Home Workouts For Skinny Guys: 8 Tips + Sample Programs

home workouts for skinny guys

Muscle building is a tough task, especially when you have limited means in your home gym and are a hardgainer. When training at home, skinny guys need to focus on mastering a few key exercises, training them often, and eating enough to support muscle growth.

To build more muscle with home workouts, you should focus on mastering fundamental bodyweight exercises to build strength (push-ups, lunges, squats) and then progress to be able to perform high volume training (more sets, reps, and workouts per week). Dumbbell and resistance bands can also be great way to overload movements

If you are a skinny guy looking for tips on how to build more muscle at home, then I’ll explain exactly how to do that step-by-step..

I’ll cover:

  • Can Skinny Guys Build Muscle At Home
  • How Long Will It Take to Build Muscle at Home
  • 8 Tips to Help You Build More Muscle with At-Home Workouts
  • 2 Sample At-Home Workout Programs

Looking to build muscle at home? With the Fitbod app, you can build your workouts and customize them to your home gym set up, schedule, and goals. Try the Fitbod app today and start building your own workouts (like the ones below).

Can Skinny Guys Build Muscle With At-Home Workouts?

Yes, at home workouts can be a great way to help skinny guys kickstart muscle growth, especially if they are beginners. 

Building muscle at home can be done by doing bodyweight exercises and building basic strength. 

From there, you can increase the amount of training volume (how many sets, reps, and workouts per week) to further drive muscle growth.

How Long Will It Take To Build Muscle Working Out At Home?

how long will it take to build muscle working out at home

The process of building muscle is no different when it comes to where you train, however it may be more challenging for some lifters (especially stronger ones) to be able to get as much muscle growth when training with only bodyweight or light weight movements (light dumbbells or resistance bands). 

This is mainly due to less loading options relative to their absolute strength levels.

Generally speaking, you can expect to gain muscle at a rate of .5-1lb per week, with the monthly average of 2-4lbs. Beginners will often gain muscle quicker than more advanced lifters, as the rate of muscle growth often slows as a lifter becomes more advanced.

It is important to note that the rates of muscle growth are also depending on how hard you train, how challenging the loading is relative to your overall strength limits, and the frequency at which you train throughout the week. 

Below we will discuss tips to help you maximize your muscle growth at home.


Need a workout program? Get 3 free workouts on Fitbod right now.


8 Tips To Help You Build Muscle With At-Home Workouts

Below are eight tips to help you build more muscle with at-home workouts. 

Note, the below tips assume that you have limited equipment and loading options.

Workout 4-6 Days a Week

When looking to build more muscle, one of your best options may be to train more frequently. This goes for most lifters, whether they lift at home or in the gym. 

While you can build muscle by lifting three days a week, you can potentially build more muscle in the same time frame lifting four to six days a week, especially if you are more advanced.

Why? 

More advanced lifters often need to deliver more volume and training stress to the muscles. 

If you have access to heavy loads you may be able to simply add more weight, but if you don’t have access, adding more training workouts and volume (total sets per week) could be your best approach.

Train The Muscle Directly 2-3 Times a Week

Training a muscle directly more often is another way to ensure your muscles are getting the individual attention they need to grow. 

This is generally a rule of thumb for all lifters looking to optimize muscle growth, but even more so when you have limited access to equipment while training from home.

Because you are training from home, you may find you need to train a muscle every other day with a few exercises to get good growth, especially if you are more advanced and would otherwise be able to train less frequently if you had access to heavier loading.

Expand the Ranges of Motion You Train In

expand the ranges of motion you train in

If you are looking for a way to build more muscle from home without needing to add weight to a movement, you can increase the range of motion of a movement. 

By increasing the range of motion at which you perform an exercise, you increase the distance you must apply force.

By increasing the range of motion, the muscle must promote force across longer distances (i.e. the muscle must work to bend and straighten the join), which can be a way to increase the intensity of an exercise if you do not have access to more external load.

For example, you can perform push ups on a deficit, perform front foot elevated split squats, and be sure to use the fullest range of motion you can achieve with all other movements.

Do Single Leg Exercises for More Lower Body Growth

As you get stronger, you need to lift heavier loads than when you were a beginner or not as strong as you currently are. 

Training larger muscle groups like the lower body can be a challenge, especially if you are someone who can easily move their own bodyweight during bodyweight squats and glute bridges.

While you could do hundreds of reps, you may find more benefit and less wear and tear on the body if you perform more single leg exercises, such as Bulgarian split squats, single leg hip raises, lunges, etc. 

Single leg exercises (also known as unilateral lower body exercises) allows you to increase the loading demands on one leg at a time (one leg needs to support your bodyweight vs two legs). 

This will not only increase muscle growth (more loading), but also help you increase muscle activation, joint stability, and potentially keep your strength progressing at home.

Find Ways to Isolate Your Arm Muscles

Arm training can be tough when looking to build bigger muscles at home, unless you have access to dumbbells, bands, or other weights. 

If you only have access to bodyweight, then you need to focus on introducing push up variations that target more triceps, and pull up or inverted rows that target more biceps.

While regular push ups, pull ups, and other upper body exercises do use the arms, they aren’t the most isolated movements to build bigger biceps and triceps (if this is a goal of yours). 

Therefore, when looking to maximize arm growth at home, make sure you select bodyweight exercises like close grip push ups, tiger push ups, and bodyweight skullcrushers for the triceps, and close grip chin ups and underhand inverted pull ups for the biceps.

