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Ever felt made fun of for being skinny? If I were to tell you that there is a path to conquering this seemingly insurmountable challenge, would you believe me? You should, because I’ve been there and I’ve personally conquered how to bulk up for skinny guys.

It’s no fun being the skinny guy. You’re probably tired of hearing, “Eat more!” or “Just lift weights!” I don’t blame you.

That’s why this guide isn’t just about becoming bigger; it’s about gaining strength, boosting your confidence, and shattering stereotypes. This guide dives into actionable strategies tailored specifically on how to bulk up for skinny guys.

You’ll uncover the secrets of crafting a balanced bulking diet that drives weight gain while minimizing body fat gain. Learn effective workout routines aimed at stimulating muscle growth. Master techniques to maximize gains from every rep and understand how supplements play their part in muscle building.

We’re all about practicality with no room for fluff. Never again will you be called “String bean” like I was for years. Let’s do this.

how to bulk up for skinny guys

My Story

I’ve been in that same spot. Years ago I was that classic ‘skinny guy’, struggling to add pounds of muscle despite all efforts. So I know your pain and I know the struggle you’re going through.

My family and friends used to call me “the string bean”…

how to bulk up for skinny guys
Old picture of me taken on a disposable camera

As a man, no one likes to be called that and it hurt every time I heard it. It hurt so much because it was true. While I wasn’t as skinny as others out there, I was 6’2″ tall and weighed maybe 170 pounds soaking wet.

So I hit the books and the web and started doing research. Back then, and growing up as a kid, I always wanted to be “jacked” or “buff” kind of like the typical superhero physique.

I feverishly collected the info I needed to get started in the gym, and once I did, my life changed forever.

Fast forward a number of years and hundreds of grinding training sessions later and I had built my physique up to 215 pounds of lean muscle.

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I know what you’re thinking… No, I did not take steroids or any prohormones. These are all-natural results.

So how did I do this? Let’s talk about it.

How To Bulk Up For Skinny Guys: Understanding the Skinny Guy’s Challenge

If you’re a skinny guy trying to build muscle, you know it feels like an uphill battle. Your metabolism works against you, burning calories faster than a wildfire through dry brush in California. The struggle to build muscle mass for skinny guys is real and can feel daunting.

The key challenge here is genetics. Like Superman dealing with kryptonite, your naturally high metabolic rate often becomes your greatest obstacle when bulking up. While some envy this “fast metabolism” trait because it keeps excess body fat at bay, in reality, it makes gaining weight tougher than a two-dollar steak.

To overcome these challenges as a skinny guy, gaining much-needed muscle involves more than just lifting weights or downing protein shakes randomly. It requires understanding how our bodies work and devising smart strategies tailored for us hard-gainers.

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Busting Some Myths

A common myth about building muscle is that working out alone will get big results. This might be true for some guys blessed with good genes but unfortunately not for everyone especially those fighting their naturally lean frame.

Your diet plays an equally important role in the game of gains; perhaps even more so when battling fast metabolisms. You might have heard that “you are what you eat,” and when it comes to muscle growth, this couldn’t be more true.


Embracing the Journey

A crucial part of overcoming these challenges is embracing them as part of your unique journey towards gaining muscle mass. This acceptance not only fosters a positive mindset but also fuels determination to conquer the skinny guy’s challenge head-on.

Being strong isn’t just about the physical aspect. It’s also about mental resilience and having faith in yourself. That’s what we believe here at Men of Strength USA, where our mission is to help you become your best and strongest self via multiple facets inside and out.

Key Takeaway: 

Remember, the journey to muscle building for skinny guys might seem tough at first but with the right information and mindset, you’ve got an edge. It’s not just about hitting the gym or chugging protein shakes. Understanding your body and using strategies tailored specifically for you is crucial.

How to Bulk Up For Skinny Guys: The Role of Nutrition

When it comes to gaining muscle, your diet is as important as the time you spend in the gym. For skinny guys looking to bulk up, eating in a caloric surplus and maintaining a balanced diet makes all the difference.

meal planning how to bulk up for skinny guys

Designing a Balanced Bulking Diet

Fueling your body correctly is vital for muscle growth but this doesn’t mean devouring anything edible in sight; instead, focus on creating a healthy caloric surplus. A well-rounded clean bulking diet should be full of beneficial nutrients, with plenty of protein, carbs, and good fats. MyFitnessPal, an excellent calorie-tracking app, can help manage this process effectively and you can plan meals.

Achieving that necessary caloric surplus might seem daunting at first but consider incorporating foods high in calories yet nutritious into your meals – like sweet potatoes or olive oil. Remember though: not every pound gained will be lean muscle mass. Some weight gain will also come from increased body fat due to consuming extra calories.

