Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Hardgainer's Body Building Handbook: Workouts, Nutrition, and Results Paperback – March 8, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
About the Author
HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and fitness expert with ten years of bodybuilding experience. he resides in Clearwater, Florida. He is the coauthor of the hugely popular Body Sculpting Bible book series.
Top customer reviews
-Exercises are well described and illustrated with caveats to avoid and variations.
-A well organized plan for exercising.
-Lots of editing mistakes
-Using almost the same exercises over and over seems boring and counter productive
-The book recommends you to limit your exercies to one hour yet the workout routines at a minimum contains 14 exercises of 2 sets each even for the beginner. With one minute rest between each exercise and one minute for performing the exercise and moving/changing plates/waiting for the rack to empty/etc at the very minimum that's already an hour (especially that exercises are superset so you will be doing a lot of moving around). Add warmup set to that and you've got a lot more than you anticipated.
-Selection of exercises do not mention which exercises targets which muscles (i.e. only chest/back/shoulders). I would prefer mentioning what parts of the delts or which part of the chest.
-Follows from the previous point also the author says "You can replace with another exercise .." but doesn't tell you which exercise can be replaced with which. We know that not all chest exercise are created equal. Not enough information on that.
-No mention of warmup. For example in the breakin routine which is supposedly for beginners, the book specifies 2 sets of 10 for most exercises. Now I can't imagine going straight ahead to the gym doing 2 sets of each exercise with a heavy weight that only allows 10 reps. Definitely that's the shortest way to injury and soreness. Also as you do the first set of 10 without prior warmup , the second set will be easier and you can increase the weight. So is that the goal? just doing 10 reps of whatever you can? not enough on that.
-No mention of stretches prior or after workout. And given that warmup is not mentioned either, it seems it was just neglected rather than being intentionally designed out of the program.
-The book website forums are almost ignored, no questions answered any recently, and sending email to the author doesn't seem to make any replies back.
I found the book easy to follow, and although there were some obvious errors and generalizations with this book, I felt the book was focused enough for me. The strength of the book was its focus on the workout routines and individual exercises. It provided an explanation of the different program "phases" the reader is supposed to go through. The program includes a volume training phase, muscle-growth phase, strength training phase, and an active recovery phase (not in that sequence). Each phase is preceded by an explanation of what the goal is. In most if not all cases, the program involves workouts that use forms of superset exercises. The rest durations are clearly defined for each superset interval. I made my own spreadsheet of each workout in the book (used the same table format) and brought it with me to the gym.
The nutritional and supplement sections were interesting to read, but I felt that given my own dietary restrictions (type 1 diabetes), I would have to derive my own nutritional and supplement plans. Basically, I had to find a way to hit my calorie mark, but I could not consume all the carbohydrates that were prescribed.
So the workout began, and I gave this book my best effort. The book pushes you to never miss a workout, and it supported its recovery considerations by scheduling no more than two consecutive days of workouts... with each workout lasting no more than an hour. My consulting profession currently enables me to work at home a few days each week, and that gave me the ability to use the gym often at non-peak hours. I realize most people won't have this advantage, but it became essential, as the superset workout plans required that you have (basically reserved) two to three pieces of gym equipment. Try that during the busy periods at your gym. With the somewhat shorter rest periods (30-90 seconds in most cases), it was difficult to follow the superset schedule as written if someone needed to use equipment I had in my set. In any case, I went through all phases of the program, and with much effort, I never missed a workout. I even made it to an out of town gym while on vacation.
My results: I found that following this program did more for me than my previous "programs" or years of "winging it" in the gym. I definitely was more defined and built - but I did not put on the weight and mass that I thought I would. This may be because I had to eat fewer carbohydrates than the book prescribes, but I did manage to still get close to the calorie intake. I also used fish oil (omega 3) and protein supplements as the book prescribed. I believe that my results might have been better if the program I followed focused more on the heavier lifting with fewer reps, as I've done this since my program ended with good results. This is further proof to me that what works best for someone else may not be the best for me. Still, I found this program and its explanation of exercises very helpful, and it gave me the most success I have had in the gym.
I will also note that I contacted the author (Rivera) by his noted email address in early 2006. I asked him a question about my nutritional options, and he responded the next day. I was very impressed by this - especially since he was able to comment on my dietary limitations.
Overall, I believe this program (and book) would be a good one for a moderately experienced gymmer who has not found success with the standard 3 sets of 10 reps. The lighter weight, volume training phase did not work for me, but it might for you. I also believe that this program might be frustrating to those who work out at a busy gym. The program's supersets might be too difficult to pull off in a crowded gym with limited equipment. Still, I dedicated six or seven months to following this program, and I don't regret it.