Muscle-Building for Skinny Guys

by Skinny Guys

Animation showing a skinny guy building muscle.

If you're a skinny dude who wants to build muscle, bulk up, and gain weight, I think you'd love our newsletter. It kicks off with a 5-part series that covers:

  • How to lift for muscle growth
  • How to eat for lean weight gain
  • How to thrive with skinny genetics
  • How to get stronger, healthier, and better looking

After that, we'll send you 1–2 newsletters per month to keep you updated on the latest muscle-building research, methods, and workouts—all of it 100% focused on building muscle as a naturally thin guy.

Illustration of a skinny ectomorph building muscle

We Help Hardgainers, Skinny & Skinny-Fat Guys Bulk Up

For the past ten years, we've specialized in helping so-called hardgainers, ectomorphs, skinny-fat, and regular 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 biggest, 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 photos showing Shane Duquette's ectomorph muscle-building transformation
Before and after photos showing Marco Walker-Ng building muscle as a skinny ectomorph.
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 photos showing a skinny fat transformation.
Before and after photos showing the results from doing the Bony to Beastly Program
Before and after photo of a skinny guy leanly building muscle and bulking up 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.

How to Build Muscle, The Skinny Way

Illustration of a skinny fat ectomorph surfing

If you've been surfing 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 eat a good bulking diet, how to lift for maximal muscle growth, and how to make homemade weight gainers. You know, topics that skinny guys are interested in.

On being a skinny dude:

On training for muscle size, strength, and aesthetics:

On eating for lean muscle growth:

On training at home:

On fitness and health:

Kick back, relax, and enjoy some moderately heavy reading. We'll teach you everything you need to know to go from lean to mean, from stick to thick, from Bony to Beastly.

Our Recent Bulking Articles

Illustration of a sugar cube

How Much Sugar is Okay While Bulking?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Sep 22, 2019

Sugar is often criticized for causing weight gain. It’s technically a calorie surplus that causes the weight gain. But sugar can certainly make it easier to get into a calorie surplus, and so increasing our sugar intake can indeed lead to weight gain. What if we’re trying to gain weight?…

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Skinny Guy Jogging Illustration

Should Ectomorphs Do Cardio While Bulking?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Sep 16, 2019

Cardio causes a different type of adaptation from hypertrophy training. Instead of stimulating muscle growth, cardio causes us to develop more blood vessels, gain additional mitochondria in our cells, and it even increases the size of our hearts. Make no mistake, these are all great adaptations. But they aren’t muscle…

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Illustration of vegan bodybuilder bulking up

How to Build Muscle on a Vegan, Plant-Based Diet

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Aug 27, 2019

Bulking on a plant-based diet can work very well, with vegans building just as much muscle as anyone else. In fact, vegans already tend to be one step ahead of the general population when it comes to their health, especially if they eat a proper plant-based diet, and especially if…

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Are Bodybuilding Exercises Good for Gaining Muscle Size? (Push-Up Illustration)

Are Bodyweight Exercises Good for Building Muscle?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Aug 23, 2019

Bodyweight exercises can certainly stimulate muscle growth. There’s a lot that can stimulate muscle growth, though, ranging in intensity from resistance bands all the way to heavy barbell strength training. In fact, there’s even research showing that simply flexing your muscles can stimulate a bit of muscle growth (study). But the…

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Illustration of a skinny guy building muscle on keto.

Are Keto Diets Good for Building Muscle?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Aug 13, 2019

Keto has been used as a weight-loss diet for over 200 years now. For example, in the 1970s, it saw a surge in popularity because of the Atkins Diet, which started with a strict ketogenic phase. But the fact that keto has a long history of helping people lose weight doesn’t…

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Illustration of a powerlifter doing strength training.

Is Strength Training Good for Building Muscle?

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Aug 1, 2019

Is strength training good for building muscle? Some of the most popular programs that skinny guys use to bulk up, such as StrongLifts 5×5 and Starting Strength, are designed for gaining strength. But what if we’re trying to become bigger and stronger? Are strength training programs good for building muscle?…

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The Growth Mindset

By Walter Freiberg | Jun 18, 2019

One of the biggest obstacles to transform our bodies might not be in our genes. It’s not about being skinny. It’s not about being ectomorphs. Many times, what holds us back are our beliefs. We want to change our bodies, but… how can we get started on a new journey…

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Muscle Size and Strength Standards for Ectomorphs

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | May 4, 2019

How much muscle and strength can an ectomorph gain? There’s plenty of research looking into rates of muscle and strength gain. But what if you’re a naturally skinny guy? Are there different strength standards for ectomorphs? Ectomorphs do start off with less muscle mass, but what effect does that have on…

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Should you lift while sore? Is it bad not to feel sore after a workout? Is soreness in your lower back normal?

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) & Muscle Growth

By Shane Duquette and Marco Walker-Ng, BHSc, PTS | Apr 9, 2019

When I first started lifting weights, I was absolutely crippled by muscle soreness. People cringed when they saw me try to sit in a chair. I loved it. I was sick and tired of being skinny, and I thought the muscle soreness was a sign that my muscles were growing.…

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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.