Just as shooting 200 foul shots a week on the basketball court will make you a better foul shooter than shooting 100 foul shots, training twice a day will be more effective than training once a day. Following the axiom that “practice makes perfect,” top bodybuilders or any athletes who want to become as strong as possible will exercise – or train a specific body part – multiple times a day. In fact, Bulgarian weightlifters were even known to train five times a day! It’s an interesting theory, but let’s look at reality.
For most of us, especially those with families and full-time jobs, it’s simply not possible to get to the gym twice a day. If a particular body part or exercise is lagging behind others, the obvious solution is to simply do more sets. That might seem good in theory, but the fatigue associated with performing a high number of sets results in a case of diminishing returns as the quality of work decreases. Fortunately, there is another way – a better way. It’s called doublés, which translates from the French into “done twice.”
Coach Charles Poliquin was introduced to the doublés method by Pierre Roy, one of the most accomplished weightlifting coaches in Canada. Roy had produced numerous national champions, Olympians, and even an Olympic silver medalist. Also, Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale, a world champion powerlifter and respected writer in the iron game, used doublés in his quest for physical superiority. Coach Poliquin eventually came across a book written by French physiologist Gilles Cometti that recommended doublés for developing hypertrophy.
If Roy wanted to increase the volume of training in a specific exercise he chose to emphasize, he would have his athletes do the same lift twice in the same workout – not later in the day but in the same workout. Let’s say one of his athletes needed to improve their leg strength. Roy might have them start the workout with back squats, perform another lift, and then finish off the workout with more back squats.
The following is an example of how doublés could be used in a tri-set to develop the arms:
A1. Lying EZ Bar Triceps Extension to Forehead, 3 x 6-8, 2110, no rest
A2. Close-Grip Bench Press, 3 x 4-6, 2110, no rest
A3. Lying EZ Bar Triceps Extension to Forehead, 3 x 4-6, 2110, rest 120 seconds
Due to accumulative fatigue, it might be necessary to reduce the weight 5-10 percent with each tri-set. However, you will get a tremendous pump from this type of training, followed the next day by extreme soreness. Now let’s apply the doublés method to lower body training.
The following workout starts with 5 sets of front squats, performed in a conventional manner with a full 4-minute rest period to allow for nearly complete recovery. This is followed by a superset of less demanding exercises for the hamstrings and quads, then another 5 sets of front squats. Here is what it looks like:
A. Front Squat, 5 x 2-4, 40X0, rest 240 seconds
B1. Lying Leg Curl, 5 x 3-5, 40X0, rest 120 seconds
B2. Top-Half Inertia Back Squat, 5 x 3-5, 22X0, rest 120 seconds
C. Front Squat, 5 x 4-6, 40X0, rest 180 seconds
Note that the repetitions in the second series of front squats are higher than in the first series, and the rest period is shorter than in the first series. In effect, the first series focuses on relative strength, whereas the second system’s higher reps and shorter rest intervals focus on functional hypertrophy. In all, you’ll perform 10 sets of front squats.
It’s true you’re only as strong as your weakest link. To bring your body back into balance, doublés will get the job done.