Get Ripped As A Skinny Guy: Using These 9 Tried And Tested Tips!

How to get ripped as a skinny guy

A common goal for skinny guys is to build lean muscle without getting overly bulky. So how do you do it? How do you get ripped as a skinny guy?

Skinny guys get ripped by building muscle with minimal fat gains. This is achieved through heavy compound weight lifting with a focus on progressive overload. Eating maintenance calories and a high protein diet are also recommended to fuel lean muscle development.

I use to be a skinny guy myself.

And it took years of trial and error before I finally figured out how to build a bigger and more muscular body.

This post will teach you how to do the same!

How I got ripped as an ex-skinny guy.

How To Get Ripped As A Skinny Guy

Getting ripped fast requires you to build bigger muscles with the least amount of fat gain possible.

The result is an athletic-looking body with defined musculature.

Here are my best tips to get ripped as a skinny guy:

1) Focus On Compound Lifting To Get Ripped As A Skinny Guy

Workout Program For Skinny Guys Trying To Get Bigger
Check out Joe Fazer’s compound-focused workout program for skinny guys to get ripped!

Let’s start with a banger:


This should be the mantra of every skinny guy looking to build muscle and get ripped.

So what’s the difference between compound and isolation movements?

Unlike isolation lifts such as the bicep curl, which targets single muscles, compound lifts activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Isolation exercises are great for defining specific muscles. But they’re not good for overall muscle-building applications.

So what should be your primary focus as a skinny guy trying to get ripped fast?

Compound exercises of course!

Compound exercises are the best for skinny guys trying to build muscle.
I use the PowerBlock Elite dumbbells. They’re pricey but give you enough weight to progress for years!

The most popular compound exercise examples are:

  • Bench press.
  • Overhead shoulder press.
  • Row.
  • Squat.
  • Deadlift.

These are the movements that will drive big muscle gains and help you bulk up.

And as a skinny guy who already has low body fat, building bigger muscles is the best way to increase muscular definition for a ripped physique.

Avoid the mistake I made as an ex-skinny guy; wasting time on bicep curls when I could be doing pull-ups or rows instead…

Additionally, compound lifts are also superior for calorie burning.

And this is beneficial for skinny-fat guys who are looking to shred that belly fat!

2) Train 3-4 Days A Week To Minimize Risk Of Overtraining

Another big mistake I made as an ex-skinny guy trying to build muscle was to overtrain.

Why did I do this?

I was under the wrong impression that a higher training frequency = more hypertrophy (muscle growth).

In other words, I thought there was a linear relationship between the time spent at the gym and the amount of muscle gained.

This is only true to a certain extent.

But skinny guys should not work out every day if they’re trying to get ripped.

Training every day is unrealistic, leaves you drained, and is counterproductive for muscle growth.

It’s much better to perform a few intense workouts per week than it is to work out every day.

This allows your muscles the time they need to rest and recover for the next workout.

And this is essential for applying progressive overload (see point #7).

3-day full body split for skinny guys to get ripped.

I recommend a skinny beginner follow a 3-day full-body split to start.

This comprises 3 workouts per week separated by at least 24 hours of rest between workouts.

Each workout trains each major muscle group.

This is sufficient for skinny guys to start gaining muscle!

3) Lift In The 6-12 Rep Range To Get Ripped As A Skinny Guy

Rep range for skinny guys to build big muscles.

You need some kind of workout plan if you want to get big muscles.

And your chosen rep range is instrumental to that plan.

A rep range refers to the number of reps you complete per set for a given exercise.

Choosing the right rep range is ESSENTIAL for maximizing muscle gains.

I found the 6-12 rep range to be the most effective for building muscle as a skinny guy.

It gives you the best of both worlds from your weight training- strength and size gains.

I like to vary my rep range depending on the exercises I’m doing, as follows:

Exercise TypeRecommended Reps
Compound6-8 reps per set
Isolation8-12 reps per set

Now, these are just general recommendations.

It’s OK to deviate by a few reps.

For example, some workout plans like the Stronglifts 5×5 use lower rep ranges whilst small exercises like the bicep curl work best in 12-15 rep ranges.

But the important thing is to keep your reps low and weight heavy.

If you’re interested, you can check out my other post for a full home workout program for skinny guys to build muscle!

6) Lift Weights That Are At Least 80% Of Your 1-Rep Max

How much weight a skinny guy should lift to build muscle.

Working in the correct rep range is great for maximizing muscle gains.

But only if you’re lifting enough weight.

A common mistake made by skinny guys trying to build big muscles is to overestimate the weight they’re lifting.

In other words, they think they’re lifting more weight than they should be lifting.

This makes it important to standardize your weights.

Put simply- you want to know for sure that you’re lifting enough weight from each rep to drive muscle growth.

And the best way to do this is to take a percentage of your 1-rep max (the maximum weight you can lift for a single rep on a given exercise).

You can easily find your 1-rep max (1RM) estimate on the Strength Levels Database.

