Skinny Bodybuilding – 17 Quick Tips to Muscle Gain

skinnybodybuildingSkinny 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.

If you want more than just tips and are looking for a full guide and plan to gain muscle I recommend you click here to check out the No-Nonsense Muscle Building Guide.

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.

progressive3. 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.

stretchingwoman6. Stretching

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.

compoundsquat9. 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

FoodPileThe 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.

foodclock15. 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,

jamesmclainI 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.

Click here for insane muscle gain.

Follow James McLain on , Facebook, or Twitter!

20 thoughts on “Skinny Bodybuilding – 17 Quick Tips to Muscle Gain”

  1. I’m reden 20 years old 5’10 height 120lbs how can i gain weight? and whats the technique to get in shape my body and arms muscle?

  2. @reden
    Hi Reden,
    There is no special technique to bodybuilding. It is about understanding how the body works and builds muscles then having a plan to make sure that happens. It is a combination of eating right, getting the rest you need, and then comes the only bit of technique which is HOW you workout with weights. The article explains all this in brief detail, for a complete explanation with incredible depth of detail I highly recommend the No-Nonsense Muscle Building Guide while I link to above.

  3. Hi, I’m Lewis. A few weeks ago I made the choice that I really wanted to stop being skinny and put on some real mass. The problem is though, I can’t seem to get motivated enough. I really want muscle, but simply put of working out for another time. How can I stop procrastinating and get myself to where I want to be?

  4. Hey, I’m 16 years old and 5’9 height. I’m only 115 pounds, so I really want to put on some muscle mass. The only problem is that I’m having trouble getting motivated. What can I do to stop procrastinating and really get what I’m looking for?

  5. @Lewis
    Hi Lewis,
    Yous said you made a choice to stop being skinny but that is not the case. You made a wish that will not come to fulfillment without action.
    You need a goal that matters. Why do you want to put on mass? If this goal is not something that motivates you to want to kick off the bedsheets in the morning and go hard at workign on it then you will never get bigger muscles. It comes down to a reason to motivate yourself that is close to your heart and tangible.

  6. Hi James, I don’t have access to weights or gym at the moment but when i go back to school i think ill be old enough to use the school gym but at the moment i don’t have anything i can use apart from bodyweight excercises and using things like heavy books and chairs instead of weights. Also i work my abs out at the moment, i do long arm crunches (50 reps) then vertical crunches (50) then bicycle crunch (50) with no rest in between and my abs look really good. I do 2 chair triceps dips aswell and my triceps are looking good (when i tense and sometimes when not) but my arms still look pretty skinny and i want big biceps what shall i do?

  7. @ME
    Hey man,

    Lots of reps will not help, you need more weight to stress the muscles. This might be hard at the moment but once you get the the gym you will be better served with weights there.

    I would suggest you get this free guide on how to prepare for bodybuilding which could be helpful to get you started and stengthen your whole body up ready to get the big gains.

    Upside Down Training

    If you can find heavier weights around the place then make sure you use them!

  8. hi,, I am maruf. 7 years ago i got a heavy electric shock.I can tell it was too heavy.From that even I am getting thinner and before that my body was growing good enough .I and my parents were not well concerned about that.But Now i feel
    i lost everything. I want to build my body.Buddy Please help me.Fix me a routine pls. My age is 20. pls help.

  9. @Maruf
    Hi Maruf,
    I do not know how an electric shock would effect your muscle growth so I cannot be of much help. Read the articles on this site and you will get the basic idea – but I would see a doctor first and make sure it is ok – and get any additional advice from them.

  10. @johnbitz
    Hi John,
    Forget supplements – just do the important things right and stay consistent with your planing and workouts. If you want a complete program and guide check out the no nonsense body building guide I link to on this site as that is probably the best one out there for skinny guys.

  11. Hi there James.
    Bit of a problem going on. Bought a Barbell Dumbell Set. Bought the e book of Vince Del Monte’s, which to be honest is a lot to read and nothing seems to be working..
    Can you tell me the weight in kg that i should be using to lift. Im eating correctly.. But ive been told milk makes a significance when lifting. Given up a lot to achieve this goal.. My football, running, tennis all has been ditched.. Need your help..
    Thanks CJ

  12. @Chris
    Hey man,
    The exact weight is not what you need to concentrate on, it is the amount you can lift. Get a weight that doing a particular exercise you can only lift a maximum of 12, but more like 8-10 before your muscles give out and you need a rest. THAT is about the weight that is really challenging your muscles and causing small tears in the fibres that when they heal – produce muscle growth.
    So get a few sets of exercises you want to do and the weights that are right and got at them with that. Overt he next few weeks you should be lifting more reps as you get stronger, but if you are going over 12 reps then you need to add more weight. It is about progressively measuring your strength and seeing it go up – this will in turn be shown in extra muscle.

  13. i realy need some help i have bein working out for about 2 week’s now like push up’s sit up and working on my arm’s im 20 years old weigh 133 pound’s im tyierd of getting picked on bc all my buddies are way bigger than me what should i do anything please help me
    thank you

  14. @robert
    Hey Rob,
    Body weight exercises will not get you much gains if it is too easy for you. You need heavier weights to stress the muscles in your body so they adapt and become stronger. You will also need to eat more if you are the sort of guy that never puts on weight because your metabolism is so high – you burn through energy too quickly leaving nothing left for muscle building.
    So invest in some weights, or get a gym membership – or get creative so you are lifting against pressure and weight that will require a great deal of effort to lift. About 8-12 reps MAX in a set before you give out.

  15. Hello,

    I was wondering about sets and reps. I understand you want a lot of weight to where you can only do about 12, but do you only do one set or multiple sets of the reps?

  16. @Cody
    Hey Cody,

    Best to do 3 sets. One is a bit of a warm up, the second will stretch you and you will start to feel it, the third set is your final one where you do to failure (or just before failure). That last set is where you really push yourself hard and you will be creating the small rips in your muscles that will heal up and become larger creating muscle mass and strength

  17. Hey I’m john 19 yrs old and 130lbs, 5’7 height. I want to gain “body mass”, muscles as well cause I’m skinny and this is the thing I have a High blood pressure and as my doctor said I need to do cardio but I doing cardio makes me feel I’m getting weight loss and I’m worried and dont know what to do, cause doing cardio workouts and exercises kill fats and I can’t build more body mass with cardio workouts. what should I do? Thanks.

  18. Hey man,

    High blood pressure should not stop you bodybuilding. Lowering blood pressure is about a range if things, but diet is highly important. If you are worried about fat, building muscle can help BURN fat as your body needs energy to maintain muscle and will burn fat if you eat right.

    Still, cardiovascular health will help with lowering blood pressure; however you do not need to overdo cardio exercise. You can still do some cardio as a warm up for your weight lifting; perhaps you can start with a high level of cardio and start reducing it as you change your diet to a lower blood pressure one.

    Look into how to change your diet first. If you do weight lifting just do not push so hard you overly strain yourself until your blood pressure is under control. However I am not a doctor and I would check that with a professional but research into your diet is going to be a MAJOR factor in helping hypertension

    Also – I did hear somewhere that whey protien actually helps fight high blood pressure. However i cannot verify that

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