How often should a skinny guy workout

How Often Should A Skinny Guy Work Out?

Deciding on how often to work out as a skinny guy can be difficult. How do you choose the optimal training frequency such that you’re not overtraining nor undertraining? That’s exactly what I’ll be answering in this post.

Skinny people should start with 3 to 4 full-body workouts per week. This is a good training frequency to promote muscle growth and also allow for sufficient rest in between workouts. It is not recommended to work out every day as a skinny beginner.

Below, I’ll explain why it’s important to choose a suitable training split and avoid training every day as a skinny guy.

I’ll also share how you can increase your training frequency to promote further muscle gains, without the risk of overtraining.

All advice is based on research and personal experience!

I worked out 3 times a week as a skinny guy and saw muscle growth.

Why A Skinny Guy Should Not Work Out Every Day

Skinny people should not work out every day. Daily workouts are unnecessary and can even be counterproductive for muscle growth. Instead, it is recommended to train a few times per week but ensure each session is at a high enough intensity to induce muscular fatigue.

Why you should not workout every day as a skinny guy.

There’s no denying that skinny guys should go to the gym if they want to get bigger.

But the urge to train every day in an effort to turbocharge your gains is a common mistake skinny guys often make.

I fell into the same trap when I was a skinny guy…

And who can blame us?

After all, the more time spent working on something the faster the results, right?

Wrong!

Your muscles aren’t a brick house waiting to be built. Just because you spend more time training them does not necessarily mean they’ll grow faster.

Muscles are living tissue.

This means they need time to rest and recuperate for optimal growth. And overexerting them- also known as overtraining – is counterproductive to muscle growth.

Rather than working out every day as a skinny guy, you should instead:

  • Reduce training frequency. 3 to 4 heavy sessions per week is more than enough for muscle growth.
  • Increase the intensity of each workout. The best way to do this is to lift heavier weights.
  • Ensure each muscle gets 24-48 hours of rest. This is essential to avoid overtraining a muscle.

Therefore the phrase “work smarter not harder” is very fitting for a skinny guy trying to decide how often to work out.

And to understand how muscle grows is key to understanding how to do this effectively!

Muscle Growth Basics For Skinny People

Muscles don’t grow in the gym.

Re-read that again!

A common misconception that many skinny guys have is that muscles grow DURING a workout.

This is completely untrue!

The workout simply gives your muscle the stimulus (i.e. signal) to start growing. It’s only AFTER a workout, when your body is resting, that actual growth (known as hypertrophy) occurs.

And understanding the mechanisms of muscle growth is the first step for a skinny guy trying to correctly decide how long and how often to work out.

How muscle grows for skinny beginners.

Here’s how muscle hypertrophy occurs in a nutshell:

  • Training initiates a muscle growth stimulus. Research has found that heavy weight lifting (also known as resistance training) presents 3 types of stimulus to your muscles; mechanical tension (how heavy your weights are), time under tension (how long you lift your weights), and metabolic stress (the build-up of lactic acid).
  • Microscopic tissue damage occurs in the muscle. The 3 stimuli described above also damage your muscle fibers on a cellular and molecular level.
  • A repair process initiates in the muscle. The body needs to repair the damage accumulated from heavy weight training. A repair process kicks in. Nutrients are taken from the food you eat to your muscles to fuel this process. That’s why a skinny guy needs to eat a caloric surplus and ~1g of protein per lb of body weight every day to gain muscle.
  • Repeated damage-repair cycles lead to growth. This can only happen if you’re lifting progressively heavier weights over time (known as progressive overload), eating enough food (as per above), and resting enough.

Now it becomes clear why a skinny guy should limit how often they work out.

Limiting your workouts gives your muscles the time they need to repair themselves before being hit again in the next workout!

How A Skinny Guy Should Start Working Out

3 Different Workout Programs for Skinny Guys to Gain Muscle FAST
  1. Pick a resistance training method. Whilst skinny guys can build muscle without the gym, your chosen method of training should always be challenging enough to promote muscle growth. Bodyweight, dumbbell, barbell, machine, and bands all work!
  1. Decide on a training split. This refers to the number of training and rest days you take every week. In other words, how often you work out as a skinny guy (see next section for recommendations).
  1. Choose the right exercises. Compound lifts like the bench press, shoulder press, row, squat, and deadlift need to be your primary focus. These are the best muscle-building moments. Isolation lifts like bicep curls are good as accessory lifts, but do very little to quickly build muscle mass.
  1. Optimize sets and reps. Aim for 10-15 total sets per muscle group per week. That’s around 3-4 sets per muscle per workout (depending on how often you train). Doing more than this can lead to “wasted sets” due to the law of diminishing returns with training. Aim for 5-12 reps per set. This is a good hypertrophy rep range.
  1. Lift heavy loads. The last few reps of each set should feel challenging. But the weight shouldn’t be so heavy that you can’t lift it with good form. Play around and find the ideal weight for you. As a general rule, aim to lift around 80% of your 1-rep max (1RM) on any given exercise. You can use Strength Levels to estimate your 1RMs!
  1. Apply progressive overload regularly. The easiest way to overload is to simply add weight when you are ready. I follow the 5/10 rule. Add 5% weight to isolation lifts and 10% to compound lifts.

