Skinny bodybuilding can be tough thing to do for men and women with decidedly skinny genetics who want to increase their body’s muscle mass. However muscle gain, while elusive, is achievable for all body types including the skinny ectomorph’s if you do all the right things that add up to a bigger body.
There are however so many things you need to know and get right in this journey. Sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the end goal while trying to research it all and then follow every bit of advice you pick up along the way! To make things a little more simple here is a collection of helpful tips that will make bodybuilding for the skinny guy and girl a bit easier.
1. Planning & Goals
Before you start doing any weight lifting at the gym you need an overall plan! Action without forethought might get you moving but it does not keep you moving. Sit down and write down your plan to build muscle on a wall chart or in a diary or just a scrap of paper even. As long as you have a physical plan of action to what, when, how and importantly WHY you are doing this. If you don’t have enough information to make that plan yet, read on.
2. Track Your Progress
If you do not track your progress when bodybuilding you are doing yourself a disservice in gaining weight but also with motivation. By writing down all your exercises, how many reps, how many sets, how much weight and even items like rest time between sets and update it often you will see progress. This is motivational even if it is small steps and also leads into the next skinny bodybuilding tip.
3. Progressive Overload
Your body only grows when you challenge it and place stress and pressure on the muscles. So what happens when you get stronger and can lift weights easier? You stop challenging them! If you have been tracking your weight lifting you can see where you are improving so should react to that by adding more weight or reducing rest time or increasing reps. This is called progressive overload and stop you hitting a plateau on muscle gain.
4. Stay Focused
Losing focus hurts your efforts in the gym and out of the gym too. It can be easy to lose concentration talking with friends, observing other weight lifters or checking out the other gender. All this stops you concentrating on the one thing you want to achieve, more muscles and fast! Plug in an mp3 player, focus on the task at hand, don’t get sucked into anything outside your own bodybuilding sphere.
5. Perfect Your Technique
What is the difference between an exercise done with good technique and one done even a little bit poorly? It could be the difference between muscle growth and exhaustion! If you do each exercise with perfect technique you recruit every muscle needed and others around it without wasting half a workout taking a shortcut by bending the wrong way or sitting incorrectly. Make the most of every single rep or you are just wasting energy! A good resource for watching good technique in action.
Stretching is an important part of body building. Not only does it help with flexibility which prevents injuries when weight lifting but it has a physical effect on your muscles. The muscles become longer if they are stretched which also enables more blood and nutrients to flow in a workout. It also helps stretch the fascia which is a coating over the muscle that if too tight may constrict your muscles growth. Stretch before your workout but also between exercises for the most benefit. More information on good stretching and pre-weight lifting work.
7. Avoid Cardio Workouts
As a skinny guy or girl your metabolism is very high and burns through energy fast making it difficult to get fat and difficult to build muscle. Cardio work is good for burning fat but not good for building muscle because it takes even more energy away without challenging the muscles much at all. A cardio warm up is OK but leave the bikes and treadmills alone for the most part.
8. Keep Moving
Don’t take a long break between exercises. This cools your body down and starts to send it into recovery mode when you really want to stay warm and working out. If you are stretching between exercises and staying focused enough to move on to the next one in your routine quickly you can keep the blood pumping and the muscles working for better muscle gain.
9. Compound Exercises
A compound exercise moves your body through more than a single joint movement compared with an isolation exercise that only moves it through a single-joint movement. This is important because a compound exercise not only targets a main muscle group but will also recruit muscles from many other places. The more muscles you can work in an exercise the more efficient your muscle building will be. It will also allow you to lift heavier weights because of the other muscles which helps to really force the muscles to adapt and grow bigger.
10. Do Not Restrict Range of Movement
For your own safety make sure you only workout within your natural range of movement. Do not lift weights on machines that force you into uncomfortable positions or put yourself in a position that is forcing you beyond your joints comfort range. Stretching will increase range of motion but forcing it while lifting is a recipe for joint damage that you don’t need and will set your plans for a buff body back a long way.
