Bradley J. Steiner’s 1988 Hardgainer Program

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Interesting the term ‘hard gainer’ appears less and less in everyday gym use these days. Whereas previously whole bodybuilding industries were built on the term, the modern gym goer sees it as just one more phrase amongst several.

Nonetheless, the fascination that previous physical culturists had with ‘hard gainers’ provides us with a wealth of training programmes and worthwhile advice. This is especially the case regarding today’s programme from Bradley J. Steiner.

For the unaware, Steiner was one of the foremost training writers of the 1970s and 1980s in America. Detailing everything from bodybuilding to basic maintenance, Steiner was revered for his common sense, sage wisdom and general good demeanour. In a world dominated by ‘mass monsters‘, Steiner stressed overall development from his trainees. Both physical and mental.

The programme given below is dedicated towards the ‘worst-case’ hardgainer. The trainee for whom many routines have come and gone. As simple as it is effective, the routine will certainly be of interest to beginners and advanced trainees alike.

The Basic Hardgainer Programme

To be performed two to three times a week:

  • Dumbbell Swing 1 set x 15 reps
  • Press Behind the Neck 2 sets x 10 reps… first set should be fairly easy, second struggle to finish. Add weight every two weeks
  • Barbell Curls 1 set x 10 reps
  • Wide Grip Bench Press 2 sets x 10 reps… first set should be fairly easy, second struggle to finish. Add weight every two weeks
  • Barbell Bent Over Row 2 sets x 10 reps… same weight on both sets….increase every two weeks
  • Squat 1 sets x 18-20 reps, then 12 reps…These sets will be tough. Keep going and grind out the reps
  • Supersetted with Pullovers with Bar (never exceeding 30 pounds) 2 sets x 20 reps
  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts 1 x 15 reps

Interested in knowing more? Post a comment below.

In the meantime, happy training!

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