How to gain 10 lbs of muscle

17 Steps To Gain 10 Lbs Of Muscle Fast: The Skinny Guy’s Ultimate Guide To Bulking Up

Building muscle is an impossible task. Or is it? It can certainly feel like a daunting task for a beginner looking to pack on some mass. That’s why I’ve decided to distill all the essentials into this 17-step complete guide on how to gain 10 lbs of muscle as a skinny dude!

Gaining 10lbs of muscle requires resistance training combined with progressive overload. Progressive overload requires the person to lift increasingly heavier weights as they become stronger. A daily caloric surplus and a high protein diet are also essential to building 10 pounds of muscle.

I managed to gain almost 40 lbs over the course of 2 years.

But before that, I too was the average skinny guy on the block.

And I too know how confusing it can be to filter the essential info from the unnecessary BS.

So here it is. Here’s what worked for me.

These are the exact steps I took to gain my first 10 lbs of lean mass as a skinny guy!

Find out how I gained 40 lbs of muscle myself

Key Points:

  1. Realize that everyone can gain 10 lbs relatively stress-free.
  2. Acknowledge it can take around 5 months to gain 10 lbs.
  3. Understand why it takes so long to gain muscle.
  4. Choose compound lifts over isolation lifts.
  5. Decide on a suitable training split.
  6. Optimize training volume for faster gains.
  7. Apply progressive overload correctly.
  8. Do not overtrain.
  9. Decide between home vs gym workouts.
  10. Target lagging muscle with set redistribution.
  11. Perfect your form for maximum muscle activation.
  12. Choose an appropriate bulking method.
  13. Eat enough macronutrients for your needs.
  14. Strategize calories to gain weight on a high metabolism.
  15. Develop a clear idea of what 10 lbs of muscle looks like.
  16. Learn the main signs of muscle growth.
  17. Have a long-term plan for continued gains.

Recommended Gear To Gain 10lbs Of Muscle At Home

If you’re interested, here’s the equipment I used to put on 10lbs of lean mass!

1) Remove Negativity For A Strong Foundation For Success.

Many frustrated beginners wonder if they can gain 10 lbs of muscle at all.

In general, everyone is capable of gaining 10 lbs of muscle. It requires heavy resistance training to stimulate muscle growth, combined with a nutritious diet to fuel muscle growth. Gaining muscle also requires the individual to adhere to their training and nutrition plan on a consistent basis.

From personal experience, I can say that success is 50% mental, 40% nutrition, and 10% training.

Yup, training is the easy part.

But staying consistent with your nutrition and lifestyle choices is much harder and can make all the difference.

What is required to gain 10 lbs of muscle.

Get 8 hours of sleep & 1.5 litres of water every day.

A simple way for beginners to introduce consistency is to start with the basics.

Water and sleep are both often undervalued in building muscle.

For example, this 2017 study showed that those who slept for less than 7 hours a day had less strength compared to those who slept for more than 7 hours a day.

Similarly, this 2019 meta-review also indicated that constant dehydration leads to muscular wasting, resistance to growth, and loss of contractile function.

Take home message?

Drink more water and sleep longer!

Set these foundations early on, and you’ll be more motivated, prepared for success, and be able to maintain your gains in the long term.

2) Acknowledge How Long It Takes To Gain 10 Lbs Of Muscle.

To be consistent, you also have to set yourself realistic goals.

And this means you shouldn’t be lured into false promises of being able to “gain 10 lbs of lean mass in 1 month”.

So how long does it take to gain 10-pounds of muscle?

The average beginner requires a minimum of 5 months to gain 10 lbs of muscle. This is based on the average rate of maximum lean muscle gain being 2lbs per month. It is possible to gain 10lbs in a shorter time frame but the gains will likely be from fat.

How fast can you gain 10 lbs of muscle?

The Lyle-McDonald Model For Maximum Rates Of Muscle Growth.

5 months to gain 10 lbs of muscle is based on the Lyle-McDonald model.

It’s a good standard for expected rates of muscle gains.

This model for gain rates also factors for people of different training levels.

The great news for you as a beginner is that you can capitalize on the “Newbie Gains” period.

“When you’re just beginning your weightlifting journey, muscle gains will jump rapidly and come easy. This can last for 3-6 months, depending on training style and person”

Jake Boly, C.S.C.S

During this newbie period, you can expect to quickly gain muscle with hard training and a good diet (more on this later).

