Skinny Guy Workout – Workout For Skinny Guys

By Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle Building.

Skinny guys have been lead to believe they need to train longer to build big muscles. The reality is that skinny guys need to train less and eat more. Skinny guys must approach building muscle the same way they would approach getting a sun tan.

The Sun Tan Analogy Skinny Guys Must Understand Before Working Out

Sunlight to the skin is analogous to stress to the body. Exposure to sunlight does not instantly produce a tan. Exposure to weight training does not instantly produce muscle. The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight stimulates melanocytes in the skin to produce more melanin as a protective mechanism, darkening the skin. The brighter the sun, the more intense the radiation, the stronger the stimulus.

The same situation arises when you expose exercise stress to your body – the greater the exercise stress the greater the stimulus for super compensation (adaptation) to occur.  If you go to the beach while their are clouds covering the sun, you can lay outside all day long and not experience any tanning effects because the radiation of the sun would not be sufficient enough to to stimulate the skin.  Exercise stress is the same. You can spend the entire day in the gym working out and if the stimulus is not sufficient you will not see much if anything in terms of improvements. However, if the exercise stress is sufficient, very little is required to see new gains.

The Key Is To Understand The Minimum Effective Dose

Our bodies have a limit to how much stress we can handle within a period of time. For example, up to a certain point, a certain amount of ultraviolet radiation will produce a nice looking tan. Beyond a certain point, the skin is damaged and results in a burn.  Up to a certain point in a workout, intense exercise stress will create the potential for new size, strength and stamina but beyond a certain point will lead to exhaustion that can result in overtraining or injury.

Remember, the training effect is the desired goal of the training. The training effect could be anything from increased relative strength, functional hypertrophy, hypertrophy or muscle endurance.  The training effect is not experienced until you recover from the training. In short, if you sun tanned for five minutes, your body needs time to recover (adapt) from that five minutes before you expose it to six minutes.  The same is true for exercise. If you bench pressed 4 sets of 225 lbs with 2 minutes rest, you will need a few days before you can bench press 4 sets of 230 lbs with 2 minutes rest.  Failure to respect these recovery needs can lead to overtraining, plateau or becoming weaker.

Individuality And The Skinny Guy

Just like darker skinned individuals can tolerate a longer duration in the sun compared to someone with lighter skin, some skinny guys can do a higher frequency of training before overtraining.  Determining the optimal training volume, intensity and frequency is a topic covered in depth of Season 3 of Live Large TV and there are many training theories to consider in finding what’s optimal for you. Ultimately, experimentation and accurate records is the only way you will determine how to individualize the different training variables for success.

Here is a sample skinny guy workout erring with lower volume to set up the potential for training at greater intensity.  In short, we’re going to spark our muscles into muscle growth, not force them.

The Skinny Guy Workout

Monday

A. Deadlifts  1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 20 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 411 tempo
B. Chin Ups 1 x 30 sec negative, 1 x 20 second negative, 1 x 10 second negative, 1 x bodyweight, 1 x bodyweight
C. Military Press  1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 20 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 311 temp

Wednesday

A1. Incline Biceps Curls 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 6, 1 x 12 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 411 tempo
A2. Lying Triceps Extension 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 6, 1 x 12 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 411 tempo
B1.  Barbell Shrug 1 x 15, 1 x 12, 1 x 1o, 1 x 8, 1 x 15 — 60 seconds rest between sets — 311 tempo
B2. Standing Calve Raise  1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 6, 1 x 12 — 60 seconds rest between sets — 311 tempo
C. Stability Ball Crunch 5 x 5 — 15 seconds rest between sets – 505 tempo

Friday 

A. Squats   1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 20 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 411 tempo
B. Bench Press  1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 20 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 311 tempo
C. Seated Row   1 x 12, 1 x 10, 1 x 8, 1 x 6, 1 x 20 — 90 seconds rest between sets — 311 tempo

Why Is This Workout Effective? 

