If there is one person who is most responsible for the resurgence of “abbreviated routines”, aimed primarily at those with fair metabolisms and genetics, it is Stuart McRobert. His books “Brawn” and “Beyond Brawn” are must-haves for your weight training library, as they comprise some of the clearest and most commonsensical knowledge and hype-free training advice ever written on the subject.
His routines are particularly aimed at those who have a hard time gaining weight, so-called “hard-gainers” . The major premise in most of his writing is that the vast majority of trainers simply do not have the recovery ability to train full-time, year round, on the typical routines we see in muscle magazines (which McRobert alleges are typically written by and for those with genetic advantages or chemically enhanced).
Those routines, McRobert maintains, will either be ineffective or eventually induce injury if one structures their training around them. He is also a promoter of: abbreviated training, progressive resistance, sleep and recovery, compound exercises, free weights.
Stuart McRobert’s Minimalist Hardgainer Routines:
The following are templates suggested by McRobert which the individual can use as a base for structuring their training routines. Most of these routines are done 2-3 times a week and anywhere from 2-4 working sets per exercise are to be done, not counting warmup sets.
Another good approach might be to do your warmup sets, then 3 sets of 5 for strength followed by some “down sets” of 2-3 sets of 15 reps with 50% of your 1 rep max for hypertrophy – before moving on to the next movement.
Template 1 – Full-body-routine program
General warmup a. Squat b. Parallel bar dips c. Stif-legged deadlift d. Dumbbell press e. Pulldowns or pullups f. Barbell curl g. Calf work h. Crunch situps Cool down Repeat workout one 2-3 days later.
Template 2 – Twice-a-week divided program
b. Bench press or parallel bar dip
c. Pulldown or prone rows
d. Calf work
e. Back extension
f. Crunch situps
g. Grip work
a. Sumo deadlift or stiff-legged deadlift
b. Overhead press
d. Side bend
e. Neck work
f. Lying L-fly (rotator cuff)
Template 3 – Three-days-a-week divided program
b. Stiff-legged deadlift
a. Calf work
b. Crunch situp
c. Grip work
d. Side bends
f. Neck work
g. Lying L-fly (rotator cuff)
a. Bench press
b. Overhead press
Template 4 – Super-abbreviated program
b. Parallel bar dips
c. Prone rows
a. Trap Bar deadlift
b. Bench press or incline press
c. Pullup (or chin)
Repeat workout one 2-3 days later.
Template 5 – Abbreviated Push Pull
a. Deadlift or Deadlift variant
b. Chin-up/Pull-up or Pull-down
c. Military Press