If you’re in a rush to get noticeable results asap, you might be interested in checking my guide on how it’s possible to gain 10lbs in a week.

3) Understand Why It Takes So Long To Gain 10 Lbs Of Muscle.

Accepting that it may take months to gain 10 lbs of muscle will save you from early disappointment.

And this will help to prevent you from giving up.

But why does it take so long for muscles to grow?

It takes a long time for muscles to grow because muscle growth requires cycles of muscle fiber breakdown and repair. Muscle fibers are broken during training and repaired during rest, causing them to become larger. Therefore time is required for the process to be repeated.

What makes muscles grow? - Jeffrey Siegel

Basically, muscle growth is inherently a slow process for everyone.

Each muscle needs to be trained and sufficiently rested many times in order for them to become larger (a process called muscular hypertrophy).

And when you understand this, it’ll help you to set realistic goals, stay motivated, and remain consistent.

4) Plan 75% Compound & 25% Isolation Lifts.

If you want to gain 10 lbs of muscle ASAP, you need to choose the right variety of exercises.

Don’t waste time on fruitless lifts!

So what are the best exercises to gain muscle?

In general, the best exercises to gain muscle are heavy compound lifts. These exercises engage multiple muscles simultaneously with a strong mechanical stimulus to build the greatest amount of muscle mass. Isolation lifts activate single muscles and can be used to increase muscular definition.

Difference between compound vs isolation lifts

Compound lifts are easy to identify because they involve multiple joints.

In contrast, isolation lifts involve single joints.

Differentiating compound and isolation lifts.

Here are examples of compound and isolation movements:

Compound Lifts (75%)

  • Flat bench press.
  • Incline bench press.
  • Overhead press.
  • Bent-over row.
  • Upright-row.
  • Pull-up.
  • Chin-up
  • Deadlift.
  • Squat.

Isolation Lifts (25%)

  • Chest fly.
  • Lateral raise.
  • Reverse fly.
  • Bicep/leg curl.
  • Tricep/knee extension.
  • Abdominal crunches.

Therefore heavy compound lifting should be the main focus of your training program.

In support of this, a 2017 study found that compound exercises led to more efficient muscle strength development.

Isolation lifts aren’t actually required for gaining your first 10 lbs. Compound lifting alone is sufficient.

But feel free to include isolation lifts to define specific muscles like the biceps, triceps, pectorals, etc.

The worst thing you can do though is focusing primarily on the isolation lifts (gains will come much slower if you do this).

5) Decide On A Suitable Training Split.

A training split refers to the basic structure of your training routine.

Think of it as the skeleton of your training program.

It factors in the number of training days, rest days, and which muscles you train on each day.

An effective training split will hit all your muscles with the right number of training days, and also allow them the rest required for recovery and growth.

Therefore choosing the right “split” is essential to gain your first 10 lbs of muscle.

Best training split for beginners.

Here are examples of common training splits:

Full Body Split

Mon- total body.

Tue- rest.

Wed- total body.

Thur- rest

Fri- total body.

Sat- rest.

Sun- rest.

Push-Pull-Leg Split

Mon-push (chest and triceps).

Tue- pull (back and biceps).

Wed- legs & abs.

Thur- push (shoulders and triceps).

Fri- pull (back and biceps).

Sat-legs & abs.

Sun- rest

Muscle Group Split

Mon- chest & back.

Tue- legs & abs.

Wed- shoulders & arms

Thur- chest & back exercises.

Fri- legs & abs.

Sat- shoulder & arms.

Sun- rest

Total body workout to gain 10 lbs of muscle.

Which is the best split to gain 10 lbs of muscle?

I recommend the full-body split.

It’s easy to structure and follow, and this makes it ideal for beginners.

Simply choose an exercise for each muscle group (chest, shoulders, arms, back, core, and legs) and perform each exercise on each training day.

PPL and muscle group splits can also be effective, but they require more training days.

Hit each muscle at least twice per week!

Whichever split you chose, you should make sure each muscle is trained at least twice per week.

This 2016 study found that training a muscle with 2 weekly workouts is more effective for muscle growth compared to 1 intense workout.

Go to my other article to find out how long it takes to bulk up!

6) Optimise Training Volume To Gain 10 Lbs Of Muscle Fast.

Training volume describes the number of sets, reps, and the weight you do for each exercise.

