3 Tips for People Who Can’t Put on Weight

For some people, gaining weight can be just as hard or harder than loosing weight. Being someone who has had trouble gaining weight while bulking in the past,  I’d like to give a few tips to hard gainers on how to put on mass.

Track Your Calories/Macronutrients

One of the biggest reasons people have trouble gaining weight is because they’re simply not eating enough. By tracking your calories and macros, you’ll be certain that you’re hitting the correct amount of calories everyday. I’m going to eventually make a post specifically on counting calories/macros, but for the simplicity of this post I’ll just briefly explain how you can find out how many calories you should be eating during a gaining phase. You’re first going to want to find out what your maintenance calories are. You can do this by multiplying your current weight by 14-16. So if you weighed 180 pounds, 180 x 14 would be 2520 and 180 x 16 would be 2880. Your maintenance calories would be somewhere between 2520-2880 calories. If your a more active individual who for example, does construction for a living, you would go with the higher number. If throughout the day you are spending most of your time in an office then you would go with the 2520 calories. This number you just calculated would be around how many calories you would need to eat just to maintain your body weight. For the the start of a bulk, I would add around 300 calories to your maintenance number and make sure your hitting that number of calories consistently everyday.

Eat Calorically Dense Foods

When I began my first bulk I reached a point where I had to consume 3,100 calories daily. For me, it was very difficult to eat this high volume of food, until I started eating foods that were calorically dense. Foods like nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, and avocados are helped me to hit my daily caloric requirements while bulking. Any foods that are higher in fat (try to look for unsaturated fats) are going to naturally be dense in calories because fat is the most calorically dense macronutrient (1 gram of fat=9 calories). When your eating foods that are higher in fat, the volume of food your eating will not be as overwhelming and thus it will be easier to hit your calories each day.

Get Enough Sleep/Rest

Let’s say that you’re training hard, eating enough food, but you’re still having trouble gaining weight. It could be cause your simply not resting your body or getting enough sleep. You should be getting around 7-8 hours of sleep every night. While you sleep, your HGH (human growth hormone) levels are at their highest and this hormone is directly responsible for muscle growth. I also recommend taking around 1-2 days a week off from weight training to let your body recover. If your training every day and you notice your not making gains or your not gaining weight, try adding a rest day into your training split.

 

Goblet Squats: The Perfect Accessory Leg Exercise

Whether your focus is on strength or hypotrophy, squats have been a keystone exercise in building strong, muscular legs. While you’ve probably heard of back squats, front squats, and maybe hack squats, not too many people are aware of the goblet squat.

Top Position
Bottom Position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see in the picture above, the goblet squat are a variation of the front squat. Goblet squats are normally done by squatting between your legs with either a dumbbell or kettlebell held at your chest. I say that the goblet squat is the perfect accessory leg exercise because it’s readily available in almost every gym setting and it’s easy to set up. Barbell squats, whether it be a front squat or a back squat, are not always practical if you’re in a rush or if there isn’t a squat rack open. There are many different ways to throw goblet squats into your leg workout.

Warm Up Exercise

The goblet squat is a great exercise to use as a warm up because they activate the muscles that will be used for later leg movements like the back squat. You can do this by using very light weight and higher reps to get your legs warmed up.

Super Sets

I personally love super setting my straight leg deadlifts or light squats with goblet squats. After I finish my set of squats or deadlifts, I will go to over to the dumbbells and do a set of 10-15 goblet squats. Because it is a relatively quick exercise to setup and perform, I think it’s great for super sets. It can be done with any number of exercises; leg press, quad extensions, hamstring curls, etc.

Hypotrophy

I think goblet squats are also a great exercise for your physical leg development as well. Because the goblet squat isn’t usually focused on using very heavy weight, it’s great for the hypotrophy of your legs, especially your quadriceps. I attribute a massive amount of my leg development and the “tear drop” of my quads to doing many sets of goblet squats.

Great for Beginners

The goblet squat is also a great exercise for beginners because the form is so easy to master. Along with this, doing goblet squats forces you to tighten your upper back and core, which is necessary when doing regular squats. By doing goblet squats, you put yourself in the position to be able to squat heavier weights with good form.

5 Ways to Increase Your Bench Press

The bench press has been the golden exercise among gym bros for ages. When in the gym, the most commonly asked question is, “How much can you bench?” While some of the weaker lifters shy away from answering this question, there are those who carry their bench press max with them like it’s their second name. Today I will be writing about 5 easy ways to increase your bench press.

1. Bench More Frequently

One of the biggest problems for people who have trouble strengthening their bench press is that they simply do not bench enough. If you are serious about increasing your max, I recommend benching 2-3 times a week. The more you perform a movement, the better your muscles improve in completing that movement. If you are benching 2-3 times a week, your form is going to improve and you are going to get stronger as a result of the higher volume of training that your body is now experiencing.

2. Lower Your Reps

Higher reps has its place in training if your focusing on hypotrophy of a muscle, however, lowering your reps will put a focus on increasing your strength. Doing sets of 8-15 reps is going to do little to increase your 1 rep max on the bench. Focusing on sets of 3-5 reps is optimal for increasing your max. By doing a low amount of reps you’ll be able to do more weight during each set. To put it this into perspective, instead of doing 3 sets of 8-10 reps with 205, you could now be doing 5 sets of of 5 reps with 245. The total volume used with these two set schemes is about the same, however, with the 5×5 you’re using more weight.

3. Integrate Alternative Exercises into Your Workouts

There are tons of alternative and supporting exercises that will strengthen your bench press.

The dumbbell press (flat, incline, or decline) is a great supporting exercise to the bench press:

Incline Dumbbell Press (Bottom Position)
Incline Dumbbell Press (Top Position)

You can also throw in incline or decline barbell presses:

Incline Barbell Press (Bottom Position)
Incline Barbell Press (Top Position)

Floor presses allow you to completely focus on your your upper body to press the weight because you will not be able to drive through your legs. The floor press is also great for strengthening your lockout because of the limited range of motion involved in this exercise.

Floor Press (Bottom Position)
Floor Press (Top Position)

4. Try Doing Negatives

In case any of the gym bros reading this don’t know what a negative is, it’s where you bring the bar down very slowly (I normally like to count 5 seconds on the way down) and then explode on the way back up. I wouldn’t recommend doing negatives every time you bench because they do fry your central nervous system and leave you exhausted, but they are a great exercise to throw in at the end of a bench session or workout every so often.

5. Focus on Your Form

I think I’m going to eventually make a separate post going into more detail on bench press form, but for the simplicity of this post I’ll just briefly explain some of the key components of proper form. Since the purpose of this article is to increase your one rep max, I’m going to briefly explain the the powerlifting setup for the bench press.

Slide under the bar until it is just above where your pecs meet your upper abdominal muscles. Pull your feet back closer to your hips so that your toes are just touching the ground and your heels are raised. Tuck your shoulder blades together and raise your lower back so that you create an arch with your body. Your butt should still maintain contact with the bench and shouldn’t come off throughout any part of the movement. Here’s a picture of what this setup should look like: