I have to admit, I have a tendency to over look the skinny guys who are trying to get bigger. I am sure to address the over weight people looking to shed fat, the performance minded crowd such as athletes and industrial athletes, and the health conscious individual who needs help with balancing their lifestyle.
And yet, I have been ignoring my bony friends. The guys who can see every single rib, wrist bones and half of their vertebrae. The guys who have to fold over the waist of their jeans and tighten a belt around it using a hole they punched themselves just to keep their pants up. It surprises me that I would make this over sight because I am cut from the same cloth. I was a skinny kid, and stayed that way until I was about 22 years old.
This is me at about 245lbs and 6'3" tall. I wish I could find a 'before' shot, but just to paint a picture, I was about 175-180lbs at the same height.
I tried a lot of different training methods, and to be honest, I was spinning my wheels most of the time. Like most young lifters I was influenced by the wrong sources (like muscle rags) and was using training methods that were cooked up to sell magazines.
Eventually though, I stumbled on some gems. Here are some of my best discoveries.
PERFORMANCE- I was getting caught up in all the latest and sexiest training methods, like same muscle super sets, drop sets, and crazy exercises. It wasn't until I dropped the circus act and just started trying to get better at the exercises I was focused on that I started to build some appreciable muscle. Strive for adding weight on the bar, performing more reps with a given weight, or performing more work per unit of time. Get stronger and better at lifting weights.
SIMPLICITY- I used to feel that a huge variety of exercises was necessary to build the physique I was after. I thought I needed to do biceps curls at different angles using different grips to stimulate all the fibers for maximum growth. (Just typing that made me cringe). Really though, even simple logic will tell you that if certain exercises are quite obviously better than others, why not just do more of the good stuff, and leave the inferior exercises behind? Aside from some corrective exercises and some added focus on weak points (please understand that as a young lifter you more than likely do not have weak points; its ALL a weak point) your focus should be on the big compound exercises. I am talking about the following; squats, deadlifts, pressing, rowing, pull-ups...and variations of each. Simple right? Bust ass at these and you will be miles ahead of your buddy doing reverse curls on the preacher bench.
FREQUENCY- I got caught up in the body part split craze. I would train one muscle group per day, and each muscle group would be trained once per week. Maybe this works for some people, but it didn't work for me. As soon as I switched from a body part split to a push/pull I began to grow like a weed. The push days included squatting and pressing, and the pull days included deadlift variations, rowing and chins. I went from 175lbs to 205lbs in a summer. My body wanted to grow, but it needed the right stimulation and frequency. I recommend training a muscle 2-3x per week.
AVOID FAILURE- Teach your body success instead. I felt that if I didn't take every single set to absolute failure I was wasting my time and would get nowhere. In fact, the opposite was true. I was killing my own progress by doing this. Training to absolute failure will wreak havoc on your nervous system, making it very difficult to recover, and it will teach your body a pattern you DO NOT want; failure. Teach your body success only, and keep a rep or two in the tank on every set. Your performance will sky rocket, as will your muscle mass.
That's it. Apply these four pieces of information and you will finally begin to slap some meat on your bones. Pretty soon you will be using factory manufactured belt holes, and you might even fill out the sleeves in your t-shirts!