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Skinny Guy Workout – Muscle Building for Hard Gainers

Bro, the reality is, skinny guys struggle to build muscle. Sorry, it’s just a fact of life in the world of swoleness. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. With a little know-how, even the scrawniest can become a beast. Use this skinny guy workout plan and diet advice to transform your weedy frame for good. Let’s do this! 

Article Brodown

  • Ectomorphs Explained – Skinny guy science
  • What’s a hard gainer?
  • What can you do about it?
  • Skinny Guy Workout
  • Skinny Guy Diet Plan


Ectomorphs Explained – Skinny guy science

ectomorph example of skinny guy in the gym

So, you’re probably wondering why jocks like Chad can pack on lean slabs and you can’t. Are we right? Of course, we are! SMB are smart as fwuaaark. But what you really need to know is you’re not the only dude thinking it. Scientists have spent time studying this phenomenon too.

According to the lab-coat bros there are three main body types; ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorphs. In case you’re wondering, skinny guys fall under the ecto category. Their genetics are aligned to keep their body this way.

Traits of an ectomorph:

  • Fast metabolism
  • Consistently low bodyfat
  • Often referred to as ‘skinny’
  • Narrow shoulders
  • Flat chest
  • Tiny wrists
  • Light frame and bone structure
  • Struggle gaining fat and/or muscle
  • Not naturally strong

Head nodding in agreement, bro?

If so, don’t worry. We have the secrets to swapping skinny for swole, once and for all.

It’s gonna be tough, but nothing good ever came easy. Building muscle takes time, consistency and never happens overnight. Even dangerous steroids can’t work that magic.


What’s a hard gainer?

Now, you might be an ectomorph, but don’t dismiss your gainz potential. Being a hard gainer is a totally different barbell – but you can still work it.

Some ectomorphs can still comfortably build muscle. It’s just slowly and not a lot of it. However, others have an even harder time.

Whereas a typical ecto might add 6 lb of lean mass over ‘x’ number of months, a hard gainer might only hit half. It could be their genetics holding them back, or lifestyle and health issues. Whatever it is, the issue can often be acknowledged and worked around.

If you’ve been hitting the gym regularly and following a nutritious, protein-dense diet you should build muscle. However, if you’re doing all of that and not seeing much progress you might be a hard gainer.

As always, we got your back, bro. Keep reading and we’ll sort that sh*t out for you.


What can you do about it?

bodybuilder transformed from skinny guy to strong

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any stacked mutha with traps scraping their ears. Hard work, dedication, and consistency are the only keys to muscle.

Even dudes on Tren must train to see results – although the same can’t be said for their tiny roid balls…

First, you’ve got to look at what you can control and harness it. Here’s what’s in your power, bro:

  • Training
  • Diet/Nutrition
  • Lifestyle
  • Attitude (positivity, determination, consistency, etc.)

Secondly, you’ve got to look at what you can’t control. But, instead of being a beta-b*tch, you gotta come up with an alpha-plan to sidestep it. Here’s what’s not in your power:

Specifying training and diet

And how do we bypass genetics? Easy, bro, we just train and eat for our specific body type.

Imagine if Batman never went to that super intense ninja school in the mountains and trained to be a Barista instead. He’d have got his ass-kicked by Gotham’s weediest bad guy, right after having to make a frothy coffee at gunpoint. Yeah, he’d have wasted his time and turned into a pretty sh*t superhero.

Simply put, your training needs to be specific to your goals and who you are. As an ectomorph you won’t want to copy or imitate the training of a meso, endo, or giant IFBB pro. Respectfully stay in your lane and own it.


Skinny Guy Workout Plan

Because we’re behind your decision to get jacked AF we’re not giving you one workout plan. How about four instead? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not skinny boy.

We’re going to use a tried and tested PPL split. That’s push, pull, and legs, for all the newbies.

Essentially, you’ll spend one day pushing, one day pulling, and another smashing legs. This’ll give you optimal time to recover, hit multiple muscle groups over three workout days, and maximize your compound lifting. We are not doing a conventional bro-split, just to be clear.

Rest for 90 to 120 seconds between sets. As a skinny guy your body isn’t built to naturally handle high workloads under the bar. Plus, science says so.

Gain muscle through consistency, not by relying on intensity. Recover enough so you can complete all sets for each exercise.

skinny guy performing bench press
Bench press

Day 1 – Push

  1. Bench Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press – 2 sets of 10 reps
  3. Dumbbell Chest Flye – 3 sets of 12 reps
  4. Skull Crushers – 3 sets of 10 reps
  5. Tricep Dips – 3 sets of 12 reps
  6. Cable Crossovers – 3 sets of 10 reps


  • Ensure all reps are performed using a slow and steady tempo. We’re looking to increase time under tension here for all the muscle fibers.
  • Grab the bar just outside shoulder width for the bench press
  • Keep the upper arm still in position, and only flexing at the elbow when hitting the skull crushers. This will make sure the tricep is worked optimally.
  • Get low on those dips, bro!
Deadlift set up