Where training splits serve as the skeleton framework for a workout plan, training volume serves as the muscle to optimize the plan.

Here’s the recommended training volume for hypertrophy and strength:

Training VolumeHypertrophy FocusStrength Focus
Weight70-80% of 1RM80-90% of 1RM
Sets3-5 sets per muscle per workout3-5 sets per muscle per workout
Reps7-12 reps per set3-6 reps per set
Rest Between Sets1-2 minutes2-4 minutes
Recommended training volume per workout.

Note: 1RM = 1 rep max (the heaviest weight you can lift for 1 repetition on a given exercise). For more information on why RMs are important for building muscle, you can check out my article which explains the repetition maximum.

Strength and hypertrophy are closely related.

In other words, building one also builds the other, and I’d recommend incorporating both to gain 10 lbs of muscle asap.

Combine strength and hypertrophy training to gain 10 lbs of muscle

In your first month, you should focus on strength training to build up a strong foundation by working in the 5-8 rep range.

Then in your second month, focus on hypertrophy by working in the 8-12 rep range.

After you complete these two months, you can then alternate between strength and hypertrophy training every week or month.

This way, your muscles are constantly adapting and growing.

Note: vary the rep ranges and NOT the exercises. It’s important to stay consistent with your selection of exercises for a minimum of 6 months before switching things up.

How to know if you’re training hard enough to build muscle.

Beginners often cannot judge how hard they are training.

So how do you know if you’re working out hard enough to build muscle?

The best way to determine if you’re working out hard enough to build muscle is by satisfying training volume. Completing the required number of sets, reps, and weight load every week will ensure you are providing your muscles with the stimulus required to grow.

How to know you are working out hard enough to build muscle.

This is why it’s so important to establish your training volume as early as you can.

More subjective methods of determining perceived exertion also include:

  • How you feel during a workout. Each set should be challenging and the last set should take you to near or complete failure.
  • How you feel after a workout. Each workout should leave you feeling a “muscle pump”.
  • Energy levels should be low but not depleted. You should feel lethargic but not in pain after a workout.
  • Endorphin rush can occur. You may get a rush of “feel-good” hormones after a workout.

Don’t know how to structure an effective workout plan? You can check out my home muscle-building program for skinny guys here!

7) Apply Progressive Overload Properly.

Progressive overload describes the act of increasing exercise intensity over time.

It’s fundamental to muscle growth, and you need to overload regularly to gain 10 lbs of muscle quickly.

How does progressive overload work?

Here are the best ways to progressive overload:

  • Weight- aim to increase weight every 1 or 2 weeks. Add 2.5 lbs for isolation exercises or 5-10 lbs for compound exercises.
  • Reps- add more reps to each set. But never exceed more than 12 reps per set. It’s better to increase weight once you reach 12 reps per set.
  • Sets- add more sets to each workout. But never exceed more than 15 sets per muscle per week as a beginner.
  • Training frequency- add more workouts. Recommended only after 6 months of training to prevent overtraining.
  • Rest between sets- decrease rest time in between sets to make each exercise harder.

The simplest way to overload is to progressively add more weight.

You don’t need to worry about the other overload methods as a beginner.

If you find your strength plateau, simply squeeze more reps at that weight until you can do 12 reps.

At this point, you should then be able to increase the weight again and reduce it to 6 reps.

Repeat this process to break strength plateaus and keep building muscle!

Important: focus on 1 method of progressive overload at any one time!

Check out my other article for more tips to gain 10 pounds of muscle at home!

8) Plan Your Workouts To Avoid Overtraining

Overtraining occurs when you give your muscles more work than they’re able to recover from.

When this happens, the rate of muscle breakdown exceeds the rate of muscle synthesis.

As a result, you LOSE muscle, rather than gain.

“Muscle wasting loss occurs when the body turns catabolic. This can happen during periods of overtraining.”

Mike Dewar, C.S.C.S

Here’s why overtraining happens and how you can prevent it:

  • Intense training for too long. Limit intense weight lifting to 30-60 mins per workout.
  • Insufficient rest between workouts. Allow 24-48 hours rest per muscle before training it again.
  • Inadequate nutrition. Plan and record your calorie and macronutrient intake (more on this later).

If you want to gain 10 lbs of muscle in the shortest time possible, you better avoid overtraining!

Limit workouts to 30-60 minutes to avoid overtraining.

