Name: Jaco De Bruyn
Occupation: WBFF pro muscle model
You're not building someone else's body in the gym—you're building yours. So why are you blindly following someone else's program? If you're not factoring in your own shape, size, body type, and history, I can almost guarantee you're not achieving the results you deserve.
Take me: I'm a genetic ectomorph—aka a "hardgainer"—and it took me time to figure out how to solve the riddle of adding size. For instance, I can say from experience that training full-body workouts 2-3 times a week simply doesn't work for me. If I lift only occasionally—even with serious intensity—I won't grow.
So what was my answer? Cyclical training! I rotate my exercises, sets, and rep ranges between hypertrophy and strength on two-week rotations. The different speeds and rep ranges help me hit the full range of muscle fibers and maximize all of the mechanisms for muscle growth, while having adequate rest time to grow and recover between my workouts.
It may sound complicated, but trust me: It isn't. You can do this! Here's what you need to know.
Two Weeks, Two Approaches
The basic split doesn't change over the course of your two weeks. You hit one body part per week and simply alternate the emphasis every week, focusing on hypertrophy one week and then strength the next.
In the first week, expect a slightly higher rep range than you may be familiar with. The plan here is to boost your training volume, which will cause muscular damage and metabolic stress, two of the three major mechanisms of muscle growth. During this time, really focus on feeling the burn, getting a crazy pump, and inflicting as much damage as possible to the muscle in sets of 12, 15, and even 20 reps.
In the second week, you work in a slightly lower rep range for maximum muscle tension, the other factor involved in muscle growth. There is still plenty of volume during this week, but I arrange much of it in pyramid sets, where the reps decrease and the weight increases.
I don't use pyramid sets for all muscle groups, though. While I'll use it for chest, shoulders, and hamstrings, I keep my reps at around 12 in straight sets for my arms and quads, even on the tension week. However, I still boost the weight as much as I can from the volume week, even for bodybuilding movements like triceps push-downs.
Arms Training Triceps Heavy
Watch the video - 00:20
Cycle back and forth between these two approaches, and you can break out of the hardgainer hole.