6 Month Skinny To Muscular Transformation (how I did it)

6 month skinny to muscular transformation

Putting on quality muscle weight is at the top of the agenda for a lot of ectomorphic skinny guys. But speaking as a hard-gainer myself, it can be hella daunting task. Below, I share my 6-month skinny to muscular transformation, how I did it, and why it’s possible for you to do the same.

Skinny people can generally become more muscular in 6 months. An effective transformation requires consistent training and dieting. Good bulking practices include; lifting heavy weights, increasing weight over time, and going on a high-protein caloric surplus diet.

This post also shares 6-month transformation stories from other people.

Hopefully, this can inspire you to start your own journey!

Before and after photos of my 6 month skinny to muscular transformation.
Before and after photos of my 6-month skinny to muscular transformation.

Key Takeaways

  • 6 months is plenty of time to make an impressive transformation as a skinny person.
  • Typical results include; 10lbs of added muscle weight, a noticeably bigger upper body, and increased muscle definition for a ripped appearance.
  • It’s not realistic to become jacked-muscular in just half a year though.
  • For best results; lift heavy, progressive overload, and go on a bulking diet.

My 6-Month Skinny To Muscular Transformation Story

Below, you can find before and after photos that show you the results I achieved in 6 months.

How Skinny I Was Before The Transformation

Photo of me when I was a skinny guy.
Here’s a photo from before my 6-month transformation (I was very skinny!).

Prior to my transformation, I had weighed a measly 130lbs (58kg) for much of my life.

I’m also a 5’6″ male of Asian descent.

Although my natural body shape is classically mesomorphic, the lack of muscle mass made me look more like an ectomorph. In other words, I had a scrawny pencil-like frame.

Additionally, I’m what you would call a “hard-gainer”- someone who finds it difficult to put on weight no matter how hard they train or what they eat.

This was without a doubt an extremely frustrating period in my life, mainly because I knew it’s generally better to be muscular than skinny!

So I read and researched everything that I could about bodybuilding, increasing strength, and best hypertrophy (muscle growth) practices.

How Muscular I Was After The Transformation

Photo of me after the transformation.
Here’s a photo taken after my 6-month transformation (I’m now much more muscular!).

Visible results from my half-year transformation include:

  • Increased muscle tone and definition.
  • A pronounced V-shape upper body.
  • Significantly bigger chest, arm, shoulder, and back muscles.
  • Thicker legs.
  • An overall more ripped physique.

My training started with a bodyweight routine at month 1. Whilst this was cheap and effective for building strength and muscle, I found it to be quite monotonous.

This quickly transitioned into a home dumbbell routine by month 2.

I found the extra resistance provided by a set of heavy adjustable dumbbells really helped explode my muscle gains. This made my workouts much more enjoyable.

Dumbbell workouts are an effective way for skinny people to build muscle at home.
Dumbbell workouts are ideal for skinny guys to build muscle at home. I use the PowerBlock Elites.

By around month 4, I had mustered the confidence to join a gym and started to include heavy barbell exercises in my program. I found barbells to be awesome for building muscle fast as a skinny guy.

I was also lean bulking (more on that later) throughout my training. And this helped me gain 10lbs of muscle within 6 months.

6 Month Skinny To Muscular Transformation In 7 Steps

Here’s how I trained and ate for a sucessful half-year transformation to gain muscle and strength:

1) Focus On Compound Exercises

How to do my favourite compound exercises for a 6 month skinny to muscular transformation.
My favourite compound lifts to work the whole body.

Focusing on compound lifts allows a skinny guy to make the fastest muscle gains in 6 months.

So what are compound lifts?

It’s simply any movement that engages multiple muscle groups in a single movement.

Compound-type exercise examples include:

Compound ExerciseTarget Muscle Groups
Flat bench pressPecs, triceps, deltoids (emphasis on mid and lower chest)
Incline bench pressPecs, triceps, deltoids (emphasis on upper chest).
Standing shoulder pressDeltoids, triceps.
Bent-over rowTrapezius, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, lats.
Pull-ups or lat pull-downsTrapezius, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, lats (emphasis on lats).
Squats or leg pressQuadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves.

These are the best muscle-building exercises you can do as a skinny guy.

Each movement works its respective muscle groups as well as the core. This is why skinny guys don’t need to train abs if they’re doing enough compound lifting.

It’s also ok to do isolation-type movements (which target specific muscles) as accessory exercises.