What is Overtraining? (Is Overtraining Even Real?)

It can be very tempting (and easy) to spend upwards of 1 hour on each workout.

But this makes you vulnerable to overtraining.

Instead, you should keep your workouts short and intense.

Is a 30-minute workout enough to build muscle?

A 30-minute workout is enough to build muscle as a beginner. This assumes 30 minutes of intense weight lifting, and does not include warm-ups or waiting for equipment. It’s not generally recommended for an intense weight session to exceed 1 hour for beginners or 2 hours for advanced lifters.

Ultimately, the most effective workouts are long enough to drive muscle growth but short enough to prevent overtraining.

And if you’re pushing yourself sufficiently, you’ll find that 30-60 minutes is more than enough time for fatigue onset.

9) Decide Between Home Vs Gym Workouts.

Most people can build substantial amounts of muscle at home.

How easily can you gain 10 lbs of muscle at home?

In general, it is not hard to gain 10lbs of muscle at home. However, it is recommended to choose a suitable resistance training method and optimize nutrition. Bodyweight, barbell, dumbbell, and kettlebell exercises can all be used to gain 10lbs of muscle at home.

Assuming you have suitably heavy free weights at home, there’s not a whole lot of difference between training at home and the gym.

However, some people find it easier to follow consistent training at home and vice versa.

So your decision should be dictated by your personal preferences.

How to gain 10 lbs of muscle at home.

Here’s how you can gain 10 lbs at home:

  • Bodyweight circuits can be an effective and cheap way to train. But you will need to find creative ways to increase intensity after a few months, since you cannot simply add more weight.
  • Barbell training is the quickest way to add mass for skinny guys. But barbell setups are expensive, require space, and can be dangerous with bad form.
  • Dumbbell training is also a great way to build mass. They’re also relatively cheap compared to barbells. But you won’t be able to lift heavy weights at first, since dumbbells require a lot of stabilisation.

My recommendation:

Buy a pair of heavy adjustable dumbbells with an adjustable weight bench. Combined, they will cost around $550 brand new (that’s less than a year’s gym membership). This will give you everything you need to gain 10 lbs of muscle at home.

I use and recommend the Powerblock Elite dumbbells. The standard model weighs in at 50lbs per dumbbell which is a beginner-friendly weight, to begin with. They can also be upgraded to 70lbs and 90lbs whenever you wish. You can find the cheapest place to buy the Powerblocks here.

Having researched over a dozen models, the Elites are the cheapest of the premium heavy dumbbells and provide great value for money. They also come with 2.5lb increments which is rare. Small weight increments are ideal for progressive overloading frequently.

Use a bench with dumbbells to build chest muscle

I combine the Powerblocks with the Flybird adjustable bench (check out my review here). It’s affordable and the 700lb capacity is more than enough for dumbbells and you can even use it for barbell training in the future. It can be fully inclined and declined, allowing you to train the entire body. It’s also foldable and can be stowed away after a workout. You can get it delivered quickly from Amazon here.

10) Target Lagging Muscles With 2-3 Extra Sets Per Week.

A lagging muscle is one that seems to grow slower than the others.

Every lifter has a lagging muscle (or two!).

Why do some muscles grow slower than others?

  • Genetics- fast twitch muscle fibres grow the fastest. And some muscles contain more fast twitch fibres than others.
  • Muscle insertion- muscles that insert deep into a joint have a greater visual volume than those inserted more shallow into a joint.
  • Height- tall and short people find certain exercises easier than others. For example, short people can often bench press more relative weight than tall people who can often deadlift more relative weight than short people.

Here are the muscles which grow the fastest and slowest:

Rank #Slowest Muscles To BuildFastest Muscles To Build
3ForearmsLatissimus dorsi
6HamstringsSpinal erectors
7PectoralsGluteus maximus
Slowest muscles (1 = slowest, 7= fastest). Fastest muscles (1 = fastest, 7 = slowest)

I recommend doing “set redistribution” to target slower-growing muscles.

This involves reducing sets from your faster-growing muscles and increasing sets to the lagging muscles.

Redistributing 2-3 sets is a good ballpark figure.

This is optional though.

Set redistribution is not essential to gain 10 lbs of muscle. But it will lead to a more balanced physique.

Go to my other article to find out how I determined the hardest and easiest muscles to build!

11) Perfect Your Form To Maximise Muscle Activation.

