If you haven't already done so, including a few sets of heavy barbell squats into your weight training routine each week is perhaps one of the best things you can possibly do. Why? Simply because there's no other exercise that is more important for building muscle mass (except maybe Deadlifts).
Doing squats properly gives you the potential to pack on huge amounts of muscle mass onto your body. They are by far the most important leg exercise you can do, yet their benefits don't stop at the legs.
Many people regard squats as the single most effective exercise for muscle gain, because of the overall growth that results from doing them. Squats don't just pack muscle onto your legs, your entire upper body will benefit from them as well.
How will squats affect upper body? Well, since barbell squats (or dumbbell squats) requires a lot of strength and energy to perform due to their high level of difficulty, they force your body to release more amounts of vital anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. This enables you to pack muscle mass onto the whole of your upper body as well as your legs.
This means that by doing squats you will see an increase in strength all over your body. For example, including squats into your weekly routine will increase the amount of weight you can bench press almost instantly. Pretty useful if you ask me!
So why is it that so many people don't include squats in their workouts? Since they are such a difficult, uncomfortable and painful exercise to perform, people will do anything to avoid them.
There are a lot of reasons out there that stop people performing squats, but I really should call them myths because that's what they are. Excuses such as "they are dangerous to me knees" or "they are dangerous to the heart" are just that, excuses.
Squats are only dangerous when performed with improper form. So if you get the technique down right, then you're set for amazing muscle mass gains all over your body.
If you're not already squatting, why not start now. You'll be glad you did in a few weeks or so when you notice the great benefits from doing them.
Learn to perform barbell squats the correct way with our article:
How To Do Squats: Proper Squat Technique.
Forget whatever you've been doing until now, getting little to no strength and muscle gains, and start anew on the right foot with a logically-structured, science-based, results-focused mass gain program:
Option A: Design Your Own Effective Program ($)
Learn all the crucial basics, principles and over-arching strategies you need to know about planning the best well-balanced, science-based, all-natural mass building program for your specific goal and workout/diet preferences with our pillar 7-step comprehensive guide for beginner lifters and future heros.
Option B: Follow An Existing Pre-Made Program ($$)
To save time having to research and plan the best muscle building program for your specific goals as a hardgainer/skinny-guy/skinny-fat-dad-bod/whatever, there are some excellent step-by-step programs out there for hardgainers that's been proven to create transformations in other guys. This is how I got my start as well, and if I hadn't initially found a good program online I know for a fact that I would have never got the dramatic 1st and 2nd year mass gain results that I got.
Option C: Find a Good In-Person Trainer ($$$)
I personally don't do 1-on-1 training with clients for various reasons (mainly 'cause I run a business which takes up all of my time, and plus I travel a lot which isn't ideal for training people), but if you have the money to spend on this (PTs can quickly add up in costs) and you care about getting results then ensure they understand the science behind muscle gain, fat burning, supplementation, nutrition, etc, and most importantly pick one who practices what they preach and has similar results to what you want (and if you're a hardgainer, ideally you'll want a trainer who was once a hardgainer themselves and managed to build muscle successfully otherwise they may not understand the best course of action for you or worst-case they'll falsely tell you that you can't build the physique of your dreams; don't listen).
Whichever path you take, if you're a hardgainer/skinny noob who's a little sceptical that you can actually build the strong and muscular physique that you know would change your life - remember this: no matter what anyone tells you, your destiny is 100% in your own hands despite where you may be starting from. Don't fall victim to the illusion that being a hardgainer or [insert excuse] will hold you back, as smart strategies and persistence will always win in the end.
To your success,
Mad-Scientist of Hardgainer-to-Hero Transformations for 12 Years & Counting
Last and Definitely Least: Certified Fitness Instructor