A lot of skinny guys think that they are simply born that way and will never be able to put on significant muscle mass.
They call themselves hardgainers and claim their genetics makes it impossible for them to ever get big.
This sort of self-labeling leads to lack of effort in the gym, poor diet and ultimately giving up on bodybuilding.
It’s really a shame because there are tons of examples of people out there who started out as scrawny, skinny dudes with terrible bodybuilding genetics.
However, after putting in work at the gym and eating right they ended up being some of the biggest guys in their gyms.
Having said that, guys who have an ectomorph frame probably won’t put on muscle as fast as their mesomorph and ectomorph counterparts.
However, they can still improve their physiques drastically.
In fact, guys who are naturally skinny have an easier time getting cut so when they finally do put that muscle on they won’t have to work hard to show it off!
If you are a skinny guy looking to get huge, you are in luck.
This article specifically targets people with ectomorph body types and teaches you how to approach your program in the right way.
Remember that this will take time – any program that promises to transform your body in 6 weeks is flat out lying.
In order to get the kind of change in your body that will impress people it will take closer to 4-6 months.
While that might seem long just look at it this way – most people go their entire lives with unaesthetic physiques.
If 6 months can give you a great improvement that really isn’t too bad at all. In fact, you will probably save a lot of time, money and frustration from not having to go from one fad diet/routine to another.
The Main Body Types
- The Endomorph. These are the guys with round, stocky frames that tend to put on weight easily.
They have great frames for powerlifting and can put on lots of mass but the issue comes when trying to get lean.
These guys tend to have low metabolism which means they put on a lot of fat when they bulk and have a hard time losing it when on a cut.
While you might think you have a rough time with your skinny ectomorph genetics these guys arguably have it worse as their natural state is stocky and chubby.
- The Mesomorph. Ok we aren’t going to lie, these guys have it made when it comes to bodybuilding.
They tend to have broad frames and put on muscle easily without necessarily putting on a lot of fat. While they don’t have the metabolism of an ectomorph they do put on muscle a lot more easily.
- The Ectomorph. In other words, you – the skinny guy.
Ectomorphs tend to have long, lanky physiques with minimal fat or muscle.
While a lot of guys think it is a bad thing to have such a lean frame the fact is it can actually be an advantage.
So many bodybuilders spend months trying to lose that stubborn body fat – at least you know that won’t be a problem for you!
Endomorphs in particularly tend to carry fat on their stomachs which looks very unaesthetic and takes a lot of effort to get rid of.
As an ectomorph even if you do put on some fat it will get burned off quickly once you start dieting.
So while staying lean is definitely an advantage in terms of aesthetics it does make it more difficult to put on muscle as quickly as the endomorph and mesomorph.
Having said that, if you put in the work you can definitely put on some size – you just takes a bit more effort than the other guys.
Just to set your expectations you probably aren’t going to look like The Rock unless you start taking a lot of steroids.
We’re guessing that’s not the main goal for most of you guys though.
What’s going to make the difference between getting huge and staying skinny is diet.
While a mesomorph might need a 250 calorie surplus to grow as an ectomorph you will likely need more than that.
Lots of carbs and healthy fats are key here. In fact, the number one reason skinny guys can’t get bigger is because they don’t eat enough!
Resistance Training Routine
While diet is without a doubt the most important part of building mass you can’t neglect the importance of a proper resistance training routine.
Skinny guys need to lift heavy weights with intensity on each set.
If you show up to the gym and do a bunch isolation exercises with 50% effort you might as well not go at all.
Having said that, don’t show up at the gym on day 1 and pick up the heaviest dumbbells you can find off the rack.
Bodybuilding is all about progressive overload – lifting more in the future than you do today.
Some guys might be able to start at 60 lb dumbbells while other guys might need to go right down to 25s.
Figure out which weight you can handle for 8-12 reps and work your way up from there.
A lot of guys like to go to the gym and lift very light weights for high reps.
