A Hardgainer’s Rules For Faster Muscle Growth
Harness the real-world strength benefits of this 3-part training plan

May 9, 2016

Trevor Thieme 

Harness the real-world strength benefits of this 3-part training plan. You’ll pile on muscle and build a never-say-die cardio engine. Do each of the workouts below once a week for a month. Perform the exercises as a circuit, moving from one to the next without rest. Once you complete all the moves, rest 2 minutes. That’s 1 circuit. Do 3. Begin and end every workout with 10 minutes of foam-rolling.

 Hardgainer’s rules for faster growth

Eat more

Sounds simple, but it’s hard to get right. Aim for six meals a day consisting of 40% protein, 35% carbs and 25% good fats.

Harness the combination of creatine and caffeine

The first is essential for muscle growth and recovery, the second provides the energy needed to lift heavier for longer.

Shake it up

Protein shakes offer plenty of workout nutrition, and they’re easy to take.



  • Turkish Getup
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Decline Sit-Up
  • Skipping
  • Farmers Walk


  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Offset Suitcase Deadlift
  • Decline Sit-Up
  • Walking Lunge
  • Wall Toss


  • Pull-Up
  • Pike Push-Up
  • Decline Sit-Up
  • Walking Lunge
  • Wall Toss


 Turkish Getup

Lie with your left leg bent, right arm out to your side, and a kettlebell in your left hand above your chest. Roll onto your right forearm. Straighten your right arm, raise your hips, and thread your right leg behind your left so you’re half kneeling. Stand up; reverse the move. Switch sides and repeat. Do 1 per side.

Turkish getupTurkish getup 2

Kettlebell Swing

Set a kettlebell on the floor. Spread your feet, push your hips back, and grab the handle. Swing the weight between your legs and then up to chest level, thrusting your hips. Swing it back between your legs. That’s 1 rep; do 10.

Kettlebell swing


Hold the handles of a skipping rope and stand with your arms at your sides and the rope on the floor behind you. Swing it over your head and down toward your feet. Jump on the balls of your feet. Land softly, never letting your heels touch down. Continue for 60 seconds.


Decline Sit-Up

Lie with your back on a decline bench with your legs secured in the footrests and fingertips behind your ears. Raise your torso off the bench. Pause at the top; then return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep; do 20.

Decline situp

Farmers Walk

Grab a pair of kettlebells (each half your body weight) and let them hang naturally at your sides. Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, walk forward for 45 metres and then turn around and walk back.

Farmers walk

Offset Suitcase Deadlift

Holding a kettlebell in your right hand, stand with your right foot forward and left heel off the floor. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until the weight is ankle high. Pause, and rise back up. Do 12 reps, switch sides and repeat.

Offset Suitcase Deadlift


Grab a pull-up bar using an overhand grip that’s slightly beyond shoulder-width, and hang at arm’s length. Pull your chest to the bar, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pause, then slowly lower your body back to the starting position. Do 5 reps.


Walking Lunge

Hold a kettlebell in each hand. Brace your core and step forward with your left leg, lowering your body into a lunge. (Your right knee should almost touch the floor.) That’s 1 rep. Stand and immediately repeat with your right leg. Alternate legs so you’re “walking”. Do 20 reps (10 per leg).

Walking lunge

Shoulder Press

Stand tall, holding a kettlebell just outside your shoulder with your opposite arm extended to the side. Brace your core and push the weight directly above your shoulder. Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Do 5 reps, switch sides and repeat.

Shoulder press

Pike Push-Up

Assume a downwardfacing-dog position: feet together, arms straight and hips raised. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your forehead nearly touches the floor. Push yourself back up to the start. Do 5 reps. Too easy? Try it with your feet on a bench.

Pike push-up

Wall Toss 

Stand with your right side a metre from a wall and your feet slightly beyond shoulder-width. Hold a medicine ball straight out in front of your chest. Rotate left and then quickly right, tossing the ball into the wall. Catch it. Keep tossing and catching for a total of 7 reps. Switch sides and repeat.

Wall Toss