If you’re a hardgainer, it means that you have trouble gaining muscle easily. As the name implies, you have a hard time gaining muscle. And some people may have trouble gaining any muscle at all – that is unless they start doing things the right way. If gains don’t happen, there are always reasons for that. Hardgainer genetics are a reason for why you may not build muscle as quickly and as massively as the few people who have exceptional genetics for bodybuilding. But genetics alone are not the reason if your problem is that you’re not gaining any muscle at all.
If you’re not making any gains at all over a long period of time it usually comes down to either lazyness or to you making crucial mistakes that turn muscle building from a challenging (but definitely doable) task into an impossible one. It doesn’t have to be like that and it shouldn’t be like that at all. Chances are you’re not lazy or unmotivated, quite the opposite. You know the value of working out hard, of hitting the gym regularly. And of eating a healthy and nutritious diet that is rich in animal protein. But there is one big lesson here that you must learn if you want to succeed in the quest of building your body and getting an impressive, healthy physique.
And it’s this:
It’s not enough to work “hard“. It’s even more important to work smart. Because hard work alone will get you nowhere if it is misdirected. So if you want to succeed you must get the basics right first. And do you know what the most basic thing about your training is?
It’s not workout day frequency. It’s not the number of sets and reps. Not rep speed. And not your diet and supplementation. And certainly not even genetics. It’s all about the exercises that you do. Doing the right ones – and ditching the wrong ones for good – will make such a big difference that you will never want to look back.
So what are the best exercises, especially for hardgainers like you? It’s the compound, multi-joint movements that work the most amount of muscle simultaneously at any given time.
These are basically:
- Bench Presses
- Overhead Presses
- Barbell or Dumbbell Rows
- Pullups or Chin-ups
These exercises activate more muscles and more muscle fibers at the same time than isolation exercises (like leg curls or lateral raises) do. You will therefore be able to do more work in the same amount of time. You will be able to move more weight and focus all the energy that you direct into the target musculature more efficiently.
You can’t do lateral raises with 90-pound dumbbells, so to say. But you can easily move that weight in the overhead press. This is what will make all the difference. The overhead press (or military press, which is a very similar exercise) works all the three deltoid muscles at the same time. And it allows you to use much more weight than if you were to work every muscle on its own. And there is another reason why hard gainers are better off using compound movements first and foremost. Buildthemuscle shows that the only people who are able to build muscle on a workout program made up of lots of different isolation exercises (as in training every muscle isolated from each other) are those who have either exceptional genetics for muscle building, or those who take steroids – or both.
Drug-free hardgainers cannot afford such “luxury”. They cannot do lots of different isolation exercises, spend hours in the gym and do tedious one-bodypart-per-day split routines. They have to conserve and properly apply their training energy and focus it as much and as best as possible. This is where compound movements come into the picture.
So the key is to choose the right exercises. Because if you choose the wrong ones, no amout of hard work you put in could ever compensate for that mistake.