It’s just the name of the game but if you’re a hard gainer and you eat a clean bulking diet then this will be minimal.


Protein intake plays an equally critical role when it comes to gaining weight and building muscle. A protein intake of around 0.8-1 gram per pound of body weight each day maximizes muscle growth (no need for more). You could get this by including more meat or using whey protein powder supplements after workouts.

Including healthy fats such as nut butter into your meals would not only contribute towards the required daily caloric intake but also support overall health – remember balance is key here. Healthy fats are essential to a man’s hormone production.

Building a balanced diet with proper nutrition for your goals may seem tricky at first but it is essential to gaining muscle as a skinny guy.

Maintaining Your Calorie Surplus

Gaining weight happens by eating more than what our bodies burn throughout the day. This is also known as maintaining a caloric surplus. But remember, the aim here is to gain muscle and not just weight – hence why we need to be mindful of where these extra calories come from.

how to bulk up for skinny guys

You can add in calorie-dense foods that are healthy to kick up the calorie amount if you’re struggling to eat enough with foods like nut butter. Nut butter offers extra calories needed for weight gain while also providing healthy fats. Adding a dollop or two into your shakes or oats can provide that small calorie surplus you need without making you feel overly full, which is a common issue among skinny guys aiming to eat enough.

Secondly, trail mix is a convenient and nutritious snack that’s easy to carry around. Loaded with nuts, dried fruits, and often chocolate or granola—these tiny powerhouses provide an excellent blend of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and extra calories needed for muscle growth.

A small calorie surplus combined with resistance training can lead to lean muscle growth without adding too much excess body fat. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between eating enough for gains but not so much that you end up gaining more fat than muscle.

It takes time and dedication, so be sure to eat plenty and keep pushing forward. During the process never lose sight of your goals.

Key Takeaway: 

For skinny guys, building muscle is more than just pumping iron; it’s also about proper nutrition. Eating a balanced diet that’s rich in nutrients and includes a calorie surplus can make a significant difference. Remember, not all the weight you gain will be pure muscle; some of it might be body fat due to those extra calories.

How to Bulk Up For Skinny Guys: Effective Approach for Muscle Growth

Gaining muscle is a common goal, but it’s not just about lifting weights. The key to effective workouts lies in purposeful resistance training and progressive overload.

Choosing the Right Exercises

The first step towards gaining muscle mass involves selecting exercises that stimulate multiple muscle groups known as compound lifts. These lifts help you to build overall strength and muscle mass rapidly.

Keep in mind, that utilizing dumbbells or barbells can engage your muscles more effectively than machines however both have benefits. For instance, bench presses target the chest, triceps, and shoulder muscles while goblet squats work the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Dumbbell rows and biceps curls target the arms and back pretty well for more of a targeted approach.

Just keep in mind that you get more out of your exercise with compound movements compared to isolation exercises done on machines. Machines can be used for injury rehabilitation, extra volume, and for targeting specific muscle groups.

The Importance of Progressive Overload

In simple terms, progressive overload means gradually increasing the intensity of your workout program over time to challenge your body continually. You could add extra weight to each session or perform additional reps – both methods will contribute significantly towards stimulating muscle growth.

This approach might seem daunting at first glance but remember this is a long game. Discipline and consistency are required to see results over time. 

Gradual increases are crucial here as they let our bodies adapt safely without risking injury. So don’t be disheartened if you’re not hoisting double digits from week one. You’ll get there.

Hypertrophy Training: Your Go-to Methodology

You may have heard of hypertrophy training before – this refers specifically to exercise designed for building up muscular bulk and is the primary method of training in bodybuilding

how to bulk up for skinny guys and build muscle while training for hypertrophy

It’s widely recognized as an ideal method for skinny guys looking to gain muscle mass. This type of training usually involves lifting moderate weights for higher repetitions (around 8-12 per set). 

For those looking to bulk up, this type of training is the ideal starting point in conjunction with overall strength training with compound lifts.

Use strength training with the big compound movements as your overall mass builders and hypertrophy as a targeted approach to bring up lagging muscle groups.

The Skinny Guy’s Workout Program

As a skinny guy who is just starting out, your workout routine should be a full-body program that you’ll do three times each week. This approach will give your body the challenge it needs to bulk up and get stronger while giving you ample recovery time to actually build muscle.

