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Reprinted with permission from HARDGAINER issue #61, July-August 1999
Finding out how much exercise you need and not how much your body can stand is still the biggest problem most weight trainees have failed to understand. In the last week two HARDGAINER readers have been in touch with me. Both were doing workouts that "would kill a horse" if done in the way "you must" in order to gain strength and size. On top of that they were doing way too much cardio work. One of them said that his workout takes him two hours to complete. If you’re a hard gainer, then working out for two hours will wear you out. The strongest man in the history of The Pit is Kelvin Hayes. Kelvin has been drug tested many times, both lie detector and urine. Plus I’ve watched his gains over the years and it’s evident to me that he has never used drugs. Though Kelvin is not a hard gainer, if he trained the way of the two hardgainer readers who contacted me, then he would probably think he was a hard gainer. Kelvin has a 804 squat, 500 bench press and 695 deadlift. At this stage, Kelvin never does cardio work. He could do a little, but very little, as it would cost him strength. Twenty minutes twice a week would be a max. But he does none. How does Kelvin train? Over the years that I’ve seen him lift, he has had two basic movements for his upper body, and they are the bench press and a high incline. At times he has done other work, but his down-to-business movements are the bench and high incline, done with 8 reps and a couple of work sets. He also does deadlifts, squats and leg presses. Other than that, nothing else is even worth the mention. And remember, this is the amount of exercise that does the job for Kelvin. This is already less than most hard gainers use. If Kelvin can get the job done with so little exercise (but done hard), then hard gainers don’t need more exercise. About fifteen years ago I trained a teenager called Dan Turpen. Dan was very gifted, with great muscle shape, good looks, and tougher than nails. Dan would work as hard as anyone I’d ever seen. I made it my business to see he worked hard, and I would have a good man training with him when I could, to get the best out of Dan. One such man was Jeff Sellers, Strength Coach at The University of Evansville. Jeff told me, "Every time I worked with Dan I got sick," such was the intensity Dan worked with. Anyway, Dan went on to win the Teenage Mr. USA and along the way he attracted some writers and people from the bodybuilding scene. One such writer asked me about Dan’s program at the time. When I gave him the program--an abbreviated one, of course--the writer looked at it with horror, and proceeded to tell me he would put in the magazine that Dan was working out three days on and one off, which was nothing but a lie.