Can Skinny Guys Get Muscles?

weightIf you are skinny, have been skinny all your life and never seem to put on any weight then you may wonder can skinny guys get muscles at all. While there is a certain fashion for skinny guys most who actually are slim will tell you that they do not like the way they look and they do not like being weak. To be brutally honest most women will also tell you that men who are well built are more attractive which is understandable as this is what women are typically biologically attracted to. Men with muscles look stronger and more capable at least in that old style caveman sense which dominates a lot of our senses when we look at others for attractiveness and compatibility.

In any case, being too skinny can be no fun. The unfortunate thing is that most also think that they will be this way forever as their attempts at the gym give no great results after weeks of effort. This however is not the end because skinny guys CAN get serious muscle growth once they realize they need to approach things a little differently.

This article covers the basics of skinny to muscle bodybuilding.
For a more complete guide click here to check out what turned me from a weakling into bigger more confident guy.


This is the big difference between you and other guys out there trying to build muscle mass. As a skinny guy and what the bodybuilding industry terms “Hardgainers” you have a very fast or high metabolism which is once of the factors that stops muscle growth as well as gaining fat.

A quick definition of metabolism:

Metabolism is the chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.

So what this means when you have a high metabolism is that the process that breaks down food into energy happens at such a fast rate that a lot of this excess energy is wasted which means there is nothing left that gets stored as fat cells but tragically nothing left to use to repair and build muscle. This is why guys who have trouble with losing weight often make excellent body builders, just look at the Olympic power lifters for proof.

What this means for you is that your eating habits must change drastically if you are to achieve skinny to muscle growth. The major change should simply be the amount you eat, your body used to a certain amount of food but that food is burned up too quickly so you must intake MORE food than before so that your metabolism cannot churn through it fast enough. Having enough energy left to repair and build muscles is essential during the rest and recovery period and what and how much you eat is a core part of this.


Another issue when considering can skinny guys get muscles is how you do your workouts. While lifting weights is what you need to do if you hit the gym and do not have a plan then your efforts are often wasted by not being efficient in your weight lifting exercises. This is often compounded by what the mainstream bodybuilding magazines may tell you. One annoying routine I keep hearing is working on one muscle group each day for hours on end, this is ridiculous!

A quick note on how muscles grow:

Without going into too much detail, it is important to note just how muscle development is gained. The overall principle is quite simple considering its complex structure. When you exercise, for example as you lift weights, perform aerobics etc, you will break down muscle tissue in the body. The more you exercise the more tissue will be broken down. When you stop your activities, nature will attempt to rebuild the broken layers of tissue, but a little stronger than last time so the tissue doesn’t break as easily. Over a period of continuous destroying and rebuilding, your muscle will grow and adapt to the strain you put on it. The skin will stretch and your body will gain size and strength.

What this means is that light weights are not going to stress your muscles much so you should concentrate on heavy weights. What this also means is that continually punishing one muscle group is a waste of time because once you have pushed it to its limit once you can do no more for that muscle … it is in need of rest and repair.


The next core aspect of going from skinny to muscle is rest and recovery. This is one part of body building that is sorely neglected in favor of supplements, workout routines and diet which are important but are not everything. The simple fact is that your muscles only grow when you rest because when you rest your body uses the energy from food to repair the muscles which then heals and creates more muscle to become stronger in the face of stress.

What this also means is that you should not over-train. If you hit the gym too often and do not give yourself the time to recover and grow your muscles you waste your workout time exercising muscles that have not achieved the best growth and you start from square one again.

So can skinny guys get muscles? The answer is a resounding YES as long as you educate yourself on how to build muscles for your body type.

Do You Want a Complete Guide to Building Muscle?

jamesmclainJames McLain here, the owner of this site. I know building muscle is hard work when you are a skinny hardgainer and continually punishing yourself at the gym for no gains is demoralizing. If this is your experience too then I highly recommend you check out the complete bible for skinny guys to gain muscle - the No-Nonsense Muscle Building guide by Vince Delmonte.

Vince was once a hardgainer. A skinny runt who thought he could never gain the physique he craved but discovered the secrets of skinny bodybuilding and went from 149 pounds to 190 pounds of rock solid muscle in less than 6 months!

Vince is now a professional model and fitness coach respected worldwide. Vince Delmonte has released this fully downloadable guide on how you can get the body you want without supplements or steroids which i greatly respect. This is your best best chance to go from skinny to muscle fast instead of wasting time and money on supplements and ineffective workouts.

Click here To Visit The Official No-Nonsense Muscle Building Site

Follow James McLain on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter!

285 thoughts on “Can Skinny Guys Get Muscles?”

  1. Hi Rajib,

    Having a strong grip is a good thing for sure. Weight lifting will help anyway as you will be forced to develop good hand strength to lift well. However if you find your grip is weak and it is hampering your progress take some of these little things along with you and use them throughout the day.

    GRIPMASTER: Hand and Finger Exerciser Combo Pack: Red and Black by Pro Hands

    They help with grip for the hand and fingers, very useful little gadgets.

  2. (hoping this is the right place to post this but)I have a High Metabolism. But I been trying to cut back by eating healthy and fruit. Recently, I noticed two, little Six pack-like abs appearing but they’re sunk-in like. Is this a sign telling me I’m doing great trying to get a Six Pack or is this something else? One more question is why are my arms(in my opinion but other people say they are getting bigger)still the same shape? I Bench 45lbs worth and do 20 Push ups after.

  3. Hi Dante,

    It sounds like you are doing the same mistake a lot of skinny guys do when trying to build muscle. I did it too so don’t worry.
    You are trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time … this does not work!
    You need to be working out lifting heavy weights as described in my article and eating lots of food to fuel this muscle growth. If you are cutting back on food you will not have energy to build muscle, but you may burn the fat away from the muscle to show it as is the case with abs.
    If you want more muscle you are going to have to accept some more fat on your body as you bulk up then after that you can cut down the fat to reveal the muscles.
    If you just want awesome abs then burn the fat off the stomach to reveal the muscles underneath.
    My advice – bulk up first then cut back on the fat or you will never gain the arms, shoulder, chest muscles you want … you will just look like a skinny guy with a good set of abs. Instead you could look like a muscular guy with a great set of abs but you might need to take a little longer to get that … your choice man!

  4. @James McLain
    Sorry i didnt reply sooner but i’m not trying to lose weight, i thought eating healthy would help, Until i finished reading the website about how eating so much COULD help. Anyhow thanks for answering!

  5. Hey man,
    I’m 6 ft 7 and 190, tall and skinny to say the least. I finally have alot of time to spend in the gym, but I feel like my program needs to be different from everyone else. I can’t figure out how to get size. My main goal is to focus on my chest… any suggestions of exercises reps etc.?

  6. @Brett

    Check my article on chest exercises 🙂

    You’re a tall one alright too but that should not make much of a difference. Just work to your own pace – push yourself hard – don’t just focus on the chest either – maybe an emphasis on it but make sure you are targeting the back, legs and core as well as the arms. The more body parts you pull into the exercise session the more growth hormone is released and the less you overwork a single muscle group.

  7. hey man your tips look great. I’ve been looking crazy for something that looks legimite and this looks pretty ligimite. Any ways im 16 years old, 6’1″, and I weigh 149, during May I started to get a little crazy because I was crazy skinny, I weighed 125ish, so I baught a “Whey” protiene shake, turns out to work pretty well. But there is one issue with this, I workout almost every day, hard, swetting like crazy, after I workout I drink a pretty big cup of “Whey” and since then I havnt gained any muscle.

    If you know any thing about this please let me know what I could do, I’m tired of being the tall skinny kid that gets picked on.

    Thanks Alot!

    -Vinny C

  8. Hey Vinny,

    Forget the shakes and weight gain stuff. They can be useful in very limited amounts but they are sold to us poor skinny guys like they are some sort of magic pill

    They are not!

    Building muscle requires a focus on food, how you light weigths, how often, how intense – and also how much sleep you get and rest in general which is what I outlined in this article.

    From the sounds of it you are overtraining big time. You dont need to train every day – you can probably train just 2-3 times a week if you are lifting heavy and really pushing those muscles for strength and hypertrophy. If you are doing more than 12 reps per set you are getting into endurance training ansd that does not build muscle mass.

    I will cut it down to a real simple equation:

    – Train 3 times a week evenly spaced – maybe twice during the week and once on the weekend.

    – Concentrate on your entire body, dont just train your upper body one session or just yourn arms or that crap. Makes sure your whole body gets a workout and build muscle all over.

    – Each machine or exercise do 3 sets of between 8 and 12 reps maximum before you give out. On the last set go til you cant go any further too – adjust the weights so you simply cannot do more than 12 and possibly only do about 10.

    – Eat like a mofo! You need lots of energy to build muscle – dont be afraid to rip into your meals and eat a lot more than you are used to ebcause your body is an energy burning machine and you ened to feed it so there is enough left to grow muscle – thats hard work fro the body!

    – Rest – get good sleep – dont train 2 days in a row – let your body recover and rest and grow.

    Thats the simplest way i can explain. If you want the nitty gritty details essepcially about food and specific workout routines and exercises i highly recommend Vince Delmonte’s No-Nonsense Muscle Building Guide – it is the best investment i ever made in my body other than paying my gym fees – seriously.