Unfortunately while this type of training might give you a good pump and makes it seem like you are progressing it actually doesn’t lead to significant growth.
The reason it seems as though these longer sets are working is because more blood is being pumped into the muscles.
However, the effect is temporary and your muscles ultimately return to their regular size. Stick to 8-12 rep range for optimal growth.
Now, you can show up at the gym and work your ass off but it doesn’t mean a thing if you aren’t consistent.
You need to be going to the gym 3-5 times per week, every week.
If you go irregularly or whenever you feel like it you will simply maintain your current physique at best.
Ask any guy who has built a decent body and they will tell you that all their gains came when they were disciplined with their resistance training routine and diet.
In terms of the actual routine itself, check out our starter routine below and adjust it as necessary.
Chest, Triceps And Abs
Flat Bench Press: 4 sets x 6 – 8, 8 – 12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets x 8 – 12 reps
Cable Flyes: 4 sets x 10 – 12 reps
Skull crushers: 4 sets x 6 – 8, 8 – 12 reps
Weighted Bench Dip: 3 sets x 12 reps
Triceps Pushdown: 3 sets x 8 – 12 reps
Ab Crunch Machine: 3 sets x 12 – 15 reps
Air Bike Crunches: 2 sets x 12 – 15 reps
Lying Leg Raises: 4 sets x 20 reps
Oblique Crunches: 2 sets (each side) x 20 reps each
Back And Biceps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: 4 sets x 6 – 8, 8 – 12 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row: 4 sets x 8 – 10 reps
One Arm Dumbbell Row: 4 sets (each hand) x 10 – 12 reps
Barbell Curl: 3 sets x 8 – 12 reps
Hammer Curl: 3 sets x 8 – 10 reps
Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl: 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps
One Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curl: 2 sets (each hand) x 8 – 12 reps each
Wednesday – Rest Day
Legs And Abs
Squat: 4 sets x 12 – 15 reps
Leg Press: 4 sets x 12 – 15 reps
Lying Leg Curls: 3 sets x 12 reps
Leg Extension: 3 sets x 15 reps
Standing Calf Raises:4 sets x 12 – 15 reps
Crunches: 4 sets x 20 – 25 reps
Lying Leg Raises: 4 sets x 15 – 20 reps
Oblique Crunches: 2 sets x 20 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets x 6 – 8, 8 – 12 reps
Front Lateral Raise: 3 sets x 8 – 12 reps
Side Lateral Raise: 3 sets x 8 – 12 reps
Reverse Flyes: 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps
Smith Machine Shrug: 4 sets x 12 – 15 reps each
Saturday/ Sunday – Rest days
Diet and Nutrition
Alright we know that we already mentioned that diet is top priority, but we need to mention it again.
The fact is you are going to do 45 minutes of work at the gym and the remaining 23 hours and 15 minutes is all about diet, nutrition and lifestyle.
You need to have the right amount of protein, carbs and fat.
Without the right balance you will be more likely to put on fat compared to muscle.
You probably know that protein is important – in fact, it plays the biggest role when it comes to muscle growth.
Give yourself a steady supply of this key nutrient throughout the day and night to make sure your body has the building blocks it needs to build mass.
Aim for 6 meals each day rather than 3 as you will have a much easier time hitting your macro goals that way.
Check out our sample diet program below:
8 Egg Whites
2 Whole Eggs
1 Small cup of Almonds
Bowl of oats
1 Cup of fresh fruits (Apple, Blueberries, Strawberries and Pineapple)
Lean Protein (Lean Steak, Turkey, Chicken, White Fish)
Carbs (Sweet Potato or Brown Rice)
Salmon 170 grams, fresh grilled
Whole Wheat Pasta 75 grams
Lean Meat 200 grams
Carbs (Whole Wheat Pasta, Sweet Potato and Brown Rice)
1 cup of fresh veggies
99% Lean Turkey 170 grams
Yams 225 grams
Almonds 32 grams
Whey protein shake
Fat Free, Sugar Free Pudding Mix 1 Pack
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