"hardgainer" workout

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robertscott
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"hardgainer" workout

Post by robertscott » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:00 pm

Having been working out for a few years now, i've been getting frustrated with the little gains i've been making. I've got considerably stronger and seen a big increase in muscle tone, but haven't put on as much mass as I'd like. I've always been very skinny (6 feet tall and 140 pounds) despite eating like a pig (though i eat well, not much junk). I recently found an article on so-called "Hardgainers", which seemed to describe me perfectly; skinny, small framed, ectomorph who never puts on weight no matter how much they eat. It recommended a workout which is as follows:

Monday:
Squat
Deadlift
Calf Raise
Hanging Leg raises

Tuesday:
Bench Press
Shrugs
Shoulder Press
Close Grip Bench

Thursday:
Barbell row
barbell Curl
Pull Ups
Wrist Curl
Side Bends

I do 8 sets of each, keeping rep range between 6 & 8, for all exercises except for pull-ups, ab exercises, oblique exercises and wrist curls, for which i do 4 sets to failure. I've also recently started taking whey protein shakes 3 times a day on workout days and twice a day on rest days.

Any thoughts on the effectiveness on this workout?

Thanks for reading this by the way, i realise it's an awfully long 'un.


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Post by corless319_ » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:10 pm

Not bad at all but if your skinny you need to eat more. It is that simple. I was a hard gainer untill i put more time out of the gym into it than in. I mean i ate alllllllll the time a lot of food high high high in calories. I recommend eating untill your sick of eating and doing this workout and you will get huge thing is though i got huge but have a little belly cause of unused calories so with that being said if you ate a tad less then wayyy too much i think you would gain drastically. I'm 5'8 and weigh about 208 i did a three day a week workout plan with like 5,000 calories a day and i blew up. I'm sure you can too.

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Post by robertscott » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:24 pm

5000 calories, that's dedication! Not sure if I'd ever go for as much as that, i think my goal is a bit different to yours, i've always been thinking of trying to look more Bruce Lee than Arnie if you know what i mean. I'll persevere with this workout for a couple of weeks and if nothing much is happening i'll maybe up my intake a bit, although it's always been pretty high.

Thanks for your input.

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Post by Wouter » Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:26 pm

I don't think you should eat like 5000 kcals I think that's overkill. Since you're an ectomorph you have a higher natural metabolism which requires more calories to grow. I'd advice you to increase your daily intake by 200 kcals every week untill you've reached a point where your weight increases. If you see you gain too much fat, decrease your daily calorie intake. If you have a hard time eating a lot of food you could also eat caloriedense foods like nuts and cheese.

A daily meal plan could like like this
100g of oatmeal with 200g of berries and 30g whey/casein
150g of nuts
200g fish/poultry/meat with vegetables
150g of nuts
200g fish/poultry/meat with vegetables
peri-workout: 40g whey with banana/orange
before bed: 30 g casein
this will put you at: about 160g of protein (more than enough to grow)
200g of carbs
220g of fat
and a total of 3400 kcals

This should be enough to make you grow without adding much fat (if you think you're adding to much fat: decrease calories by 100-200 every day)

Your excercise plan isn't perfect. Go check out T-nation.com go to physique clinic and Trojan's thread.

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Re: "hardgainer" workout

Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:46 pm

robertscott wrote:Any thoughts on the effectiveness on this workout?.
Maybe you should try to do a full body routine two or three times a week rather than a split routine. Heavy leg exercises like squats and deadlifts stimulate the release of muscle building testosterone and growth hormone more than torso exercises do. Doing leg exercises more than once a week might give you a hormonal boost.

If you go the full body route, do it using a heavy day/light day/medium day for three times a week or heavy day/light day for two times a week. Vary the weights and reps so that you hit all of your muscle fibers.


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Post by robertscott » Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:32 pm

I thought about doing a full body routine a couple of times a week but i find I'm training sore muscles if i do that and i figured this was maybe not such a good thing.