  9. @James McLain
    OK, here are my results, my Stomach is going good, i’m seeing tremendous progress(like i said earlier those two little ab like things are poking out more and i can see the other four, so i’m happy about that)my leg muscles are looking way better, and my arms seem to be looking better. And will a pull-up bar help me a lot more? I’ve just got it and begin using it and do you know what good exercises you can do with a pull up bar? Anyhow thanks!

  10. @Dante

    Hi again Dante – good to hear your making progress man!

    Basically it is about doing chin ups if you want to increase your upper body strength but it will also target your core muscles too. HOW you do chin ups makes a big difference though.

    Palm Facing in – this will work your biceps more
    Palms facing out – this will wok your back more
    Wide grip – this will work your lats and deltoids more

    This will not work your chest or triceps as much though so it is not a total upper body workout.

  11. hey james great work helping us skinny guys into shape, i have read your above advice and all but i still have problems,my main problem is the lower body cant seem to get the right work out for it because my legs are so skinny.

  12. Hi Hadeen,

    Thanks man, hope this site is helping 🙂

    For legs I recommend a single awesome exercise: Squats!

    These are seriously the best exercise for all of your legs and your glutes too. However it is easy to do the exercise wrong. PRactice without any weight for a while then start adding the weight so you are really pushing your muscle to the limits.

    This is a pretty good instructional video showing you the good and bad ways to to squats – check it and apply it.

    How to do a FRONT SQUAT?

  13. Confusion!

    I’m 6ft, about 168 pounds, have little skinny arms and legs and a bit of a belly.

    I started in the gym about 6 months ago, just machine stuff, 30min max workouts and was finding it a bit boring so I got a plan together and about 2-3 months ago started using pretty much freewieghts only.

    I try to train 3 times a week mon/wed/fri, full body, 3sets of 10 its a little over an hour of weights and i mix about 20 mins of cardio in there for general fitness.

    Anyway, over the last 6 months (more noticeably in the last 3 months) my strength has increased a lot (most exercises i’m lifting between 50-100% more weight). The confusing/annoying thing is that even though I do feel “firmer” my muscle size has hardly increased.

    Is this too short a time period to be judging my progress? Do i need to wait a year or more?

    On a side note, I try to intake as much protein as I can. Always have 2 boiled eggs for breakfast with my cereal, have a meat based soup for lunch, snack on bananas and nuts through the day, have a can of tuna/salmon after each gym session and have a meat based meal for dinner. Also I only really drink water during the week.

    Im I just being impatient or am I missing something?

  14. Hi Mightymuff,

    It sounds like you are doing pretty good really. What is probably happening is that you are doing strength training and not hypertrophy training.

    This means your muscles are becoming stronger because they are becoming more dense which will get you that firmness but not as much size.

    This can be a complicated concept which I cannot fill here – btu this PDF document I found hilights the difference nicely and might help you 🙂

  15. Hi mate i read your article and i thought it was great as i keep reading these other articles and magazines asking me to do all this stuff which i know is not going to help me due to my body type (which is skinny of course) i was just wondering what type of food should i be eating? like i know carbs and protein but how often and how much etc and also would it be unhealthy or bad if i was to eat the same stuff i.e. pasta every single day? thanks man

  16. Hi Justin,

    The food side of things is really important, so good on you for recognizing that.

    If you eat the same stuff all the time it is bad because you are not getting a range of nutrients that you need not just for building muscle but general body functions.

    Eat a range of foods btu concentrate on ones that do have high protien lievels and as a skinny guy, ones that have a lot of healthy calories.

    Eating 5-6 smaller meals a day rather than 3 meals like we usually do is also an excellent way to keep your body fueld and not feel too full after each meal wheer you may stop eating.

    Exactly how much is very different from person to person due to metabolic rate and your size and the intensity of workouts and so forth. It is something you will need to experiment with a little.

    In general you need to be eating a lot! But you have to match it with intensy heavy lifting workouts so that food energy goes to muscle building. If you feel yourself gaining fat and not muscle you need to adjust your intensity up – if you are not gaining anything then you ened to eat more. I have a muscle gain diet article on this site you migth want to look at for more info.

    Vince Delmonte’s No-Nonses Muscle Building Guide has an excellent upgrade with meal plans that covers the whole eating things so i recommend that for further reading.

  17. Thanks James, after reading around a bit it looks like I’m just possibly not eating enough food! I do have a bit of a belly these days though and just doing have the calorie devouring metabolism I had years ago, I’m kind aof worried that if I started eating lots more ill just end up getting fatter!

    I’m going to give it another couple of months to see if there is any difference and if not I’ll try increasing my food intake substantially!

  18. i am very skinny and i work out 3 times a week but the problem is that i can’t eat a lot because i get too full so my chances are impossible to get muscles?

  19. Hi Josh,

    Nothing is impossible man! You just need to change your eating habits a bit more. Try this:

    – Eat 5-6 meals a day not the usual 3. This way you can digest smaller amounts of food in each meal before you get another lot of food. You should be able to eat more overall doing this

    – Eat Calorie Dense foods. Foods that contain a lot of nutrients and calories but do not contain as much space and mass. I should do an article on this at some point but you can find lists easy enough by lookign it up on google.

    Try this and you will start putting mroe food away inside of you to grow some muscles!

  20. hi james im 20 and 5’8 and weigh 150 pounds so im a skinny guy i would love to reach about 182 pounds is this possible ? if so how long ? as i work out 3 times aweek so im gettin my rest i also eat 6 small meals aday im also taking weight gain am i going the right way about things ?

  21. @lee

    Hi Lee,

    It sounds like you are going about things the riht way. I would forget the weiht gain stuff though and just concentrate on a better diet – I do not belive most of those weight gain powders do all that much for you that you cannot do with food itself.

    As for how much you can gain, check this video which has some information on how much DRY muscle you can build a month. Remember that dry muscle actually adds twice as much if not more actualy weight to yoru body through extra water storage and so forth .. anyway Vince Delmonte explains it pretty well here:

  22. hi james my name is wilson, i come from tahiti french polynesia, i have 21, im a skinny guy too, can you give the workout routine for gain muscle and what i will eat thank you

  23. Hi James, im 16 years old, 5’10 and weigh 122. Im extremely skinny! i was hoping to go to a gym to start working out but the problem is I dont have the money or transportation for the gym. So I was wondering what essentials would I need in order to work out at home, Thanks in advance!


  24. Hey James,

    I’m 5’8 and weigh about 125ish and am 30. I’ve been a skinny guy all my life and only tried going to gym when i was a teenager. It didn’t work (probably because i didn’t do it the right way) and i thought it’s not for me. I do have a very high metabolism. Now I have got Vince’s guide and went through it but I’m still skeptic about giving it a try (considering my age too). Do you think I have a chance?

  25. @Sammy
    Hi Sammy,

    You can get a lot done initially with just body weight exercises like pull ups and push ups. However to get more muscle you need to keep increasing the weights you work with which requires a gym or some home weights.

    I would suggest starting with body weight exercises and maybe get creative with some makeshift weights – but eventually you are going to need to get to a gym. Maybe find a part time job that also gets you moving so you are exercising while you work and can save some money for the gym?

  26. @Amser
    Hi Amser,

    You have more than a chance, you have the power to change your body and life right now. Don’t ever think age is going to stop you – yes – as you age its going to get a little different when training, but the fundamentals of bodybuilding work for any age.

    I vaguely remember one of the testimonials on Vince’s site being a guy in his 50’s or 60’s who managed to get into shape in a serious way proving age is no barrier.

    The guide is good, follow it to the letter and I guarantee it is going to get you results man.

    Good luck! Let me know how it goes too would be awesome to hear 🙂

  27. hey james Im 15 and im 5 feet 5 inches and i weigh 106. I am in the swim and waerpolo team at school and i would like to know what types of food and workouts i should do but more to increase my upper body. i have been trying too eat a lot but i still cant gain any weight. can you help?

  28. i EAT A LOT LOT LOT man u cant evn imagine i am 16 Turnin to 17 on this may 6 u see me i look Like a stick but i am strong physically [i knw that] But all say me i am weak my friend one day visited my house and saw me eatin and Was shokd Abt how i ate! i do Masturbate 1 week 3 times and i am trying to control That.You told to lift heavy Weights And can i do Pushups? Or pullups??? Are they Considered as Heavy Weight Too?

  29. Hi,
    I am 22 years old, 6 ft tall and my weight is only 115 lbs. I have a normal diet but i never gain any weight. I am planning to join a gym, will it help me in anyway? What should i do?

  30. @Noel Sanchez
    Hey Noel,
    For upper body there are heaps of exercises: bench presses, pull ups, bicep curls, tricep pull downs. It doesn’t really matter as long as you do a range of them and make sure you are pushing yourself hard on them by lifting heavy. Check out the articles on arms, chests and shoulders i have on this site they will help. It is a combination of doing everything right from exercise, to diet, to rest and recovery.

  31. @Karthik
    Hey Karthik,
    You eat that much because you have a classic super fast metabolism, you just need to be strategic about how and when you eat. The problem with push ups and pull ups are that you need to lift heavy weights, and if you are skinny your body doesn’t weigh much. You hit a point where the resistance of your body is no challenge to your muscles and so you need proper weights.

