As a naturally skinny guy I have had to become a bit of a “muscle building mad scientist” to achieve my current physique. I’m making a big push to get to 210 lbs. with 8 percent body fat – and that means I’ve had to reassess everything I have done over the last few years.
I’ve made a lot of progress gaining close to 60 lbs. – but I’ve felt a bit stuck recently. What am I doing wrong? What do I need to change to get stronger and build muscle?
It’s one thing to make gains when you are a beginner, but another animal when you have been working out for several years (in my case close to 10).
I researched and experimented like crazy and I’m excited to share with you guys my 3 biggest muscle building revelations that I know will help you push past any current plateau you might be facing.
Are you ready to take your gains to the next level? Let’s begin!
Less Is More
I have been obsessed with getting bigger arms for the last year and after analyzing the strengths and weaknesses in my physique I reassessed my training philosophy.
My shoulders, traps, and chest seem to be growing at a much faster rate than my biceps. How is this possible – as I’m training my biceps 4-5 times per week?
I really had to go back to the bodybuilding principles with this one. How does a muscle grow and get stronger? You have to train with peak intensity and create healthy micro-tears, and then allow it ample time to rebuild and repair. If you are training a muscle almost every day your body is going to get used to this routine.
Your body is also not getting enough rest to make rapid lean muscle gains.
I was also not able to make my biceps sore after a workout – and this bothered me. I thought that if I work out my biceps once per week, but I absolutely MURDERED THEM – I could make them sore again and spark some new growth. Mission accomplished!
I’m now doing once per week biceps workouts and doing about 35-40 sets per workout. I’m also cycling in a new radical training technique into each workout such as drop sets, rest: pause, pre exhaust (check out the next section) and slow motion training.
If you want a muscle group to grow fast work it out once per week – but when you are training that muscle group give it 110 percent and throw some radical training techniques at it each week.
Pre Exhaust Training
Are you ready for a training principle that the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger implemented to get gigantic arms and tree trunk arms? Look no further than pre exhaust training!
I tried out this training principle about 2 months ago and instantly fell in love. In fact – the workout after doing this pre-exhaust training workout with my legs I increased my squat max by about 10 lbs.
Now that we have our training dialed in to once per week, we need to focus on what type of advanced training techniques we are going to utilize.
This one works amazing, especially with trying to increase your bench press or squat max.
How to perform pre-exhaust training is really simple. You are going to start off your chest day or leg day with a “shaper exercise” instead of your compound lift. The goal Is that when you hit the squat rack or the bench press you have already fatigued your muscles and will create a new type of overload that will spark strength and size gains.
On leg day try doing 4 sets of leg extension and a few sets of dumbbell walking lunges before hitting the squat rack. This will no doubt increase your squat max after just a few sets.
For chest day, hit the low cable flys and the pectoral fly machines before you hit the bench press. I was stuck for the longest time around the 275. lb. mark on bench press, and I was able to work my way up to over 300 lbs. using this technique.
Intra Workout Shake
For the last year I have been relying on stimulant based pre workouts to get through intense workouts. The problem with pre workouts for naturally skinny guys is that they contain a lot of stimulants and caffeine that actually raise your body’s cortisol levels (your ugly “anti-muscle” hormone.)
Cortisol is a nasty hormone that will make it nearly impossible for any naturally skinny guy to build muscle – and taking a pre workout and spiking your adrenaline every day with caffeine and stimulants is a sure fire way to spike your cortisol levels.
Instead of relying on stimulants and drinking them throughout my workout I switched to 100 percent anabolic fuel.
My new intra workout shake gives me energy during my workout and most importantly doesn’t increase my cortisol production.
I simply mix a whey protein blend (a mix of slow, medium, and fast digesting proteins), maltodextrin (a carbohydrate powder) and some creatine.
This is the perfect recipe for lean gains and maximum energy during your workout.
I mix about 40 grams of protein, 30 grams of maltodextrin, and 5 grams of creatine and I will drink this throughout my workout.
This is 100 percent strength and mass building fuel – and making the switch from a stimulant based pre workout to drinking quality carbs and protein during my workout has helped me increase my strength and make lean gains all summer long.
That’s it for now guys! Try out these 3 simple skinny guy training hacks and I promise you this will be a “Suns Out, Guns Out” type of summer for you.