(Updated August 2014) I wasn’t like some guys. Puberty didn’t automatically plumpen my pecs, and my weight never accidentally inched upwards. When I exercised more, even when trying to build muscle, I’d need to watch out that my weight didn’t drop even lower. When I did gain weight it was ephemeral. After every failed attempt I was sure that my skinny genes would keep me in skinny jeans for the rest of my life … but it wasn’t my genetics that were my problem, it was the fact that I wasn’t training properly for my body type or goals.
Following a mainstream approach to nutrition and fitness certainly won’t get us the bodies we’re looking for, since most of them are designed to make us eat less and move more – they’re designed to help us lose weight. That makes sense for most people, but obviously not for us.
There’s relevant information out there for us though, especially when it comes to weightlifting. Building up bigger muscles is a relatively common hobby for men. That’s where the common advice for skinny guys comes in: “Just lift heavy, man.” Yep. Lifting heavier would have helped … but it’s not quite that simple, and we can do a whole hell of a lot better.
So let’s look into a few types of training that people commonly ask us about: bodyweight training (e.g. P90x), high intensity power training (e.g. Crossfit), strength training (e.g. powerlifting and 5x5s) and hypertrophy training (e.g. bodybuilding).
Then we’ll talk about what the evidence suggests is the best way to optimize muscle growth with your training.