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The Hardgainers Soultion to Size and Strength

Updated on June 29, 2015

Weight Training

Keep the exercises simple, compound and heavy. This routine has been inspired by Pavel Tsatsouline's Bear Routine found in his groundbreaking book, Power to the People, Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American .

Day 1: Squats and Pullovers

Day 2: Presses and Dips

Day 3: Deadlifts and Pull Ups

For each of these drills, spend your first sessions determining your 1 repetition maximum. Perform a single repetition, take a break, come back, add 5-15 pounds and do another. Continue, with help from a spotter until you can not perform 1 repetition. Once you've determined your 1 RM, reduce that number by 15%. So if your 1RM Squat was 225, 85% of that is 192. Round the number to the nearest 5 pound incrament, which here is 190.

Your first session will look like this:

Squat: 1 set of 5 at 190lbs. Rest 3-5 minutes. 1 set of 5 at 90% of 190 (170 lbs). Rest 3-5 minutes. Now perform as many sets of 5 at 80% of 190 (150 lbs) with good form until you can not get another set of 5 while resting 1-2 minutes between sets.


You're training for volume and strength. The size will come.

After Squats, perform 5 sets of 6-8 pullovers with a weight you can comfortably handle. Take one or two days off and then come back for session two.

Your second session should look something like this:

I would recommended a high incline dumbbell bench press, but you can choose any press you want. 1 set of 5 at 15% less your 1RM. Rest 3-5 minutes. 1 set of 5 at 90% of the first set. 3-5 minutes rest. Then just as before, as many sets of 80% of the starting weight in good form.

After the press, go hit the dip bars for 5 sets of ALMOST as many reps as you can do with good form.

Session 3 will be just like 1 and 2.

Next time you go in for session 1, try to add 5 - 10 pounds to each lift. For the Squat example, your first set would have been 190 x 5 reps. Next time around, start at 195 or 200 for a set of 5 and then do 90% of that for the second set. Follow? If you can't get all five in a row, work with that weight until you can. Do a triple then a double. Just make sure to get 5 reps with that weight, but do not move up in weight until you can get all 5 in a row.

This program will set you up to pack on some pounds as long as your diet is solid.


Eat a lot and eat well.

  • Make sure to eat or have a protein shake right before bed, right after waking up, and right before and after training.
  • After training go have a big protein shake right away and then eat a big meal with in 90 minutes of that.
  • Make sure you're eating every 3 hours or so.


  • Whey Protein before and after training. Casein protein before bed. A little bit of both in the morning. Whey is fast digesting, Casein is slow to digest, meaning you'll get a nice flow of muscle rebuilding nutients while you sleep.
  • ZMA. This will naturally support your male hormones. Good for muscle building. Take it before bed.
  • Multi-Vitamin, Antioxidant. With meals.
  • Vitamin-C. 1000-2000 mgs before training. Helps with lactic acid.
  • IF and only IF the above is not producing the size you want, try Creatine Monohydrate.


If you can't get 8-10 hours of good quality sleep, you will not see the gains. Your body repairs itself during sleep. Make sure you're getting enough.


Drink a lot of it.


 I'll be happy to answer any questions you might have.  Please leave your question in the comment section and we can begin a dialoge....


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    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 2 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      @Marker - not sure I understand the question - can you elaborate?

    • profile image

      marker 2 years ago

      did hand practice effect you wieght means lose or gain?

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 5 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Ardie, happy to help! Your man is welcome to contact me with any questions!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      David, this Hub answers just what I wanted to know! Thank you so much for pointing it out to me. Im going to send this link to the man in my life who needs to *ahem* add a little meat to them bones.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 5 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      The purpose of this program is to put on size and build strength. Muscle doesn't grow at the gym, it grows when you are at rest. I say try this for a couple weeks and if you're recovering well and growing turn up the training frequency but anytime you feel like the gains are slowing, sometimes more rest, food and recovery might be the way to go!

    • dwelburn profile image

      David 5 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Sounds like a great routine. Trouble is I prefer to train a movement every 4 or 5 days (i.e. three times every two weeks) rather than once per week. Any suggestions for this. I like the brief routines though; the longer ones wear you out too much.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Thanks bojanglesk8, glad you liked it!

    • bojanglesk8 profile image

      bojanglesk8 7 years ago

      Nice article.

    • David R Bradley profile image

      David R Bradley 7 years ago from The Active Side of Infinity

      Thanks. The top guy is Frank Zane, he was Mr. Olympia from 77-79 and the bottom guy is Anthony Ellis, Body for Life winner. Both hardgainers.