Here is a sample plan that you can use to start:

Barbell Squat: 5 sets of 5 repsBench Press: 5 sets of 5 reps Deadlift: 5 sets of 5 reps
Walking Lunges: 3 sets of 10 repsIncline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 10 repsBarbell Bent Over Row: 3 sets of 10 reps
Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets of 10 repsPush-ups x as many as you can for 3-5 setsOne Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Skullcrushers: 5 sets of 10-12 repsDumbbell Flys: 3 sets of 10 repsLat Pulldown/Pull ups: 3 sets of 10-12/as many as possible per set
Crunches/Sit ups: 4 sets of 20Bicep Curls: 5 sets of 10-12 repsAb/Arm Exercise of your choice
Sample Beginner 3 day Training Plan
Key Takeaway: 

For skinny guys aiming to bulk up, a combo of resistance/strength/hypertrophy training and progressive overload is key. Choose exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once for maximum gains like the bench press, deadlift, barbell squat, and overhead press. If you are a beginner, start with training 3 times per week until you are more advanced.

How to Bulk Up For Skinny Guys: Techniques for Maximizing Muscle Growth

To bulk up, you need more than just a workout routine. You also need to master the proper form and technique of your lifts during your exercises. It’s not enough to lift weights; how you lift them matters significantly.

Not to mention this will keep you safer from injury.

squat strength training for hypertrophy. how to bulk up for skinny guys

Perfect Your Form

The key to maximizing gains is ensuring each rep counts, and that’s where maintaining correct form comes in. Doing compound exercises like bench press or barbell squats can yield massive results if done right but could cause injuries if performed incorrectly.

You’ll want every muscle group engaged correctly throughout each exercise so as not to waste any energy on improper movement. Plus, focusing on targeting specific muscle groups with isolation exercises allows for comprehensive growth across your body.

For instance, bench pressing the right way engages multiple muscles in your upper body including your chest, shoulders, and triceps – giving you more bang for your buck.

Utilizing Compound Movements and Isolation Exercises

Bulking isn’t just about moving big weights around. How well-targeted those movements are at stimulating individual muscles is what matters most. Your quads might get all (most of) the love from squats alone while other important leg muscles miss out unless some lunges or Romanian deadlifts are thrown into the mix too.

You can learn how to perform these here.

Prioritizing Recovery Time

No matter what workout program skinny guys use to build muscle mass though, nothing beats proper recovery when it comes to improving overall strength and muscle growth in the long term. Incorporating rest days for recovery and muscle repair is just as crucial as the workout itself. Rest days allow your body to fix the microscopic tears you create in the muscles from intense workouts.

Think of the workout as the stimulus that signals your body to grow and think of recovery as the time for your muscles to actually grow larger and stronger. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day – neither will be your biceps. So, as tempting as it is to train hard every single day, give them their much-deserved break.

Key Takeaway: 


Master Your Technique: To maximize muscle growth, it’s not just about lifting the weight up. Perfecting your form during compound movements and isolation exercises can yield massive benefits and prevent injuries.

How to Bulk Up For Skinny Guys: Supplementing Your Diet for Muscle Gain

Gaining muscle is more than just pumping iron; it’s a fine balance of your mindset, the right nutrition, training sessions, and recovery. Adding in supplements can speed up the process. When we talk about bulking up for skinny guys, diet is vital, and adding in extra help from supplements can be very beneficial.

Whey Protein

The kingpin of protein powders, whey protein, plays a significant role in supporting muscle growth. It’s absorbed quickly by the body which makes it an ideal post-workout supplement to repair and build muscles.

This quick absorption helps stimulate muscle growth effectively after resistance training sessions. For most people trying to bulk up, including whey protein in their diet can help meet daily protein requirements that support lean muscle gain.

Here’s my recommendation with coupon “TravisF” for 20% off at time of writing.

Pre Workout Booster

A pre-workout supplement can supercharge your time in the gym to help you induce a large amount of stimulus to your muscles to grow. I have used them for years and wouldn’t train without one. A solid and effective pre-workout is clinically dosed and includes proven ingredients to help you perform better and build more muscle.

I would opt for one of the best natural pre-workouts so that you know you are getting a clean and effective product.

This is one of my go-to pre workout supplements that I use and you can get it, or anything else, for 15% off using code “strength”.

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Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate has been proven over decades to help pack on muscle and help you get stronger and it is safe to use for anyone wanting the benefits it offers. There are multiple other forms of it but creatine monohydrate is the most well known, tested, and proven.

I highly recommend this one for you if you’re a skinny guy looking to add muscle mass as fast as possible. Don’t forget to use coupon code “strength” for 15% off!

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Mass Gaining Supplements

Beyond whey protein powder there are other supplements designed specifically to boost muscle mass gains. Some contain complex carbohydrates alongside proteins offering both fast-absorbing proteins (for immediate recovery post-workout) as well as slower-digesting carbs (to sustain energy levels).

However, these should not replace real food but serve only as additional nutritional support when required because no magic pill or powder will ever surpass what a balanced diet provides.