  32. @Vicky
    Hey Vicky,
    Going to the gym is pretty much essential if you really want to gain some muscle mass. However you need to combine proper weight lifting with a muscle gain diet and make sure you time everything right. It is can be a complex process which is why I recommend the no nonsense muscle building guide by Vince Delmonte if you need more help than my site can give you. If you need any more specific help feel free to add another comment ok 🙂

  33. Hi, I’m 37 yrs old 160pounds and want to gain muscle i train 3 times a weak. i’m skinny and would like to gain muscles everywhere, but since high school i have tried and get no results,i’m not in a gym i do it all at home, i figure once i got to the limit i just add more reps pull ups and push ups every week.. i didn’t know that i hAD TO EAT more a day so now i’ll stuff myself 6 times a day…i don’t know what to do. i don’t want to be the skinny guy no more….no supps…just hard work…and how can i get my chest to grow. i know my muscles grow a little cause i have skretch marks …but my muscle never stays…can you help me….

  34. @Roderic
    Hi Roderic,

    Your main let down is where you said you simply add more reps to your routine. Adding more reps does not increase your muscle mass, it will help with muscular endurance which is a part of being strong – but it will not grow your body.

    You need to combine heavier weights with eating more, not more reps. If you start pushing many reps you need to increase the weight. This is why going to a gym or getting some sort of home gym stuff is actually essential because your own body weight is not going to be enough to stress your muscles tot he point you need.

    You need to invest some time or money into this idea to get the results basically. Weight, not rpetitioon grows muscle mass. Hope that helps!

  35. Hi, I’m Avery, I am 15 years old and 5’7. I only weight a measly 110 lbs. I still have not hit puberty yet(high pitched voice). I have a terrible muscle/fat ratio in my opinion. I can’t do a chin-up or a push-up with correct form and I don’t know where to start if I can’t do either one of those. I am trying to gain about 30-40 pounds. Where should I start if I can’t do pushups or chin-ups?

  36. @Avery
    Hi Avery,
    At 15 i would not worry too much as you body is going through heaps of changes. Its going to be hard to understand what your body is doing hormonally and so forth.
    I think you need to get your form right for push ups and chin ups to start with. Check out this part of Vince Delmonte’s site – he has a free course on getting ready for proper muscle mass training which might be really helpful to you ok man:

  37. Hey James! Thanks to you I have started eating more healthy and I can already feel the results. I am now starting to work on my muscles but have little knowledge about weight-lifting. I bought a couple of dumbbells to star at home before hitting the gym and i read you said we should do 3 sets of each exercise with 10-12 reps per set. Do they have to be continous sets? For example, I get tired exercising my biceps so I start exercising my chest, and after 1 set of chest exercises I resume to the 2nd set of biceps training. Is this wrong?

  38. @Pierre
    Hi Pierre,
    Fantastic! No you dont need to keep on hitting the same muscle group. I would do 3 sets of 8-12 for each muscle group them move on. Make that last set til you cannot do any more too. Give yourself a rest between sets but keep on the same muscle group for 3. Take as long as you need between sets (but not too long dont cool down) and try and reduce the time between sets as a way of improving your weight lfiting and strength too.

  39. My name is Henry. I am 25 yrs and weigh 159lbs, pretty skinny. I have a high body metabolism, I notice this because I sweat profusely. though recently I do a lot of push ups, and pull up, with some light arm lifting. I notice some changes in my bicep muscle. I would like to know what amount of weight I can start with when going to the gym(dumb bells). also, is there any exercise that helps build up the chest quicker. And how long will it take me to add about 2″ to all vital muscle sections e.g chest, biceps, triceps, waist e.t.c

  40. Hi Henry,
    While you need to lift heavy you should also be prepared to lift those kinds of weights and do them properly. For hypertrophy training which is for muscle mass you need to lift about 8-12 reps MAX each set. As in you should be failing about 12 and can do no more.
    I suggest you download Vince Delmonte’s free guide for pre-hypertrophy training which will get you fit to start lifting these heavier weights.
    For more on the different areas of training check out the other articles on this site.

  41. hi James, there’s only one thing i wanna ask. does pull-ups & push-ups build muscle for skinny guys? I do these 2 workout three times a week. i eat 5-6 small meals through out the day like you told us to, does it helps? should i go to the gym instead ??

  42. @William Kung
    Hi William,
    After a certain point your own body weight is not going to challenge your muscles enough to grow. If you are finding these exercises too easy and can easily do 15+ of them per set then you need to find way of working those muscles with more weight.
    Yes, the gym will help that regard.
    Good luck!

  43. Hey James,
    I’m 16, 175cm tall and about 55kg. I am very skinny and want to gain some arm muscle. I have tried pushups but with no results. My biggest issue though is my poor diet. I eat chicken but no steak or fish. I also don’t eat a lot of things like eggs, spaghetti, tomato, and basically most foods leaving me with a bad variety. I mostly eat fried foods and a lot of junk but I don’t even get fat. I was wondering should I simply eat a lot of food even if it is junk and then work it off later? Is food even that big of a factor, or can I work around it with exercise? I’ve also tried protein shakes but with no results. I really don’t know what I can do especially with my poor diet, but I really want to change my life and grow some muscle. I beg of you please, I really want help here. Thank you.
    – Tony

  44. @Tony
    Hi Tony,
    You HAVE to change your diet. Eating lots of junk food is bad for your health, and it is also bad for your bodybuilding. You need to have a good amount of protein which can come from chicken, but you need other foods as well for protein. You also need to eat food that does not just turn to sugar straight away which a lot of junk food does – this extra energy will not go to muscle building if it is not released more gradually into your system.
    Second, you need to challenge your muscles, you can probably do dozens upon dozens of push ups without breaking a sweat because you are skinny and you do not weight much. You HAVE to challenge your muscles with real weight. Each set you do, you should only be able to do 8-12 before you fail due to weight and exhaustion, then rest and try again. Muscles that are not challenged with weight have no reason to grow so they don’t – only then will the good foods that you eat be put to work growing those muscles.

  45. Thanks heaps James,
    I was also wondering just off the top of your head, what would actually be the best workout for my skinny arms, because I noticed you mentioned chin-ups earlier? Also, I don’t mind if you’re not 100% sure, but what are the main foods that you eat that you find help you by being released more gradually into your system instead of food that turns to sugar? Thanks again for your help and I really appreciate the purpose of this site and all of your assistance ! 🙂

  46. i am 5’9” ….144pounds…..working out in gym since 2 months …yet no significant change….tell me how to bulid muscular chest,shoulders,biceps……..with flat abs
    i have extra fat on belly..although not muscles on chest and shoulders……how to change it??????/

  47. @umang
    It sounds like you are eating enough to put on some fat, but not building muscle in the right way to provoke muscle growth. Either that or you are eating VERY poorly so the energy from the food is not the right sort, and not being used properly.
    Check the articles on this site for some basics on skinny bodybuilding.

  48. hey ive been doing repetitions like quats push ups sit ups dung bells etc etc like an hour after i eat few times a week since i have fast motab im trying to eat more though during the days it seems to be working a bit like i drink egg whites in the morning have some fruit nd few snacks till dinner where i usually have meat like sausages steak potatoe etc is this good? im not fat nor extremely skinny i have muscle but i mainly wish to tone it out and add some extra mucle should i keep doing what im doing?and if i stopped doing this for a while would i just end up how i use to be? or would a daily excerise like push ups sit ups etc keep me from losing what ive gained? please reply thankyou p.s im 19

  49. @jd
    Hey jd,

    It sounds like your diet is not bad, the exact amounts of calories I don’t know but you need to be eating a fair bit if you have a high metabolism. Eat throughout the day but do not snack, make a small meal out of each time you eat.
    If you are making gains and are happy then good for you, if you stop exercising then yes you will lose it eventually. If you stop exercising and keep eating the same amount you will get fat too. Once you get to the right weight you need to do maintenance exercise and eating – enough to fuel your body, and enough exercise to stop atrophy, but not too much or too little food as well … this can be a tough balancing act so you need to be very aware of your nutrition.

  50. 5′ 10″, 138 lbs. (used to be 129 but went on a nasty vacation), and skinny. I’ll be going in my junior year at high school and want to be pretty muscular by then. I’ve been working out on a heavy bag with 3 lb. gloves every other day since May 28th, and before that just on and off weight lifting. I haven’t seen many results (except with abs, just the muscle though can’t get any fat off :l ) My legs are amazing used to run all through junior high. I have been getting pretty unfocused because I’ve been at this for so long but can’t get anything right. I have always been eating right and unlike many skinny guys I have a really slow metabolism so I rarely have an appetite. I am really stuck on what to do. All I ever wanted in life was a great upper body! I need some help.

  51. hey, I’m 5’11 and about 135, 19yrs old. Anyways, I run pretty intensely about five times a week, as well as abs and pushups and therefore I have a very low body fat and am very toned, but would like to work on building upper body mass as well, not much just want to weigh around 145 – 150. And with running and also trying to build mass, I understand I would have to eat a ridiculous amount, but how much do you think that would be? Like I said, I tried before but the problem was I couldn’t afford to eat that much, college food is expensive, but since I’m home I would really like to make the most of this time. Also, I know this complicates things, but quitting running is out of the question, I’m training for some races at the moment.. Anyways, thanks any advice is appreciated

  52. Hi, personally I can’t lift heavy weights and I use a home gym as that’s all I have plus I do push-ups and whatnot. But if I try to lift heavy wights I can honestly feel it tearing in my shoulders and upper back and it worries me. I also have a pulled ligament in my groin area that this bothers quite a bit no matter what I do, even running… Is there a better way? just doing more and more reps won’t help?

