Gain 10 pounds muscle in 6 months

Gain 10 Pounds Of Muscle In 6 Months: 9 Ninja Tips For A Skinny Beginner Looking To Pack On Serious Mass

Building your first 10lbs of muscle as a beginner can be a breeze or it can be a downright nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. Today, I share 9 cherry-picked ninja tips on how to gain 10 pounds of muscle in 6 months as a skinny guy.

It is a realistic goal to gain 10 pounds of muscle in 6 months. The maximum rate of muscle gain is generally accepted to be around 2lbs per month. So a beginner can expect to gain more than 10lbs in 6 months if their training and nutrition plan is optimized.

It took me just a short 6 months to gain my first 10lbs of lean mass.

But it wasn’t sunshine and daisies all the time. I also spent years beforehand failing miserably because I had no idea what I was doing.

This post reveals the most important things you can do (in my opinion) to gain 10lbs of muscle fast.

Tips on how I gained 10 pounds (5kg) of lean muscle in 6 months.

Looking To Gain 10 Pounds Of Muscle In 6 Months At Home?

If you’re interested, here’s the setup I use and recommend!

1) Set Realistic Expectations For A 6 Month Muscle Gain Program

The average male beginner can gain up to 12 pounds (6kg) of muscle in 6 months. This is considered to be a lot and can usually only be achieved by following a highly optimized training and nutrition plan. A female beginner can usually gain half as much as this.


Setting yourself realistic expectations is the best way to prevent yourself from getting demoralized from failing to reach ridiculous goals (and giving up altogether).

According to these Quora and Reddit threads, 86% of people say that it can take anywhere between 6 to 18 months to gain 10lbs (5kg) of lean muscle.

It's possible and not uncommon to gain 10lbs (5kg) of muscle in 6 months according to Reddit and Quora.

But this wide timeline accounts for rookie mistakes such as not following a good program.

By following a solid weight gain plan, you can expect to lie closer to the lower end of the time spectrum (i.e. 10 pounds of muscle gain in 6 months).

And understanding that gaining 10lbs of muscle in 6 months is an optimistic (but achievable) goal can help you to remain disciplined in working towards your goal.

2) Have A Clear Idea For What 10 Pounds Of Muscle Looks Like

10 pounds (5kg) of muscle gain looks highly noticeable on the majority of skinny beginners. Clothes may feel tighter around the upper arms and chest. Muscle tone may also become pronounced, especially in the upper body. And visibly-defined six-pack abs may appear if body fat levels are maintained.

Just like with setting yourself realistic goals, you should also have a clear vision of what 10lbs of lean mass looks like.

What 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle gain looks like on a skinny beginner.

Doing so allows you to effectively monitor your journey to gain 10 pounds of muscle in 6 months.

For example: if you’re gaining too much fat then you should cut down on calories. And if you’re not gaining enough muscle definition then it may be worth taking a look at your protein intake.

Just be aware that men will likely notice 10lbs of muscle gain more than women.

That’s because males naturally have less body fat and greater muscle definition compared to females.

Additionally, 10lbs of muscle gain on trained athletes (who already have high levels of musculature) will look less noticeable compared to 10lbs on a skinny beginner.

You may also be interested in my other post to find out how long it takes others to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle.

3) Establish A 10% Calorie Surplus To Ensure Weight Gain

A calorie surplus is essential for gaining 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months. A skinny beginner should aim to eat a 10% daily caloric surplus to fuel the muscle-building process. This should result in approximately 0.5lbs of muscle gain per week and just over 10lbs in 6 months.

The easiest way to calculate your surplus calories is to first determine your maintenance calories using the TDEE calculator.

Now you can add 10% by multiplying by 1.1.

For example: a 25-year-old 140lbs male has maintenance calories of 2500 per day. So he would need to consume 2750 calories a day for a 10% surplus (2500 x 1.1). This equates to 250 surplus calories per day or 1750 surplus calories in a week.

Furthermore, it takes around 3000 surplus calories to build 1 pound of muscle.

Based on this, here’s how much muscle a 140lb male beginner on a 10% calorie surplus can expect to gain in 1-6 months:

MonthTotal Muscle Gain On A 10% Calorie Surplus

4) Eat 1g Protein Per Pound Body Weight To Ensure Muscle Gain

A high protein intake is essential to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months. Eating at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight every day will supply the body with enough amino acids to build muscle. Protein intake should also be spread evenly throughout the day.

Why a high protein intake is important for gaining 10lbs/5kg of muscle.

Just like a house needs bricks and labor to be constructed, muscle needs protein (bricks) and calories (labor) to be built.

Where calories provide the fuel for hypertrophy (muscle growth), protein serves as the building block.

The generally accepted minimum protein intake for bodybuilders is around 1.2-1.6 grams per pound of body weight.

But speaking from personal experience, this is unnecessary (and expensive) if your goal is to just gain 10lbs of lean mass in 6 months.

I found 1g per pound of bodyweight to do the job just fine.

You can also check out my other post to find out how it takes to get big muscles as a skinny beginner.

5) Choose A Good Protein Powder And Learn How To Use It

Protein shakes can help a beginner to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle by providing a cheap and convenient source of protein and calories. A typical protein shake contains around 25g of protein and 150 calories. A weight gainer shake can contain over 40g of protein and 1000 calories.

Protein powders are an affordable luxury more than they are a necessity.

After all, a similar amount of nutrition can be obtained from a chicken breast and potato lunch for example.

But a shake is just much quicker, cheaper, and easier to consume.

