#4. Forget About Isolation Exercises
This, of course, is closely related to the “lift heavy” segment of this list. Since you’re supposed to train with heavy loads and low reps, isolation moves don’t deserve a place in your routine which should only consist of multi-joint, compound lifts. Isolation exercises are generally perceived as totally worthless for the hard gainer.
THE TRUTH: Are you a powerlifter? No, because your primary goal is to get bigger. Then why are you trying to train like one? Compound lifts offer great advantages, but if you only stick to them because they allow you to lift heavy weights for low reps, you’ve taken the wrong route. Also, there are some highly effective isolation lifts than can help improve your physique and you should make the most of them. Try adding exercises such as barbell curls, triceps extensions, calf raises and lateral raises to your routine for better results.
#5. Don’t Train to Failure
Here’s the logic: if a hard gainer frequently trains to failure, they will inevitable overload their CNS to the point where it becomes impossible to recover from the previous session, thereby increasing the risk of muscle loss. This, of course, comes from the belief that all ectomorphs have a terribly low threshold for exercise and poor recovery abilities, so they should never engage in this type of training.
THE TRUTH: Failure represents the point where you can no longer lift the weight through a full range of motion. That translates into a higher degree of muscle damage, and a greater potential for muscle growth, if followed by an adequate recovery phase. Since hard gainers desperately want to build more mass, they should absolutely incorporate training to failure into their program in a smart way that won’t lead to a burnout.
#6. High Intensity Is Too Much Intensity
Yet another myth stemming from the belief that ectomorphs have a ridiculously poor recovery abilities. It is commonly thought that skinny guys should stay away from most forms of high intensity training if they want to enhance better recovery and reap better mass gains.
THE TRUTH: Ectomorphs are human, just like everyone else. And one universal truth about human bodies of all shapes and sizes is that they are incredibly adaptive and require powerful stimulus in order for significant changes to happen. The training response you know as hypertrophy happens when you expose your body to exercise-induced stress. And the greater the stress, the greater the stimulus for super-compensation, aka growth. The only trick here is in finding your sweet spot in terms of intensity that will produce the greatest potential for size gains.
#7. Stuff Yourself With Food 24/7
The biggest and meanest ectomorph myth of them all is that in order to make progress, you must eat anything and everything all day long. Ectomorphs have a difficulty gaining weight and little risk of storing excess body fat, so to most guys out there this sounds like a very reasonable advice. This is supposed to be the one wonderful thing about being a hard gainer – you get to eat whatever you want, whenever you want to. And then some more!
THE TRUTH: Ectomorph or not, you are what you eat. That means that the quality of the food you eat matters and you’re not doing yourself a favor by eating huge amounts of fried fatty junk, over-processed foods and sugar every day. Just like the rest of us, you need to focus on getting your macros in order to grow, as well as stay lean and healthy. That means an adequate combination of sources of high quality protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and dietary fiber. Stuffing yourself with the wrong foods will reduce your body’s ability to function properly in the long run, as well as fail to provide the essential nutrients required for growth.
This is only a part of the silly, untrue messages directed at ectomorphs every day. Combined together, they still manage to push a lot of ectomorphs into a constant fear of ruining their chances for muscle growth and force them to train in ways that don’t encourage optimal progress. The next time someone tries to teach you that training less often with less intensity and variety and eating all that you want is your only road to an impressive physique, remember that those advices are based on stereotypes and distortions to reality that are supposed to make you feel inferior. You are much more capable for muscle growth thank you think, so it’s time to stop fearing your so-called anomalies and transform them into your biggest strengths.
Good luck and don’t forget to share your experiences and opinions with us – we’d love to hear about it!