  53. @G Wynn
    On and off weight lifting is not going to cut it man. You need to find a workout regime and stick to it. You say you do not have much of an appetite too which needs to be overcome. Punching bags are pretty good exercise but they do not stress the muscles for muscle growth as much as heavy weights will. You gotta get your weight lifting right – and make sure your diet that goes with it is right too. You need to eat enough to give the body enough energy to grow the muscles – but only if you are lifting weights correctly or the body does not divert that energy to muscle growth. Try getting back into weiht lifting and divide your meals into 5-6 smaller ones per day to keep the body fuelled.

  54. @Ben
    Hey Ben,
    You are going to have to plan your exercise and eating VERY carefully to do this. I suggest you lift weights on days you do not run, alternate these things as if you run on the days you lift weights you are not going to have the energy to really give it a proper go. If this is impossible make sure to lift BEFORE you run but even then this is going to become difficult.
    In terms of food you are going to need to eat about 6 times a day, decent sized meals too but not too big to feel satiated. The exact amount of food is impossible for me to judge though as everyone is different. I would suggest you get Vince Delmonte’s Muscle building guide which I link to on this site and get the diet plans as these will be invaluable to your muscle building efforts. Just remember to push your muscles and keep fuelled … and do not neglect good reast or you will burn out fast. You are gonna be very busy!

  55. @Tim
    Hey Tim,
    Starting out heavy is not so good if you do not have the fitness to do it. There is a really good free download from Vince Delmonte that is deals with getting into shape BEFORE yuo hit the big weights. I think yuo will get a lot out of it. You can find it here:
    Upside Down Training

  56. Hey I’m 6ft tall and weigh 175lbs, I have little skinny arms and legs and a bit of a belly and what you might call man boobs! I’ve joined a gym in the last 2 months and I’ve been going 3 or 4 times a week. I spend about 45 minutes lifting weights and usually do about 20 minutes cardio as well. I mainly work on my arms, chest and abs, and I occasionally work on my shoulders back and legs. Everything seems to be going really well with my abs and I’m already noticing a difference, however I’ve so far seen no improvements on with my chest and although my arm muscles feel firmer they don’t look any bigger! I eat usually eat eggs with my breakfast, I snack on fruit (mainly bananas), nuts and tuna and always have meat with the other 2 meals, usually accompanied by rice, past or potatoes. I also drink alot of milk. I was just wondering if you could point any bad and good habits that I have and what I can do to start seeing improvements with my chest and arms. I was also wondering if you have any tips to help me increase the size and strength of my forearms? Many thanks.

  57. @Billy J
    Hi Billy,
    Let me know how you are lifting your weights. Set and reps and exercises etc, i might be able to give some better advice that way.
    Try to do mroe all body workouts also. The more you stress all your muscles, the more growth hormone is released, if you keep targetting your arms and chest you might be overdoing those areas and also not giving them enough time to rest and repair.

  58. Hey, I’m 6’0, 18 and around 10stone. Find it impossible to do press ups and have high metabolism like most skinny people. My aim would be to least get a 4 pack but primarily to increase muscle growth in the arms, what would you suggest i do exercise wise?


  59. @Damien
    Hi Damien,
    If you are having a hard time doing the basics you need to master those basics before you can move on to anything more strenuous. I recommend downloading Vince Delmontes upside down training guide which is basically an exercise regime that gets you ready for weight lifting which you will need to do to gain mass. I think you will benefits from a few weeks of this training before moving on to training your shoulders, arms and chest in more detail.

    Download The Upside Down Training Guide

  60. I used to be really skinny before but then i got fed up and bought the whole weight set into my house and started working out 5 times a week. I couldnt go to the gym because pople used to laugh at me but then after 6 months i got amazing results i gt into shape and all my muscles has developed,, im just saying it works!! just workout properly atleast 4 or 5 times a week for about 5-6 months then you can see the results in the mirror. I used to be reallyy unhappy before but now i love it..girls look at me im being accepted by my friends.. You need to have a motive first and just to conclude up…WORKING OUT WAS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME!!! thank you gym set.

  61. Hey I’m 17, 6’1″ and only about 135 lbs. I think it’s safe to say I’m very skinny (my BMI is barely in the normal range). I’m a tennis player and feel my body is very fit considering how skinny I am. My arms and legs are pretty strong and they keep getting stronger but I never seem to be able to build any muscle. I definitely have a very high metabolism. I have been going to the gym regularly for the past year. I started doing light weights and lots of reps and nothing happened. The last few months I’ve realized I need to go with heavy weights instead. Only problem is my whole core has gone to shit because I have been recovering from scoliosis (curvature of the spine). I have been using the wrong muscles in my torso for the past few years. But after physical therapy my spine is now back on track, but I am having trouble doing heavy weights that are related at all to my back, abs, or chest. Can you recommend what I can do to strengthen my core so that I can begin to lift the heavier weights and build muscle? I think I especially need to work on my chest and lower/middle back. Also, I feel my eating habits have contributed to my being skinny. My problem is that I NEVER feel hungry. I do get the feeling of thirst. Therefore, I think I drink a lot but don’t eat as often as I should to keep up with my high metabolism. I think I need to consume more high calorie foods because I know I don’t eat enough. What do you think my diet should contain? because right now I have no idea what I should be eating and I really want to stop being so skinny. Thank you for all your help

  62. @Kyle
    Hi Kyle,
    You might need to do some overall body strength work. Check the link to the upside down training guide i listed in a comment above for that. It is a free pre heavy weights training course to get your muscle up to speed for the heavy stuff.

  63. hello. i am 16 years old boy with skinny look. i am too thin. my hieght is 5.3 foot and weight is around 40kgs. the other boys of my grade are healthy. i eat much take all proteins and vitamins but still i am thin. when i was 10 i was normal. but now its not like that. i do exersise also but nothing works. i have no muscle in arms. is it due to adolescenpse? will i gain weight after 18? or is there something wrong with my body? o 0

  64. I am a skinny teenager and don’t have access to a gym, if i eat more and try to do pushups at home will it help any?

  65. @john
    Hi John,
    You have not finished growing yet that is for sure, but you do sound very underweight even for your height.
    There is nothin wrong with your body though. You say you eat protien and take vitamins but what exercise are you doing to promote muscle growth?

  66. @Neal
    Pushups will not build large amounts of muscles. Once push ups become easy and you are doing lots of them then you are no longer challenging your muscles. This emans the muscle will not grow beyond that point.
    Once body weigth exercises have reached thier limit you need more weights. You can do this in a makeshift way with old bricks or make other ways, or getting a home gym. Whatever the case is – you need heavier weights to test your muscles with.

  67. Hey,

    I’m 20, about 43kg, 1.65m, really skinny, from what I have read I should start having a proper diet, with more proteins and vitamins and to start lifting heavy weights until exhaustion then rest properly, correct?

    The thing is, when I was about 24months old, I had an accident wich changed my muscle growth in the right side of my body so, noticeable I have a decent muscle in my left side but my right side looks like a 10 years old boy arm, the muscle difference between each arm/leg is like 2cm ( Image here: ).

    So, dilema, can I train only the affected side to exhaustion to improve its weight (Right) and at same time do something with the other side (Left, the unaffected side of my body) that would only provide resistance and strength?

    Also if you know some kind of alternatives to my problem I would love to know! Just one more thing, I started taking Creatine in hope it would help a bit with the training.

    Best Regards,

  68. @Azoth
    Hi Azoth,
    That is an unusual condition, however uneven muscle mass is not uncommon for people essepcially if you are just starting out. In general you need to train your weaker side more which sounds obvious I know. You might want to concentrate on this a bit though because if you are trying to lift with both sides of your body one side is going to be doing most of the work.
    Try even second workout just focusing on your chest, arms and shoulders of the weaker side.
    Creatine – well at this stage i dont think it is going to help that much – a good diet and working that right side up to par is going to be more important.

  69. Hey James! I have just read the guide and am skeptical!
    I’m 19 years old, have been thin my whole life, my Dad and his Dad were thin.

    Can any hard work overcome a thin skeletal structure?
    – I am 19 years old, 6″3/6″4 and only 9.8 stone (62KG I think that converts to)

    Is there any specific foods which would help? I suffer from insomnia sometimes which I doubt helps, also I won’t be able to access a gym for a month or so… Any tips for home workouts?
    I mainly want to focus on getting bigger arms and a bigger chest!

    Any help would be much appreciated!


  70. Hi, I am 18, 1,75m, about 55kg and have been going to the gym for about 6 months. I have been able to see that I no longer look skinny and have moved towards actually looking toned but the change is not great. Ive been doing the workout that my personal trainer has been able to see works with me and we have discussed diets, different workouts etc but nothing seems to be giving the results that would be expected. I do eat A LOT, 6 times a die with 4 main meals but I think it might all be geting ruined by the fact that I recently started working after school to pay for college and my eating habits have worsen to the point that sometimes I have breakfast but then are unable to get out to eat anything till around 6pm, go to work come back at 3am. I think that it might be also due to the fact that I havent been working out for too long even though 6 months should be enough right?

    Anyways any help would be truly appreciated.

