Building muscle at home for skinny guys. Certainly not the easiest task. You’ve been called a stick, a pencil, skin and bones. Trainers refer to you as an ectomorph – which almost sounds like it’s a slur, but is actually the official term for people with a light build. It can be frustrating to be a skinny guy looking to build muscle at home. Many ectomorphs tend to give up their quest for gaining muscle, because they think they’re genetically predisposed to staying skinny. But more often that not, this is not the case at all. In reality, this is probably because they’re not eating right, not working out hard enough, or allowing themselves too little time to recover between workouts. At the end, it all boils down to the simplest of setbacks. And that’s what we’ll be exploring in this article.
Let’s break down our Guide: How To Build Muscle At Home For Skinny Guys.
Diet And Nutrition: Everything To Keep In Mind
There’s no denying that training is essential for muscle building. But for the skinny hard gainer, nutrition is way more important. In fact, research has shown that nutrition’s role in building muscle is almost double that of training. If you’re already training hard, but aren’t gaining muscle, that’s most likely because you haven’t optimized your diet yet. Gaining muscle fast is going to take some dietary discipline for skinny guys.
Most skinny guys who want to build muscle realize that the eating is much tougher than the training. This is normal because you are supplying your body with a surplus of calories, and it’s inevitably going to rebel against you in some way. But with a little bit of contemplation in terms of your diet, you’ll be able to meet your daily caloric requirement easily. The first step of this process is planning your diet. Just as you don’t just do some random workout at home without the slightest idea of what you are doing, your treat your diet the same way. You don’t want to open your fridge and then just randomly gobble up whatever’s available. Plan your meals in advance and stack up on the ingredients beforehand. Do your groceries weekly, and stick to your meal plan when shopping for food. Check out Reddit’s MealPrepSunday sub for inspiration.
Eat In A Caloric Surplus
Building muscle at home for skinny guys has to begin with analyzing the amount of calories they take in everyday. The method is simple. You track your starting point, and then add a surplus to it. For instance, if your body burns 2,000 calories by default everyday (use this calculator to find out your total daily energy expenditure), add a 500 calorie surplus. That means you’ll be eating around 2500 calories everyday. And of course, you’re not going to be eating junk to meet this caloric requirement.
It’s essential that you choose quality foods when you are bulking up. No matter matter how skinny you are, your body is going to rebel against you if you rely on doughnuts and burgers for fuel. You’ll end up feeling sick all day, and make zero progress in terms of mass building. This doesn’t mean you have to eat clean all the time, but the majority of your diet must be healthy.
The foods you should have? Here are a few.
- Lean meats
- Eggs, Beans
- Whole Grains
Balance your meals with a portion of carbs, fats and, most importantly, PROTEIN. Which brings us to our next point.
Maximize Protein Intake
The mac daddy of muscle building nutrition: protein! You’re going to need an abundance of protein if you want to get the best results from your training. Eggs, fish, beef, chicken, dairy etc. are all great sources of protein. Make sure to incorporate protein in every meal you eat, and set your daily protein requirement to no less than 0.7 g per lbs of bodyweight. That’s around 91 – 105 g of protein per day for the average 130 – 150 lbs skinny guy.
Hitting these numbers isn’t as hard as you might think. Here are some of the best protein sources for gaining weight:
- Chicken breast, chicken thighs
- Yoghurt, cottage cheese, milk
- Whole eggs
Most experts agree that the ideal way to keep your muscles supplied with a steady flow of nutrients and calories is to eat several meals a day. You should eat at least three, and as many as six to seven meals per day can be optimal for muscle building. Make sure to add regular snacks to your diet, so your body can stay fueled up. Eat an hour pre- and post-training to maximize muscle growth and workout intensity.
Always think of a missed meal as a missed opportunity for growth. Eating enough means you’ll have to prepare enough food beforehand, and often have to carry it with you so you don’t miss a meal. This may sound like a huge inconvenience, but remember you can’t possibly build muscle without adequate nutrients and calories. Gotta eat big to get big!
Best exercises to build muscle at home for skinny guys
Going to the gym consistently isn’t convenient for everyone. Maybe you don’t have enough time in your daily schedule, or there’s no decent gym close to you. If this is the case, and you also don’t have the resources or space to set up a home gym – is there hope for your fitness goals? Well, yes there is. You can absolutely build yourself a great body without a plethora of weightlifting equipment. See my earlier post breaking down building muscle at home.
The most important exercises for building muscle for skinny guys are compound exercises. A skinny guy’s home workout must mostly consist of compound exercises. These exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time, as opposed to isolating one muscle group. This concept is broken down in another post, make sure to check it out. If you use the right combination of compound exercises along with a balanced diet, you can go from skinny to muscular in 3 months – provided, of course, that you’re going hard and doing it right.
Why compound exercises?
