Weight Gain Program


I’m looking for a program to help a client gain weight. He loses weight easily, even without cardio, but he’s very strong and wants to increase 10 pounds of muscle mass.


It’s difficult to give a truly individualized approach with such limited information, but I do have some suggestions that should help. Before we dive into the training component, let’s quickly review other factors that are crucial to your client’s success.


It goes without saying that in order to gain weight, you must consume more calories than you expend. From experience, I have found that hard-gainers need at least 7 meals a day consumed every 2 to 2½ hours to put on weight, and 8 meals is preferable. Anything less than 7 meals and they will not make any considerable progress. Of course, it’s difficult to consume that many solid meals every day. That’s where liquid nutrition comes in handy. In fact, alternating between solid and liquid meals will help maintain stable blood sugar levels and stimulate appetite.


For those seeking size, try branched-chain amino acids (20 to 40 grams) during your workout; creatine (5 to 10 grams), colostrum (5 to 30 grams), whey protein isolate (40 to 60 grams) and high glycemic carbs (as much as 200 grams) post workout. Take digestive enzymes with your meals and liver tablets between meals. Yes, you read that last one right! Dr. Eric Serrano considers liver one of his biggest secrets for weight gain. However, you need to take as many as 8 to 12 tablets between meals for maximum effect. Do that during the day, and you should add at least 2 more pounds of muscle just from this tip alone!


Those who live a more regimented lifestyle will achieve greater success. If your client smokes, takes drugs, drinks alcohol and stays out late partying, he’ll have a hard time putting on any appreciable mass. For example, marijuana and alcohol are known to suppress testosterone levels, which will hamper any anabolic response. Sleep is also crucial. To improve quality of sleep, one should go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. To increase the quantity, encourage a short nap when possible. Ideally, naps should be taken approximately 8 hours upon awakening and should be for no longer than 45 to 60 minutes to avoid entering REM stage, which will adversely affect your sleep that night.


Obviously, aerobic work is not recommended for this client. Furthermore, any recreational activity, such as skiing, ball hockey, martial arts, and so on, should be limited when trying to increase muscle mass. You indicate that your client is very strong. Most trainers will use typical hypertrophy parameters to encourage size gains with their clients (usually 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps on just about every exercise for just about every program). That’s a mistake! Eventually, you will need to inject intensity into their routine to prompt muscle mass increases. Take advantage of your client’s strength and tap into high-threshold motor units by performing many sets of low repetitions with heavy weights. Remember, these fast-twitch fibers have a greater propensity for size gains. The key is to perform a sufficient time under tension using such high loads, and the way to accomplish that is with many sets.

Exercise Program to Encourage Both Size and Strength Gains

Intensive Phase

 Day Exercise Loading Parameters *
 Day 1 – Chest & Back Incline Barbell Press 6 x 7,5,3,7,5,3 @ 50X0, 120s ↑ load 2nd wave
 Sternum Chin-Ups 6 x 7,5,3,7,5,3 @ 50X0, 120s ↑ load 2nd wave
 Decline Dumbbell Press 4 x 6-8 @ 4010, 90s
 One-Arm Cable Row 4 x 6-8 @ 4010, 90s
 Day 2 – Legs Snatch-Grip Deadlift 9 x 3,2,1,3,2,1,3,2,1 @ 32X0,
 ↑ load 2nd & 3rd
 Front Squat 5 x 4-6 @ 5010 120s
 Standing Leg Curls 5 x 4-6 @ 5010, 120s
 Day 3 – Off
 Day 4 – Arms Preacher EZ-Bar Reverse
 6 x 7,5,3,7,5,3 @ 50X0, 120s ↑ load 2nd wave
 Parallel-Bar Dips 6 x 7,5,3,7,5,3 @ 50X0, 120s ↑ load 2nd wave
 Seated Hammer Curl 4 x 6-8 @ 4010, 90s
 Decline Dumbbell Rotary
 Triceps Extension
 4 x 6-8 @ 4010, 90s
 Day 5 – Off

* Note: Refer to A Universal Language For Strength Training for help with the loading parameters.

Follow this intensive phase with an extensive phase where a greater volume of work is performed. Charles Poliquin’s German Volume Training, Rob Thoburn’s “The Standard” program and Vince Gironda’s famous 8×8 routine are all excellent options, but I would favor a routine that uses greater loads for your client. Enter George Turner’s Huge Program. Below is a modified version that should work quite well for your client and will complement the routine I outlined above. Believe me, this one’s a killer!

Extensive Phase

 Day Exercise Loading Parameters
 Day 1 – Chest & Back Bench Press 10 x 10 @ 4020, 90s ↓ 10 lb every 2 sets
 Wide-Grip Pull-Ups 10 x 10 @ 4020, 90s ↓ load every 2 sets
 Day 2 – Legs Full Squats 6 x 10 @ 4020, 90s
 Lying Leg Curls 6 x 8 @ 4010, 90s
 Standing Calf Raise 10 x 10 @ 2010, 30s ↓ load every 2 sets
 Bent-Knee Deadlifts 6 x 6 @ 3110, 150s ↑ load each set
 Day 3 – Off
 Day 4 – Delts & Arms Seated Dumbbell Press 8 x 10 @ 4020, 120s
 Seated Dumbbell Curls 8 x 8 @ 4010, 60s
 Lying EZ-Bar Triceps
 8 x 12 @ 3010, 60s
 Day 5 – Off

Each routine consists of 5-day cycles to be performed 6 times for a total of 30 days each.

You’ll notice the following:

  • Both routines are lacking direct abdominal work. Not to worry since the abdominals will be heavily recruited as stabilizers when performing exercises such as pull ups, squats, dips, deadlifts, etc.
  • The intensive phase seems to be missing exercises for the deltoids, forearms and calves; however, these have all been taken into consideration. The delts, for example, are stressed quite heavily on days 1 and 4 between all the presses, chin ups, rows and dips. The same applies to the forearms, especially when you add deadlifts and direct upper arm work. And finally, EMG analysis by Bompa shows that the standing leg curl (80% iEMG max) actually recruits the gastrocnemius more than the standing two-leg calf raise (68%).
  • Use repetition maximum (RM) loads in both routines. During the intensive phase, your client may actually get stronger on the second wave (due to a phenomenon termed postactivation potentiation), and thus, he should use greater loads. During the extensive phase, using RM loads will cause fatigue, and it’s not uncommon to lose a rep or two each set. To accommodate this, decrease the load every second set so the bench press may look like this:

    Set 1: 225 x 10 Set 3: 215 x 10 Set 5: 205 x 10 Set 7: 195 x 10 Set 9: 185 x 10 Set 2: 225 x 9 Set 4: 215 x 9 Set 6: 205 x 9 Set 8: 195 x 8 Set 10: 185 x 8
    As you can see, the load has been dropped by 10 pounds every other set, but you may need to adjust this depending on your client’s needs. If performance drops by 3 or more reps from one set to the next, then terminate this exercise for the day. Continuing on at this point would be counterproductive.

In the future, when time permits, consider implementing a double or even triple split routine where your client trains multiple times a day. For now, these suggestions should help your client gain that 10 pounds of muscle in no time.

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed with the ID 2 found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.