SPECIFIC TRAINING FOR HARD GAINERS
Did you ever get the urge to kill a Mr. America?
Many fellows have -- and their reason, whether or not they care to admit it to themselves, was envy. They worked and worked and worked until they were utterly fed up with themselves, and as the years rolled by they wondered why they -- unlike the topnotch physiques they saw in the magazines, didn't blossom into Greek Statues. It is, we must be honest, quite a discouraging thing to train long hours and to reap very little for one's efforts. But actually, in the majority of instances, it's the trainee's own fault. He is, to put it very bluntly, a "hard gainer," and is mistakenly trying to build up on schedules geared for more naturally athletic and bigger boned bodybuilders.
If you're a hard gainer, face it. There's no point in deluding your self about your own physical structure or its potentialities. Unquestionably, you can make terrific progress -- but not on Casey Viator's training schedule! You need to tailor your routines to your individual needs if you want to acquire muscularity, power and good shape. And if you'll honestly give the routines we're going to outline this month -- and the advice -- a determined try, you'll make it. You'll make it even if you've got the build of Whistler's Mother. Just don't let yourself be sidetracked into following any Mr. Universe routines you see published, because -- at this point, anyway -- that would be suicide for your progress.
Please go over this list of DO's very carefully:
1) DO employ only a few heavy, basic exercises in your workouts. Squats, Bench Presses, Rows, Presses, etc. This is what will build you up.
2) DO use relatively few repetitions in every set that you employ. Between 4 and 8 reps (depending on which exercise you're doing), is about right.
3) DO use a weight that calls for a maximum output of strength during every set you do. The last rep in each set ought to be an exceedingly difficult -- almost impossible -- effort. Force the last rep.
4) DO keep your workouts brief. Nobody, nobody, NOBODY desiring to gain and guild up ought to spend more than 1.5 hours -- tops! -- on a workout.
5) DO train your whole body at each workout. Forget you ever heard about split routines.
6) DO limit your training sessions to three a week. If you do more, then don't expect to gain.
7) DO use a fairly high number of sets (between 3 and 5) for each exercise. This will provide a thorough amount of stimulation, and will adequately tire the muscles, without exhausting them.
8) DO strive to conserve energy. You need all of your stamina and energy. Work until you're comfortably tired -- then stop. One of the reasons you've found gaining so difficult is no doubt partly due to the fact that you've over-consumed your available resources. This means that you've been doing so much that your body can't rebuild what you have broken down.
9) DO employ the breathing squat method whenever you do squats in your routine. Take 2 to 5 deep breaths between each squat rep.
And now, burn these DON'T's into your cranium:
1) DON'T neglect a well balanced diet. Drink whole milk daily.
2) DON'T neglect your sleep.
3) DON'T switch routines around constantly.
4) DON'T worry about your progress (or anything else, if you can help it).
5) DON'T participate in any other physically demanding activities while you're trying to gain.
If you think these points are too fundamental, I want to know if you've actually been following these "fundamental" rules. I guarantee -- without knowing you -- that adherence to these rules will insure your success. And I also know that, if you are not gaining -- that you HAVE NOT been following these rules. Otherwise, you would have been succeeding all this time.
You can find out for yourself how effective this advice is simply by following it.
Now, for some sample routines.
1) Press Behind Neck - 5 sets of 4 reps.
2) Squat - 3 sets of 8.
3) Power Clean - 5 x 4.
4) Bentover Row - 4 x 8.
You cannot properly work on those exercises without making progress. DO THE WORKOUT EXACTLY AS IT IS WRITTEN, and follow the DO and DON'T list above.
Don't add "just a couple of sets of curls", or "go a little easy on the last set of rows" because you've "done enough." DO WHAT'S THERE. No more, no less. And don't add any more exercises.
There is a very common misunderstanding about what and how much constitutes a good routine. Actually, very few exercises are required for a good workout, and it's a serious (albeit common) error to believe that the more you do, the harder you're working. Usually, the reverse is true. Only exceptional men can do justice to a prolonged schedule that consists of, say a dozen or more exercises done in multiple hard sets. The very vast majority of trainees (including those with considerable experience and development) build up better, faster and more permanently on brief, but VERY SEVERE workouts. And a severe workout could easily consist of ONE exercise -- like a squat, the clean and jerk, the deadlift or the snatch. Paul Anderson's training consisted of -- predominantly -- only two exercises, the squat and the press. Several good movements, worked to their limit, are all a trainee needs. When the trainee spreads his effort thinner over a long and flashy routine, the results tend to be thinner, too.
Here are a few more sample routines:
Note -- where I've indicated that several sets are to done with a certain number of reps, and then another two sets are to follow (or another one set), YOU DO NOT CHANGE THE POUNDAGE. The shifting emphasis on required reps is to enable the trainee to complete this very rugged schedule in good style throughout. The weights you use should be so heavy that a rest period of several minutes -- or even seven or eight minutes -- is necessary. It should take a STRONG man about an hour to go through any one of the routines, assuming that he employs HEAVY ENOUGH RESISTANCE. Lesser mortals, like you and I, will require between one and one-and-a-half fours to complete a workout. Also give strong effort to the STYLE OF PERFORMANCE and CONCENTRATION OF EFFORT that you use.
Now, the routines . . .
1) Strict Press, taken from racks - 5 sets of 4 reps. (use the same weight).
2) Bentover Row - 3 x 6, then 2 x 4 (same weight throughout, the same weight for the 4's as for the 6's).
3) Squat - 5 x 4. (same . . . you guessed it!).
4) Deadlift - 5 x 3 (use a weight so heavy that every single rep is "doubtful".)
1) Seated Press Behind Neck - 3 x 6, then 2 x 3 (same weight throughout).
2) Power Clean - 5 x 4.
3) Bench Press - 3 x 5, then 2 x 2 (same weight throughout).
4) Squat - 4 x 3, then 1 x 6 (same weight throughout, breathe and force reps on the last set).
1) Jerk Behind Neck, taken from racks - 5 x 3.
2) Stiff-Legged Deadlift - 5 x 8.
3) Bent Arm Pullover (limit weight) - 4 x 3, then 1 x 6 (same weight throughout).
4) Squat - 4 x 4.