Hardgainer Bodybuilding and Weightlifting FAQ

A hardgainer is usually a person who is not genetically disposed to adding muscle. Doing high volume training is simply not going to work for the hardgainer. Hard-gainers need specific guidance on how to add muscle which we will try to cover in answering a few frequently asked questions by at least 60% of the gym going population, who consider themselves hard-gainers.

Question One: How do I know if I am a hard-gainer?

It depends on wrist and ankle size but if you have not had any results and you are sure you're not overtraining then you need to know that hard-gainers have a diminished capacity for exercise generally. This means that you need to train less often, overtraining is very common with hard-gainers.

Question Two: What is overtraining?

Overtraining is when your body does not get enough time to fully recuperate from your last workout. There are many key symptoms of overtraining that any hard-gainer should always be looking out for. Higher than normal pulse rate when resting, ill more often, reduced immunity, twitching eyelids, muscle spasms, hands shaking, loss of sleep and appetite, unexplained fatigue etc.

Question Three: What exercises should a hard-gainer do?

To put it simply the big four only three times a week so you get 48 hours rest before the next workout. The big four compound movements will increase the amount of muscle you have on your frame are Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press and Military or overhead presses. These should also include seated rowing, pull-ups and dips.

Question Four: How often should I train?

If you are training hard and intense then attacking the same body-part three times a week will simply land up in overtraining if you are a hard-gainer. Rather split your workout in two and train it on different days so that you get 48 hours rest from each workout but still can train each muscle group twice a week.

Question Five: How many sets and reps should a hard-gainer do?

Although we should always cycle the sets and reps that we do, it can be generally stated that a hard-gainer should not do more than 8 heavy sets in the same workout. If you are doing lots of reps with a light weight then you should limit your sets to 10 and no more.

A hard-gainer should reduce the volume in order to get better results. The experts who advise hard-gainers say that 10 to 30 sets every week only using 4 to 8 different movements is sufficient.

Question Six: What does a typical hard-gainer workout look like?

Squat or deadlift 2x20
Stiff-legged deadlift 1x10
Bench-press or D/B press 2x6
D/B Rows, chins or B/B rows 2x8
Shoulder Press 1x6
Calf Raises 1x15
Arm Curls 1x6
Lying Triceps extension 1X6

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