They Improve Movement Efficiency
Training only one muscle group at a time does not teach multiple muscle groups to coordinate their firing rates and contractions. On the other hand, compound exercises that work up large groups of muscles teach the muscles how to coordinate the firing of the motor units that handle the timing of muscle contractions. Compound exercises can also help you improve your dynamic balance and movement skills, which will contribute to improving your overall quality of life.
They Provide A Cardiovascular Training Benefit
The aim of cardio exercise is to improve the ability of the heart to function as a pump. Now, we all know this can be done via activities like cycling, running or jogging. But it can also be achieved by compound exercises, because they involve a significant amount of muscle tissue.
Performing biceps curls with dumbbells, or sitting in a leg-extension machine doing knee extensions utilizes a very limited amount of muscle tissue; these workouts are more apt for isolated strength. On the other hand, squats, lunges or pushups are all examples of compound exercises that utilize significant amounts of muscle tissue, which challenges the heart to pump blood to keep the muscles active and fueled. The result – you get to blast several muscle groups and also receive a cardio benefit in the process.
They Improve Intermuscular Coordination
Intermolecular Coordination is the timing and function of numerous muscles around a joint. Consider, for instance, the gluteal complex (gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius) – responsible for the motion of your hip. Compound exercises such as lunges or steps move the hips in all three planes. They improve how all of the muscles work together to control and produce force, and have a tremendously positive effect on your intermuscular coordination.
The Best Compound Bodyweight Exercises
If you’re looking for how to build muscle at home for skinny guys with the most effective workouts – read along our list of our favourite compound exercises:
Here’s a demonstration of how to do push-ups properly.
We’ve all done a push-up at some point, and they’re often overlooked as one of the most kickass exercise to ever exist. The push-up is an incredibly effective exercise that works up your triceps, shoulders and chest – and also tones up your abs in the process.
Start with the regular push-up and then progress into variations when you’re comfortable with the movements. Start with incline and decline, then one foot, then you can move to handstand and one-handed pushups. Until you build enough upper body strength, you can simplify this exercise by performing it with your knees on the ground.
Here’s a demonstration of how to do pull-ups properly
Pull-ups are a brilliant exercise whether in or out of the gym. They’re also great bicep-builders. However, they do require minimal equipment. Basically, you need something to hang from. You can use a ledge, playground monkey bars, a deck, or just buy a pull-up bar that uses a door frame for support (it won’t cost more than $40).
You can simplify this exercise by having something in place to support your knees to make the rep partial. Alternatively, you can perform only a partial part of the movement (the coming down part of a rep). As for progressions: you can add weight, or perform with one hand.
Here’s a demonstration of how to do a squat properly.
If you know push-ups, you’re probably familiar with squats. Now, you don’t just want to build upper body and have chicken legs carrying your body. Exercising your legs is equally important for strength and stability in everyday movements. Squats work up your hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps – and also use the calves and core for stability.
Progressions for the squat can involve jump squats and, most importantly, the Pistol Squat. The Pistol Squat takes a bit of practice to get right, because it’s a one-legged squat. Once mastered, you’ll be able to blast your legs with this movement. In order to simplify the squat, you can do box squats or put a stability ball in between the wall and your back to get your legs used to the movement.
Here’s a demonstration of how to do a single-leg deadlift properly.
Deadlift, the king of all exercises. In this version, you’ll be using your own bodyweight instead of a barbell. This makes for a great strength move for your hamstrings and strings. This exercise will help with overall leg strength and motility.
You can simplify this exercise by performing it on both legs, before moving to one. Progressions can involve adding resistance in the form of kettlebells, dumbbells and bands, or changing the tempo.
One of the most overlooked aspects of gaining muscle for skinny guys – resting adequately! If you’ve takenon that frantic ‘must work out everyday’ mindset – you’re forgetting that one of the most important parts of exercising effectively is having enough rest time. Not allowing enough recovery time in between your weight training workouts can lead to overtraining. Overtraining can end up leading to an injury, and further slow down your muscle building process.
The workout guides you’ll read online don’t put nearly enough stress on the importance of resting. Which is why we’ve dedicated a whole section to it! Research has consistently concluded that getting less than 6 hours of sleep everyday can tremendously affect your overall health, judgment, reaction time and coordination. The number of hours of sleep you need each night will be based on factors like the quality of your diet, the intensity of your workouts, daily activity level and the amount of stress in your life.
Since you will be placing a significant amount of stress on your muscles and nervous system in every workout session, allowing enough time in between is crucial. Whatever program or routine you’re following, make sure it leaves a single day’s rest between weight training workouts. If, for some reason, you have to train on consecutive days – make sure you’re targeting different muscle groups on each day.
Bottom line to building muscle at home for skinny guys
If you’re looking for how to build muscle at home for skinny guys – it’s important to stay wary of the most common diet/workout mistakes you’re bound to make in the beginning. Your bulking journey might not be so easy to go through. But once you start noticing your gains and gradually begin to transform your body – every second of your daunting research, those body-crushing workouts, and the scrupulous meal planning is going to be worth it!