You gotta love how they invented a word for all of you hardgainers out there. You should feel really special, but I’m sure you feel more frustrated than anything.
In case you are unaware, allow me to define just what a hardgainer is. It’s actually not that hard to figure out. A hardgainer is one who is thin, usually tall, and has a really hard time putting on weight—more namely muscle mass.
The effect this can have on self-esteem parallels that of being obese. You can end up developing a complex and not feeling comfortable while wearing revealing clothing. But don’t be alarmed, there is hope for you. Follow these five training tips and you can nip this in the bud right here and now.
1. Perform Compound Exercises
This needs to be at the top of the list because it is vitally important. When size is your goal, you want to activate as much muscle fiber as possible in your workouts. You are guaranteed to do that by way of compound exercises.
Compound exercises activate multiple joints and work multiple muscles at the same time. The more muscle groups you recruit, the more apt you are to add slabs of muscle to your frame. Make sure you regularly perform exercises like bench presses, military presses, back rows, deadlifts and squats.
2. Lift Maximal Weights
You really don’t think you can bulk up by lifting sissy weights do ya? This is actually where compound exercises come in handy too. They allow you to lift heavier weights because you are recruiting multiple muscles.
Aim for a load that you can only lift for five or six reps, and do multiple sets. Performing heavy compound exercises will also cause your body to release a high amount of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, which are key for muscle building.
3. Take Longer Rest Breaks
When you are hoisting heavy loads, you want to make sure you are fully rested between sets. If you are gas’d, you will not be able to go as hard or lift as much weight. There is no real formula to follow as to the perfect amount of rest, but I will say this much. If you cannot do a set with 90% quality or better, you need to rest longer.
4. Execute Proper Form
You never want to shortchange your form when you’re a hardgainer. It’s important to move through a full range of motion and forcefully contract your focus muscles. Never rely on momentum to move a bar or dumbbells and make sure to breathe properly. Breathing alone will enable you to move through a range of motion with more finesse.
Take a big deep breath before you do a rep and exhale through the entire duration of exertion. For example, inhale as you lower a bar toward your chest on a bench press and exhale as you push it back up.
5. Avoid Long Cardio Workouts
A lot of “experts” will tell you to steer clear of cardio altogether if you are a hardgainer, but I disagree. I would say stay away from long cardio bouts, but not short, highly intense ones. Believe it or not, high-intensity cardio, such as sprint intervals, can boost your muscle mass. Much like doing heavy weight training, high-intensity cardio bouts boost levels of HGH and testosterone, which can boost your muscle building efforts.
Keep your workouts short though. Start with a five minute warmup, and then do 10 to 15 sprints with short rest breaks in between.
There you have it. Take these tips with you to the gym and try them on for size. Throughout this journey, realize that gaining weight takes patience and dedication. Don’t expect to have results overnight or you will be disappointed.
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