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Get Big – Gain Weight – Build Muscle – Weight Training Rules For the Hard Gainer
When I started working out I was absolutely desperate to get big, gain weight and build muscle.
I had been training for a while when the gym owner said to me: ”when you stand sideways on me, you look almost invisible”
It was like I had been punched in the gut. I had taken all the wind out of me. Getting bigger and building muscle was almost a matter of life and death for me!
I had broken my back in this gym without much to show for my efforts and I could do without smart comments from my ‘wise ass’ gym owner. The guy had been taking my money for about two years and the least he could do was encourage me or offer me some tips.
I managed to stay focused on what I needed to do and was fortunate enough to come across an article that suggested another way of weight training for skinny hardgainers.
What I read made sense to me, so I thought I’d give it a try.
It worked. I started to grow. I got bigger, gained weight and started building muscle. I was on the way to transforming my pencil neck 126 lb frame.
It became clear that hardgainers, like me, who were probably blown away by a strong gust of wind, had to adopt different training principles and train according to a different set of rules.
I had to discover this through a long process of trial and error. You have the opportunity to avoid this process and achieve your goals of gaining weight and building muscle in the shortest possible time.
All you have to do is follow a number of weight training rules for the hardgainer, so here goes…
Rule #1. Don’t spend too much time in the gym
Don’t waste your time and energy in the gym with a lot of high volume work consisting of a large number of sets and repetitions.
Your routine should be short and intense. Heavier weights for fewer sets and each done to the max. Don’t waste time and energy goofing around with your friends, or checking on the babies.
You should also remember that lifting and pushing weights is a calorie-intensive activity. As a skinny dude, you don’t have the calories to waste.
You have to get in the gym, do what you have to do, then get the hell out.
Rule #2. Concentrate on compound movements.
Don’t waste your time and energy on isolation movements.
I’ve seen too many hardgainers spend hours in the gym doing moves like bench flies, lateral raises, concentration curls, triceps kickbacks, leg extensions, cable crossovers, etc.
Of course, these exercises can be a lot of fun to do, but one thing is for sure, they won’t help you get big, gain weight, or build muscle.
Your routine should be based on compound movements that encourage your body and muscles to grow. These are movements that involve more than one joint action and thus activate more than one muscle group.
Movements such as the bench press, power cleans, overhead presses, bent over rows, deadlifts and squats.
These exercises, using free weights, are taxing and require full focus and concentration, but I guarantee that if you stick with them, you’ll soon be waving ‘adios’ to your lean hard gainer frame.
Rule #3. Get plenty of rest
You’ve been to the gym, put yourself through a short intense workout based on the compound movements.
Now you need to make sure that you get enough rest and sleep. This means that you are not partying all night with your friends or spending your downtime from the gym doing other sports or activities such as playing soccer, running, etc.
The work you do in the gym encourages your muscles to grow. The actual growth happens when you are away from the gym, once you have recovered from your workouts.
To help and speed up the recovery, you will need a lot of rest and sleep.
This means that you do not spend downtime from the gym on other sports and activities such as playing football, running, etc.
Additionally, too many late nights out partying with your friends will mean you miss out on too much sleep. And one thing you need enough to grow, gain weight, and build muscle is plenty of restful, quality sleep.
Rule # 4. Get Plenty Of Food
You’re getting plenty of rest and sleep now, so you need to make sure you’re eating enough food and quality nutrients to fuel your muscle growth.
You will need to eat much more and much better than the average person. Your diet should consist of a lot of complex carbohydrates, proteins, a reasonable amount of fat, especially the omega 3 & 6 variety and fruits and vegetables.
Getting a lot of food is not enough. It should be healthy food!
You should aim to eat every three hours or so. The idea is to keep your blood sugar level and nutrient level consistently high throughout the day. That means your muscles always have the fuel available. Lack of fuel will be disastrous because your body will go into a catabolic state. This means your body cannibalizes muscle tissue for energy. The same muscle tissue that you are so desperate to gain and that you don’t have enough of in the first place!
Rule # 5. Don’t do too much cardio
Don’t let the trainer in your gym, or some know it all mesomorph or fat endomorph, convince you that you need to do a lot of cardio to keep the fat away.
Hell, you’re a hard gainer, and if you’re anything like me or the rest of us skinny dudes, you couldn’t get fat even if you tried.
You have a metabolic rate that is faster than Usain Bolt and your problem is not one of spending calories, but of storing them.
Too much cardio will lead to excess calorie expenditure and short-circuit your goal of getting big, gaining weight and building muscle.
If you feel like you need to do some cardio, I would suggest no more than 15-20 minutes of low intensity each workout. I personally prefer to do my short cardio session along with stretching as part of my warm up before hitting the iron in the weight room.
You should not underestimate the importance of a good warm-up. Warmed up muscles work much more efficiently and also reduces the chance of injuries that can keep you out of the gym for weeks.
I’ve been weight training for over 20 years and don’t remember a bad injury ever keeping me away from the gym.
Rule # 6. Train Hard With Good Technique
It’s simple, really. To get big and build muscle you need to use heavy weights. Preferably free weights, not resistance machines.
However, this should not be at the sacrifice of good technique.
Of course you have to train hard, but it is equally important that you can perform the movements/exercises well, with good technique.
I’m sure you’ve seen the idiots at the gym loading the bar with ridiculous amounts of weight. So much weight on the bench press that they are barely able to bring the bar halfway down the chest. So much weight on the bar, doing barbell curls, they end up arching their back so much, you find that the back of their head is liable to hit the gym floor.
To fully stimulate the exercised muscle, you need to put it through a full range of motion. To build muscle you need to use heavy weights while maintaining good technique and going through the full range of motion of the exercise.
To bulk up, gain weight and build muscle, six weight training rules are paramount for the lean hard gainer:
Don’t spend too much time in the gym, focus on compound movements, make sure you get enough rest and enough food, don’t do too much cardio and use heavy weights with good technique.
If you can stick to these rules, your skinny hard gainer frame will soon be a thing of the past when you start building a physique to envy, full of plates of shredded muscles.
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