Tip #1 For Skinny Guys: Clarify your goals
Here is what most skinny guys say, “I want to gain a lot of mass!” Can you be any more vague? A better goal is, “I want to gain 14 pounds of muscle by July 1st.” You need specific and measurable goals if you ever want to see them become real.
Tip #2 For Skinny Guys: Train on a stable surface
Trying to build your chest up on a stability ball is a big waste of time. Unstable surfaces are more neurologically challenging but you are not overloading your “core” muscles with sufficient stimulus to trigger growth.
Let’s compare a supine dumbbell chest press on a ball versus a dumbbell chest press on a bench. During a dumbbell chest press on a ball, most skinny guys will barely be able to press 50 pounds a side and the unstable surface will result in triggering the lateral stabilizer motor units you don’t need to keep you from flipping off the ball, so it reduces neural drive from the muscles you do need and are trying to improve (pecs, shoulder flexors and triceps). Whenever the body recognizes an unstable foundation for force production, its force generating output is down-regulated accordingly. In short, overloading the muscle is required to stimulate new muscle growth so why limit the load? There’s no point!
Tip #3 For Skinny Guys: Stop believing, “You got to shock the body.”
Even today, you’ll hear this quote come up in gyms, forums, infomercials and other media with the belief that “you have to tear down the muscle and then build it back up.” But is this true? Absolutely, the catalyst for change is variation from your norm level of fitness. But the idea that one has to annihilate one’s tissues and physiological/neurological processes must be brought to question.
Is getting a sun burn necessary to experience a tan? Does increased bone density require a fracture? Do calluses require lacerations? When seeking adaptation, the goal should be to seek out least amount of unaccustomed activity. In fact, you want the stimulus to be virtually imperceptible as an increased challenge. This would be considered the ideal stimulus for the most immediate adaptation response, especially in the beginning. In weight training, we strive to increase our loads approximately 2% each workout. Anything more and you’ll move more towards microscopic tissue damage and associated signs to injury including delayed onset muscle soreness, edema and lengthy recovery period.
Tip #4 For Skinny Guys: More is less!
90% of people use volume as the primary stressor and get the result they seek 10% of the time. 10% of people use intensity as the primary stressor and get the results they seek 90% of the time.
This training principle extends from tip #3, and stresses that for many instances, you will get a quicker training effect from doing a smaller amount of training. In short, you will see more results when doing less training.
Tip #5 For Skinny Guys: Always ask, “Is there anything I can do before this… to better prepare for this… to lesson the leap?”
Can running have a positive influence on your health? Of course, but the level of participation is key. Why do people spend months recovering from a marathon? Was 26.2 miles the perfect distance for each of those 20,000 people to run on that given day at that time of the day? There are many variables that must be progressed based on what you are currently accustomed to. Here are some areas of progression that must be considered:
- From none to some
- From sloppy to controlled
- From small range of motion to large range of motion
- From stable surface to unstable surface
- From light to heavy
- From slow to fast
- From minimal volume to more volume
- From minimal effort to maximal effort