Strength Training Method: Doubles

Posted on 05 Jun 2015 10:04


I was recently asked a question by Lee Jason on Google Plus about using Doubles to get strong and I decided to do a short write-up and a video as a response to this question.

Are Heavy Doubles Effective For Strength Training?

This question is actually a bit misleading - in the sense that it has several mini-questions within it.

I will answer each of these questions in this video. So here are the hidden questions within Lee Jason's question:

  1. Why should I use doubles instead of what I am doing right now?
  2. Are doubles efficient?
  3. Are doubles better than 3 to 5 reps at 80 to 90%?

I am going to answer each of these questions now.

Why should I use doubles instead of what I am doing right now?

I think Lee is looking for a new program to try out and is searching for the benefits of doubles. Lee, Doubles are a method – similar to 5/3/1 or 5x5 or whatever. It is one of many hundreds of methods out there. You don’t need to build a whole program around a method. There is no need to think of doubles being better than anything else because you cannot stick to one method ad nauseum. You have to switch it up to keep getting stronger and reaching your goals. Doubles is a great choice to use among hundreds of choices that are out there. But you shouldn’t use doubles for all your lifts. Pick one lift and use doubles only on that lift.

Are doubles efficient?

Doubles are definitely efficient at getting you to lift heavier weight than what you are used to right now. You’ve been doing higher volume stuff working in the 3-5 rep range with sub-maximal weights less than 90% so shifting to doubles will be like switching gears and working with a substantially heavier set of weights well above 90% of your max.

What I love about doubles is that sometimes what you can do for 3 reps, just a bit more will get you to 2 reps and then what you can do for a double might be the exact same as a single - this is perfectly normal. Doubles also allows for you to improve the quality of your reps at really heavy weights because quite often your second rep will actually be smoother, more controlled and better than your first. So it is also a good way to transition into doing heavy singles.

Last mini-question:

Are doubles better than 3 to 5 reps at 80 to 90% ?

Yes, doubles are a great way to get stronger. If you are lifting in the 80-90% range you are not really lifting maximal end weights. So the change to bigger weights and fewer reps is going to make you happy because you will find yourself moving much heavier weights and making good progress. Don’t feel like you’re doing less work because the reps are a little low: you are still moving maximal end weight and at the end of the day that is what you want to do.

Good luck lifting big weights!

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