  71. @DARE
    Hi Dare,
    Yea man you can definitely overcome a skinny body. It is not easy but it can be done if you dedicated the time, effort, and yes – money – to be able to do it.
    Insomnia will not help that’s for sure, but it will not stop you dead in you tracks. In terms of food you need healthy food, not packaged food, and you need lots of it – but only if you are lifting heavy weights to stress your muscles. You gotta push yourself to a certain limit to encourage the muscles to grow then have the energy from food to build the muscle.
    Without a gym it can be hard, around the home you need to find something heavy to lift to make sure you are challenging your muscles. Maybe some bricks you can put in a bag? Anything at all to challenge your max lift.

  72. @Jake
    Hi Jake,
    Consistency is very important and if your study and work are taking too much time this can hurt. Your eating seems big enough from what you have said but the one unknown factors is HOW you are working out. You do not need to hit the gym every day to get bigger muscles – it is the intensity of the workout that matters. As long as you push those muscle to the limit it encourages them to grow with the right amount of energy from food to fuel this.
    Look to normalise your routine I would say but pay close attention to the quality of your workouts more than anything.

  73. Hey Mate been looking at the other review witch have helpt.
    Im 24 68 kg and my height is about 178 tall.Ive just started going to the gym in the lst 4 wks im looking to build muscle and tone up.i worked different parts of my body ea day and i eat really good foods tuna,egg,meat ect.Do i need to put weight on to get bigger?
    Aslo im on high protien powder is that right or should i be on high carbs
    thanks Heaps

  74. @Ozzie
    Hi Ozzie,
    At the start of your body building do not worry about all those protein powers and stuff – you will get enough nutrients from the food you eat if you eat healthy, eat diverse foods, but most important you need to eat a LOT if you have a high metabolism.
    And yes you will put on weight when getting bigger – just make sure the majority of that is muscle not fat – but do not be scared of a little extra fat as long as you are making muscle gains along the way. You can always trim the fat back later.

  75. Hi James just a quick question i used to be so skinny and quite weak but about 13 months ago i started bodybuilding ive got bigger muscles and im definetly stronger (still quite skinny though) but about 3 months ago i started boxing training (thinking it would help me bodybuildiing) is this a bad choice because in previous comments you say we need enough rest/time to recover because boxing traing is mon/wed/fri every week for 2 hours and i weight lift tue/thu and though i would rest at weekends is that okay if not i can stop training on monday but have to go wed/fri (could stop alltogether if effects that much) if im not getting enough rest because there hasnt been any improvment since i started boxing (but fitness levels increased dramaticly) i thought this with me being a hardgainer and all that running and skipping would burn though precious protein and carbs even quicker (or even worse lose weight :O ) so what should i do (i can also go into detail about diet what traing i do height weight etc if needed) thanks.

  76. Helo. Ive got myself vince delmont program. Ive done the first day s exirsise and i got a realy bad case of DOMS. what must i do?

  77. @Jack
    Hi Jack,
    Boxing is good exercise and does help you get stronger but will probably not bulk you up as resistance training will. Splitting your weight days is ok but you need some serious rest time between exercises or you will not let your body heal and grow.
    Your regime may still bear fruit, I am not saying it is terrible but I do worry you are going to push your body too hard, too fast, and that you will run yourself down and not leave the energy left to build the muscles properly.
    Try taking out some of the boxing and leaving a rest day between each weight session but make those weight session COUNT!

  78. @dewet
    Hey Dewet,
    Those first few days or even weeks of training can really hit you hard but do not worry. Those are your muscles complaining because you pushed them hard. Now the body is going to react and feed them so they can cope with that sort of pressure.
    Best thing to do is eat lots of high protein foods, warm baths can help as well, but oddly very low intensity exercise can help speed the process along too. If you exercise again make sure it is easy exercise that doesn’t pressure he muscles too much – I am not certain the exact reason but it does help those pains go away faster.
    As you continue bodybuilding this will happen less as your body adapts to these pressures.
    Good luck!

  79. Hi James,

    I am 25 years old, with height 170 centimeters and weight 57 Kg. I feel good about my health but my friends are recommending me to get some weight as its not the ideal weight for this height. I am not sure, If I look skinny or not as I don’t know, what is the criteria for being skinny 🙂 Nowadays, I run for 4 to 5 km, just to keep myself fresh. I am now thinking to go to fitness club here in order to get muscular as well get some weight, and want your suggestion on this. Should I keep running as well start doing fitness training ? Is running good in my case ? Regarding my diet, I regularly take fish, kidney beans, mushrooms, sometime vegetables, lots of juices, but one thing is that I am not regular with food timings. I don’t take regular breakfast. I normally take my dinner very late night. Overall, I eat a lot but no increase in my weight. Its constant for last 4 or 5 years. Could you please advice me ? Moreover, how much weight should I gain more ?

  80. @Kan
    Hi Kan,
    Stop the running man. You are spending a lot of energy on an activity that gets your heart and lungs moving, but does nto challenge your muscles in any way at all. You need to do resistance training to get more muscle and you need all the energy you can to build that muscle.
    Goign for a run now and then is not bad but it will not build muscle ok 🙂

  81. Hey James

    I’m 26, 5’10” and weigh about 150 now. I just lost about 30 pounds in the last 5 months with diet and exercise at the gym. I consumed about 1500 calories a day to lose the weight and now I have a killer metabolism and I’m still on the diet. However from what I’m reading here and seeing in my own progress, I’m getting skinny, and its getting more difficult to see the arm muscles that I’ve been working on. Would you suggest going off the diet and consuming 2500 calories a day to maintain my weight. Should I quit hitting the elliptical 4 times a week at 35 mins per session? See, I thought getting your heart rate up was important to weight loss…I kinda want to get abs and lose the flab around my stomache. But here I am burning muscle I guess. How can I get my arm, chest and ab muscles to develop and show? That’s all I care about, that and maintaining my weight at 150 or under. Should I focus on upping the weight I’m lifting, because I’ve been doing that a little. I swear I hit a little under 150 lbs and I now look skinny as hell. It feels almost impossible to look in shape without having a bit of fat on me.

  82. Hey James! I’m 6’4 and weigh 155 pounds. Before I started lifting weights I was around 135. Ive been lifting about a year now and haven’t noticed any improvements in the past 6 months. I try to go to the YMCA every other day with my friend and use rep ranges of 8-12 because im trying to build mass. When I first started working out I noticed my muscles got very toned but I seem to be stuck there. Ive tried switching up my workouts, but it seems like to no avail. Is there something I need to do to help stimulate new muscle fibres or something?

  83. Hey James.
    When I was 13-15 I was REALLY fat but that fat just dropped off me i was not exersiseing or dieting, Anyway im 18 now about 6foot 2 inches tall and weigh a tiny 9stone10. I have been training at kickboxing since last december (I weighed about 10stone2 at the time) and as you can tell I have only got skinnier, my kickboxing workout is 3 times a week lasting 45 minutes each and includes sit ups, press ups, star jumps,squat thrusts,sprinting,pad work,bag work,shadow boxing and skipping it is all really intense exercise. But 9 months since i started i have just lost more weight, i have tried increaseing my food and protien intake (no protien supplements) and it just isnt working. I get really annoyed at this as i have tried so hard but there is no sign of a six pack, my arms might have got a tiny bit bigger but nothing noticeable also no differnce in my chest or legs. Please give me some advice on what I may be doing wrong because I am all out of ideas and cant stand being skinny much longer! Thanks

  84. @Mike
    Hi Mike,

    Some tips that might help:

    1. Cycle days of fat burning with other recovery days

    Do not go to extremes with reducing carbs. Have two fat burning days where you eat about 20% less carbs than normal then have a day to recover and eat your regular carb intake. Too much carb reduction seems to make the body target your muscles for energy not fat but this alternation seems to keep the muscles well fed while reducing fat.

    2. Exercise on the high carb day

    You will need the extra energy then to keep the muscles fuelled and maintain your current mass and tone.

    3. Exercise about 2 hours AFTER eating

    This will allow your insulin levels to decrease to a normal level. When this happens the body receives more nutrients and energy from fat cells which can be used to fuel the muscles as you workout. Too soon and the body is actually in an anabolic state.
    Also make sure that you have enough time left in the day to have a meal after you exercise which also helps the body build and burn fat properly.

    4. Workout to maintain your weight

    Do no neglect your weight lifting but do not go as intense as you would for muscle gain. Keep working your whole body, the cardio is not as vital as you might think – but do not give it up completely – your fat loss will come from diet more than cardio!

  85. @Joe Damon
    Hi Joe,

    I would suggest changing your routine a bit and working different muscle groups a little more for starters. However I think you need to up the weight even more. You migth be getting stuck in a routine that is not challenging your msucles as much as you think you are. Try 6-8 reps max and really push those muscles to the limit

  86. @Rhys
    Hi Rhys

    You are doing too much cardio work that does not actually stress your muscles. You need to do more resistance training with decent weight (8-12 reps MAX). This will force the muscles to adapt and will have to grow to handle the weights you are forcing on them. Top this off with enough food to fuel the muscle growth and you will achieve some gains.
    However watch out that you do not use too much energy in your kickboxing or the body might not have enough energy left to grow.

