Dorian Yates' Expert Advice on Training Frequency

Is it better to train once or twice a day?


Is it better to train once or twice a day?


Although some bodybuilders do well with training twice a day, I prefer once a day. That is due to the way I train. When I go into my gym, I’m committed to investing everything I have, physically and mentally, in the most intense workout I can muster, and I won’t stop until I know there’s no way I can generate another maximum-strength rep for the next 24 hours. My answer to your query, then, is “Once a day.” If you train the way I do in your first workout of the day, it will be impossible to train again that same day.

Moreover, if you train the way I do, a second workout later in the day would very likely deplete your body to a level from which it could require two or more days to recuperate, instead of one, thereby retarding your progress. This outcome is more prevalent than you may think, especially among young bodybuilders who have more passion than reason. Don’t get me wrong: I love their enthusiasm and work ethic, but they are nobly inspired to a fault. They are training so often that their maximum strength and mental intensity is never fully realized or available to them, because they are not giving body and mind the chance to fully rebuild. They’re spinning their training wheels.

The focus on recuperation is probably the culprit. Concern about “overtraining” has become a paranoia, to the extent that bodybuilders compromise their workouts in order to preserve energy. Their concern, instead, should be what I call intensity momentum, or training momentum. By that, I refer to the adrenaline rush that becomes more powerful with each successive set you pump out. If you’ve ever put so much effort into a total-failure set that it left you limp from utter exhaustion but euphoric from your accomplishment, then you know what I mean. You’re so flushed with adrenaline that you can’t wait to tear into your next set; you feel strength you never thought was possible, and that inspires you all the more.

Now, keep it going. Take all of your heavy sets for each exercise to failure, and grunt out another couple of forced reps. Without allowing that head of steam to wane, relay the momentum to your next bodypart. You’ll get a better workout by going directly to your next bodypart than if you take a half-day’s break. Those few hours of rest only allow that intensity momentum to plummet to a point lower than at the start of your first workout, and no matter how hard you try to revive it, you’ll find you’re too lethargic to rise to those same heights that same day.

That’s as it should be. It means you’ve spent a full day’s recovery on one hard, sustained-intensity workout and wrung every benefit out of it that you could. There’s nothing left for a return visit. 

Experiment with workouts that are compact and intense until you find the one that gives you the greatest pump and takes your muscles deeper into fatigue in the shortest time. That’s called efficiency. I also call it smart. I’d better; it’s the training philosophy I use. - FLEX


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