In Part 1 of the Hardgainer Diet and Workout Guide I covered some basic reasons why you might be a hardgainer. I part 2 I will now shift focus to some hardgainer workout tips that should help you gain muscle. These are the basics, but are a good foundation to plan your workouts.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 1: Don’t listen to the B.S in the gym, message boards, or forums online.
Not too long ago, a friend I was training with was told that he was not working out correctly at the gym, the individual stated that his training was not being done right and advised him on how to correct it. He was told to train five to six days a week- and by aiming for more reps, his workout would be more effective. This meant completing fifteen to twenty reps per set.
Because this individual was in good shape, his words seem to hold more weight; the average person would believe he was actually giving away the secret to having a body like his. While my friend is quite intellectual, and on any given day would know the advice given was completely wrong- it was the mere fantasy of having the perfect physique which clouded his rational thoughts.
Instead of coming to me, getting advice on what he was told, he changed his routine- totally leaving me out of the decision; I didn’t learn of his abrupt change of plans until seven days later. What was so absurd to me concerning the situation, was that my friend was doing great with his training prior to running into this person with the “chiseled” frame. Upon changing his routine, his progress declined- showing just how big of a mistake he had made to abandon his original training regimen
Just as you “can never judge a book by it’s cover”, one should never assume that another person’s words are genuine, simply because of the way they look. Don’t believe that because a person is built, that their advice is sound. Most individuals are not built a certain way because of their regimen, but because they were already that way despite it. I know people who have huge muscles, and no matter what they do, they maintain their build- yet they have no clue about diet or training to get a body like theirs. Most people- like us, are not built that way, therefore we have to think intelligently, and act accordingly.
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Hardgainer Workout Tip 2: Workout Less to Gain More
Most individuals believe that more is always best, so when first starting out with a training regimen, they obsess over it. Training becomes their life, as they believe the more they train, the more muscle they will build. This is not correct however. While it is typical to be motivated in the beginning, over doing it is never good.
Training more frequently does not equate to more muscle growth. This is because muscle is built when your body is resting. Working out in the gym doing weight training exercises will stimulate the growth in your muscle, but it is not until you rest that new muscle is built, and old muscle is repaired. Not giving your body time to rest, will not do you any good. It is very important to be inactive so that you can build the muscle which has been stimulated. Consider this before over exerting yourself.
For hardgainers, there is a need for even more rest and less training. If a person has difficulty building muscle, the extra rest will help improve their chances of doing so.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 3: Preform Multi-Jointed Lifts
It is important for hardgainers to work as many muscles as possible, instead of working on specific parts of the body. Multi-jointed exercises stimulate more muscle fibers, unlike isolation exercises.
Individuals who have a difficult time gaining weight benefit more from the increased stress which their body experiences with multi-jointed lifts. More muscle building hormones are released as a result of the added stress, increasing the gain of muscle throughout the body.
This is not to say that isolation exercises should not be done. However, because of the increased benefits of multi-jointed exercise, isolation exercises should only be used as a followup once all multi-jointed are finished.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 4: Always use of Free Weights
Stimulating certain muscle groups will enhance your weight loss efforts, increase your strength and build muscle more rapidly. The use of free weights allow you to stimulate synergistic and stabilizer muscles, making it a favorite compared to machine use when training.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 5: Use Challenging Weight
Type IIB muscle fibers cause the most growth in the size of your muscles, and are best stimulated when heavy weights are lifted. Heavy weight lifting builds body mass; this is normally considered any weight which you are able to lift 4 to 8 reps before your muscle fails.
Typically, the more weight which is lifted, the better your chances at losing weight. Your type IIB muscle fibers can be successfully stimulated with light weights, however this is not the most effective way of losing weight. Stimulating different muscle groups are conducive to losing weight, therefore one should choose to lift heavy weights opposed to light ones.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 6: Focus on the Negative Rep
Lifting weights is divided into three main actions;these actions are called negative, positive and midpoint. The beginning of the rep, which includes the initial movement- generally a push, or other effort- is the positive, or concentric motion.
The break in between which occurs, is called the midpoint; this is when you reverse your motion in order to return to the original position of the rep. The pull of the weight, which is it’s natural way of resisting against your motion is called the negative portion.
An example of the three main actions would be when you do pushups. The positive, or eccentric would be when you first push up off the surface. The midpoint would be when your body is in midair, and the eccentric, or negative portion is the final motion which returns your body back to the surface again.
While most individuals believe that the faster this is done the better, this could not be further from the truth. The negative portion of the pushup should be done in a slower manner, to stimulate muscle growth. The Type IIB muscle fibers which were discussed in hardgainers workout tip #7, are stimulated at this time, which is why taking it slow during the negative is so important
Hardgainer Workout Tip 7: Don’t Workout for more than 60 Mins
While you want to stimulate muscle growth, it is not necessary to focus on every single muscle and angle of your body. You want to finish up as soon as possible, after stimulating your muscles of course. Working out on specific muscles should be reserved for individuals who are attempting to improve areas of weakness, but already have a physique which is developed and mature.
Each part of the body should be exercised a maximum of two or three exercises. For those individuals who have no pec, it is not important to focus on inner, outer, lower or upper parts. Doing more than necessary could do more harm than good, as you could end up losing muscle.
Catabolic hormone levels have been known to increase drastically during long workout sessions. Muscle tissue is broke down by catabolic hormones, resulting in loss of muscle. During long sessions, hormones which build muscle stand the chance of actually being suppressed.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 8: Limit Aerobic Training
Weight gain and aerobic activities do not go together as far as I am concerned, this is because the aerobic activity takes away from my rest which is needed in order to build muscle. Everyone has a life to live, and many other activities to take part in- but it is well advised to keep activity at a minimum when trying to gain.
Aerobic exercise only works on a low calorie diet; it can’t be successful on a high calorie mass diet. Most people start aerobics to lose weight, which is why I do not recommend it for this sort of training regimen.
Hardgainer Workout Tip 9: Don’t Fall for Every New Workout Trend
Hardgainers who are on regimens which are working for them may hear of one which sounds enticing, leading them to quit what is already working.
I consider these individuals”program hoppers”, as they never see a program out to its finish. Instead, upon hearing some suave marketing ploy, they tend to go for what seems to be the latest trend, dropping everything they are doing.
I would advise hardgainers to stay with the training program they are currently on instead of hopping around. This is because nothing will work unless you give it time, so it is best to follow your routine and stick with it. You will begin to see results by staying with your goal, and overlooking everything that sounds good. You can only work one regimen at a time, so it is best to complete what you have already started- at least you know it’s working.
These are my basic guidelines for a hardgainer workout. While these are not very specific, they are a great starting point for any hardgainers. Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Hardgainers Diet and Workout Guide where I will discuss eating for massive muscle gains.