11. Lift Heavy
You have heard me say you need to challenge your muscles and stress them to grow right. This is the vital underpinning to the start of muscle growth which requires you to lift heavy weight close to the maximum you can possibly do. The reason for this is that muscles develop many small tears if you lift heavy weights that get repaired after you workout. This repair process also adds more muscle fiber resulting in bigger muscles. Light weights might make you tired if you lift them many times but they do not make the tears you need to grow. Try a muscle growth workout with just 3 sets for each exercise with 2 warm up sets at about 80% of your max lift then one all out set where you can only manage a max of about 8 reps before failure.
12. Eat More Calories
The skinny ectomorph metabolism is a calorie burning machine which makes bodybuilding difficult if you do not eat enough. Once you force your muscles out of their comfort zone you need the energy from calories to give your body the fuel to repair and grow. You need to calculate how many calories you need per day just to live, work, exercise and play which is the minimal amount you need for the body to just maintain its body weight. Then add a lot more on top of this to complete your muscle gain diet so you have excess energy to build your muscle with! A neat little calorie calculator.
13. Eat More Protein
Protein laden foods are an important part of body building for skinny types or anyone wanting more muscle gain because protein is the key item that produces the amino acids that actually make more muscle. Carbs and fats provide energy but protein is the brick and mortar of growing muscles. Some good protein rich foods are chicken breast, eggs, lean meat and nuts.
14. Increase Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is primarily a male hormone but it exists in women to a much lesser degree but it is also a major factor in muscle growth for both genders. Without enough testosterone the body is limited in it’s muscle building progress so it is important to be able to increase this naturally. If you are doing compound exercises this will help as the body produces more when many muscles are worked on at once. Lifting heavy also produces more testosterone as well as shorter erst periods. Another way to do this is by eating certain foods that stimulate testosterone levels and avoiding ones that lower it. Try eating more broccoli, avocado and asparagus while avoiding soy products.
15. Eat More Often
Another part of a good muscle building diet is the frequency of your eating. It is recommended that you eat about 5 to 6 times a day rather than the usual 3 square meals. This spreads the calories an nutrients across the day more evenly. This is important to make sure your body never goes into caloric deficit due to your super high metabolism as a hardgainer ectomorph. If you run out of energy from food your body takes it from your fat storage and failing that your muscles which as a skinny type is where it will come from destroying your efforts. Make sure each meal is a real meal also and not a snack!
16. Avoid Over-Training
Over training does not help no matter how much you think more effort equals more muscle gain. The fact of the matter is that muscles, once put under pressure from a workout only grow when you rest and have the energy and nutrients to do so. Hitting the gym for too long or too often will be like interrupting workers building something to give them new plans. They will never get any work done because you are always going back to square one!
17. Sleep for Muscles
Another important recovery tip for skinny bodybuilding is that sleep should not be sacrificed if you want to make the most of your workouts. When you sleep you release growth hormones that aid in muscle development. A solid 8 hours sleep every night does wonders for your overall health and for muscle growth. This means you may need to put some of your social life on hold if you are serious about building muscle and getting ripped.
Hi, James McLain owner of SkinnyToMuscle.net here,
I was once a skinny guy never getting anywhere at the gym and know that these tips help but nothing helps more than having a complete plan for skinny bodybuilding. If you want a step by step, done for you guide that will force your muscle to grow and fast i highly recommend you check out 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 found out the secrets of skinny bodybuilding and went from 149 pounds to 190 pounds of rock solid muscle in less than 6 months by following the no bull approach to weight training, eating and many other factors.
Now a professional model and fitness coach respected worldwide Vince Delmonte has released a fully downloadable guide on how you can get the body you want without supplements or steroids. This is your best chance to go from skinny to muscle fast instead of wasting money and time on useless supplements and ineffective workouts.