It’s tough being a hardgainer. Training and eating seems to be fruitless as everyone around you seems to be making the gains you are working so hard for. The reality is that most hardgainers out there still are not eating enough, but are also training all wrong to elicit those gains. Here are some strategies you can incorporate to turn your average movements into a hypertrophy explosion.
1. Simplify everything
This generally applies to most training programs – hardgainers specifically though. Constantly trying overly-complicated movements are not the answer. Just because it isn’t complex, doesn’t mean that it is not good training. Why do you think so many classic bodybuilders had 3-4 movements per workout? That’s right, because it works.
The first 15 minutes of your workouts should consist of nothing but compound lifts. After you have warmed up and are ready to go, of course. Another way to look at it; if you had only 15 minutes every day to train, you wouldn’t be worried about doing 8 variations of other movements, you would be solely focused on those compound lifts.
2. One is all-powerful
It’s already been said. Simplicity. To break this hardgaining plateau you should do one movement per day. Yup. Just one. This follows on from the “only have 15 minutes” mindset. We will look at the most productive movements available, and then annihilate them. Get in, destroy that single lift, and get out.
Here is how your week will look:
- Monday: Squat
- Tuesday: Incline Chest Press
- Wednesday: Chest-Supported Row
- Thursday: Deadlift
- Friday: Clean and Press
- Saturday: Pull-up
- Sunday: Rest
You will notice there are no “extra” movements. Read a little further on, try doing these for nearly an hour and you might just be thanking everyone that there are no extras. Remember, these are big and heavy compound lifts so it is going to take all of your might, dig deep, focus, and you will see some serious size packing on.
3. The actual workout
This will seem daunting. It is a pretty tough workout. Brutal, actually. But once you are done, you will be the biggest, meanest, strongest, and toughest guy (or gal) at your gym. As brutish as this workout seems, it is still intelligent and requires some mental effort into calculating it all.
Once you have gone through 3-6 sets to warm up and gradually move up to working weight, you will do 10 sets of working weights with a 6-10 rep range. Be sure to pyramid the weight from 10 reps to 6 reps, then back down to 10 reps. It is important to find the balance between fatiguing towards the end of your rep range for the set, but not to the point of absolute failure.
Your rest period is as long as you need it to be during sets, but keep in mind that 10 minutes could possibly stunt your progress, whereas 3 minutes might be more than enough time to rest and get going again, you still need to keep a high intensity. If you are feeling super-duper brave (or insane) you can finish your workout with one set until absolute failure at 50% of your 1-rep max. Use a 1-rep max calculator if you are unsure what it is and what to find out in a safe way.
Here is a breakdown of your weekly training:
|Barbell Squat||Barbell Incline Press||Chest-supported Row||Deadlift||Clean and Press||Pullups|
|3-6 warm up sets||3-6 warm up sets||3-6 warm up sets||3-6 warm up sets||3-6 warm up sets||3-6 warm up sets|
|10 sets: 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 10||10 sets: 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 10||10 sets: 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 10||10 sets: 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 10||10 sets: 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 10||10 sets: 10, 10, 8, 8, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 10|
|Brave or insane: 1 set to failure at 50% 1RM||Brave or insane: 1 set to failure at 50% 1RM||Brave or insane: 1 set to failure at 50% 1RM||Brave or insane: 1 set to failure at 50% 1RM||Brave or insane: 1 set to failure at 50% 1RM||Brave or insane: 1 set to failure at 50% 1RM|
Follow this progamme for a month, you will see the massive difference it can make to your hardgaining physique. You can substitute a normal training for something different, life can happen and so you may not be able to commit to the usual routine. Try not to make a habit of it though, and definitely don’t try to schedule this. The closer you stick to the programme outlined above, the better the benefits you will reap.
No matter which way you look at it though, you cannot help but grow with this outline. Prepare to be ogled by the mass of adoring lifters, and try not to get a big head from pushing people away accidentally.