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Best Hypertrophy Training Plan for Hardgainers?


For those that have struggled to gain size through a number of training programs/diets - what has worked the best overall for gains zzz?


eating more. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but the best routine in the world granted to you by the Dalai Lama and Arnold Schwarzenegger combined won’t do a damned thing if you’re not eating right


[quote]Yogi wrote:
eating more. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but the best routine in the world granted to you by the Dalai Lama and Arnold Schwarzenegger combined won’t do a damned thing if you’re not eating right[/quote]

On this note, the article currently on the front page may be of help.


There is no magic program. I understand the desire to find one, I spent a long time looking for one myself, but it doesn’t exist. My best advice is

A) choose programs designed by experienced coaches, that include some metric of measurable progress (this will usually be weight on the bar, but max rep sets, increased overall volume, shorter rest periods are all ok). Stick with a program for at least 6 weeks, and for as long as progress is occurring. Then switch to a new program that uses contrasting training variables.

B) Dial-in nutrition. This means counting calories / macros and tracking scale weight and bodyfat.


Assuming a caloric surplus.

In general, including an AMRAP burnout set has worked well whenever I’ve used one. Either strength work in the 3RM area then drop weight to do an AMRAP set of 12+, or strength work in the 5RM range with a final AMRAP set at the same weight.

I’ve done 20 rep squats in the past, and got some results, but I think the “do heavy stuff for a few reps, then do lighter stuff for a lot of reps” is a fairly effective formula.


I found training in 2 distinct cycles gave me my best results rather then sticking to just one method.

The first cycle would be a strength phase of mainly low rep high intensity training.
Now not every exercise has to be under 5 reps but it would be at the lower range for that given exercise. An example would be I wouldn’t go under 5 reps for dips as it would increase the chances of injury to my elbow or shoulder but I still would train at the lower rep end of whatever range I have set up.
Also most exercises would be ramped. Having said that I still may do another set with the top weight if I felt I still had more in me.
This cycle last about 6-8 weeks depending on how I feel and progress made.

Then I switch to a hypertrophy cycle which involves reps at the higher end. In that dips example that will now be out to around 10-12 reps. I’ll also use straight sets a lot more often and take the final set to failure or pretty damn close depending on the exercise. An example of this would be on my top set of Leg Press instead of doing just one all out set I’ll do 3 sets at same weight. The last set could even be a drop set.
This added volume is really when I started to see some progress. Again this phase will last for 6-8 weeks until I return back to a strength phase again. The start of each phase isn’t all out so it’s kind of a deload. This helps with not burning out.

The main factor though is hard gainers really must push themselves out of their comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of training to failure. Actually in a hypertrophy phase I take at least one set of each exercise to technical failure. That doesn’t mean I fail the lift as I found that wasn’t helpful. It’s more taking it to the point where you know you can’t get another rep.

As far as food goes if you’re skinny then you have to eat more. Simple as that. Easiest way of doing that is adding meals . So if 3 meals a day isn’t gaining weight then try 4 . Food choices are very important but there are plenty of articles on here that approach how to eat properly.


I actually found that the best plan was not over stressing this whole hard gainer thing

Just don’t think about it. Eat enough but I don’t like the 4000+ advices, you don’t need that much when you’re underweight. Shoot for 3000 solid calories and add a few gainer shakes if you want

No overall best program obviously but once again the best programs should be the ones when you don’t stress out thinking about how good/bad it is. Can’t tell that for you OP. I guess the only thing is focusing even more on the big compounds but don’t get into the “lift heavy only” thing as it may only lead you to never training above 6 reps which is the best way to go too heavy too often and break down technique.

Gotta do like everybody else from time to time, spending more TUT, trying to be better in all rep ranges on the big compounds, adjust weekly volume accordingly

The only good thing when you are naturally skinny is that you will never ever have to give a single f*k about cutting and that’s cool brah


Hammering the basics -being consistent with all the boring things like going to bed early and eating a ton of clean food for a sustained period of time


I used to think I was a hardgainer. Then, I followed the advice I received on these forums, started eating and sleeping more, and I went from 160 to 200 in 6 months, and can still throw down a 21 minute 3 mile. Weird how that works.


[quote]tontongg wrote:
I actually found that the best plan was not over stressing this whole hard gainer thing[/quote]


If you have an attitude that assumes you’re going to fail, guess what’s going to happen?


18-22x your lean body weight in calories. If you handle carbs well, a 30/50/20 macro ratio will work well. If not, a 40/40/20 ratio would be better. Once you get things moving, add or subtract 200kcal at a time to suit your goals.

Pick a strength program and a hypertrophy program you like and alternate them. Switch them every 6-12 weeks. If you find a weak spot in a lift, tweak the program accordingly.

It’s that easy.


Just for anyone who’s wondering, there is no BEST training plan. It should be based on your strengths and weaknesses, your recovery ability, etc. A good place to start, however, is with a compound movement for each day.

Also, I don’t know if I believe there’s actual hardgainers. Poliquin says that a number of people are low responders to weight training but besides that I think it’s a matter of nutrition, recovery, and proper training (again - compound movements).