A lot of the time my muscles, my chest and hamstrings in particular, take as long as a week to feel like they've recovered fully

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:46 pm

robertscott wrote:I thought about doing a full body routine a couple of times a week but i find I'm training sore muscles if i do that and i figured this was maybe not such a good thing.

A lot of the time my muscles, my chest and hamstrings in particular, take as long as a week to feel like they've recovered fully
I didn't notice this before - but why are you doing 8 sets of each exercise? After the third or fourth set, the potential for gains aren't so great.

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Post by pdellorto » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:35 am

Out of curiosity, where did you find this routine? Can you link to it?

It seems like a lot of volume for a "hardgainer," and generally I see beginner routines/routines for proven hardgainers with much lower volume. More 2 x 15 and 5 x 5 than 8 x 8.

Peter

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Post by TimD » Wed Apr 30, 2008 7:21 am

The 8X8 precription has shades of Vince Gironda all over it, and was a great routine protocol, similar to that of GVT, but Vince used it more to set a base for muscular gains and to slash the fat. As a hard gainer, I would think you;re expending just too much energy for not much in return size/weight wise.
Tim
Last edited by TimD on Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by corless319_ » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:32 am

and thats exactly why i said he should up his intake. Obviously hard gainer to him is different. Hardgainer usually means someone who is trying to get big and or gain weight and cant do that. If you want to be chiseled then diet and lift. A hardgainer is a thin person who eats their butts off and lifts and trys to get bigger. I was a hard gainer untill i read something on bodybuilding.com... great source right? that told me to have a really high calorie intake 5000-6000 a day i could barely hit 5k but i have gained since then.....48 lbs. if you want to gain weight and get bigger eat more maybe not 5 k buuuuut more and lift smarter recovery time is key. Id say lift monday wenesday and friday with full body workouts just keep it simple. ten heavy reps per workout and or muscle. I did that and gained 25 lbs my first month with that crazy amount of food. It wasnt all muscle but i did get big. just throwing it out there.

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Post by robertscott » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:39 am

so do we think 8 sets is too high then?

Should i maybe do less?

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Post by corless319_ » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:49 am

if you want to get chiseled like bruce lee diet is what gets you chiseled. In my opinion I would never do 8 sets ever for anything. Unless it was sprint work 8 sprints maybe. thats just my opinion though. if it works for you keep it. If not lower the sets.

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Post by robertscott » Wed Apr 30, 2008 11:00 am

maybe a bit bigger built than bruce lee'd be what I'm after...

What i think i'll probably do is persevere with this workout for a month or so then next month maybe drop the number of sets to say 3 lots of 10 or so and incorporate an extra exercise per muscle group (for example doing flyes for my chest as well as a bench press, lateral raises alongside shoulder press) so my muscles get worked two different ways and see how that goes. If i do this i'll still be doing like 6 sets per muscle group which could be considered a little high but the different ways the muscles are getting worked could zap 'em into action.

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Post by Chris_A » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:16 pm

Doing 8 sets of any exercise at your current level of conditioning, and without pharmaceutical aid, is going to be pointless and will burn you out very quickly.

Many studies have shown that just one heavy working set is as effective as doing multiple sets for the average trainee. Further, studies have shown that doing multiple sets only offered, at best, a 5% increase in gains over just 1 working set.

Read this about low volume training.

http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/LowV ... ining.html

The rep range you use (6-8) is more of a strength protocol than one of Hypertrophy (build bigger muscles). If you want to pack on more mass, then you’ll need to work in the more typical 8-10 rep hypertrophic range. However, for you as a hardgainer, you should be working in the 10-12 rep range.

Studies have shown that when you work in the lower strength training rep range, the number of sets you do has no affect whatsoever on hormonal adaptations in your body. However, doing multiple sets in the 10-12 rep range has a very significant impact on the hormonal response of your body.
CONCLUSION: The number of sets functions up to a point as a stimulus for increased hormonal concentrations in order to optimize adaptations with MH (Hypertrophy) and SE (Endurance) protocols, and has no effect on a MS (Strength Training) protocol.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12673149

So, you should actually only be doing about 3-4 sets max. I’d say stick with the tried & true 1 Warm-up Set and then 3 Sets of 10-12.

