Thank you for the replies. So from a quick read I gather:
The Big 5 are - squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press and chin-ups? 1 set 8-12 reps to failure (or 3 sets?)
He needs to eat tons (primal/paleo and high fat) and preferably higher carb (Gorski- pizza what??)post work out?
How many times to lift a week? Any cardio at all?
Cardio-wise, as is the standard recommendation here, sprinting is the best option. It actually stimulates growth hormone production.
I would keep the routine as basic as possible, and just use a few compound movements, with progression in terms of weight used as the primary goal. You will hear people argue until the cows come home about ideal rep number and number of sets etc.
The bottom line is that as long as he doesn't overtrain, which he won't if he can add weight to the bar each week, then he will gain weight and muscle on many different programs. But simple is always best. 3-5 exercises for reps betwen 5 and 12 (his choice) done for 3-5 sets 2 or 3 times a week.
BUT, it all comes down to eating enough if he is a real hardgainer which it sounds like he is. Best advice is for him to eat as much as he possibly can, with high carbs, including junk food, after training. And add in some blended drinks of full fat milk with added mik powder, bananas, eggs and anything else he can force down.
And keep at it for a year!
Three words- squats and milk.
Old-school mass gain program that will make you strong and stands the test of time.
20 rep squats, 3x/wk
Add a couple (two) of assistance lifts, ideally a press and a pull each workout.
Get 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
He will get big.
Or die. They don't call them widowmakers for nothing. He should be sure to do these in a power cage, as he will go down in the hole at some point and not be able to come back up.
Good primer here:
Bodybuilding.com - 20-Rep Squats: The Brutal Path To Massive Gains!
I don't know if there is a better way to gain mass without use of anabolic drugs...
"The problem with quoting someone on the Internet is, you never know if it's legit" - Abraham Lincoln
No on the cardio! An ecto trying to put on muscle does not need to be running or anything like that. It will only make it all but impossible.