Form describes the way you perform an exercise movement.

Proper form is essential to maximize muscle engagement and minimize injury risk.

And if you want your journey to gain 10 lbs of muscle to be as smooth as possible, it’s a good idea to perfect your form.

After all, you won’t be gaining any muscle at all if you’re injured.

10 Common Form Mistakes in The Gym | Good vs Bad Form | Zac Perna

General weight lifting good form practices include:

  • Keeping a straight back.
  • Bracing your core and glutes to prevent cheat lifting.
  • Lifting weights in a slow and controlled manner.

Specific weight lifting form varies between exercises. Examples include:

  • Keeping your elbows tucked in during a bench press.
  • Retracting the shoulder blades during a pull up.

These can all be learned from Youtube and other online resources.

The 4010 tempo and how to do it.

4020 time under tension tempo training can help you build muscle

Lifting slow and controlled is especially important for beginners.

It will ensure you achieve the greatest muscle activation and will fast-track your path to gaining 10 lbs of muscle.

That’s because time under tension is a crucial driver for muscle growth (along with mechanical tension which is achieved by lifting heavy weights).

I recommend using a 4010 tempo.

To do this, simply count 4 seconds as you lower the weight and 2 seconds as you lift the weight.

12) Decide Between Lean Vs Dirty Vs Deficit Bulking.

You’ve mentally prepped yourself.

You’ve optimized your training program.

Now you’ve got to plan your bulk (a nutrition plan to gain muscle).

After all, your muscles won’t grow if you’re not feeding them the nutrients they need.

Here are the different types of bulk and how they work:

Type Of BulkDaily Caloric IntakeApproximate Daily CaloriesEffect
Dirty Bulk+20% or more+500 to 1000 calRapid muscle & fat gain.
Lean Bulk+5 to 15%+200 to 500 calMuscle gain & minimal fat gain.
Deficit Bulk-5 to 10% (deficit)-200 to 350 calMuscle gain & fat loss.

Don’t choose the wrong bulking method!

Different types of bulk.

Here are the different types of bulks and their ideal candidates:

  • Extremely skinny guys should go on a dirty bulk. If you’re <10% body fat, you have room to gain a bit of fat with your muscle on a dirty bulk.
  • Regular skinny guys should go on a lean bulk. If you’re 11-18% body fat, a lean bulk will allow you to gain muscle with minimal fat gains. This is the most sustainable and recommended type of bulk.
  • Skinny fat guys should go on a lean or deficit bulk. If you’re >20% body fat, a deficit bulk will allow you to build muscle whilst losing fat. Once you reach ~14% body fat, then you can switch to a lean bulk.

In general, a lean bulk is recommended for most people.

Even if you’re extremely skinny, you should still ease yourself into things. Start on a lean bulk and then slowly add calories to enter a dirty bulk (walk before you run kinda thing).

Determining your daily surplus/deficit calories.

How to calculate your maintenance calories.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred bulking method, you need to calculate how many daily calories you need to consume.

Many sources quote 25 calories per lb of bodyweight.

But this number is too generalized.

It doesn’t factor in your current body composition, activity level, age, and gender.

I recommend you use a free TDEE calculator instead.

Simply determine your maintenance calories and then add/subtract your surplus/deficit calories.

For example- a 10% caloric surplus for 2500 maintenance calories would be 2750 calories (2500 x 1.10).

Check out my other article to find out if you should bulk or cut first!

13) Set Your Macronutrients To Gain 10 Lbs Of Muscle.

Once you’ve decided your daily caloric intake, you need to decide how you’re going to eat those calories.

This is where macronutrients come in.

“Macronutrients are big picture nutrition categories, such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.”

Emma Nall, MSN.

Here’s the recommended macronutrient diet to gain 10 lbs of muscle:

MacronutrientRecommended Daily Grams
Per Lb Bodyweight
Approximate %
Of Daily Calories
Protein1 to 1.4g30%
Fiber6 daily portions10%

For example- a 150 lb person would require around 187g protein, 375g carbs, and 60g of fats each day.

How to hit your macros.

How much macronutrients you need and their ratios.

