One of my followers asked about how to build muscle fast at home using nothing but a barbell, adjustable dumbbells, plates, and a bench.
He told me that he’s been skinny his whole life and wants to change that for the better. I’m sure all of you guys watching this are in the same boat.
I totally understand his sentiment; there’s nothing worse than doing set after set and not making any progress.
So, let’s go over what I recommend for building more muscle fast!
Table Of Contents
Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate
Obviously, you want to build muscle; the easiest and fastest way to do that is to train as much as you can but still recover.
So for skinny guys, I recommend 3-4 training days using a push pull legs split. I find it’s the best split you can use to maximize muscle mass and recovery.
Another important point I need to make is that because you’re naturally skinny, you need to focus on two key areas.
The first is diet, and the second is your training, of course.
Best Macros For Hardgainers
As for diet, I recommend you take your current body weight and multiply it by 16. This is a good starting point to figure out how many calories you need to build muscle.
If you’re 100 lbs, this would be 1600 calories, 200 lbs 3200 calories, etc.
Let’s say you’re 170 lbs!
After that, you need to determine what your macros will be.
Set your protein at bodyweight, which would be 170, of course.
Fats can be as low as 0.25 grams per pound of bodyweight.
170×0.25=40ish grams of fat
Finally, carbs can be the remainder of your total calories.
This is simple to figure out. There are 4 calories per gram for protein and carbs, while fat is 9 calories per gram.
All you have to do is add up the calories from your protein and fat intake and subtract it from your total calories.
Then you divide the remainder by 4 to get your carb intake.
Here’s how to do just that!
- 170 grams of proteinx4=680 calories
- 40 grams of fatx9=360 calories
- 680+360=1040 calories from protein and fat
- 2,720 Total Calories-1040 Calories=1,680 calories of carbs
- 1,680/4=420 grams of carbs
Here’s what your overall calorie and macronutrients will look like.
- Calories 2720
- Protein 170 grams
- Fat 40 grams
- Carbs 420 grams
From here, you’ll weigh in every week and see if you’re losing, maintaining, or gaining weight.
If you aren’t gaining the weight you want, increase your calories by 10% and keep going.
Whenever you increase your calories, keep your protein the same and increase your carbs or fats to drive your surplus.
If you’re curious whether you need protein powder to build muscle mass, this article covers just that!
Hopefully, this makes sense but feel free to ask more follow-up questions!
As for training!
Workout Plan For Hardgainers
Since you’re naturally skinny, using a high-volume approach just isn’t a good idea.
The main reason for this is simple, high volume training burns a ton of calories already. If you’re skinny, this is counterproductive as you’ll need to eat way more calories than normal to fuel that kind of training.
You want to keep the volume low and push close to failure. That way, you can stimulate your muscle and train efficiently without doing a bunch of junk volume that doesn’t aid in muscle growth.
- The best way that I recommend you do this is pretty simple, for each exercise you do, start with a weight you can do for 8 reps or so.
- Then, the next week, you want to beat the reps you did the previous week.
- If you did 10 reps on the bench press, your goal is to beat 10 reps.
Once you get to 12 reps on an exercise, increase the weight by 5 lbs for compound exercises and 2.5 lbs for isolation exercises.
Basically, you’re working in the 8-12 rep range and adding weight once you hit 12 reps.
Literally, just continue doing this until you can’t beat your reps on a movement for 3 workouts.
Once that happens, swap it out for something else and push for rep PRs on that new exercise like normal.
Following this progression makes training a lot more fun as you’re always trying to beat your reps and kick some ass. I absolutely prefer this instead of doing a million sets that beat your body up and leave you fatigued.
As for the training split, here’s what I recommend for your setup.
Since you only have access to a bench, barbell, and dumbbells, you’ll be limited on what movements you can do. But luckily, we can make it work!
- Push Day
- A. Dumbbell Bench Press
- B. Dumbbell Lateral Raises
- C. Rear Delt Swings
- D. PJR Pullovers
- Pull Day
- A. Barbell Row
- B. Dumbbell Lat Row
- C. Dumbbell Shrugs
- D. Barbell Curls
- Leg Day
- A. Romanian Deadlift
- B. Split Squats
- C. Calf Raises
Common Questions I Get About Hardgainer Training
I got a few follow-up questions after this from my follower that I answered as well.
“And with the 8 reps, it’s just one set? Is it not 2 or 3 sets?
I gotta try and work out how much I can lift for 8 reps. I guess that’s just trial and error.
And judging by the push-pull program you’ve given me, you recommend a dumbbell bench press over a barbell bench press, or it’s not too important which one?”
These are common questions that I get a lot, but after this, hopefully, it makes sense to all of you.
Yeah, it’s just one all-out set. You really only need 1-2 hard sets per muscle group to stimulate a muscle for hypertrophy. Push to failure with proper execution, and you won’t want to do another set!
As for finding the correct weights, you should just add weight until you find a weight that’s pretty easy for 8 reps for the first two weeks.
No need to go straight to failure. Just get used to the program and find weights that are challenging without going overboard.
For muscle mass, it’s important to find exercises that stress your musculature in the way that they’re designed.
The barbell bench doesn’t allow you to train the chest in the way it’s meant to function very well.
But with dumbbells, you can get a huge stretch at the bottom, and your hands can come in at the top.
That’s why it’s recommended for building muscle over a barbell. It trains the pecs through adduction, which is their primary function.
You can load more with a barbell, but if you want to train as efficiently as possible for muscle mass, dumbbells, cables, and machines are actually king.
Hopefully, this helped some of you figure out what you need to do to build the most muscle possible as a skinny bastard.
Building muscle is incredibly simple, but most people just don’t want to train hard enough consistently enough to make it happen.
Also, I can’t stress this enough, if you don’t eat to grow, it’s just not going to happen.
You can’t build a house without the proper materials, and the same goes for muscle. You have to fuel it somehow.
Eat in a surplus, train hard, recover, repeat.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section below!
Until next time,