Here’s What Not To Do At The Beginning!
This is a story I see a lot of and it pains me to see the lack of results these skinny guys get after months of time in the gym!
Skinny guy wants to get strong. Finds or gets recommended “Starting Strength” or “Strong Lifts” online. Starts program. After a few months, gets pretty strong. Keeps pushing to add weight to the bar (like everyone should) but gets injured. Stalls. Body hasn’t changed much as promised online. May have gotten fat because of the gallons of milk he was meant to drink and the cow he was meant to eat. Then, SOMETIMES… gives up.
Here’s the main reason why. Reps and volume.
Starting with 5 reps (all of the time) while weak and skinny? For months on end?
That’s not an efficient way to begin a weight lifting journey. The skinny guy has been misguided by a circle jerk of misinformed and inexperienced lifters on the internet.
It’s not the skinny guys fault though, the internet is flooded by misinformation. How was he meant to know?
I’ll tell you why starting with only 5 reps can waste the skinny guys time. He needs to build muscle!
This is done with more reps. High reps is an easy way to create a lot of volume leading to even more muscle damage, metabolic stress and mechanical tension = bigger muscles! Pretty easy, yeah?
Now, as much as the Starting Strength fan boys keep telling the skinny guy that he doesn’t need high reps or volume to build muscle on his weak skinny frame… this is misguided.
It is true he can build muscle on low reps, but he’d need a lot more sets to achieve this and the use of heavier weights that his structure is not ready for.
A bigger muscle will always have the potential to be a stronger muscle. After spending sometime (months) practising his lifts with higher reps and volume with moderate weight, while STILL adding weight to the bar on the big compound lifts… our skinny guy would have transformed his body by adding slabs of muscle he didn’t have before on his frame AND strengthening his tendons/ligaments ready for the lower rep training he was told to do in the beginning.
Why spend 3-6 months to get a strong with minimal change in your body structure when you could spend 3-6 months getting strong and changing the way you look immensely?
The skinny guy wants to prepare his body for heavier weight. He wants larger muscles and stronger tendons/ligaments to handle the heavier weight to come. He wants his muscle fibres ready to react and recruit when lifting heavier weights!
Starting Strength can work…. but it works on guys that are already big or playing sports. That’s where it came from. American Football, they were already big, active in a strength based sport and have primed nervous systems to recruit the muscles units needed. There are better programs to follow, but it does work. No doubt about that.
So here are my actionable tips for the skinny guy that wants to do his Starting Strength program. It is easy, it doesn’t need to be confusing.
Instead of 5 reps. Start doing 15 reps, then when he can’t add more weight to the bar with good form, start doing 10 reps, then 8 reps, then 6 reps and start over like he would in the original program, maybe adding some extra sets as well.
AND even better. He could make his own program up and think critically about what needs improvement.
This needed improvement IS an increase in mass. Muscle, the guns, the buns, the back, the legs. ALL OF THE MUSCLES!
FOR REPS. OFTEN…
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