If you like, you can check out my other post for a complete workout plan for skinny guys to gain muscle at home!

3-Day Full Body Split For Skinny Guys To Begin

What it is:

You train 3 times a week with each session comprising a full-body workout.

This involves training each major muscle group per workout (as the name suggests).

Choosing 1 compound exercise for each muscle group is enough for a skinny beginner to see muscle gains (assuming you lift heavy).

Why it’s effective for skinny guys:

Each muscle sees a good training volume and also gets 24-48 hours of rest between workouts.

In other words, you’re maximizing the muscle growth stimulus and minimizing the risk of overtraining.

This is also a relatively simple program to follow.

Additionally, it can be a fun split for a skinny guy to start with because it gives you enough time to recover, allows you to lift heavy each workout, and you’re not spending every day working out at the gym.

Example:

Monday

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell squat5485% 1RM3 mins
Bench press5485% 1RM3 mins
Barbell row5485% 1RM3 mins
Shoulder press5485% 1RM3 mins

Wednesday

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell deadlift5485% 1RM3 mins
Incline press5485% 1RM3 mins
Pull-ups5485% 1RM3 mins
Shoulder press5485% 1RM3 mins

Friday

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell squat5485% 1RM3 mins
Bench press5485% 1RM3 mins
Barbell row5485% 1RM3 mins
Lateral raise5485% 1RM3 mins

If you’re looking for a timeframe to see the first results, you can check out my other post on how long it takes to go from skinny to muscular!

6-Day Muscle Group Split For Skinny Guys To Progress

What it is:

You train 6 times a week with each session specifically working 2 selected muscle groups.

This means each muscle gets a higher training volume but still has the rest it needs to recover properly.

This is a common training split for bodybuilders and skinny guys looking to get jacked!

Why it’s effective for skinny guys:

This is a natural progression for skinny guys who want to achieve even more muscle gains.

A program like this allows a skinny guy to work out more often in the week.

Each muscle sees a higher training frequency and more weekly sets, which is beneficial for muscle growth. But your risk of overtraining is also minimal.

Speaking from experience, this is an extremely effective training split for skinny guys to build muscle fast.

But it’s intense.

I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. Start with the above 3-day full-body split first. Then after ~12 months, you can progress onto this 6-day muscle group split.

Example:

Mon (chest + arms)

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Bench press8480% 1RM2 mins
Chest flyes12470% 1RM2 mins
Bicep curls12470% 1RM2 mins
Tricep extensions12470% 1RM2 mins

Tue (back + shoulders)

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell row8480% 1RM2 mins
Reverse flyes12470% 1RM2 mins
Shoulder press8480% 1RM2 mins
Lateral raise12470% 1RM2 mins

Wed (legs + abs)

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell squat8480% 1RM2 mins
Barbell deadlift8480% 1RM2 mins
Weighted crunch12470% 1RM2 mins
Core rotations12470% 1RM2 mins

Thur (chest + arms)

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Bench press8480% 1RM2 mins
Chest flyes12470% 1RM2 mins
Bicep curls12470% 1RM2 mins
Tricep extensions12470% 1RM2 mins

Fri (back and shoulders)

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell row8480% 1RM2 mins
Reverse flyes12470% 1RM2 mins
Shoulder press8480% 1RM2 mins
Lateral raise12470% 1RM2 mins

Sat (legs + abs)

ExerciseRepsSetsWeightRest Between Sets
Barbell squat8480% 1RM2 mins
Barbell deadlift8480% 1RM2 mins
Weighted crunch12470% 1RM2 mins
Core rotations12470% 1RM2 mins

If you’re new to working out and wondering when to train, you can check out my other post which explains the best time for skinny guys to lift weights!

Conclusion

I’ve explained how often you should work out as a skinny guy.

My advice is to begin with a 3-day (or 4-days, max) heavy full-body split per week

This is more than enough for a beginner to build muscle and strength. If you’re lifting heavy enough, you won’t have the energy to work out the next day (trust me!).

After around 1 year, you’re probably ready to progress onto a 6-day muscle group split to drive further muscle gains (should you wish!).

Regardless of your chosen split, it is ill-advised for a skinny guy to work out every day!

How often do you train as a skinny person?

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,

Kal

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

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