Isolation-type exercise examples include:

  • Bicep curls- biceps.
  • Tricep extensions- triceps.
  • Lateral raises- lateral deltoids.
  • Chest flyes- pectorals.
  • Reverse flyes- rhomboids.
  • Leg curls- hamstrings.
  • Leg extensions- quads.
  • Calf raises- calves.

But the majority of your program (I recommend 75-90%) should be spent on the compound lifts.

2) Start With A 3-Day Training Split

3-day full-body workout split for skinny beginners to build muscle.

Training frequency is an important consideration for skinny guys looking to get muscular in 6 months.


Working out too much can lead to overtraining which negatively impacts muscle growth. But training too little means your muscles don’t get the stimulation they need for optimal growth.

I recommend skinny guys start with a 3-day full-body split. This is one of the simplest and most effective training splits for beginners to build muscle.

The 3-day full-body split I used for my 6-month skinny to muscular transformation:

ExerciseSetsRepsRecommended Weight
Barbell squat31270% 1RM
Flat dumbbell bench press4880% 1RM
Barbell bent-over row41075% 1RM
Dumbbell shoulder press4880% 1RM
Barbell deadlift3880% 1RM

I simply repeated this routine 3 times a week, making sure to leave at least 24-48 hours of rest between each workout. This allowed my muscles to recover for the next session.

You don’t need to lift weights every day to build muscle.

But if you enjoy training and want to increase volume for more gains, you can check out my other post to find out how to increase workout frequency without overtraining.

3) Choose The Right Weight

Skinny people should lift heavy and progressive overload for the best transformation results in 6 months.
Skinny guys should lift heavy in a low rep range for optimal muscle growth!

As an ex-skinny guy who has failed on multiple transformation attempts in the past, I can say that lifting heavy weights are absolutely essential for success.

In fact, not lifting heavy enough is one of the main reasons for my past failures.

So how much weight should you lift?

I’ve given you weight recommendations in the training program above. They’re given as a percentage of your 1RM.

1RM stands for 1-rep max. It refers to the maximum weight you can lift for any given exercise in a single repetition. Simply determine your 1RM and take the appropriate percentage for the specified rep range.

The easier alternative is to simply use trial and error to find a weight that challenges you for the allotted reps on each exercise.

4) Apply Progressive Overload Regularly

Lifting heavy weights will only get you so far in your 6 month skinny to muscular transformation. For best results, you also need to increase the weight lifted as you continue building skinny strength over the coming months.

This is called progressive overload and it keeps your muscles continually challenged for growth.

Applying progressive overload is easy- simply add weight whenever your current workload begins to feel easy to complete. Most beginners overload at least once every 1-2 weeks.

How much weight should you add?

I recommend increasing upper body lifts by 5% and lower body lifts by 10%.

5) Establish Bulking Calories

A bulk is essential for any skinny person looking to gain muscle and strength. Bulking simply refers to the practice of eating more calories than your body burns on a daily basis.

The surplus calories are directed to fuel the hypertrophy (muscle growth) process. Without these extra calories, you won’t get bigger or stronger no matter how hard you train.

Skinny guys can go on two types of bulk which differ in the calorie surplus and the overall results:

Bulk VariationSurplus CaloriesResultIdeal For:
Lean Bulk5 to 10%Moderate muscle gain and low fat gainSkinny and borderline skinny-fat people.
Dirty Bulk15-20%High muscle gain and high fat gainPeople who are very skinny.

You can find your maintenance calories at the TDEE calculator and then add 5-20% accordingly.

For example, a skinny dude who burns 2200 maintenance calories per day would need to eat 2400 calories every day to go on a lean bulk (10% surplus).

Now you need to make sure you reach your calorie target…every day!

As an extremely skinny person myself, I lean bulked for the entire duration of my 6-month transformation.

But if you’re skinny-fat, you might want to consider cutting first before bulking. This allows you to strip the excess fat to give you a clean foundation to build well-defined muscle.

6) Eat High-Protein Foods

Sufficient protein intake is just as important as getting enough calories if you want to succeed in maximizing muscle growth in your 6-month transformation journey.

That’s because protein serves as the building block for muscle.

A list of high-protein foods for skinny guys to build muscle and transform their bodies.

Aim to eat 1g of protein per lb of body weight.

I weighed 130lbs before my transformation, meaning I had to consume 130 grams of protein every day. This obviously increased as my body weight went up every month.

Not eating enough protein is one of the most common reasons skinny guys struggle to build muscle.

But the converse is also true:

If you can meet your daily protein requirements, you should be able to quickly get bigger and stronger (assuming you’re also eating enough calories and lifting heavy too).

