Big Advice 1

Most people are hardgainers, who struggle to add every pound of muscle. Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler are from a lucky but tiny group of genetic superiors, but of course, both Coleman and Cutler did go from medium to large (although the transition occurred many moons ago). More important, they know how a hardgainer can grow. No, they don’t struggle like you, but the same rules apply, whether you weigh 130 or 310. Furthermore, the bigger a bodybuilder is, the more often he’s asked by someone like you, “How do I get bigger?” so we let five massive pros serve up their answers. Here are some of the largest of the supersized and their advice to you on how to get growing.


Big Advice Ruhl

“I like to do one main exercise, one I know really works for me for each bodypart from experience. The other exercises I’ll change, but the main lifts always stay the same. It may take some time to find what works best for you, but when you do, you should always emphasize that. My main lifts are Smith machine incline presses for chest, front pulldowns for back, Smith machine front presses for shoulders, dumbbell shrugs for traps, hack squats for quads, lying leg curls for hamstrings, standing calf raises for calves, dumbbell curls for biceps and lying dumbbell extensions for triceps.”



Big Advice Cutler

“There’s no one answer for how the average person can get bigger, but I think the thing that’s most overlooked is recovery. Have a strategy for recovery the same way you have one for training and one for eating. That means making sure you get enough quality sleep at night and naps during the day, if you can. That means including other things like deep tissue massage, yoga and stretching — all of which are part of my recovery strategy. And it also means you don’t work a bodypart until it has fully recovered from the last workout.”

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Big Advice Gunter

“The secret of muscle growth, I discovered, is in feeling the muscle work. Most of the time, I don’t know how many reps I’ve done, because I’m thinking only of how the muscle is working. Instead of thinking about completing a given number of reps with the heaviest weight possible, I slow my movements and flex the muscle through a full range of motion until it will no longer twitch. I used to train for poundages, but as soon as I started training for feeling, almost overnight I began to notice improvements in growth and hardness.”



Big Advice Coleman

“Stay consistent. That’s the number-one thing I tell beginners. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. Don’t make it too complicated. Stick to the basics in your training and your diet, and then just do it day in and day out. It ain’t easy. If it was, a lot more people would look like Mr. Olympia. You have to be the best you can be, and the only way to do that is hard work. I like when I get a hard workout and it’s 100 degrees in here [MetroFlex Gym in Arlington, Texas], because I know nobody else is going through what I’m going through. You got to look at it the same way I do. When it’s hard and you want to take it easy, keep on going, and come back the next day, and keep coming back. You don’t always need to change things. If you’re already doing the right things, you just need to keep doing them over and over. It might not be easy, but you’ll make gains if you stay consistent.”



Big Advice Dennis James

“Compound exercises [those that involve more than one bodypart] have always been at the core of my routines. I think they build more muscle faster, because you’re able to use more weight. Part of the reason why my chest and shoulders are so thick is that I’ve always done a lot of pressing movements — overhead presses with a barbell or dumbbells for shoulders and bench and incline presses for chest. The other key thing you need to have is good genetics, but, of course, you can’t do anything about that. Whether or not you have good genes, train heavy during the basic lifts, like squats, barbell rows and bench presses.”