Here are the best bulking foods to hit your macros:

  • Beef- high in creatine, protein, and calories.
  • Chicken- high in protein but low in fat.
  • White fish- high in protein but low in fat.
  • Fatty fish- high in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and calories. This 2020 study has found that omega 3 can increase testosterone in men.
  • Cottage cheese and casein shakes- high in casein protein (a slow digesting protein). This 2014 study has found that casein is less satiating than whey protein (could be beneficial if you get full too easily).
  • Egg whites- high protein but low in fat and calories.
  • Soy products- high in protein but low in fat and calories.
  • Pasta, oats, brown bread- high in complex carbs, calories, and plant protein.
  • Potatoes- high in complex carbs and calories.
  • Fruits- sugars are calorie dense, full of simple carbs, and make great smoothies with oats
  • Legumes such as beans- high in calories, fibre, protein, and carbs.
  • Avocados and olive oil- high in healthy fats.
  • Nuts and seeds- high in protein, healthy fats, and fibre.

This selection of ingredients will provide you all the macronutrients, minerals, and vitamins required to gain 10 lbs of muscle.

Protein shakes can also help supplement with further protein, but try to limit yourself to 1 or 2 a day (max).

Protein shake recommendations.

I use and recommend the MyProtein Impact Whey (link for cheapest price) for average guys between 12-15% body fat. Each serving contains 21g of protein and 100 calories. So it’s perfect for making lean gains.

Vegans will find the Pea Protein more suitable.

If you’re very skinny (less than 12% body fat), then the Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass may be better for you. Each serving contains 50g of protein and 1250 calories. This makes it great for quickly packing on mass.

I also add a scoop of Creatine Monohydrate to my shakes.

Creatine is a natural compound found in low concentrations in all our muscles where it helps with energy utilization. The supplement tops up our natural levels and will help you to squeeze out more reps, lift more weight, and generally train harder.

Don’t Miss Out!

Use codes:
TAKE40 (40% off MyProtein USA)
1KFWV-OQ2T-XHBM (29% off MyProtein UK)
Valid at time of writing

14) Strategise Calories To Gain 10 Lbs On A High Metabolism.

A common issue skinny guys have with gaining muscle is that they have a high metabolism. And it’s hard to gain weight on a fast metabolism.

This problem is further compounded by training, which ramps metabolism even higher.

So how can you gain 10-pounds with a high metabolism?

The easiest way to gain 10-pounds with a high metabolism is to space meal consumption. This involves eating 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day. Each meal should be calorie-dense and provide a complete profile of macronutrients. Breakfast, pre-workout, and post-workout meals are the most important.

When to consume calories on a bulk.

How to strategise calories.

Strategizing calories simply involves allocating more calories to periods where your body will utilize them the most.

These periods include:

  • Breakfast- nutrients are utilised to break the fasting period of sleep.
  • Pre-workout- nutrients are utilised to fuel your workout. Ideally should be liquid calories for fast absorption.
  • Post-workout- energy will be utilised for muscle repair, recovery, and growth.
  • Pre-bed- nutrients will be utilised to limit the fasting period during sleep.

To strategize your calories, you should divide your total daily caloric target by 6.

This will tell you how many calories you should consume in each meal.

Then transfer some calories from your other meals to your breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, and pre-bed meals.

For more bulking tips, you can check out my other post which guides you through gaining your first 10lbs in a month.

Keep a food diary.

A food diary records and tracks your calories and macros.

It will allow you to determine if you’re consuming enough during the day and identify where you can add more calories.

This is especially important for skinny guys who struggle to gain weight.

That’s because they often overestimate how much they consume.

For example- when I first started bulking, I was eating 850 calories and 50g of protein LESS than what I thought I was eating.

No wonder I wasn’t gaining muscle!

Check out my other article to see if home dumbbells or gym membership is better for you to gain 10 lbs!

15) Have A Clear Idea What 10 Lbs of Muscle Looks Like.

You’ve optimized your mentality, training, and nutrition.


Now you need to learn how to track your journey as you gain 10 lbs of muscle.

To do this, you should know what 10 lbs of muscle actually looks like.

Here’s what 10 lbs of muscle looks like before and after:

Gaining 10 lbs of muscle before and after.

If you’re training your whole body, you should see the following results:

  • Upper body will take on a v-shape.
  • Chest will begin gaining volume and become wider.
  • Triceps and biceps will start to look more shredded.
  • Abs will become more pronounced.
  • Legs will become thicker.

Overall, you will develop a slightly more athletic-looking body.

If you’re on a lean bulk, you should also notice greater muscle definition.