7) Track Your 6 Month Weight Gain Journey.

Use body weight scales and calipers to track your 6 month transformation.
Bodyweight scales (measuring to 1 decimal place) and skinfold calipers allow you to track progress.

It’s important to log your weight gain throughout your transformation.


The last thing you want is to reach the 6-month endpoint only to realize you’ve gained very little muscle or put on too much fat.

Tracking your progress helps to ensure you look as ripped as possible by the end of your 6-month transformation.

Here’s how to make sure you’re on track with your half-year transformation:

  1. Aim to increase body weight by 2-3lbs per month- weigh yourself every day in the morning and take a weekly average. You’ll need bodyweight scales (ideally measuring to 1 decimal place).
  2. Avoid gaining more than 1% extra body fat per month. You’ll need skin fold caliper to do this accurately.

Scales and calipers can be purchased cheaply on Amazon.

If you find yourself gaining too much weight or fat, then consider reducing your calories.

You can also go to my other post for more signs that you’re building muscle.

Can Skinny Guys Really Achieve A Muscular Transformation In 6 Months?

It is completely possible for a skinny person to transform their body in 6 months. Even the skinniest of beginners can realistically build 10lbs of highly noticeable lean muscle in half a year.

I successfully achieved a muscle transformation as an ex-skinny guy.
I managed to achieve this skinny to muscular transformation in 6-months (before and after).

Muscle growth is a slow process and does not happen overnight. In fact, it’s well known that there’s a maximum rate at which your muscles can grow.

And exceeding this maximal rate means any additional weight gained is usually from fat rather than lean muscle mass.

As an untrained beginner, you can expect to gain a 12lbs of muscle in 6 months.

And this I highly noticeable in most physiques.

You can go to my other post for a full photo timeline of how long it takes a skinny guy to get jacked.

6 Month Muscle Transformation Stories From Other Skinny People

So far, I’ve only shared my own transformation journey.

Here are examples from other people who went from skinny to muscular in half a year.

1) Joe Fazer- Youtube

6 Month Body Transformation from Skinny to Less Skinny

Results in half a year:

  • Bulkier appearance.
  • Broader V-shape.
  • Noticeably bigger arms, chest, and shoulders.
  • More visible 6-pack abs.

2) Urbut- Reddit

Example 2 of a skinny guy who gained noticeable muscle in half a year.

Results in half a year:

  • Gained muscle definition, especially in the chest, shoulder, and arm regions.
  • Noticeably more ripped.
  • Wider V-shape body.

You can find Urbut’s story here.

3) AS2488- Reddit

Example 3 of a skinny person who built visible muscle mass just in half a year.

Results in half a year:

  • Went from skinny to muscular and thick.
  • Developed a significantly broader upper body.
  • Bigger arms and more volume in the chest.
  • Visible six-pack abs.

You can find As2488’s store here.

4) Borgiee- Reddit

Example 4 of a skinny-fat guy who got more ripped in half a year.

Results in half a year:

  • Transformed a skinny-fat body into a shredded one.
  • Increased definition in the arms, chest, and abs.
  • Overall fitter and more athletic-looking physique.

You can find Borgiee’s story here.


Does it take 6 months to build muscle?

It does not take 6 months to build muscle. Muscular growth can be achieved in a much shorter timeframe. But it can often take up to half a year to see highly noticeable physique changes.

Looking to get in shape in a shorter timeframe? You can see the results of my 2 month transformation here!

Can I get six-pack abs in 6 months?

Naturally skinny people can usually get six-pack abs in 6 months. An effective training and diet plan is essential for this because the abdominal definition requires a high degree of musculature combined with low body fat.

If you’re currently a skinny guy who already has a visible six-pack, you may be interested in my other post which explains how to bulk up without losing your abs.


6 months is more than enough time for a skinny guy to undergo a transformation and get significantly more muscular.

Assuming a good training and diet plan are followed, you can expect to:

  • Gain 10lbs of muscle (highly noticeable).
  • Build a broader V-shaped upper body.
  • Increase muscle definition.
  • Turn a skinny frame into a ripped physique.

You can follow my 7 steps to ensure you succeed in your own half year transformation!

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition (with printables) I used to go from skinny to ripped!


I'm Kal (B.S, M.S)- a health & fitness writer and owner of Kalibre Fitness. I love to nerd out on weight training and nutrition. My primary interests are in muscle hypertrophy mechanisms and strength development. You can connect with me in the "Contact Us" section below!

Recent Posts