Whey is also a natural protein found in milk (for those who are concerned about ingesting artificial substances).

Protein powders can help you reach protein and calorie targets to successfully build 10lbs of muscle.

I use the MyProtein Impact Whey (you can find the cheapest price here).

Each serving contains 21g of protein and 100 calories at just US$0.30 per serving.

A 5.5lb bag will last you for 2 to 3 months.

The MyVegan Pea Protein is a good plant alternative.

I found the best times to have a shake are either in the morning or immediately after a workout (or both).

6) Consume A Balanced Macronutrient Profile

A balanced macronutrient profile is important to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months. Total calorie intake should be distributed to approximately 25% protein, 50% carbohydrates, and 25% fats. This profile can be adjusted to influence rates of muscle and fat gain.

Here’s what a balanced macronutrient profile looks like in detail:

MacronutrientApprox. Grams Per lb Body WeightRole
Protein1g per lb of bodyweightAmino acid supply for protein synthesis, muscle repair, and hypertrophy.
Carbohydrate2.5g per lb of bodyweightEnergy for workouts, glycogen replenishment, and muscle recovery.
Fats0.4g per lb of bodyweightEnergy for workouts, muscle-building hormone synthesis (e.g. testosterone and growth hormone).

Generally speaking, protein intake can be increased and carb/fat intake decreased if you find yourself gaining too much weight from stored fat rather than muscle.

In contrast, carb/fat intake can be increased if you find that you’re not gaining enough weight every week.

Either way, a high protein intake (as per the previous section) is essential if you want to build muscle.

If you want a complete step-by-step to gaining your first 10lbsof muscle mass, you can find my 17-step guide here.

7) Do Not Waste Time On Isolation-Type Exercises

Compound weight lifting is the most effective way to build 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months. These exercises work multiple muscle groups in a single motion. It is recommended to perform 8-12 repetitions per set using a challenging weight that fatigues the target muscle.

Ditch the bicep curls if you want to gain 10lbs of muscle fast.

Whilst these isolation-type exercises can be great accessory lifts for increasing muscle definition, they won’t do much in terms of adding general muscle mass to a skinny frame.

Focus on these 5 compound moves instead:

Compound LiftSetsRepsRest Between Sets
Bench press48-122-3 minutes
Shoulder press48-122-3 minutes
Row48-122-3 minutes
Squat48-122-3 minutes
Deadlift48-122-3 minutes

These 5 exercises can be combined into a full-body workout.

Simply do 4 sets of each exercise per workout.

Each workout should take around 1 hour to complete.

Remember to give your body at least 24 hours of rest between workouts to recover and repair your muscles.

For more details, you can check out my home workout routine for skinny guys to gain muscle (with and without equipment).

8) Follow The 5-10% Rule For Progressive Overload

Regular progressive overload should be applied to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months. This can be done by increasing weight every 1-2 weeks. 5% weight should be added to upper body exercises and 10% weight should be added to lower body exercises.

Here’s an example of what progressive overload could look like for a bench press:

WeekTotal Weight Overload (lbs)Total Weight (lbs)
10lbs (starting weight)80lbs

This is a general rule that I follow and it’s worked very well for me.

But the rule isn’t strict.

You should increase weight whenever your current exercises start to feel easier to complete.

Just make sure you don’t sacrifice your form for heavy weights.

By lifting progressively heavier weights (with good form) over time, you keep your muscles continually presented with a hypertrophy-stimulus.


Steady muscle growth over time!

You may also be interested in my other post to find out how much muscle you can gain in 1-2 years.

9) Consider Investing In Home Weight Training Equipment

Investing in weight training equipment can help an individual gain 10lbs of muscle by providing a space to train at home. Building muscle requires consistent training. Home equipment allows a person to work out at home if they do not have time to travel to a gym.

How I gained 10 pounds of Muscle in 6 months

You can find out how Strength Side built 10lbs of muscle mass using home bodyweight calisthenics workouts.

Some people prefer to swap the gym for home workouts altogether.

If you’re the other way round, then you might be interested in my skinny guy’s guide to starting the gym.

Home workouts are much cheaper in the long run and you also save a lot of commuting time.

A simple dumbbell and bench setup are more than enough to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months.

How to build 10 pounds of muscle at home using dumbbells and a weight bench.

I currently use the Powerblock Elite adjustable dumbbells (you can find the customer reviews here).

Each dumbbell weighs 50lbs with light and heavy weight settings that replace 16 pairs of individual dumbbells.

They’re cheap, space-effective, and great for beginners to gain 10lbs of muscle at home.

I use my Powerblocks with the Flybird adjustable bench (you can find the cheapest price here).

Having researched over a dozen different weight benches, I found the Flybird to offer the greatest value for money.

It’s foldable, can be stowed away after your workout, and the 700lb capacity is enough for any dumbbell workout.

Whilst the Powerblocks and Flybird may not be enough to build you a Spartan-like physique, you can still use them to get ripped and shredded at home!

You might also want to check out my other article to find out just how hard it is to gain 10lbs/5kg of lean muscle mass.

Recommended Products Recap


I’ve shared 9 ninja tips on how to gain 10 pounds (5kg) of muscle in 6 months.

These tips have been cherry-picked from my personal 5-year experience in building muscle and getting ripped.

Ultimately, they all revolve around optimizing your training and nutrition plan.

These are two aspects that most beginners have the most difficulty getting right.

But if you take note of my advice, it should make your own goals much easier to achieve!

What other aspects of building muscle do you struggle with?

Let me know in the comments!

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 I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,


(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

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