1. Lower volume. Each bodypart gets approximately five sets a week. Classic hypertrophy programs rely on closer to 10-25 sets a bodypart so this allows opportunity to increase the intensity, a variable that can stimulate new muscle if it’s been neglected.

2.  Broad-spectrum of rep ranges. 6-12 reps creates the desire training effect of hypertrophy and by having one back off set in each exercise we ensure we don’t de train the quality, muscular endurance.

3. Longer rest ranges err on the higher side for hypertrophy to ensure you can stimulate the high threshold motor units each set.

4. Balance between all the primary movements of the body. Their is equal volume between horizontal pulling and horizontal pushing moves, vertical pulling and vertical pushing, quad and hip and upper arm.

5. The Principle of Kaizen can be applied each workout. This is a Japanese way of life that stresses constant and never ending improvement.  Small changes gradually lead to bigger changes long term. The goal of every weight set should be to increase your loads from 2% from set to set and to start each workout 2% heavier than your previous workout. This allows us to experience progressive overload, a critical ingredient for muscle growth.

Even if you’re not a skinny guy, this workout can act as an excellent way to stimulate new gains by dropping the volume and increasing the intensity. Don’t make any assumptions until you’ve given it an honest shot!

Click here if you want to learn how I transformed defeated my skinny genetics in 24 weeks.

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Comments

38 thoughts on “Skinny Guy Workout – Workout For Skinny Guys

  1. Hi Vince,
    Im 5’2”, 129lbs… Can i repeat the whole thing 2x or 3x or exclusively once only…thanks

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  2. dear vince i am vel from tamilnadu skinny guy my height 170cm and weight 53kg i want gain weight plz help me 2 days before i bought 8kg dumbbels how to workout build muscle and safely at home tel me any suggestion please reply my mob num 9566515313

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  3. How long would you recomend someone do this skinny guy workout?

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  4. How long would you recomend someone do your skinny guy workout?

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  5. Hi Vince,

    I would like to ask how to prepare my pre, during and post-workout shake. I have some problems with dectrose. So I wanna some advice how to replace it with fruits and juice.

    What should (fruits or juice) I use for preworkout shake and what for shake I have to sip during the workout?

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    • Use box. mix them together

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  6. Its weird Vince! Here You offering 3day workout programme with 3-5 exercise per day, but in in you no-nonsense book is 4 day workout with 10exercise per day! Or something do not understand?

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  7. hi vince. i want to get started on this workout as soon as possible. someone asked a similar question but the answer didn’t really help.

    if i read it right we increase the weight by 2% for each set. so our heaviest set will be the final 20 reps. is this correct?

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    • yes….no….?

      i’d much appreciate the few seconds required. thank you vince ;).

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  8. Hello Vince,
    I am curious what your opinion regarding “High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way”. If you have thoughts please share them with us.
    Best Regards.

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  9. hey vince,im intresting about your 21 reps workout,its really hit ma ass,i waiting forward to see more of your 21 reps videos,but i wondering could i do this 21 reps every day or combine with other technique or ..?any advice will be appreciated.thanks in advance

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  10. Hi Vince, I workout with Dumbells because I can’t lift the olympic barbells so to speak. However, due to my arm strength, I am limited to the amount I can lift with dumbells. For instances (I can 14kg for 8 reps on a DB bench press)I tried to lift 16kg but I just don’t have the arm strength to lift the Dumbbels of the rack safely! I don’t have a training partner so I don’t want to risk any injuries.

    I do all my exercises with dumbbells including squats and deadlifts. What advice can you give me?

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  11. Hi Vince, I workout with Dumbells because I can’t lift the olympic barbells so to speak. However, due to my arm strength, I am limited to the amount I can lift with dumbells. For instances (I can 14kg for 8 reps on a DB bench press)I tried to lift 16kg but I just don’t have the arm strength to lift the Dumbbels of the rack safely! I don’t have a training partner so I don’t want to risk any injuries.