Simply locate your chosen exercise, identify your 1RM, and take 80%.

This is approximately how much weight you should be lifting on each rep to build muscle and get ripped as a skinny guy!

For a more detailed explanation, you ucan check out my other post which explains how much weight a skinny guy should lift!

4) Aim For 3-5 Sets Per Muscle Per Workout

Remember before how I said working out every day is a common skinny guy mistake?

Well, another mistake is to do too many sets per workout.


Wasted sets are a real thing.

Studies have shown that performing beyond 6 sets per muscle per workout results in a plateau in gains.

In other words, there’s a law of diminishing returns with building muscle.

Doing too many sets could be a big waste of time.

Instead, it is better to standardize your sets.

Do this by aiming for 10-15 weekly sets.

This equates to 3-5 sets per workout depending on how often you train.


Maximize the growth stimulus to your muscle without the risk of spending time on wasted sets!

5) 1 Hour Workby Are Enough 1-hour Muscular

Most skinny guys can get muscular from doing just 1-hour workouts 3 times per week.

In fact, you don’t need to spend all day at the gym to gain muscle and get ripped as a skinny guy.

This is actually yet another mistake beginners often make.

Instead, focus on short but intense workouts.

You can do this by lifting heavy on all your allotted reps and sets.

Speaking from experience, 1 hour is more than enough time for an effective muscle-building workout.

Here’s an example of what you can achieve in a 1-hour workout:

ExerciseSetsRepsWeightRest Between Sets
Bench Press5685% of 1RM3 mins
Barbell Squat5685% of 1RM3 mins
Barbell Row5685% of 1RM3 mins

Combined, these 3 exercises will hit all the major muscle groups.

And getting through all 3 exercises should take you just under 1 hour!

You may also be interested in my other post to learn about the best times for a skinny guy to work out!

7) Progressive Overload To Get Ripped Fast

Progressive overload refers to the process of increasing exercise intensity over time.

It’s one of the key drivers of muscle growth

So if you’re a skinny guy looking to get ripped and muscular, you better overload!

There are different ways to apply progressive overload to your training.

The most popular ways involve increasing:

  • Weight.
  • Sets.
  • Reps.
  • Training frequency.

As an ex-skinny guy myself, I found that adding weight was the most enjoyable and efficient way to overload.

I recommend the 5/10% rule.

This involves adding 5% weight in upper body lifts and 10% weight in lower body lifts.

Add weight when you are ready.

As a general rule, aim to overload at least once every 1-2 weeks and you should be able to build muscle!

If you’re looking for a timeline for muscle gains, you may be interested in my other post which explains how long it takes a skinny guy to go from skinny to muscular!

8) Eat 1g Of Protein Per lb Of Bodyweight To Gain Muscle

Protein intake is essential for any skinny guy looking to bulk up, gain muscle, and get ripped.

It serves as the organic building block for muscle.

You won’t get bigger if you don’t eat enough protein.

In fact, one of the other big mistakes made by skinny guys trying to build muscle is to overestimate their protein intake, and as a result, under-consume protein.

So I’d highly recommend recording your daily protein intake.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Build Muscle? | Nutritionist Explains... | Myprotein
Here’s how much protein skinny guys should eat to get ripped!

Food packaging should always contain nutritional information- one which should be protein content.

Use a notepad and pen to keep track of how much protein you’re eating every day.

Aim for around 1g per lb of bodyweight to build muscle

So for example, a 140lb skinny guy would need to eat around 140g of protein every day!

9) Consume Maintenance Calories For A Lean Bulk

Calories are AS important as protein when it comes to bulking up and getting ripped as a skinny guy.

That’s because calories fuel muscle growth.

You want to consume enough calories to build muscle but not so much that excess calories are stored as fat.

So how many calories should you consume?

I recommend eating your daily maintenance calories. This gives your body just enough energy to fuel the muscle growth process with minimal fat gains.


Lean muscle gains for a ripped physique.

The easiest wathe y to estimate your exact maintenance calories is to use TDEE calculator.

Now that you know how many calories your body needs to build lean muscle!

Equipment For A Skinny Guy To Get Ripped Fast At Home

It’s entirely possible to get ripped at home as a skinny guy.

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to start. But adding weights will further increase the effectiveness of your workouts.

A good home gym to get ripped doesn’t have to break the bank or take up a lot of space.

Home gym equipment for skinny guys to get ripped.

An adjustable dumbbell and bench are more than sufficient to achieve your goals!


I’ve shared 9 tips on how to get ripped as a skinny guy.

They’re the same steps that I used to get ripped myself as an ex-skinny guy.

All 9 tips revolve around optimizing your training and nutrition plan to maximize muscle gains with minimal fat gains.

As a result, you should be able to build a bigger and more muscular physique without getting too bulky!

What problems have you faced with getting ripped as a skinny guy?

Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions! You can find my details on the “contact us” page.

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 printable worksheets) I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,


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


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!

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