Concerning your workout.
Monday:
Squat
Deadlift
Calf Raise
Hanging Leg raises
1. Only do hanging leg raises if you fully intend to curl your pelvis up to your chest. Otherwise, you are not working the abdominals but instead are strictly hitting your hip flexors.

Here is the proper abdominal leg raise: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Rec ... Raise.html

And here is the Hip Flexor Only version: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Hip ... Raise.html

2. Since Abs are super tough, you ought to consider working them every single workout. Do 2-3 sets of crunches before you hit the weights. This not only trains your abs but also serves as a nice general warm up.

3. Consider adding Leg Curls to isolate your Hamstrings if the equipment is available.

A better Leg Day workout would be:
Ab Crunches
Squats
Leg Extensions
Dead Lift
Leg Curls
Single Leg Calf Raises

If that is too much work, then drop the Leg Extensions and Leg Curls, but consider swapping out Dead Lifts with Leg Curls every couple of weeks so that you really isolate your hamstrings every so often.
Tuesday:
Bench Press
Shrugs
Shoulder Press
Close Grip Bench
1. You ought to move shrugs to your “Back Day” (your Thursday workout in this routine). Shrugs work your upper traps. On Back Day, you will be working your middle and lower traps, so it is best to round the traps off on the same day and hit upper as well. Back Day is a “Pull” day, and shrugs are basically a pull exercise.

2. Drop the shoulder press and use BB or Plate raises. The raise will better isolate your anterior deltoid while also calling into play your Lateral Deltoid. http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Del ... Raise.html

3. Speaking of Lateral Deltoids, you should consider adding Lateral Raises immediately after finishing your Front BB (or Plate) Raises.
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Del ... Raise.html

4. Drop the Close Grip Benchpress and use Skull Crushers instead. Or, if you have the equipment, then use Rope Pressdowns. EMG studies have shown that the CG Bench is one of the least effective triceps exercises.
http://www.myfit.ca/archives/viewanarti ... 20Activity

So, a better Chest or Push Day routine would be:
Ab Crunches
Bench Press
Incline DB Flyes
Skull Crushers
BB Front Raise
DB Lateral Raise

Consider the Flyes as optional.
Thursday:
Barbell row
barbell Curl
Pull Ups
Wrist Curl
Side Bends
1. Unless you specifically need work on a weak grip problem, I’d drop the Wrist Curls. However, if you decide to keep them, you need to add Reverse Wrist Curls as Well. Wrist curls only work one side of the forearm, the Flexors. You’ll also need to work the Extensors as well to ensure proper and balanced development. But you’d really be better off dropping this exercise for now in favor of another lift.

2. Side Bends don’t target the Obliques very effectively. Instead, they hit the much deeper quadratus lumborum muscle which is a lateral flexor. If you’re wanting to hit your obliques, then use a twisting motion when you do your crunches. http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Obl ... runch.html

3. You should add Bent Rear Lateral Raises to hit your Posterior Deltoids. This small head on the back of your shoulder is typically the least developed head of the deltoids on most individuals and will benefit greatly from the extra work. Developing the Posterior head will fully round out your shoulders and assist in all other pulling exercises.

4. As said before, you should add your Shrugs to this day’s workout.

A better Back or Pull Day routine would be:
Ab Crunches
Bent-over Rows
Front Pulldowns or Chin-ups (over-hand [Pronated] grip)
BB Curls
Bent Lateral DB Raises
Shrugs

Notice with this split routine you get a Warm-up of Ab Crunches with every workout, and then 5 working exercises. The heavy compound lifts are all complimented with auxiliary isolation movements.
Last edited by Chris_A on Mon May 19, 2008 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by corless319_ » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:30 pm

chris that was a great reply. I assume it was lengthy but that was very well. Also abs are like most other muscles I wouln't over work them. If you have fat or barely visible abs id recomend dieting. not constant ab work it could be negative for your abs.


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