It happens every year. The New Year comes and every scrawny twerp on the planet swears this is going to be the year that he slaps on an extra 20 pounds of muscle. But if you didn’t pack it on successfully last year, what makes you think this year is going to be any different? Seriously?
Did you spend hours in the gym with no results? Did you spend the last year blindly following the muscle magazines only to look the same as you do now? Did you spend the year filling your body with mysterious supplements that only make you sick? Did you watch your friends train less than you but get twice as big? Sound familiar doesn’t it? I thought so.
So the question is, how are we going to get a different result? The answer is simple. By doing something differently. Would you agree the best way to get the same thing is to do the same thing? And would you agree that the best way to get a different result is to do something different?
Defeating Skinny Guy Genetics…
Give me a amen if you have decided that this year is going to be different. Give me a amen-hallelujah if you are prepared to be a different person and prepared to do something different this year. Commit to having your best year, and I’ll take care of you, providing you with the best skinny guy transformation program.
My Own Skinny Guy Experience
Trust me, I know. I was a skinny beanpole all through high school and university and gained the nickname Skinny Vinny. I gawked at my room mates how displayed copious amounts of rock-hard brawn on there frame. I was inspired by the spectacular ‘before and after’ pictures in bodybuilding magazines. I read every piece of bodybuilding literature I could, got misguided by a slew of personal trainers, experimented with every legal supplement I could purchase, but despite my efforts, my 12 week pictures looked nothing like the supplement advertisements. The cruel scale needle stayed the same like it was cast in stone. Perhaps I was doomed to be skinny for life…
Skinny Guys Must Play By A Different Set Of Rules
As a weight training enthusiast, figuring out the most effective workout routine can become an endless source of confusion and frustration. Every single fitness expert and magazine has a different training theory or training angle which becomes more confusing than a trip for Jessica Simpson at Home Depot!
Most skinny guys end up using routines designed and touted by those freaky monsters seen in the hardcore rags who have more than a little chemistry lab going on inside of them. Programs that include hitting the gym more than five times a week, focusing on 1-2 exercises per workout, 12-24 sets per exercise and overemphasizing isolation-type exercises. None of these components of a program helps improve the underlying foundation of a hardgainers success. Training to get bigger and more muscular, that is – your best body ever, must revolve around getting stronger and I mean really, really stronger. Increasing your strength remains the rock-solid foundation for defeating your skinny genetics and getting a head-turning physique.
Since the vast array of exercise machines came on the market, along with infomercials, instant result programs, and fancy dressed supplement ads, people are no longer willing to spend the time in the gym to build the solid strength foundation that is critical for long-term progress. Since you’ve read this far, you won’t be making that mistake this year!
Six Reasons Skinny Guys Must Focus On The Forgotten Factor: Strength
- Strength training is incredibly taxing on the body’s central nervous system. Increasing your central nervous system’s work capacity through heavy and/or explosive movements; you directly increase the ability of your muscular system to produce increased levels of strength.
- Strength training releases more growth hormone and testosterone. Using greater resistance loads than normal will release a greater abundance of these muscle building hormones necessary to maximize your genetic potential which will result in new muscle growth all over – especially on those lagging body parts!
- Strength training creates a platform to achieve more sets and reps. When you build a stronger foundation, your ability to handle heavier loads in the higher rep ranges will dramatically increase, resulting in some impressive muscular hypertrophy.
- Strength training benefits the smaller muscle groups as well. The pure strength movements do not just benefit the larger muscle groups such as the chest, back and legs but the smaller ones as well. An example: A skinny guy increases the amount of weight he can do on the bent over row from 135 to 225. The heavier poundages will result in significantly strengthening the assisting movers of the upper arm – brachialis and the brachioradialis – allowing him to curl much more weight on his curling exercises.
- Strength training involves the maximal amount of muscle fibers. To defeat your skinny genetics you must use the maximal number of muscle fibers in each set. Do you think lifting weights at 60-80% of your threshold is going to stimulate the maximal amount of muscle fiber? Think of your muscles as lazy. They would prefer to sleep this entire next year. They would prefer to stay small. They have zero interest in growing larger. That is something you want to do. The only reason they will wake up (get bigger) is if they are attacked. If they are exposed to an assault (heavy weight) they have not experienced before. Out of survival, your muscles will grow bigger to prevent the same assault from occurring again.
- Strength training does not eat up your precious calories. Unlike the 1-2 hour marathon training sessions that involve 12-24 exercises per body part or workout, strength training is much less demanding calorically. It does not burn up the calories your muscles need to grow because of the longer rests and shorter sets.
- Strength training leads to progressive overload. If you are thinking, “But I don’t care how much I can lift. All I care about is not being skinny anymore and building a good physique. I’m not a power lifter or bodybuilder.” I would reply that strength training is a fundamental principle of muscle growth because it leads to progressive overload. The only way to make a muscle grow is to subject it to unaccustomed stress. Progressive overload basically implies that when a muscle is subjected to an usual amount of unaccustomed stress and effort, the muscle must respond by getting larger to manage and cope with the new stress.
