Numerous questions run through your head as a skinny guy looking to get ripped, jacked, big (or whatever you wanna call it). Speaking from personal experience, I know that a common question is whether it is harder or easier for skinny guys to gain muscle, compared to other types of people.
Skinny guys often find it easier to gain muscle compared to experienced weight lifters. This is due to the so-called “newbie gains” period of rapid muscle growth in beginners. Consequently, skinny people usually gain muscle faster than other types of people.
This is a highly subjective question by nature.
After all, what exactly is defined as harder/easier or skinny/muscular?
With that being said, this post will clarify why skinny people USUALLY (not always) find it easier to put on lean msucle mass.
How I Found It Easier To Build Muscle As A Skinny Guy
I used to be a 130lb skinny male with no weight training experience.
Now I’m hovering at around 170lbs and 12% body fat.
In other words, I’ve gone pulled through the trenches. I’ve succeeded in my skinny to muscular transformation.
Now, I may not be the biggest gym rat out there but I’m confident I’ve got the experience to answer the question; “is it easier or harder to gain muscle as a skinny guy”.
It wasn’t exactly easy to gain muscle as a skinny guy.
But it was certainly EASIER AND FASTER as a beginner compared to putting on muscle now as a seasoned lifter.
I was gaining around 2llbs of lean muscle mass per month as a skinny beginner.
Now, I’d consider myself an experienced lifter with years of weight training under my belt.
I’m much bigger than I used to be as a skinny guy.
But it’s also a lot HARDER AND SLOWER to put on muscle.
Currently, I’d be lucky to put on more than 0.5-1lbs of lean muscle mass per month (very lucky!).
Bulking up can be daunting as a skinny beginner because you don’t always have a timeframe for results. If you’re interested, you can check out my other post to find out how long it takes a skinny guy to gain muscle.
Quora: Is It Harder Or Easier For Skinny Guys To Gain Muscle?
So I found it easier to build muscle as a skinny person compared to now when I’m a seasoned lifter.
But what are other people’s experiences?
To find out, I tracked down this Quora thread which asked:
- “Is it easier or harder for skinny guys to gain muscle?”
Next, I tallied the responses and compiled the results into a chart (see below).
You can see that the majority 83% of responses say it depends on your personal situation.
In other words, it’s difficult to give a clear-cut answer to the question.
Because it depends on WHO exactly you’re comparing a skinny guy TOO.
In most situations, it’s easier for a skinny guy to gain muscle. But in other situations, it can actually be harder for a skinny guy to build muscle.
That’s what I’ll discuss next.
If you like, you can check out my other post to find out if it’s better to be skinny or muscular!
Why It Can Be Easier For Skinny Guys To Gain Muscle
It is usually easier for skinny guys to build muscle compared to experienced lifters. This is due to the “newbie gains” phenomenon of accelerated muscle gains in beginners who have never trained before. Newbie gains can last for up to a year or more.
Above, you see the Lyle-McDonald model for rates of muscle gain in people of different training levels.
It’s a widely accepted estimate for how much muscle you can realistically gain.
For simplicity’s sake- assume year 1 is a skinny guy whilst year 3 and above is a jacked bodybuilder.
Now it’s easy to see why skinny guys can find it much easier to build muscle compared to experienced lifters.
Skinny beginners can build muscle at a relatively easy and fast rate due to newb gains.
Your muscles are extremely responsive to any kind of hypertrophy (growth) stimulus that comes with heavy weight training.
In contrast, the muscles of a seasoned lifter are already highly adapted.
Therefore they grow at a much slower rate compared to a beginner.
Newbie gains are the primary reason why skinny guys often find it easier to gain muscle! If you’re a bigginner struggling to gain weight, here are the most common reasons why.
When It Can Be Harder For Skinny Guys To Gain Muscle
Skinny ectomorphs usually find it harder to gain muscle compared to mesomorphs and endomorphs. The first body shape usually has a lower amount of muscle mass compared to the latter two body shapes. As a result, ectomorphs usually gain muscle the slowest.
You’re natural body shape and composition (ratio of muscle and fat) is another factor when it comes to how easy or hard it is for you to gain muscle as a skinny guy.
Here’s a quick definition of the main body shapes if you don’t already know:
- Ectomorphs. Usually have a pencil-shaped body with low muscle and low fat.
- Mesomorphs. Usually have a V-shaped body with high muscle and low fat.
- Endomorphs. Usually have a pear-shaped body with high muscle and/or high fat.
Superficially, most skinny guys would be considered to be ectomorphs.
However, as a skinny guy, you belong somewhere on a spectrum.
Here are the two ends of the spectrum and what each one means:
- Ectomorphic skinny guys- have a stereotypical lanky appearance. These people often find it hardest to build muscle.
- Mesomorphic skinny guys- are skinny but still have a vague V-shape. These people usually do not find it too hard to build muscle if they’re following a good program (check out my skinny to muscular home workout program here).
Both types of skinny guys will usually find it harder to gain muscle compared to an all-out endomorph, for any given training level.
Tips To Gain Muscle As A Beginner
Regardless of whether it’s easier or harder for skinny guys to gain muscle, it helps to know HOW to build muscle fast.
That way, you can make the process as fast as possible for your circumstances.
Here are my best tips to put on muscle mass and bulk up fast as a skinny guy:
- Join a gym or invest in a good home gym. I always recommend skinny guys should go to the gym, even though it’s still possible to build muscle at home without weights. Achieving a skinny to muscular transformation is much easier when you have access to heavy weights!
- Do 3-5 sets per muscle per workout. Aim for around 10-15 total sets per muscle per week. This equates to 3-5 sets per muscle per workout depending on how often you train.
- Focus on the 8-12 rep range. This is the best rep range for building msucle size and strength! Working in a lower rep range is also good (if you increase weight too). But avoid doing more than 15 reps per set.
- Lift around 80% of your 1-rep max. The last few reps of each set should fatigue your muscles. If they aren’t then you should increase your weight. If you’re lifting too heavy, such that your form breaks, then you should decrease weight.
- Work the whole body. Your legs produce the biggest muscle-building hormone response. Don’t forget leg day!
- Prioritize compound lifts. Pressing, rowing, squatting, and deadlifting movements are the best msucle-builders. Accessory lifts like bicep curls should be the icing on the cake (do them sparingly).
- Eat at least 1g of protein per lb of body weight. You NEED protein to build muscle. There’s no escaping this one!
- Ensure you’re in a caloric surplus. I recommend a 5-10% daily calorie surplus to build lean muscle with minimal fat gains (lean bulking. You can use TDEE calculator to estimate your maintenance calories and then add 5-10%.
If you’re just beginning you’re muscle transformation journey, you can check out my other post to see how big you can get in just 2 months!
I’ve explained whether it is harder or easier for skinny guys to gain muscle.
Generally speaking, skinny guys should find it easier to build muscle compared to seasoned lifters.
However, skinny ectomorphic beginners usually find it harder to build msucle compared to endomorphic beginners.
How difficult are you finding it to build muscle?
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!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)