  87. Hi James,

    I’m 23, about 6ft and 129lbs. Recently joined a gym within my accommodation that has a shoulder press, chest press, chin/dip, running+rowing machines, x-trainer and bikes, but no instructor! I tend to give most of the machines a go, though I find the running and rowing is what I’m much better at. My legs and endurance aren’t too bad as I’ve walked and run everywhere most of my life, but my upper body is abysmal and I don’t gain weight. I’m a student so money’s not the easiest thing to come by, but I do usually get 3 meals a day in – generally porridge for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a larger meal in the evening which tends to be beef. I’ve started exercising the past few weeks with the aim to be Army fit by next summer, but it’s proving difficult as I can barely do 40kg on the shoulder press, for example. Mostly I spend my day doing pushups whenever I get a break – about 15-20 before my arms refuse to go any further – along with stretches so I don’t completely wreck them.

    Is it completely unreasonable to suggest I can go from the state I’m in now to a considerably greater load capability (doubling it would be a good year, in my eyes), or will the constant work and perhaps a change in diet make it quite simple?

    Thanks in advance.

  88. @Kyle
    Hi Kyle,

    If you want to grow your upper body you need to concentrate on the weights and leave off on the cardio fro a while. Only use cardio to warm up a little before you start resistance training. It can be tempting to go hard at rowing etc and feel good but it is not helpign you grow muscles. You sound pretty fit you just need to work your strength.
    With this in mind follow the rules of hypertrophy training, 8-12 reps max per set before you cannot lift any more. 3 of those sets per body part is usually enough to get some gain.
    You really sound like you need to eat more though and I know that can be hard on a students money. Load up on oats in the morning thats good, but maybe make a few more sandwhiches and eat them during the day 4-5 meals the whole day not 3.
    Hope that helps!

  89. Hi James, I should have come across your website sooner. It’s very apt to my situaltion, well, to every skinny guy situation, I guess. I am 23, 5′ 10″ tall and weigh 126 lbs. My weight has been at 126 for 5 years now. Friends say I am at my lowest possible physique. But I have always been great at athletics especially short sprints and jumpsand I almost never get flu or any kinds of illness. I do not eat well or regularly for that matter. But some of my friends or my siblings too eat just like me or even worse, but they have plenty more weight than me. But I haven’t started to sincerely try to find a remedy to my plight until a month before when I started to eat perfectly well and workout(push ups and dumbells only) every day. But I have not gained a single pound !
    So now as advised by my bodybuilder friend I am taking this weight gainer product ‘body-fuel hardcore’. It has got this Anabolic creative matrix that’s guaranteed to improve anabolism. This product guarantees a 9-15 lbs weight gain if taken properly for 2 months.
    I have been taking it for over a week now and working out and sleeping 10 hours on a daily basis, but still not a single pound gain !

    What could be the problem, should I consult a doctor or take some kind of medical test ? please share your opinion. I’m really frustrated here.

  90. @Malcolm
    Hi Malcolm,

    Forget what your bodybuilder friend said. Is he a skinny hardgainer? I doubt it …
    Those weight gain supplements are 99% garbage and the ones that do work only work once you are gaining weight already not starting out. They also only work if you are doing everything else right in which case you really don’t need them unless you are doing high end competition.
    HOW you workout and WHAT you eat as well as HOW MUCH you eat is going to play a MUCH bigger factor in weight gain. If you are seeing no weight gain on muscle or fat then you are probably not eating enough food for starters. You should also make sure to lift heavy weights that stress your muscles.

  91. Im 26, 186cmish and weigh about 65 kg right now. When i started little over a month ago, I weighed about 60 kg. Anyways, I don’t care about strength, nor health really. I just want to be bigger. I have good health in general so I dont worry about getting a little fat.

    But, I’m really confused about the whole number of reps and how that differs from growth and strength. You posted a link to a PDF above here, where it clearly states that it’s the total amount of kilos per workout that matters, more reps, such as 3×8 or 3×12. But some people say thats bullshit. Who do I believe? Right now, I lift 3×8. I warm up with 2x5ish. Then I lift 8 lifts, three rounds. I have the max amount of kilos on the weights that I can do 8 of them. Is this correct?

  92. @Kenny
    Hi Kenny,

    A lot of this science is still in debate on the finer details I think, and there is also a lot of miscommunication as well. As far as I know – the heavier you lift the different muscle fibers you target.
    There are what they call slow twitch fibers which are related to endurance which get worked when you lift light weights many times.
    Then there are fast twitch fibers which are further divided into two categories – Type A and Type B. The first is your pure force generators which will come into play when you need to hit up really heavy weights and push past the huge initial resistance. The second is more of an in-between fiber not used as much for all out power but somewhere in-between.
    Muscle gain needs you to work all of these fibers and the 8-12 range i recommend will target the type A and B mainly which are the ones related to power and strength – they have more capability to grow and gain mass.
    Pure strength training will lift even heavier and primarily target type A which will give you more raw power and strength but a little less mass gain if you are not hitting type B as well.
    My explanation might be a little wonky on the science but it works for me and my clients and is what many advise so I hope that helps man!

  93. Ok, so should I stay at 3×8 then? With as much weight as I can possibly lift? Also, i use weight gainer, but it’s really expensive. It does give a colory boost though, I mix it with milk and 100g of oat flour. That gives me little under 1000 calories each shake. I drink three of those each day. One in the morning, after dinner and after my last meal before going to bed. And I wonder if all of those calories and protein are going to waste. Because of my fast metabolism. Leaving the gainer, and adding some oil or something would still give me about 600 calories per drink. Wht would you say? By doing this I should be consuming over 4000 calories a day. But only about 1000-1500 comes from solid foods

  94. @Kenny

    I would vary the reps by week. Do one week at 8, then another at 12. You might find what works best for you this way but it gives you a way to work the type one and two muscle fibres rather than just a single rep and weight range basically.
    I think that weight gainer is not the best way to go about things. It can help somewhat, but getting your calories and nutrients from proper solid foods is going to help you gain weight more and keep your healthier. You just need to be more organised and eat 4-6 times a day to keep the body fuelled. I would try to cut down on the drinks and increase your solid foods.
    4000 calories a day should be more than enough at your body weight to achieve weight gain, just make sure it is healthy foods with heaps of protein- no short cuts!

  95. Im 18 , 5.8 and weigh 125, I am starting ti do of what u mostly say to all this people like working out 3 times a week, eating alot!, and getting good rests. My question is , is it very important to stretch before working out?

  96. @Austin
    Hey Austin,
    Great question! I should put up another page about stretching as I believe it is very helpful actually.
    Stretch before and after a workout I recommend. Make sure you stretch without ‘bouncing’. Instead make sure each stretch is slow and deliberate and gives a good stretching feeling for a period of time before moving to the next.
    Do not neglect stretching for sure!

  97. Me and my friend was at a park exercising and jogging around a trail. I told him I wanna get big. I’m 149lbs and he said he’s 250lbs. I told him I wanna weigh as much as him. And then he told me that I’ll never be as big as him. He told me I could only build muscle up to 211lbs. So he got me pretty discourage for weeks because I want to weigh more muscle than that. I’m not saying I wanna be reeaallly really fat, I wanna have really huge muscles. So is there a Limit to how much muscle you gain naturally? Like can anyone bulk up forever if they wanted to and gain as much muscle mass as they want as long as they train hard and don’t mind working out for years to come? Cause I know if you’re 149lbs or below it’ll take years to get to 300.?

  98. Hello my name is Aaron and I read your Article and I’m skinny and have skinny wrists, I was wondering how I can get my wrist stronger or my arms bigger so I can get a better grip, I’m a fighter and fight at 155-160 as of now now and would like to get cut and gain muscle to 185, Ive been working out a lot lately, Ive been doing weights full body 3 times a week and doing technique training, sparring and grappling is that good? And besides the 3 times a week on 2 other days I lift very light weights to keep my calories burning. How much should my Calorie intake be? I also do Intervals in cardio about 4 times a week on different days, as well as explosive sprints…Is it possible to get cut up at 155 for about 4-5 Months by gaining muscle and burning excess fat until I’m ready to start seriously Bodybuilding to get to 185?

  99. Hello James ! I’m 23, 5.9 and weigh 60 kgs.From the last 2 weeks i have changed my routine, i am eating more and above all doing stretching & some exercises like push ups nd situps which i hadn’t done in the last few years.I believe that i should do these basic exercises for some time before i start weight lifting as i hadn’t done much in my past.I must mention that i’m feeling changes in me by these daily exercises.
    could you tell if i’m thinking right way & if yes how long should i wait until weight lifting.

  100. @Justin Morant
    Hi Justin,
    Weight does not mean much if you do not take into account your height. Taller people will weigh more as they have more mass to their body. Someone shorter with similar muscles will weight less of course.

    My advice is not to focus on how much you weigh. There is a limit to how much muscle you can build in a certain time period, but you can continue to pack on muscle for quite a while.

    However after a certain point it just gets harder. It can be done but you have to have a certain amount of discipline and a real desire to do it.

    I would concentrate on just building as much as you can. Forget goal settings fro weight – set your goals for strength! That is measure your success by how much you can lift not by what the scales can measure.

    Also – make sure you are only competing with yourself. Do not feel you need to compete with someone more genetically gifted than yourself, just concentrate on beating your own records!

  101. @Aaron Johnson
    Hi Aaron,
    You need to decide if you want to gain mass or lose fat to gain definition. Diong both of these at the same time is not recommended as you end up sabotaging one or the other.

    Best thing to do is to concentrate on weight gain until you are happy with your muscle progress then start working on getting more muscle definition by maintaining muscle but losing any excess fat.

