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Hardgainer Muscle Building, Part 3: Training!

Hardgainers need not worry any longer. Part 3 of this 4-part series covers training for real muscle building. Try it and leave your skinny past behind.

In the previous two parts of this series of articles, I covered my plan for gaining mass through nutrition and supplementation. Now we finally hit the gym.

I am going to cover the training aspect of how I went from a 17-year-old teenager that weighed 125 pounds to weighing more than 200 pounds today. To change your body the way you are hoping to, the training is not going to be easy. Do not take this lightly.

Have A Spotter

When you get to the gym, I recommend getting a partner. I had to spend time finding a spotter because I didn't have a partner to keep me motivated and to help spot me. It got frustrating after a while.

A partner or spotter can ensure you will be safe when lifting heavy and can help you critique your form while training. The extra person will go a long way in helping you and increase your chances of success.

Use spotter to ensure you will be safe when lifting.

Speak To Your Physician

Remember when I advised for you to go talk to your doctor about taking the supplements in the last section. Well, while you are there you might as well talk about training too.

This article covers what I did, and what worked for me may not work for you. You may not be able to do what I did because of some condition you may have or prior injuries you may have suffered.

I know you read it all the time and it appears as only legal type, but you seriously need to see your physician to ensure you can take on a strenuous program.

The Training Philosophy

In the research I did before I started training, which consisted of many books and magazines because hadn't existed yet, I found one common theory about building muscle: compound movements work.

Bench press, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and dips all play a big part in gaining quality mass and strength. If you are looking for that secret that no one seems to know about that magically help bodybuilders get so huge, you can quit looking now, I tried for years. There is no secret program and it isn't that complicated.

I broke up my program into a 3-day split. Monday was chest and back, Wednesday was legs and abs, and Friday was shoulders and arms. I only went to the gym three days per week because rest was absolutely crucial in gaining mass and strength. Training the way you are going to is going to tear the body down.

Seated bent-over rear delt raise

You want to go in, get it done, and get out so you can rest. Rest equals recovery. I rested 90-120 seconds between sets. Since I had to walk to the gym and back, the walk to the gym was my warm-up.

A few minutes on the treadmill and the jog back was the cardio I did afterwards to keep in shape and prevent gaining too much body fat.

Roger Lockridge's Sample Workout

Here is an example of what I did each day of the week in the gym. I would stick to the plan for 4-to-6 weeks and then change the exercises up.

The only things that stayed consistent were that I used the compound movements. As the reps decrease, I add weight. This is known as pyramid training.

Monday: Chest And Back

Warm-Up: 10-minute walk
Cardio: 20 minutes
Wednesday: Legs And Abs

Warm-Up: 10-minute walk
Cardio: 10 minutes
Friday: Shoulders And Arms

Warm-Up: 10-minute walk
Cardio: 20 minutes

Although the compound movements are the ones you want to focus on, do not neglect the isolation movements. Isolation movements are great to help get extra blood flow into the muscle you are training.

Do not neglect the cardio at the end of the workout either. There is a notion by most hardgainers that you should stay away from cardio because it burns calories. I feel that the cardio is just as important as the resistance training. At the end of the day, this is about being in great overall shape, not just getting big.

Include dumbbell press

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Stretch And Flex In Between Sets: During that minute and a half to two minutes in between sets, flex the muscle you are training. Stretching helps keep the muscles from cramping. Flexing the muscle helps you get a deeper contraction of the muscle fiber and keeps blood in to help enhance the pump.

Do Not Sacrifice Form To Lift Heavier: I can't emphasize this enough. I know you want the big numbers and honestly I can't blame you. But you will not get bigger and stronger sitting at the house nursing an injury. The heavier weights will come with time.

Be Patient: This is not a process that is going to happen overnight. You are literally trying to change your physique. You are trying to add something to your body that was not originally there. Take it one day at a time. As long as you don't rush it, the results you desire will come.

Be Polite To Others, But Stay On Task: I am not saying do not acknowledge anyone that says hi to you. It doesn't hurt to smile and ask how someone is, but at the end of the day, you are in the gym to do work. That gym is your office from the time you walk in to the time you walk out. If you do not stay focused on what you need to do, your chances of meeting your goals decrease.

Leg press

If You Are Sick, Stay Home: Your immune system is too busy fighting off whatever it is you are suffering from. Going to the gym is going to do more harm than good. Wait until you are better before going back to face the iron.

Keep Track Of Your Progress: I had to use a training log, and honestly it is OK to have a basic notebook and pen. Nowadays, though, there is this great tool that has called BodySpace. You can get a BodySpace account for free and keep track of everything there.


We have now covered nutrition, supplementation and training. There is one aspect left that I will go over to help you gain mass. Motivation is just as important as the other aspects in my humble opinion. I will share the tips, tricks and strategies that kept me going when I wasn't sure I wanted to.

If you have any questions about any of the articles or just want to share your thoughts and comments, email me at You can also pay me a visit at my BodySpace profile.

Main | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4