You wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. Pleased with your appearance? If you more resemble the appearance of a long distance marathon runner than a world class sprinter, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. You just need to start following these weight lifting rules.
There are quite a few guys who simply have trouble packing on the lean muscle mass. Whether their hormonal environment isn’t quite as favourable or genetics was just out to get them at birth, one thing is for sure and that’s that they need to follow a slightly different set of weight lifting methods than those who seem to grow muscle overnight.
Luckily for you, you’re taking the time to do your research about weight lifting so you won’t be destined to a life where it seems like a strong wind might knock you over.
First, one of the key factors that skinny guys need to remember is that they must avoid volume work at all costs.
Get in the gym and get out! That should be your motto from this day forward. Repeat it. Breathe it. Live it. Weight lifting is a calorie expensive activity and you need all the calories you can get at this point. If you are burning it up in the gym every single day, how do you expect to grow? You won’t.
You grow when you are resting and generally, the skinnier you are, the more rest you are going to need.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should park it on the couch for a few days in between your workouts. It simply means that each weight lifting should not consist of set after set after set. Followed by a rest break to talk to that hot receptionist and then back to another twenty sets.
No, you’re workouts need to consist of ten-twelve or fewer sets where you are pushing yourself to the MAX. There is no room for sissy, light-weight work in your weight lifting program.
Which brings us to Rule #2:
Ditch the isolated exercises. Who needs them? You certainly don’t.
If your workouts normally include bicep curls, followed by tricep kickbacks, followed by leg extensions, followed by chest flys, followed by… you get the picture, you’ve got to change this pronto. Remember, you’ve only got so much time you are allowed to be in the gym for. Don’t you want to get the biggest bang for your buck? Likely you do, so that means focusing on compound lifts only. This includes weight lifting exercises such as squats, bench presses, deadlifts, rows and military presses.
Become friends with those exercises and you will have new muscles in the picture soon enough. Toss the five day split program, get yourself on a good upper/lower or full body workout program and you have found the key to unleashing new muscle mass.
Now onto the next significant point. Cardio.
Rule # 3.
I know, I know, you want to be big, but you don’t want to be fat. Let’s not worry about that at this point, because you and I both know you are a long ways from fat.
Gaining fat weight is going to be more a concept of diet than anything else so as long as you are being smart in the kitchen, you don’t need to perform hours of cardio to remain lean. Cardio is just going to further burn off precious calories that could have gone towards building you new muscle mass. For you, calories are a hot commodity and should not be spent on the treadmill.
If you want to keep up some cardio for general health sake, fine, but limit this to two or three twenty minute sessions per week – TOPS. And make it low to moderate intensity as well. The only place you are to be intense is in the weight room.
This leads to rule #4.
REST! You’ve put in your effort at the gym, fed your body with some good food and now what? Plans to go out partying all night with your buddies? You might want to rethink that. While you definitely want to maintain your social life while trying to gain weight – and you should – it should not come at the sacrifice of sleep.
Sleep is primetime when it comes to your body repairing itself and growing stronger so short-circuit sleep and you are short-circuiting your results. Just don’t do it. Period. It’s that simple.
Get ready for rule #5.
Technique. Ever seen that guy in the gym who is hoisting so much weight on his barbell for barbell curls that it looks like he’s got more momentum going on than the Gravitron at the fair? He’s pretty much working every muscle in his body except his biceps. Not so beneficial. Not only that, but give him two weeks and a hundred bucks says he’s out with back pain.
You must maintain proper form throughout your weight lifting, not only to prevent injuries but also to see the muscular gains you are looking for. If you cheat form, you are only cheating yourself. If you don’t know what proper form is yet, book a session with a trainer or find yourself a spotter who can help you.
And now, bonus rule #6
Find a mentor. You want someone who’s been there, done that. They used to be a skinny runt just like you and they’ve managed to overcome the curse and now tip the scales and dominate the weight room. This guy will do wonders for your motivational levels. Don’t feel like lifting? Have a good look at his body. You’ll want to pick that weight up after that. Furthermore, he can let you in on some of his tried-and-true secrets that just might be key for you as well.
So to sum up your new approach to your weight lifting sessions – get in, train hard and with proper technique, get out, eat and rest. Repeat this process over a few months without getting distracted or becoming too much of a party animal and you will make this the year you change your dreaded skinny image.
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.
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