Still Not Convinced That Strength Training Is The Answer To Your Best Body This Year?
How many people do you see with skinny arms that can curl 135 pounds? How many people do you see with no chest who bench press 275 pounds? How many people do you see with massive upper girdles that can dead lift 315 pounds? How many people do you see with chop-stick legs who can squat 400 pounds?I would say – not many. There are many more reasons why strength training will help you defeat your muscle unfriendly genes and get the body you deserve this year but I think you get the point. If ever in doubt, just take a look at the biggest guys in your gym. I bet they are lifting 3-4 more times the weight as you!
Weight Training Program Notes:
- You will notice Monday is a Quad Dominant day with Horizontal Pushing (Chest) and Horizontal Pulling (Rows). You will notice that Traps and Calves are opposite movements so have been paired up respectively.
- You will notice Friday is a Hip Dominant day with Vertical Pushing (Shoulders) and Vertical Pulling (Lats). You will notice Traps and Calves are opposite movements so have been paired up respectively.
- You will notice slight variation on some of the exercise selection. The exercise selection is not as critical as the load and set protocol. Feel free to tweak the exercises based on your personal preference. For example, if a Trap Bar Deadlift feels better for you than a normal Deadlift – go for it. If you know you will get better results with dumbell’s instead of barbells – don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and be involved in the training process.
- For some, the 6 x 6 phase and 7 x7 phase will be too much volume on muscle groups like biceps and triceps. Feel free to modify these to only 3-5 sets. The goal is to keep the weight the same the entire workout. If your weights start to drop than simply record the number of sets you were able to do and try to beat it next week.
- I am guessing 4 x 4 will be your first exposure to heavy lifting. Remember, next phase, you will be focusing on adding one extra rep to the same weight with one extra set hence the 1 + 1 Program. This program is based on increasing the amount of work you are capable of performing over a 12 week period.e.g. Let’s say you can do 185 lbs for 4 x 4 in phase one. Next phase, you will be aiming to do 185 pounds for 5 x 5. You might even be able to slip a few extra pounds on the bar, depending on the rate that you super compensate which will be bonus.
- For time efficiency, opposing muscle groups like Shoulders and Lats, Chest and Rows and Shrugs and Calves can be super set together. I would not recommend super setting your legs. This is your personal choice though.
- The 2 x 20 and 2 x 30 are unique additions I have added from my own personal experience. I have found, generally, that skinny guys responds better to higher rep ranges for the calves and traps.
- You will notice that Monday and Friday can be classified as your Heavy days and Wednesday is an opportunity to increase your body weight strength and prevent your metabolic system from de-training. These higher rep exercises will counteract and help balance out the dominance of central nervous system training occurring.
- The weighted abdominal work should come from Hanging Leg Raises, Weighted Ball Sit Ups, or Cable Crunches.
- You will notice this is a three day program which will be alternated every three weeks with a four day program. I might suggest taking a ? week off at the six week mark if any symptoms of overtraining are suspected. Take at least one week off from the gym at the completion of this 12 week program.
Cardiovascular and Flexibility Training Tips
During phases 1 and 3 while you are doing only three day of weight training per week I would recommend the following:
- At least two or three 20-30 minute cardio sessions placed either on your non-workout days on immediately after you weight training workouts.
- Use the form of cardio that, in your experience, holds the most muscle on your body. For some, this will mean doing shorter interval cardio sessions. For some, this will mean going for a easy run or swim.
- Incorporate the cardio work to enhance your muscle gain goals – not detract. For example, you might benefit from a easy swim workout after a heavy upper body day. You might benefit from a easy bike ride to loosen up from a heavy lower body workout. Use common sense when choosing your cardio activities. For example, don’t try out for the soccer team at the same time you are trying to transform your body!
- Incorporate your cardio based on your nutrition intake. Remember, your muscles grow on calories so the more cardio you incorporate, the more overall calories you will need to counteract the lost.
- Try to stretch at least ? the amount that you lift. Heavy lifting requires long and lengthened muscles to allow full range of motion. Shortened muscles perform weaker and slower and have a higher incidence of injury. If you are weight lifting 4 hours in the week, you should be stretching at least two. This means at least ? hour of stretching before or after you weight training workout. This is my personal recommendation, any less, and your body will screaming for a injury.
Take The Challenge
Give the 1 + 1 Skinny Guy Strength Program a honest effort for the next 12 weeks and commit to making this year the year that you defeat your skinny genetics and build a body you can be proud of without spending any more time in the gym than you have to. Believe that you can do it. It can be done and it will!
By Vince DelMonte
Vince Delmonte is a competitive fitness model and personal trainer, as well as the author of No-Nonsense Muscle Building, a complete guide to building muscle for the hardgainer. Vince’s program includes extensive diet plans, complete weight training regimens, video tutorials, and full email personal training support.