Illustration of a skinny hardgainer building muscle and bulking up.

Muscle-Building for Skinny Guys

by Skinny Guys

We're Bony to Beastly, and for the past ten years, we've specialized in helping skinny guys build muscle, get strong, and gain weight. People say it's a small niche. And they're right, it is. But give us a little more time. If this bulk goes according to plan, we'll soon be the most muscular niche on the internet.

I'm Shane Duquette, and I gained 55 pounds in a little over two years. I was lucky. I had the help of my business partner, Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS, PN, a naturally skinny strength coach who had already gained 63 pounds. We also helped our other business partner, Jared Polowick, gain 50 pounds. Not all of the weight we gained was muscle, but the vast majority of it was, and all of us finished looking leaner than when we started.

Before and after photo of a skinny guy bulking up and becoming muscular
Before and after photos of a skinny guy bulking up and becoming muscular
Before and after photo of a skinny guy bulking up and gaining muscle

And then we founded Bony to Beastly (for skinny men), Bony to Bombshell (for skinny women), and Outlift (for post-skinny lifters), where we've spent the past ten years helping over 10,000 skinny people build muscle, with clients ranging from MDs to RDs to PhDs, from college students to senior citizens, and from office workers to our Canadian Olympic rugby team.

Before and after photo of a skinny guy building muscle
Before and after photo of a skinny guy building muscle
Before and after photo of a skinny guy gaining muscle in one year
Before and after photo of a skinny guy bulking up his shoulders and becoming muscular

The proof is in the protein shake, too. Check out these absolutely gnarly muscle-building transformations from guys doing the Bony to Beastly Program.

Illustration of a skinny traveller/tourist who's ready to build muscle.

If you've been travelling the world wide web searching for how to build muscle as a naturally skinny dude, hoping to find community, muscle, and everlasting abs—welcome! That's what we're all about.

  • If you're a so-called hardgainer, where no matter how much you eat, you find it nigh impossible to gain weight, we hear ya. We've got an article on why it's so hard for us to gain weight.
  • If you've got an "ectomorph" body type, with thinner wrists and narrower shoulders, and you worry that you won't ever be able to become visibly strong, we had that same fear. Fortunately, we actually tend to build muscle pretty well, especially while making our newbie gains.
  • If you're skinny-fat, getting bigger and smaller without ever getting leaner or stronger, we've been there, and we can help you escape the skinny-fat trap.
  • Or if you're just a regular dude who wishes he wasn't quite so thin, we can help you bulk up. That's what we do best, and we do it better than anyone else.

People call us the Costco of muscle. You can find anything you want, but everything is in bulk. We write about things like how to eat more calories, how to lift for maximal muscle growth, and how to make homemade weight gainers. You know, topics that skinny guys are interested in.

Here are some of our other popular articles:

Kick back, relax, and enjoy some moderately heavy reading. We'll teach you everything you need to know about how to gain muscle as a skinny guy. But first, you may wish to sign up for our newsletter.

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If you like our content, you'll love the newsletter, which kicks off with a 5-part bulking mini-course that covers:

  • Hardgainer genetics and how to make the most of them.
  • How to lift weights if your goal is to get bigger, stronger, and better looking.
  • How to take a smart, minimalist approach to bulking while still building muscle as quickly and leanly as possible.
  • How to bulk in the way that's also best for our aesthetics, health, and general strength.

 

Our Recent Bulking Articles

Illustration showing a skinny ectomorph flexing his lanky arms.

What’s An Ectomorph? Is That Even A Real Term?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Oct 17, 2020

Is “ectomorph” a real term? Is it a real thing? Is that an accurate way of describing a naturally skinny person with a small bone structure? These are surprisingly controversial questions, it’s a controversial word, and over the past ten years, we’ve gotten a lot of flack for using it.…

Read More
Illustration of an ectomorph who bulked up and built a Hollywood physique.

The Skinny Guy’s Guide to Building a Hollywood Physique

By Shane Duquette | Oct 16, 2020

In this article, I want to talk about realistic physique goals, both in terms of understanding the timeframe that it takes to build muscle, as well as how good you can expect to look by the end of it. Perhaps it’s our audience, being largely made up of skinny guys…

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Illustration of a mass gainer supplement for skinny guys.

Should Skinny Guys Use Mass Gainers to Gain Weight?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Oct 14, 2020

Mass gainers, also known as weight gainers, are a common supplement that people use to help them gain weight, build muscle, and bulk up. They’re especially popular among so-called “hardgainers“—skinny guys who are having trouble eating enough calories to gain weight. I’m a naturally skinny guy myself, and over the…

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Illustration showing a skinny man.

How to Know if You’re Skinny

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Sep 30, 2020

How can you know if you’re skinny? There are a couple different ways. One definition for skinny is being underweight, so we can calculate your BMI. Another definition for skinny is having small muscles and lanky limbs, so we can look at your body-part measurements to see if you have…

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Illustration showing a beginner deadlifting to failure with a rounded back.

Should Beginners Lift to Muscle Failure?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Sep 21, 2020

As a new lifter trying to gain muscle size, how close to failure should you be lifting? Some argue that beginners should stop shy of failure, leaving a few reps in reserve, a few reps in the tank. There’s some wisdom to that advice. It allows beginners to better practice…

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Illustration showing a skinny ectomorph having trouble with the barbell bench press.

The Beginner Workout Routine for Skinny Guys (aka Ectomorphs)

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Jun 3, 2020

Naturally skinny guys are often called “ectomorphs.” It’s a slang term referring to our thinner bones, narrower frames, shallower ribcages, or lankier limbs. Does that affect how we should exercise, lift weights, and build muscle? Many of us ectomorphs also have atypical goals. Most people want to lose weight, we…

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Illustration showing various bulking and hypertrophy studies.

A Review of Interesting Muscle-Building Research for Skinny Guys

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | May 22, 2020

In this article, let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting research that could help us ectomorphs, hardgainers, and skinny guys bulk up, including studies looking into: How important are bicep curls for building bigger arms? Does muscle memory really exist? How long should we rest between…

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Illustration of a skinny man building muscle.

The Skinny Guy’s Guide to Newbie Gains

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | May 18, 2020

If you’re a skinny guy who’s new to lifting weights, it’s possible to build muscle incredibly quickly. Lifters call this phenomenon “newbie gains,” and it lasts for about a year. During that first year alone, the average man will often claim to gain around 20 pounds of muscle. Skinny guys…

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Illustration of a skinny hardgainer's stomach.

Why Is It So Hard for Hardgainers to Gain Weight?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | May 14, 2020

Struggling to bulk up as a naturally skinny “hardgainer” can be confusing. We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic, surrounded by people who gain weight by accident, and yet no matter what we do, we can’t budge the scale. Why is it so hard for us to bulk up?…

Read More

If none of these articles tickle your fancy, we've got dozens more.

Or if you're ready to start building muscle, check out our bulking program.