Note:  that some of those above exercises are not found in the Fitbod app. With the Fitbod app you can build a workout program to help you build more muscle at home based on what equipment you have access to.

Slow Down the Eccentric (Lower) Phases

Another way to add more stress to the muscle is to slow down the eccentric phase (i.e. the lowering phase) of the movement. 

By slowing down the eccentric phase, you force the muscles to stay under more tension throughout the range of motion, which can help build muscle and prevent injury.

This can be a great way to also progress a movement to make it more difficult, and to add more training stimulus without the need of additional loading (if this is an issue you are facing).

Progressively Overload Every Week

The science behind why you should be progressing your workouts at home is not different than in the gym, however the ways in which you progress them may be different. 

If you are at home, you may have limited equipment or weights, making progressively overloading with more weight an issue for some. 

While you can certainly increase the weight you use week to week, you can also progress your workouts every week by adding more sets, more reps, or performing the same amount of reps/sets/weights/ in less time. 

Below is a full list of ways to progress yourself at home:

  • Use more weight than you did last time
  • Add one more set to a given exercise
  • Perform more reps per set than you did in a prior workout
  • Increase the amount of time you are performing an exercise by slowing down the tempo or adding pauses
  • Increasing the range of motion of a movement

Find Your Pillar Exercises and Master Them

Exercises like push ups, lunges, pull ups, and bulgarian split squats find their way into most workout programs because they are effective muscle builders for most people. 

When training at home, master the key movements (like those listed above, as well as the exercises below) and continually push yourself on them. 

Too often people who train at home or those who have limited equipment get bored doing the same movements, and try to add too much variety with exercises in their workout routine.

While adding new exercises can help you stay motivated, it shouldn’t come at the expense of removing a more muscular demanding movement in place of a new, fun exercise.

At-Home Bodyweight Workout Routine to Build Muscle

at-home bodyweight workout routine to build muscle

Below is an at home bodyweight workout routine you can do to build muscle. The below workout program is not found in the Fitbod app, however all the exercises can be found in the app along with the video demos. 

You can use this 4-day workout program as a general framework to build you own bodyweight at home workout routine.

Day 1 – Legs and Abs

  • Bulgarian Split Squat: 5 sets of 12-15 reps per leg, 60 seconds rest
  • Single Leg Hip Thrust: 5 sets of 12-15 reps per leg, 60 seconds rest
  • Air Squats: 5 sets of max reps in 1 minute, 1 minute rest
  • Alternating Heel Touch: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest
  • Sit Up: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest

Day 2 – Upper Body

  • Decline Push Up: 5 sets of max reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Diamond Push Up: 5 sets of max reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Push Up on Knees: 5 sets of max reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Plank Bodysaw: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest
  • Burpee High Jump: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest

Day 3 – Legs and Abs

  • Walking Lunge: 5 sets of 20-30 steps total, 60 seconds rest
  • Single Leg Hip Thrust: 5 sets of 12-15 reps per leg, 60 seconds rest
  • Bulgarian Split Squat (wide stance, lean forward): 5 sets of max reps in 1 minute, 1 minute rest
  • Oblique Crunch: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest
  • Sit Up: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest

Day 4 – Upper Body

  • Push Up: 5 sets of max reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Diamond Push Up: 5 sets of max reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Incline Push Up: 5 sets of max reps, 60 seconds rest
  • Plank Jack: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest
  • Mountain Climber: 5 sets of max reps in 1 min, 30 seconds rest

At-Home Limited Equipment Workout Routine to Build Muscle

Below is a workout program you can do at home to build muscle using bodyweight, resistance bands, and light dumbbells.

The below workout program is not found in the Fitbod app, however the exercises are (all of them) and can be plugged into the app as follows. The below workout can be used as a framework for you to design your own at-home workouts custom to your needs.

Day 1 – Legs and Abs

  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat: 5 sets of 12-15 reps per leg, 60 seconds rest
  • Romanian Deadlift: 5 sets of 12-15, 60 seconds rest
  • Dumbbell Squat to Shoulder Press: 5 sets of max reps in 1 minute (10-30 reps), 1 minute rest
  • Pallof Press: 5 sets of max reps in 45-60 seconds per side, 30 seconds rest in between
  • Russian Twist (use dumbbell): 5 sets of max reps in 1 min (20-40 reps), 30 seconds rest

Day 2 – Upper Body

  • Dumbell Fly: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets
  • Push Up: 5 sets of max reps, resting 60 seconds between sets
  • Dumbbell Skullcrusher: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 seconds between sets
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl:: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 seconds between sets
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 seconds between sets

Day 3 – Legs and Abs

  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat: 5 sets of 15-20, 60 seconds rest
  • Dumbbell Single Leg Romanian Deadlift: 5 sets of 12-15 per leg, 60 seconds rest
  • Dumbbell Glute Bridge: 5 sets of max reps in 1 minute (20-30 reps), 1 minute rest
  • Sit Up: 5 sets of max reps in 60 seconds per side, 30 seconds rest in between
  • Side Plank (add dumbbell if want more weight): 5 sets of 45-60 seconds per side, 30 seconds rest

Day 4 – Upper Body

  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets
  • Dumbbell Arnold Press Raise: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, resting 60 seconds between sets
  • Diamond Push Ups: 5 sets of max reps, resting 60 seconds between sets
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curl:: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 seconds between sets
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Row: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 seconds between sets

Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod.


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About The Author

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.