light and 1 day heavy, changing intensity in BB and volume in C+P if I understood correctly.
If you only stick to 2 days we can do Day1 heavy z squats+ light C+P and carries to end and Day 2 the opposite in the main movements.
Yep. We are on the same wave length with the carries. They are GPP work done with same size bell I press so I don’t push those heavy so we’re really looking at the C&P & Z Squat.

I believe I’ll just be flexible and utilize a combination of 2 days/4 days. If time allows I’ll get it in two days. If not I’ll default to 4.
 

Chase Hines

Level 5 Valued Member
Yep. We are on the same wave length with the carries. They are GPP work done with same size bell I press so I don’t push those heavy so we’re really looking at the C&P & Z Squat.

I believe I’ll just be flexible and utilize a combination of 2 days/4 days. If time allows I’ll get it in two days. If not I’ll default to 4.

@daniel vintila How would you structure progressions on the clean & press using these current number?

Current weekly c&p volume - 50x with 24k

I’m thinking either straight 5s working up from 5x5 on my heavy day to 10x5 or 2-3-5 ladders starting at 2x or 3x for the heavy day. Either way…working up to 50 reps on my heavy day & 30 on my light day for total of 80 for the week before I bump bell size.

For the light squat day - would you drop intensity & volume or stick to 5x5 and lower the intensity?
 

Daniel Vintila

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
So what I try to do is keep at least a 20% difference between light and heavy day (delta 20 principle). If your volume is 50 right now, you could split 30 for heavy and 20 for light. It will work slightly more than 30 to finish on the light day, but that shouldn't be the one that matters, just the overall volume.

As for the rep scheme all your options are valid, but with 50 reps you need to start at 6x5 or 5 sets of 1,2,3 (with no break and a clean in between reps) on the heavy day and 4x5 or 4 x 1,2,3 on the light day ( which will be 54 total reps).

And now it depends if you want to end with higher reps or higher sets or both. You could end with 10 sets of 5 reps or 5x 1,2,3,4=50 reps ( how to get there is start at 1,2,3 on week 1, then 1,2,3,1 on week 2 and so on and this is exactly 4 weeks to 1,2,3,4). Increasing 5 reps per week is good, as long as you can handle. If you get stuck just do the same week twice in a row.
I like the gains of clean and press instead of 5 continuous reps.

For the squat same principle applies. If you keep the 5x5 just drop the intensity by around 20% on the light day compared to the previous heavy day.

This is how I would do some of the things there. Some might agree and some might not but I never go for a cookie cutter program. I like personalizing everything based on what my goal is and what I exercises I chose to perform.
 

Chase Hines

Level 5 Valued Member
So what I try to do is keep at least a 20% difference between light and heavy day (delta 20 principle). If your volume is 50 right now, you could split 30 for heavy and 20 for light. It will work slightly more than 30 to finish on the light day, but that shouldn't be the one that matters, just the overall volume.

As for the rep scheme all your options are valid, but with 50 reps you need to start at 6x5 or 5 sets of 1,2,3 (with no break and a clean in between reps) on the heavy day and 4x5 or 4 x 1,2,3 on the light day ( which will be 54 total reps).

And now it depends if you want to end with higher reps or higher sets or both. You could end with 10 sets of 5 reps or 5x 1,2,3,4=50 reps ( how to get there is start at 1,2,3 on week 1, then 1,2,3,1 on week 2 and so on and this is exactly 4 weeks to 1,2,3,4). Increasing 5 reps per week is good, as long as you can handle. If you get stuck just do the same week twice in a row.
I like the gains of clean and press instead of 5 continuous reps.

For the squat same principle applies. If you keep the 5x5 just drop the intensity by around 20% on the light day compared to the previous heavy day.

This is how I would do some of the things there. Some might agree and some might not but I never go for a cookie cutter program. I like personalizing everything based on what my goal is and what I exercises I chose to perform.
Here’s what I’ve arrived at - Thanks to everyone’s feedback.

Calling it “40 to 80”

Goal - Take my current “5rm” total weekly volume from 40 to 80 on the KB C&P & Z Squat.

8 Weeks Total
Increase 5 Reps Per Week For 8 Weeks
Starting Week 1 Total Volume - 40
Week 8 Goal Total Volume - 80
Week 8 Goal Heavy Day Volume - 50
Week 8 Goal Light Day Volume - 30
Starting Week 1 Heavy Day Volume - 25
Starting Week 1 Light Day Volume -15
Either 2x per week alternating like this -

Heavy Squat/Light Press
Light Squat/Heavy Press

Or if life doesn’t allow longer sessions -

4x per week giving each movement it’s own day for light/heavy with Wednesday & weekends off.
 
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mikerobinson

Level 4 Valued Member
I train 2x a week. Made more progress than training 3x per week. The Barbell Prescription authors note that 2x a week can be better for people over 50 due to recovery. I do it for better recovery, but also because a program done 2x a week gives you more flexibility for the days you train, you can move them around week by week according schedule etc. Don't have to be the same two days every week. That's not possible with 3x a week training.

Mine is:
  • Press day: various upper body presses and upper body assistance exercises.
  • Lower body and back day: mainly deadlift, assistance squats, Bulgarians, and pulls.
Expertly programmed by someone other than me so I don't have to think about it, and stops me not seeing the wood for the trees and overthinking.

Works as well as anything else I've done for strength.
 

watchnerd

Level 6 Valued Member
I can make progress on 2 times a week training.

But...

I find I don't really need a Light day if I'm only doing 2 days a week.

I use HLM if I'm doing 3 days a week (my current template and default), but if I'm only doing 2 days a week, I progress better with 2 Medium days.

FWIW, age 51.
 
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