The HIT hardgainer workout makes massive gains in just 15minutes a day.

High Intensity training has been around since the early years of strength training, being made especially popular in the 1970’s by Mike Mentzer. Mike was controversial in his training approach and stressed that training sessions had to be as brief, infrequent and intense as possible in order to obtain the best results in the shortest possible time, sometimes advocating a 6 minute leg workout and only 15 minutes on the upper body. HIT hardgainer workout routines have now become established as one of the many weapons in a bodybuilder’s arsenal for gaining maximum mass in the shortest possible time.

These workouts were also meant to be far more infrequent than a normal split routine. But how do we define infrequent? How often can we work out and still get great gains? The answer lies in how you manipulate your routine so that you can be training very briefly, very intensely but yet still get into the gym 3-4 times a week without overtraining and burning out. A standard HIT training regimen involves working the entire body over one training session then taking several days off before hitting the entire body again at the next session.

A hardgainer workout HIT routine might look something like the following with only one set performed per exercise with 8-10 reps:

  1. Squat/Leg Press or Deadlifts
  2. Pullover
  3. Military (or DB) Shoulder Press
  4. Seated lat rows
  5. Bench Press or DB press
  6. Biceps Curl or Hammer curl
  7. Triceps Extension
  8. Regular Chin-up
  9. Parallel Dip
  10. Calf Raise
  11. Abdominal Crunches

Typically you would perform a routine like this on, say, Monday and then follow it up with the same routine on Thursday. Many trainees have also opted to change to a 2 day split program where by half the body is worked on Monday and then the other half on Thursday. This gives more recuperation time for each muscle group and allows for the elimination of some of the overlap involved with doing the whole body routine. This type of splitting is fine as long as the volume is kept very low, somewhere around 12-15 sets per workout or about 30 sets total for the week. This is definitely enough work IF you are taking each set to failure, a practice that true HIT devotees take very seriously indeed.

With that in mind why is it that most hardgainer workout HIT trainees assume that this is the only way to train? What stops them from further dividing their program? After pondering this thought for some time I decided that I had to try it out. With the above listed routine in mind I began tearing it down into several workouts of 2-3 exercises each. Since the volume would be very low I decided I could afford to pick all the best exercises and incorporate them all into the schedule while still making sure there was very little overlap between days of training. With that much in mind here’s the routine I recommend:


    1. Deadlift 1 x 20 (5 seconds rest after each rep)
    2. Shrugs (DB or bar) 1 x 10
    3. Chins 2 x 6-8


        1. Bench Press (DB or Bar) 2 x 4-6
        2. Shoulder press (DB or bar) 1 x 10
        3. Lateral raise 1 x 15


            1. Squats 2 x 4-6
            2. Leg curls 1 x 15
            3. Calf Raises (seated or standing) 2 x 15


                1. Close Grip Bench lockouts 1 x 6-8
                2. Pushdowns 1 x 10
                3. Barbell curls 1 x 10
                4. Incline Dumbell curls 1 x 6-8
                5. Crunches 2 x 15

                  That’s the entire routine. Each day’s training takes no more than 15 minutes IF you are training intensely. I could usually complete my workout in about 10 minutes. With this in mind I can honestly say there is not a single soul out there who can’t manage to get the body that they crave.

                  Obviously even on the most rigid of schedules there is a way to get in some kick ass training and build some solid muscle. Sometimes bodybuilding is about finding a routine that matches your lifestyle as much as it suits your goals. Massive muscles in 15 minutes a day and less than 20 sets per week — Who can argue with that?

                  Important notes for hardgainer workout HIT training:

                  1. Training intensely under a HIT regime involves slow reps (2 seconds down, 2 seconds up) with perfect form to complete failure. Rest between reps as long as necessary to complete the full set.
                  2. It is important to note that many people still passionately debate long after Mike Mentzers death the actual number of sets, with many trainers advocating 1-2 lighter warm up sets, to get the ‘mind to muscle’ link working properly, followed by the intense and serious super slow final set.
                  3. Taking each set to failure is used to describe, taking your last rep to total failure, this means that however hard you push or pull you cannot achieve another repetition. If you are truly going to failure and in the event of certain exercises, like the squat or Bench press, you would need a spotter to prevent the bar crushing you, unless of course you had the use of a power rack. If you want a true ‘total failure’ set, then you would ’strip the bar’.

                  This is done as follows; say your heaviest bench press is 100 kilos (40kg on each side + 20kg for the bar) for 10 reps. You would load the bar up with 10kg plates on each side (40kg total). As soon as you cannot squeeze out another rep, you would immediately put the bar in the rack and remove 10kg from each side and lift again to failure. At this point again you would immediately put the bar in the rack and remove 10kg from each side. You would keep doing this until you are just literally able to lift the bar itself. Done properly for something like squats you would probably need crutches to walk out of the gym, your legs so exhausted that they’d need at least a full week to recover.

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