In Summary

Getting the right fuel for your body is just as crucial as pumping iron when you’re on a mission to get fit. The right supplements can definitely speed up the muscle-building process but they are not required unless you plan to become a bodybuilder and grow well beyond your natural abilities.

Key Takeaway: 

While not required, supplementation can help you build muscle faster. While supplements can help boost muscle mass gains, remember that they’re meant to supplement your diet – not replace real food.

How to Bulk Up For Skinny Guys: Adapting Your Approach Based on Experience Level

The journey to muscle growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. You’ll need different strategies at various stages of your fitness progression, whether you’re just starting or an intermediate lifter.

Tips for Skinny Beginners Starting Their Muscle-Building Journey

Bulking up when you’re naturally skinny can feel like you’re in an uphill battle. But don’t worry. It’s all about understanding your body, training effectively, and feeding it right

Start with a small calorie surplus and slowly increase as needed. This is more effective than overloading your system with too many extra calories right off the bat. For step-by-step instructions on how to do this, you can check out my muscle-building eBook.

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Fundamental Pillars of Building Muscle

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Consider incorporating compound exercises into your workout routine, such as bench press, barbell squat, deadlift, overhead press, barbell rows, and other exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once. These will help stimulate more muscle growth across all parts of the body more efficiently.

You could also focus on improving blood flow through cardiovascular fitness routines which could range from cycling to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Better circulation helps deliver nutrients faster to those hard-working muscles. I prefer good old-fashioned running and sometimes with a weighted plate carrier vest on.

Just keep in mind cardio burns more calories so you’ll need to account for those when eating in a surplus.

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Intermediate Lifters and Their Specific Needs

If you’ve been lifting weights for some time now, but still struggle with gaining weight or building lean muscle mass, then tweaking your diet might be key here. Including healthy fats in foods like olive oil and nut butter can give you that necessary boost in calorie intake without making you feel overly stuffed.

A protein shake post-workout can also provide quick nutrition kick-starting recovery immediately after leaving the gym and consider using whey protein if possible due to its excellent amino acid profile.

To maximize progress, advanced lifters should continually challenge themselves by increasing weight gradually through applying progressive overload. Increasing weight gradually through progressive overload provides a constant challenge that will help you break past plateaus and continue building muscle.

You should also pick up your training volume a bit here. You could go from a 3-day/week training plan to a 4 or 5-day regimen.

Designing a Workout Program for Advanced Lifters

Advanced lifters will need to further customize their workout program based on specific goals and/or problem areas. For advanced lifters, throwing in extra sets of bicep curls can be beneficial for improving the amount of stimulus they get for example. Doing this for your naturally lagging muscle groups helps with the development of these lagging areas.

Even the role of rest days becomes more crucial as we delve deeper into fitness. Rest days are not something to be overlooked; they’re an essential component of any comprehensive health and wellness regimen.

Once you have trained for years on end you have already exhausted what is called the “newbie gains period” and progress becomes a much slower process. In this case, recovery becomes even more paramount, especially as you get older.

Key Takeaway: 

Building muscle is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Beginners, intermediate, and advanced lifters all should have different approaches to their level of fitness.

FAQs on How to Bulk Up for Skinny Guys

How can a skinny guy bulk up fast?

Focusing on compound exercises, eating a calorie surplus, and maintaining your surplus of carbs, fats, and protein are the keys to quick bulking for skinny guys. Supplements help as well.

How can skinny guys gain weight?

Skinny dudes need to chow down more calories than they burn. A balanced diet with plenty of protein, carbs and healthy fats aids in gaining weight.

Can a skinny guy bulk up in 3 months?

Absolutely. With consistent resistance training, ample nutrition, and adequate rest, it’s possible for a slim fella to see noticeable muscle gains within three months.

How to look bigger for skinny guys?

Dressing smartly helps: wear fitted clothes that highlight your physique. However, real size comes from regular workouts paired with proper nutrition and recovery time.


Gaining mass as a slim individual isn’t just about pumping iron, it’s about attaining vigor and self-assurance. You’ve learned how to bulk up for skinny guys, with actionable strategies tailored specifically for you.

A balanced bulking diet is your ticket to steady weight gain while maintaining health. The importance of protein intake, carbs, and healthy fats can’t be overstated in this journey.

Your workout routine matters as well of course. Focusing on resistance training, progressive overload, and full-body workouts will help stimulate muscle growth effectively.

Mastery over form during exercises boosts gains while preventing injuries. 

Essential recovery time fuels muscle repair and is vital.

Supplementation can help speed things up but is no substitute or magic problem solver.

If you want to tie all of this together and take things to the next level, then check out my muscle-building eBook “The Fundamental Pillars of Building Muscle

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Fundamental Pillars of Building Muscle

Everything you need to master your muscle-building journey. Join my email list and get a special discount.

Now go get after it!

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