    Bulk up then cut down. That is how all the professionals do it and this is for a reason. If you try to limit calories you will limit muscle growth. As fro wrists, yea mine are pretty skinny too, you gotta work on them consistently by targeting them directly every workout.

  102. @jordan
    Hi Jordan,
    Good thinking man, get your basic fitness up to scratch and you will get a much better bodybuilding experience and avoid injury.
    You should seriously check out the Upside Down Training guide by Vince Delmonte here:
    Upside Down Training Guide Free!
    This is totally free and gives you exactly what you need to know to do that preparation. Vince’s guide is a 4 week course basically to get you up to speed for the serious bodybuilding stuff.

  103. Hi James,

    Been reading through all your posts and replies and have found them very informative and helpful.Thanks a lot! I have been doing weight training at the gym for around one year now. Something I have been noticing is that my weight has been gradually increasing even though I still look slim but muscular. My weight is around 78 kilos and height 174 cms. Age: 23. Is this within the normal limits? Any reason why my excess weight is not showing on my body?

  104. @ashz
    Hi Ashz,
    78Kgs for 174cms does not sound too skinny – seems like you must have a bit of bulk. One thing that is often hard to tell when we are gaining weight is being able to see it when the muscle growth is even all over. Nothing seems to show more than anything else so it might be a trick of your eyes more than an actual fact.
    Another way this can happen is that your muscle are getting denser and you are getting stronger, but they might not be growing as much as you thought. This is not a bad thing, but you might want to mix up your weights to be a bit lighter even for mroe reps which can target other muscle fibres that will gain more mass (I think this science is right anyway!)
    If you are gaining weight and getting strong though you are on the right track.
    If you want to see results more perhaps work a bit more on a particular body part like the chest or arms.

  105. Hi James,

    I’m 28 years old. It has seriously dawned on me that I need to be someone who’s not skinny anymore. I have been skinny all my life. There are times when I feel bad especially when I see someone who’s got a good body.

    My concern with the muscle-gaining program that is presented here is the “eating-a-lot” thingy. When I eat a complete meal, for instance, I wouldn’t feel like eating another complete meal anymore until the normal time to eat meal again. Thus, I can’t follow the 5-6 meals a day. You just become too full to eat again after 2-3 hours.

    You’ll surely have an answer to that. After you address that concern, my next question is whether or not it’s OK not to go to gym yet. I’m thinking of gaining fats (and some muscle perhaps and what not) due to eating first and then after I see the result of severe food intake, only then will I hit the gym and start working out. Meaning, from skinny to fat to muscle. The reason for this is that I might not really become successful with the eating step. My metabolism might be really just too fast for me to overtake. And, correct me if I’m wrong, I can’t grow muscle if my metabolism isn’t permitting me. Food is sort of the gatekeeper. Food intake should be able to change my body first from being skinny, then work out will reshape it. Bottomline, if my food intake step isn’t successful, going to the gym isn’t gonna be of help, so I might as well check first if my food intake is successful. Am I correct?

    Going to the gym is a concern because it costs money. I can afford it but I don’t wanna spend on something that won’t really help. Thus, I need to know if I’m right when I say that it might be a good idea to see first if my food intaking step is successful.

  106. Hey James, I’m 17 going on 18, 5’10” and weigh about 125-130, I currently run cross country for my high school team and cannot lift weights as told by my coach… I have a very high metabolism and am starting to eat a lot more. Come mid November my season will be over and I want to lift weights to increase my biceps, triceps and pecs, I already have great abs and leg muscles, but do not know how much weight I should be lifting to increase my muscle mass and fast (as I have soccer starting in around February or March and will not be able to lift as often), i plan on lifting on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Fridays. I also do 15-20pushups daily. Any advice?

  107. hi james,

    to maintian my calorie can i make a sugar solution and drink it while i’m in college. it is good or not

  108. @Rex
    Hi Rex,
    The eating thing is a challenge, but it has got to be done right. Firstly you can cut down the size of each meal by a little bit so rather than 3 decent meals we usually have, make each meal a bit less than this, but also add in 2 more meals of the same size. Basically you should not eat to satiation with each meal or your body will not handle it well.
    Even so it is still a challenge. I recommend that you make meals with calorie dense foods. That is foods that take up small amounts of actually space but contain a lot of energy. Avocados, rice, pasta, nuts (almonds are very good) are all calorie dense but there are many more. They are also healthy – peanut butter is a less healthy way to get additional calories.
    Managing a proper weight gain diet plan is hard that’s for sure but it can be done. You need to be disciplined about it that’s all.
    As for the gym, I would start with body weight exercises such as pull ups, dips, push ups etc using this eating strategy first and once you start seeing some improvement then go hit the gym to accelerate your progress.

  109. @Sean
    Hi Sean,
    As a general rule you need to lift heavy. So about 8-12 reps per set maximum. As in you should be failing to reach more than that due to muscle exhaustion so you know you are pushing yourself to the limits. 3-4 sets of those for each muscle group will make sure you spark muscle growth in the muscles you are training.
    With intense workout sessions like this moving from exercise to exercise fast alongside a big eating plan you should start to see some gains.

  110. @shahid
    Hi Shahid,
    No man not good at all. Sugar is the wrong sort of energy. It gets absorbed super fast and gives you a short burst of energy and then is gone – or stored as fat. It does very little for muscle growth.

  111. This thing won’t let me post anything but lets try.

    I have been good in endurance for a while now. What I want though is strength and mass. I curl two 15 pound dumbbells, and curl, incline press, decline press, and regular press a 47 pound barbell (due to limited weight sets).

    Curling it and pushing the barbell over my head cause muscle exhaustion at 10 or so reps, but the bench presses are easy and I can go up and past 20. What I would like to know is how can I increase my chest muscles when this is as far as my limited collection will allow without making me jump to 100 pound bench presses? Also won’t going past 12-15 reps cause me not to increase muscle mass?

    I am 14yrs 5’7 and 122

  112. @Ben
    Hi Ben,

    The sad fact is that you need to get more weight for your lift. The body is a complex thing in some ways and simple in others. It requires that you force it to change by trying to lift beyond its current capability – if you are not challenging it – it does not change.

    You can get creative with weights and some makeshift stuff – but the mechanics of how it all works will not change you need to challenge your chest muscles.

  113. hey man,
    I’ve started eating more and How should I start my bodybuilding? Should I start with push ups and gradually move to weights or start with weights?

  114. I’m 5’9 138 How Many Push Ups A Day Could Give Me a Sufficient Work And I Want To Gain 20 pounds Of Muscle In Two Months Is That Possible!!! By The Way Im 18

  115. Hey, gotta say i love this site, i just stumbled across it tonight and plan to give it a shot. Im currently 18 years old, 6 ft tall, and about 140lbs… simply put. i am and always have been the skinny guy. Im going to give this advice a shot, though i dont have access to a gym at the moment, im going to try with just basic at home exercises and go all out with it, and also start eating until i feel stuffed (lol) i eat 1-2lbs of food every meal yet never feel truly full. Ill be checking in on this site every week or so. quite frankly Im glad its still up and running, this is a helpful guide.

  116. @James

    Hi James,

    I weigh about I weigh about 171, I have been lifting for the last 2 months, upper body, such as the pecs, traps, shoulders, triceps. I could exercise my lower body becuase I dislocated my knee during football. I only have two weeks until Wrestling season, and I feel confident enough to start lifting with my lower body. What do you suggest? I take Soy Protien Powder, and it seems to help me get alot of protien I need to grow, I have gotten alot stronger upper body wise.

  117. Hi James

    Im 16 at 5″ 7 125lbs
    I lift everyday at school for strength and conditiong but we lift every other day.
    We start of with a work out like squats and bench and many other things
    then after that we do a crossfit
    some of my maxs are 240 deadlift 135 bench 150 powerclean weightpull up 70lbs
    i’ve seen inprovements in my maxes but i haven’t seen any improvement in my muscles
    i’ve used protein shake which never seemed to help me
    i have tiny arms and legs and would like alot of improvement would the no-nonsence muscle building actually help make me more muscle and gain weight

  118. @tim
    Hey Tim,

    If you have not done weights before it is advisable to start with body weight exercises for a few weeks to get prepared for the weights you will need to lift. If you are already pretty fit – just skinny you can probably hit the gym straight away though.

    I recommend a few weeks without heavy weights to start but that is just preparation, you might not gain all that much muscle form this but it will stop you from getting injured!

  119. @Taylor
    Hi Taylor,

    You need to do more than push ups man. Once your body can easily lift your body weight it is no longer challenged and will no longer grow. You need to lift heavier weights consistently to have consistent gains.

  120. @Brian
    Thanks man!

    You can get a good start without a gym, but you will start to need heavier weight than just your body to continue eventually. Keep the intensity up and get creative with weights if you are strugglign to get to a gym and good luck!
    Keep us informed of you your goin man 🙂

  121. @drake
    Hey Drake,

    If I were to hazard a guess I would say you are not eating enough food to grow the muscles. You might be getting stronger with some muscle fibers but not others so might also need to adjust how many reps per set – 8-12 tends to give a better workout for hypertrophy but it varies on many factors.
    If you are not eating that much I would suggest getting a lot more food into yourself.
    Oh also – lifting every single day is not needed. You need time for the muscles to rest and repair and grow too. Lift heavy then give the body time to adjust then add some more reps or extra weight each time.