Having a clear picture of your goals will also help you stay on track, maintain focus, and remain motivated.

You can check out my other post for a better idea of what 10lbs of lean muscle looks like and if it’s considered a lot.

16) Know The Main Signs For Muscle Growth

Gaining muscle can be a relatively slow process.

This makes it important to keep track of your gains.

Doing so will allow you to make informed adjustments if your training and nutrition plan isn’t working.

Here are the main signs of muscle growth and how to keep track:

  • Weight gain. As you gain more lean mass, your weight should increase. Weigh yourself every morning before going to the toilet. Keep track and take a weekly average. Your weekly weight should increase (see below for how much weight you should be expecting to gain).
  • Strength increase. As you gain muscle, they will also become stronger. Keep a training journal to record how much you are lifting for the bench press, overhead press, row, squat, and deadlift. These numbers should be increasing every 2 weeks.
  • Physical physical changes. As you gain muscle, you should start seeing positive changes starting at month 2. Take photos every month to make sure you’re body fat isn’t getting out of control!
  • Limb measurement increase. As you become stronger and bigger, your arms, legs, and chest will grow accordingly. Take diameter measurements around the thickest part of the biceps, chest line, and upper thighs.

For more ways to tell if your training is working, you can check out my other article for 13 signs you’re getting stronger.

Expected rate of weight gain on a lean bulk.

Keeping tabs on your weight gain is the simplest and quickest way to track your muscle growth.

You should expect to gain around 0.25-0.50% of your current body weight each week.

Here’s what that looks like:

Current Body Weight (Lbs)0.25% Weekly Weight Increase (Lbs)0.50% Weekly Weight Increase (Lbs)
Target weekly weight gain at different body weights.

As you can see, you should aim to increase body weight by between 0.25 to 1.00 lbs per week (depending on your current body weight) to minimize fat gains as you build muscle.

17) Have A Long Term Plan For Continued Muscle Gain

You now have the foundations to build 10 lbs of muscle in 5 months.

But chances are you’ll want to continue training beyond month 5, even after you’ve reached your goal.

So how much muscle can you gain in 6 months?

On average, 6 months of bulking can gain 12 pounds of muscle. Depending on the type of bulk, even more, weight can be gained. However, the maximum rate of muscle gain is approximately 2 pounds per month. Anything more than this is likely to be stored as fat.

It’s good to have a long-term plan to continue building muscle.

Keep progressive overloading, adjust your diet as you gain more weight, and continue tracking your gains.

Doing this will lead to a more defined and athletic-looking physique!

If you’re training at home using dumbbells, you can find out why you need a bench for your dumbbells in my other article!

Recommended Gear List

Here’s a recap of the gear I used to gain 10lbs of muscle myself:

ProductCheapest Place To BuyReason
Powerblock ElitesAmazonHeavy 50lb dumbbells for home training. Can be upgraded to 70lbs and 90lbs whenever you’re ready.
Flybird adjustable weight benchAmazonFully adjustable bench to hit all muscles in the chest/shoulder/back.
MyProtein Impact WheyAmazonClean protein powder to help average or skinny-fat guys make lean gains (this needs to be combined with heavy training!).
MyProtein Pea ProteinAmazonA vegan alternative to the Impact Whey
Optimum Nutrition Serious MassAmazonGreat for skinny guys to make quick gains. Again, you need to combine this with heavy training for it to work.
Creatine MonohydrateAmazonHelps with energy utilization. Facilitates with lifting heavier weights, doing more reps, and more intense workouts in general.


I’ve given you the full blueprint to gain 10 lbs of muscle.

Gaining 10 lbs of lean mass is not too difficult for the majority of people.

It all boils down to combining an effective training program with a muscle-building nutrition plan.

Training-wise- focus on heavy compound lifting with good form, and apply progressive overload regularly.

Nutrition-wise- aim to eat a caloric surplus with enough protein, carbs, and fats for your body weight.

Keep track of your gains with a food, training, and body measurement journal. This will help you troubleshoot problem areas.

If you follow all these steps, you can expect to gain 10 lbs of muscle in around 5 months!

Which of the 17 steps did you not know about previously?

Let me know in the comments below!

Alternatively, get the FREE Kalibre Muscle Blueprint to find out EXACTLY how I transformed my skinny body as a hardgainer!

It contains everything you need to know to structure your own training and nutrition plan.

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,


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

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