    I do all my exercises with dumbbells including squats and deadlifts. What advice can you give me?

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  12. Hey vince, is there a best substitute for the pull ups, I can’t do very many at all, and also for the seated row as I work out at home . Thanks

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    • Focus on doing a few sets of 30 second negatives to increase your pull up strength.

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      • hola vince eres mi heroe pero cuando haras una pagina web en español para tus seguidores latinoamericanos

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  13. Hey Vince,
    Im having trouble determining how much protein I should take in per day. I have gained some muscle, but the only fat I gained is in my face, which is not what I want. Im still 130 pounds and need to gain weight so I’m not sure what to do. Sure I take in less protein?

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    • Increase ALL your calories by 25%, not just protein.

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  14. oh btw, i first heard about the concept of M.E.D from Tim Ferriss’s book 4 hour body. he uses the same sun-tan analogy as you :)

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    • Yup, neither of us “invented” the analogy… it’s been around for decades.

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  15. Hi Vince,
    This looks great as another workout option.
    Probably a silly question, but can you advise on a starting weight for these exercises, eg 60% of 1RM? Or have I missed it in the text? (I mean, if I start with too low a weight, then adding 2% won’t tax me, but if start too high, then I might not finish all the reps.)
    Cheers.

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    • Warm up should be dictated by your current setting… i suggest 2 or 3 rehersal sets so about 40%, 60% then 75% then your first work set.

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  16. Thanks Vince, this looks really interesting.

    Do I understand this correctly – the final 1×20 set should be 10% heavier than the original 1×10 set?

    Also do we alternate A1/A2, B1/B2 weekly?

    Many thanks Vince

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    • Do think about loads… think about hitting that number of reps with the tempo dictated.

      A1:A2 is a super set.

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  17. The Principle of Kaizen does stress constant and never ending improvement, however it is a Japanese concept and it finds it origin in business administration.

    Awesome workout scheme!

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    • Yes, I said chinese… my bad.

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  18. I really like that workout. Though personally I’d prefer to do 6-8-10-12 rather than 12-10-8-6, as this way you can go a bit heavier on your sets of 6 and 8. You’d do a couple of warm up sets first though.

    Like the analogy of the suntan too.

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  19. What do you mean by 1x30sec negative and 1xbodyweight? Thanks

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    • 30 second negative for 1 set… Take 30 seconds to lower yourself

      1x bodyweight means 1 set of chin ups with your bodyweight

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  20. I dont fell any soreness,is that bad or good?

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    • Hey Micheal. The sorness can depend on the body part you w2ork out that day. The soreness you experience is usually durring the next 2 to 3 days after the workout. This is called DOMS. You can read up un it if you’d like. Some muscles may not experience DOMS but you should still see your gains as long as your working out properly.

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    • Hard to say… you’re usually sore when you do a load, tempo, volume or intensity you’ve never done before.

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  21. Kind of new to working out, is 1 x 12, 1 set 12 reps? and also on the chin ups it says 1 x 30 sec negative..can someone please explain this to me? and tempo (411 tempo) is this 4 seconds lifting the weight 1 second pause and 1 second ? can some one please explain how tempo works as well? Sorry guys but thanks so much! I really wanna try this workout

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    • Hey Greg.

      Yes, 1 set of 12 reps

      Do a chin up and then take 30 seconds to lower yourself to a dead hang

      4 second negative (lower), 1 second pause, 1 second to lift is 411

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      • do i lower my self gradually 30 secs, i do it like this: 10 secs down to one point, 10 down to the other, 10 down till the end??
        i am already capable of doing 8 pullups and i’ve done this exercise 3 or 4 times :)

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  22. what is tempo do i have to do all the
    A(1,2),B(1,2),C?

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  23. Great article Vince! Goes alot with my teaching of “always keeping a secret weapon up your sleeve” and then you can always keep building and improving.

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