    … and yes. I think the no-nonsense muscle building guide will definitely help you – especially if you get the additional meal guides. Those things are worth their weight in gold if you are busy.

  122. Hey James,
    I have been lifting for a while now and have noticed that my left arm is not gaining as much
    Muscle as my right arm. My left tricep is smaller than my right tricep. I dont know what to do to fix this. Thanks

  123. So I’m another one of those skinny kids tht is trying to get bigger. I’ve been working on and off for the past year or two. But I always stop. I just want to see results you know? But I have been working out for the past few weeks, I’ve been doing compound lifts. Is tht good or no? And I know you guys say on here to eat alot more but I almost can’t. I have huge family so I never really have any food at my house. Just the 3 main courses. Adding meals I mite be able to work out but are you talking like major meals, just like a apple and sandwich, or just a snack?.. I just really want to get bigger.

  124. Oh and another thing i wanted to ask, while working out my arms I always push myself to do more to the point where I can’t cuz it hurts so bad and I can’t even lift my arms. But then the next day I won’t feel tht nice pain feeling like I do with calf raises or a good chest workout.. Does tht mean I’m not gaining an muscle there?

  125. @Brian
    Hi Brian,

    This is a common problem especially for beginners. The biggest culprit is poor form when lifting. You might be doing your right side perfectly, but are not keeping good form on your weaker left side so you do not get the targeted, efficient workout on those muscle groups.

    So – practice good form for your whole body when lifting. Go down some weight for a little bit if needed to get that right before heading to the bigger weights.

    Also – when lifting, try to lean into the left side a little more and pressure those muscle group a little to activate more muscle growth on the left side. You can also hit that side of the body with some extra exercises to speed the process along.

    Good luck!

  126. @Ian
    Hey Ian,
    Compound lifts are heap better than isolation exercises in my opinion. You want to work all your body each workout not just a few individual muscle or groups of muscle so keep at it.

    For eating it is best to have 5-6 meals a day. Proper meals not just snacks if you can but i know that can be hard. If you have to ‘snack’ for extra food make sure those snacks are substantial enough to be a small meal not just a bite or two ok.

    The pain you feel does usually mean you have triggered muscle growth – but you do not need to feel that pain to grow your muscles no. If you have put that sot of intensity into your arms you probably are getting ti right unless you are practicing bad form and taking the weight off your main arm muscles – look into your form first but it should be ok.

  127. Hey,
    I am a really skinny teenager and I really want to gain some muscles. But i do have one problem. I live in a place where there is no gym. Is there some way I can gain muscles at home? Small weights? Push-ups? I don’t have much space for a machine, and i don’t have that much money. I have seen some youtube videos, where they explain that you can build muscles with just small weights, and push- ups, can I trust them?

  128. Hi my name is elias im a little guy im 5 10 138 no matter how little or how much I eat I stay the same weight. It took me 3 years to go from 125 to 135 . I worked in a gym as a martial arts instructor. Im wanting to just gain maybe 14-20 lbs of muscle I am about 5.89% body fat I bench. 165 and only squat 300 im hoping to increase it instead of running long runns I switched to sprints for less fat burn. I am in good zhao and very lean and cut for a 135 er but i. Want to move up any tips?

  129. @Erik
    Hi Erik,

    You will only get to a certain point using a single set of weights or your own body weight. Your muscles require more strain and stress from larger weights to continue to grow. To start with light weights and push ups will work – but once they become too easy you will never add more muscle until you upgrade and get something heavier to lift with.

  130. @elias
    Hey Elias,

    Get rid of the long runs for sure. To add muscle your body requires you to lift heavier weights and do more work in a shorter period of time. Lengthy cardio sessions just burn energy that could be used for repairing and growing muscles after lifting weights.

    Even sprinting can be replaced by more time in the weights room if you really want to get more muscle mass – I suggest putting other stuff on the backburner while you concentrate on building muscle – this is important because your naturally skinny body type requires extra diligence and work to overcome the skinny genetics you bear.

  131. Dear James,
    I am trying to help a friend who is 52, diabetic and very skinny. No matter what he eats he doesn’t gain weight. (Has recently changed to a healthy diet) He has been going to gym on and off for 3 years!! but has hardly any muscle tone to show for it. He does a lot of cardio and I believe this is wrong for him.He has lost motivation as no results for all the sweat.
    He has poor posture and generally weak all over. He doesn’t have a sucked in stomach but it’s not fat.
    I believe it is possible for him to lay down muscle with the right training and also reverse his diabetes. What do you think?
    Appreciate any help. Amanda

  132. @Amanda Fogarty
    Hi Amanda,

    Diabetes is a complex disease. Bodybuilding will not reverse his diabetes, exercise and healthy eating will certainly help though and cardio is not a bad thing for diabetics to do either.

    However, cardio is dull and provides no feeling of gain. It is not motivating like seeing your body fill out and look stronger so it could help him yes – if he is VERY skinny then it migth be a good idea to build some muscle but again I stress bodybuilding is not going to be a cure for diabetes!

    Theer is a good article here you might want to read also:

    If he decides to build some muscle let it be for his general health and to feel motivated but do not link it to diabetes is my warning.

  133. @James McLain
    Thanks so much for all your advice James! It’s more important to him to feel stronger and have more bulk than to reverse diabetes. His new diet is correcting that.
    All I wanted to know is if it was possible for him to bulk out.
    Bless you and thanks heaps.

  134. @Erik
    My name is shane I started of skinny Ive been working out for 2 mouths so far and I have made up my own work out pro gram for abbs and upper body and it is very effective. For starters for abbs you do army crunch about 50 of them then you have a rest for 5 mins then you do 50 army sit ups then eat 2 week becks then u do 25 army crunch and 25 army sit ups and after you done that eat 3 wet becks then grab a 4kg weight and do 50 sit ups which adds to a mix of 200 once you done that you need to work on your oblecks you do 15 flags 15 crunch and 15 stars then you tighten them by putting your feet up in the air and holding it there for 1 min then rest and another 1 min done then go eat 6 wet bnecks at the end. I cool it the wet becks work out for abs lol. then rest for 1 hour before going into your upper body work out lol

  135. I’m 17, around 6ft2 and very very skinny. I thought it may be something I would grow out of but it has always been the same. I notice it more due to all of my friends going to the gym however they did not have the problem of high metabolism in the first place. I am feeling extremely motivated to put on weight and hopefully muscle. I will be getting a gym membership in two days and I am planning on completly changing the way I eat from now on, infact I plan on making regular trips to the supermarket. The one problem is that I am really not sure on what exactly the types of excercises I should be doing are (I know I should be pushing myself doing high weights) also what foods i should be getting. I would really appreciate if someone could help me out here because I am honestly sick of how my body looks and think it would make myself feel alot better about myself. Thanks for even reading all of this 😛

  136. Hello, thanks for the articles..I’m from Indonesia. 22 years old, 170cm and 45kg. I’m a walking fish skeleton.

    So, after reading these, I realized that I need to eat a hell lot, as long as it contains healthy nutrition, right?
    I’m not really looking for muscles, just to bulk up my body is enough. My girlfriend finds that a Jacob Blake-like body is kinda scary.

    My questions are:
    1. I am a smoker. I smoke about 1 pack in 3 days. Can smoking affect the bulking process?
    2. Can you give any tips so I can eat 5-6 a day while doing the activity in campus, that like take almost 6 hours of my times every day? Probably, like portable healthy meals/light meals/snack that I can take everywhere?
    Because I don’t know anything about preparing meals, so most of the time I buy my food outside.

    Thanks man. I’m tired already with these exposed bones.

  137. @DuckyFuzz
    Hey man,

    Broad ranging questions there mate – Read the articles on the site here to get an idea of what to do, but if you need something more guided check out Vince Delmontes guide it has everything you will need to hit the gym and get serious results fast.

  138. @Sidky
    Hey man,

    1. Stop smoking and clean out your lungs! I am not sure how this would effect your bodybuilding but it hurts every aspect of your health. You are pouring poisons into yoru body that it has to spend energy to combat – there is nothing good about smoking. Quit that habit man for yourself and for your loved ones – I have seen lung cancer up close and it is horrific.

    2. Portables meals are the best way to go. I got a bunch of plastic containers and an extra bag to carry around with my meals for the day in there. Helped a heap – though it was a pain in the arse sometimes. I didmix it up by eating out sometimes but preparing yourself simple meals for during the day is not too hard. Do not just snack though – each time you eat it is a mini-meal – more than a light snack yea.

    Keep it up man, get started and you will see some results – you do not need to be huge but you will find where yuo are comfortable with.

  139. Hello, very nice article. I’m 21, 5’9″, about 127 lbs.

    I started working out more than 5 months ago, and I gained about 9 lbs I was about 118 lbs before. I follow this workout routine from a website:

    Just want to know your thoughts with the routine. I changed maybe 2 or 3 of the exercises because the positions/postures are hard for me. I have a problem with my “diet”. I eat a lot but only during lunch and dinner, I’m from the Philippines and we eat rice practically 3x a day with viand, during breakfast I eat white bread with eggs or just plain bread with coffee or just water. I see changes with my body but not that much compared to the ones I read and see on other websites within the time span I’ve been working out. Am I doing something wrong?. Hope you can help me. Thanks.

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