Day 2 – Pull

  1. Deadlift – 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Bent Over Row – 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Bicep Curl Matrix – 2 sets of 21 reps
  4. Lat Pull Down – 3 sets of 12 reps
  5. Seated Cable Row – 3 sets of 12 reps
  6. Hanging Toe to Bar Leg Raise – 3 sets of 10 reps


  • Don’t sacrifice form for heavy weight on the deadlift. Stay tight, safe, and braced throughout this big lift.
  • Use partial ranges for the bicep matrix. Hammer 7 reps from shoulder to elbow, then elbow to hip, then 7 full extensions. In total, you’ll smash 21 reps.
  • If you struggle getting toes to bar just go knees to chest. Work your way up to the full thing.
skinny guy performing back squat
Back squat

Day 3 – Legs

  1. Back Squat – 3 sets of 10 reps
  2. Racked Kettlebell Lunge – 3 sets of 12 reps (6 each side)
  3. Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 10 reps
  4. Leg Curl – 3 sets of 10
  5. Standing Calf Raise – 3 sets of 12
  6. Seated Calf Raise – 3 sets of 12


  • Don’t be afraid to grab a spotter for those squats. Better safe than sorry, bro.
  • Try not to let your knee track too far over your big toe whilst lunging.
  • Whilst you might not need a week resting, take as many necessary days before coming back. Most skinny guys find 2-3 is enough.
skinny guy ready to sprint
Sprint training has been proven to increase lean muscle mass

Additional 1:5 HIIT Session

Smash this muscle building cardio session twice a week, whenever you like. Go for 10 minutes in total each time.

  1. Sprint – 10 seconds
  2. Rest/Walk – 50 seconds

Skinny Guy & Hard Gainer Diet Advice

You’re going to need to eat a lot. Because your body is so efficient at scorching calories, you’ll have to feast in a surplus to keep up.

However, before you speed-dial Dominoes we’ve got to talk diet. After all, not just any old junk will do. Save that sh*t for your cheat day, bro.

Instead, focus on filling up on high-protein foods, healthy fats, quality carbs, and the occasional treat. To become bigger and stronger you’ll need to eat enough protein to build muscle. Aim for around 1.7 – 2.0 g per kg of body weight, spread throughout the day.

As for fats, keep them natural and healthy. Stay away from monohydrates and steer towards nuts, avocados, olive oil, butter, nuts for your sources. Healthy fats are essential for boosting testosterone, which optimizes growth hormone release. Gainz brah.

Fortunately for you, you’re not too sensitive to simple sugars. Yet we’re still going to chow on complex carbs for their fiber and sustained energy release.

high protein bulk food


Hard Gainer Muscle Building Diet Example

  1. Breakfast – Oatmeal Bowl – 75 g steel cut or rolled oats, 1 scoop of protein, 25 g peanut butter, 1 tbsp chia seeds, whole fat milk, 1 chopped banana
  2. Snack – Protein Smoothie – 1 scoop of protein powder, 15 g peanut butter, 100 g frozen berries, 1 chopped apple, 1 chopped banana, spinach
  3. Lunch – BBQ Chicken Breast – 2x chicken breast (skin on) cooked in smoky BBQ sauce, 250 g sweet potato (cooked), side of cottage cheese, salad, a handful of brazil nuts
  4. Snack – Protein Shake, Ezekiel Bread w/ butter and honey, blueberries – 1 scoop of protein powder w/ whole fat milk, 1 thick slice of Ezekiel bread w/ full-fat butter and honey, a handful of fresh blueberries
  5. Dinner – Tuna Steak, Veg & Brown Rice – 1 x large (200g) tuna steak w/ garlic and chili cooked in olive oil, 250 g brown rice (cooked), 2 handfuls of green veg including broccoli and asparagus, ½ large avocado, side salad topped with pumpkin seeds
  6. Optional Dessert – 200 g full-fat Greek yogurt, 75 g fresh berries, 1 tbsp honey
  7. Supper – Small bowl of oatmeal (45 g), 1 scoop of casein whey, whole fat milk, pumpkin seeds


 Top 5 Nutrition Tips

  • Remember you must eat enough protein to increase lean mass. Shoot for at least 1.7 – 2.0 g per kg of body weight daily.
  • Consider creatine supplementation. It is one of the most rigorously tested supplements and has been proven to improve muscle strength and size.
  • Zinc and Vitamin D deficiency is super common amongst American men. Take both to ensure your testosterone levels are firing on all cylinders. Trust us, the only way to build solid muscle is with healthy T production.
  • Vegetarians should seek out plant-based alternatives whenever possible. Substitutes for meat dishes include soy, beans, and/or imitation meat. Vegainz are for sure a thing, bro!
  • Spend one day a week cheating with whatever dirty bulk food you want
Dwayne The Rock Johnson cheat day
The Rock knows how to cheat day!

Good luck getting swole

So, there you have it, bro. Follow these simple steps and the intimidating physique you’ve dreamt of can be yours. Be realistic in your goals, keep expectations in check, and never stop pushing. Once the hard work stops, so do you! Good luck in your quest for swoleness.


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