A Bulking Up Workout Plan For Skinny Guys To Gain Lean Muscle Without Ruining A Defined Physique
A bulking phase alternated with a cutting phase is the approach most take to build a lean and muscular body. Most of the time I feel that slowly building lean muscle is smarter & healthier than trying to put on a bunch of muscle all at once. Of course though, there comes a time when you’ll need to build muscle.
If done correctly (smartly) then you can get away with following a bulking workout plan and still maintain a low level of body fat.
Although I talk a lot on this blog about getting lean and defined muscles and not so much about bulking up, I do feel that it is important to have a good muscle base.
Most of the time, guys looking to get in shape have a decent amount of mass and should focus on getting lean and toned as a priority.
However, there are quite a few guys out there who would like to add some size.
I know I like to build muscle a few different times throughout the year and this workout plan is quite effective for adding size.
A Workout to Add Some Bulk
Here’s an example of a routine that you can use to put on a decent amount of muscle mass while still maintaining a solid look. Yes, this is the same routine that I outlined for the Vin Diesel workout — didn’t want to send you to that page and then have you come back to this page.
By taking a common 3-day split and altering the sets & reps we can build overall muscle mass and density — producing a stronger looking muscle than the typical 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps.
Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
- Incline Dumbbell Press – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Incline Barbell Press – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Standing Military Press – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Lateral Dumbbell Raises – 8 sets of 10-20 reps
- Skull Crushers – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Diamond Pushups – 8 sets of 10-20 reps
Day 3 – Back & Biceps
- Pull Ups – 8 sets of 5-8 reps
- Seated Rows – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Upright Rows – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Standing Barbell Curls – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Preacher Curls – 8 sets of 5 reps
Day 5 – Legs & Core
- Front Squats – 8 sets of 5-8 reps
- Straight Leg Deadlifts – 8 sets of 5 reps
- Planks – 3 sets at 2 minutes
- Side Planks – 3 sets each side 45-60 seconds
*Rep one should be done with the heaviest amount of weights as you can do for 6 reps — stop at 5 reps. Rest for 30-60 seconds and then do 5 more reps at 80% of the original (heavy) weight. Rest 30-60 seconds and then do 5 more reps at the same weight you did on your second set. Repeat this until you’ve done 8 total sets of each exercise.
What makes this so effective is the lack of rest combined with the sets and reps.
When NOT To Bulk Up
If you are already very lean or even skinny, that is the perfect time to build muscle.
If you are not lean then your muscles are not going to look as impressive as they could without the layer of fat that is covering them. Having said that, I do not recommend that you go on a bulking phase for too long.
You should not continue bulking for too long because you want to avoid gaining as much fat as possible.
You have probably read that you should expect to gain fat and even try to do so because that will help you put on muscle — completely bogus.
The truth is actually contrary to that theory.
The more fat you have, the harder it is to build muscle. When you are lean, your body is more prone to build muscle than to store fat. Once you gain fat, it is much harder to lose.
I’m a firm believer in looking good the whole time you’re working out. What I think is a big mistake is when people chow down and purposely get “fat” in hopes that more muscle will stick. Usually this happens when you’ve been bulking up for an extended period of time.
Eat Smart While Bulking Up
You’ve probably read that you should eat a TON of food whenever you are trying to gain muscle. This is fairly accurate, but I’m afraid many people will go overboard on this.
In order to make life easier and to allow you to eat smarter (all calories are not created equal, even while bulking up) it’s a good idea to keep the bulking up stage somewhat short. I’ve had great success in eating fairly low calories for a week and then moving straight into a high (quality) calorie phase for two weeks.
During this two week period it’s important to put a lot of energy into your weight lifting.
In addition to focusing on your workout though, you need to be careful to eat smart. You are going to be eating more calories than normal so you want to make sure that they are not empty calories.
If you need to bulk up while not gaining fat then I recommend you avoid the typical bulking and cutting phase. Smart weight gain is all about building lean muscle, not muscle and fat.
Bulking Up The Smart Way
To build a muscular and solid physique you do need to bulk up every now and then. You just do.
But it doesn’t end there.
In order look your best you cannot rely simply on having a lot of muscle.
You need to have dense, hard looking muscles and you need to have a low enough body fat for them to look good.
I’ve found that the Visual Impact Muscle Building program is a great approach to build muscle and cut fat.
I follow it a little differently than everybody else though.
It starts out with a workout for pure size … transitions into a hybrid workout for size and muscle density … then ends with a phase for getting super lean and ripped.
In my opinion, it’s better to start out ripped. So when I follow the workout plan I simply follow it backwards.
I make sure I’m pretty ripped before I start bulking up.
Bulking up can be a good thing or a bad thing … depending on your approach.
Build solid muscle & stay lean while you are bulking up and you’ll be good. If you are lean before you start you are going to look much better throughout the process.