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A Simple Guide To Building Muscle For Skinny Guys

November 05, 2020

With the obesity rate off the charts these days, the idea of how to build muscle for skinny guys is often lost in the shuffle. If you are one of these guys, you know first-hand how frustrating it is to be what’s known as a hardgainer.

Sure, you can lead a normal life and have few to no health problems, but it can be discomforting to be skinny when you’re at a beach, at a pool party, or changing in a locker room. But help is on the way. Use this guide to learn how to build muscle as a skinny guy and you’ll end up turning heads in your direction instead of away from it.

Calorie intake

Building muscle for skinny guys has to start with reviewing your diet. More importantly, the amount of calories you take in.

Here’s what you need to do. Find out your starting point and then add to it. Track your current daily intake for five days and add all the numbers together. Then divide by five and you have an average.

For the sake of ease, use this as an example. Let’s say you consume 2,500 calories every day for five days. This comes out at 12,500 calories. When you divide by five, you get 2,500, so that’s your starting point. Now add 500 calories to this. So your new daily average is 3,000. Aim for this amount every day.

Muscle building foods for skinny guys

It should stand to reason that you should choose quality foods when you are bulking up. It doesn’t matter how skinny you are, your body will rebel against you if you rely on pizza and doughnuts for fuel. You’ll end up feeling sick and tired all day long and you won’t make very much progress towards your goal.

Stick with the basics that Mother Nature put on this earth for you. These include lean meats, fish, whole grains, eggs, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tofu. Balance your meals with a portion of carbs, fat, and protein. A good balanced meal would be poached salmon with a side of wheat berries and Brussels sprouts.

If you’re looking for more information take a look at The 101 On How To Build Muscle or our other bodybuilding nutrition posts.

Perform compound exercises

Here’s another newsflash. You need to work out to build muscle. But the way you do it is more important than anything else. Don’t waste your time with wimpy isolation exercises like bicep curls and leg extensions. They only target one muscle at a time and won’t add too much meat to your bones.

Focus your workouts on compound exercises, which work multiple muscles and multiple joints at the same time. These enable you to lift heavier loads and they give you more return on investment when you’re looking to build muscle.

Do exercises like bench presses, deadlifts, military presses, lat pulldowns, dips, and lunges. When in doubt, just ask yourself, “Does this exercise require me to use more than one joint?” If the answer is yes, then do it. A squat, for example, incorporates the hips, knees and ankles, so it is compound.

Lift heavy weights

You’re only partially there. You want to learn how to build muscle fast. If you lift skinny weights, you’ll remain skinny, and that’s what you are trying to break away from.

Aim for a resistance that you can only lift 5 or 6 times with quality form. Do anywhere from 5 to 8 sets and rest for as long as you need to between them. In fact, you probably want to err on the side of longer rest breaks. It is best to be as recovered as possible so that you can go all out.

Don’t neglect the power of downtime

If you do a full-body workout using the exercises mentioned above, that’s great. You are really starting to learn how to build muscle. But you also need to learn how to recover properly. Doing a full-body workout on consecutive days is going to hurt you, not help you.

Your muscles need time to rebuild, so take two days off between workouts. Since you are already skinny, don’t worry about integrating cardio into your plan. That’ll be counterproductive. If you do want to do some, keep it light and short, for example, 30 minutes of walking two or three times a week.


You are now well-equipped with the information you need to pack on some muscle mass. Above anything else, be patient. In similar fashion to losing weight, you won’t gain it overnight. It is the person who can display patience that will always come out on top.




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