Ultra extreme hardgainer
by Frustrated lifter
Question: Besides saying “quit training,” what would you say to someone who has been training for 10 years and made NO progress whatsoever, and during those ten years they've used super abbreviated routines to volume, from low volume high frequency to higher volume less frequency, and any other combination of training methods using compound movements? Oh, and did I mention I've used steroids and had many hormone tests with no indication anything is abnormal? Interested to hear your thoughts.
Answer: Yikes, quit training immediately and turn to skateboarding!
Seriously, you've touched on a lot here and I'll try to address the overall concern: No progress after 10 years.
Believe it or not, I didn't make much progress for over 20 years! Everybody's different, so what worked for me may not work for you. But it could get you on the right track.
It's all about bio-feedback. If something worked, tweak it a bit to improve. If something didn't work, change things up a bit and see if you can't make some progress.
It sounds like you're doing all the typical “hardgainer” things – short workouts, compound movements, varying your volume and frequency…
I will say this: If you're not gaining weight, which I assume you haven't, you simply aren't eating enough. Add 500 calories to your day. You can do this quite easily by adding a glass of whole milk to each of your 3 “main” meals.
If after adding 500 calories to your diet, you don't see any weight gain, double up.
I suggest that you stick to any program you try for 6 weeks, then evaluate progress.
I know for much of my 20+ years of horrible “progress” that I jumped from one system to another.
I'd suggest you take a look at a guide I wrote, Hardgainer's Manifesto.
One last thing I'd suggest is to try to find a copy of the book co-written by Robert Kennedy and Vince Gironda, called Unleashing the Wild Physique.
It's out of print and if you can find it for sale, you'll find it at a very high price, so I suggest you find a friend you can borrow it from. There are a LOT of awesome tips in there that are specifically productive for hardgainers.
I borrowed many of the tips and techniques in that book to build what eventually became Hardgainer's Manifesto.
Hope this helps!