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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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Tony84

Are there any skinny guys out there who can lend me some advice. I was talking to Dr. Darden and he said that naturally skinny guys have lots of slow twitch muscle fibers and that i should train in the 15-25 rep range, which i was fine with , but then i asked him if putting on 20 pounds of muscle was realistic and he said he had never seen any skinny guy put on that much muscle, he said i should shoot for 5 pounds.

Would five pounds of muscle look like alot of muscle if you have very little body fat? I just sounds like nothing. Anyway i just wanted to know if there was any skinny guys out there who could tell me what kind of gains they have experienced weight lifting? Even if your not skinny id love to hear what you think. Thanks guys

Tony
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RobT

Hey Tony

Heres a thread from a while back re-bulking up - i started pretty skinny and managed to gradually add weight though HIT and a high carb/high calorie diet

http://www.drdarden.com/...ic.do?id=424039

Also heres an article from John Christy you might want to take a look at, that follows a similar approach to the one i used.

http://www.totalstrength.info/...bigger.htmheres

Hope that helps

Rob T
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newbie2HIT

Dr. Darden wrote on another thread that skinny guys need to do 16-20 reps. Why is that?

I understand that when it comes to squats, people advocate 20-rep squats, but such high reps for the upper-body too?

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kurtvf

5 whole pounds....That is setting the bar awfully low. Don't believe it. I was a really skinny person growing up. I started weight training (volume routines) at age 15 when I weighed 141 lbs.. I also ate a lot of calories.

Four years later I weighed 191 lbs. with a minimal amount of bodyfat. That comes out to about 12 1/2 lbs. per year of mostly muscle and if I can do it anyone can do it.

I generally used 6-10 reps. on all exercises. My best results came from a simple split routine done 4 days per week. M,T,Th,Fr.
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Charles Coulter

New York, USA

Tony,

Sounds like it's a challenge to you to prove him wrong. Why not get that first 5 pounds and get the ball rolling. Plan out your training, eating and sleeping and get after it!

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winstonnmccay

I think we need to define our terms when setting realistic expectations. Dr. Darden is likely speaking of true ectomorphic guys who are pretty tall with short muscle bellies, and there is a big difference between 20 pounds of weight and 20 pounds of pure muscle. Also age would affect the ability to gain that much.

Sometimes Dr. Darden's expectations seem pretty grim when compared to the muscle magazines, but he is usually right on and tries to save people time and frustration.
That being said, go for it!! Eat right, sleep enough and train hard, see where you can go from there.
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Tony84

Thanks for the posts guys. Im going to give the high reps a shot for two months and see if it works. First let me say im not one of these skinny guys who looks like olive oil from popeye. I have a good build i just have a very small frame. Im definitly an ecto tho.

But wasnt Frank Zane an ectomorph? He wasnt as big as like Arnold but he had a great build, so i dont know why skinny people cant build muscle like everyone else, frankly i think we can. And im by no means looking to get huge im about 135 pounds and id like to get to 150. Anyways thanks again for the posts guys.
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newbie2HIT

Tony,

Did Darden tell you anything else, such as number of sets reqd? Exercises that are especially beneficial for skinny guys / exercises to to not bother with, etc?

Any tips would be most appreciated.

Thanks.
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Crotalus

Don't be afraid to try something you think will work better .

When I started I wouldn't stray outside the rep guidelines Jones, Darden and Leistner suggested in their articles ; 20 reps for lower body and 12 for upper. I gained but progress with slow. It took way too long to progress with the resistance. Reducing the rep guideline to 16 and 10 made a huge difference and progress was much better.

I later reduced them further to 12 and 8 and again did a lot better than higher reps. Too many years later I decided to try 10 for legs and 6 for the upper body and they were the magic numbers.

After reading Dinosaur training I tried multiple sets of low reps which Kubik suggested but I felt that was too low a rep scheme for me. The ideal thing was 10 and 6 for me done in 50% sets. I only wish I tried that rep guideline many years before I did. I also found seven or eight total sets was the best workout for me

Even now with using JREPS my zone reps are lower than what Johnson suggests.

I agree you should first get that 5 pound limiting belief out of your mind. That sounds ridiculous to me. If I believed that about myself when I started, I'd have taken up bowling instead.

Best of luck. This summer report back here when your up twelve pounds.
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Tony84

I trained in the lower numbers for about a year and just like u with the higher reps progress was slow. Thats when i e mailed Darden and asked what was wrong and he said to train in the higher reps. So mayne they are my magic numbers. Only time will tell. Thanks guys
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newbie2HIT

Tony, we spoke about this, but I'd like to hear what some of the other posters think...

I always thought higher reps were for toning more than mass? Could one still gain any decent mass doing high reps?

I dont get how working the muscles for endurance will get them to grow significantly? Marathon runners don't have big legs...

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Ciccio

http://www.drdarden.com/...390959&pageNo=2

This was just an example.
Try the search function to come up with more recent posts about STF/FTF, fiber typing/testing and such.

Franco
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tompuderbaugh

Five pounds of pure muscle (as opposed to five pounds of just bodyweight) is a VERY impressive amount. Enough to make a very noticable difference in the appearance of a fairly ripped person.

Go down to your local supermarket and buy 5lbs. of the very leanest ground beef that you can find. Then try to imagine how, if that beef were muscle (which it really is), how it would look spread out among your major muscle groups.....It would really make a difference.

So don't get depressed. Some people brag about the 15, 20, 25 pounds of "muscle" that they have put on. But ask someone who knows them well (like a wife or girlfriend) -- How much of this "muscle" hangs loose around their waist? They would probably be surprised at their answer!!

Five pounds of pure muscle is nothing to sneeze at.

Good training!
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kurtvf

5 lbs. is a lot of muscle but to tell someone that is the most they will ever gain is wrong and totally pessimistic. I don't see how someone could make a blanket statement like that when it has been proven wrong time and time again. You are correct that many, many people have unrealistic expectations but to tell someone they can't ever gain more than 5 pounds of muscle is just as bad.
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Ellington Darden

Guys,

My advice to Tony was to be realistic with his expectations. Instead of shooting for 20 pounds, initially go for 5 pounds. If he is successful, then raise the bar and go for another 5 pounds, and so on.

Twenty pounds, in my opinion, was not realistic -- especially if he was basically a slow-twitch individual. Five pounds was much more doable.

Ellington


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Mr. Strong

newbie2HIT wrote:
Tony, we spoke about this, but I'd like to hear what some of the other posters think...

I always thought higher reps were for toning more than mass? Could one still gain any decent mass doing high reps?

I dont get how working the muscles for endurance will get them to grow significantly? Marathon runners don't have big legs...





I've added the best size to my legs by doing high rep squats. The marathon runners don't gain much size because they are not eating enough, and are exerciseing at a low intensity, sprinting build pretty good legs.
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kurtvf

What is the correlation with being skinny and having slow twitch muscles? How much of a detriment to growth is slow twitch muscle? What do you say about someone who starts really skinny and gains muscle quickly??
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Tony84

The only problem i have is knowing whether i am a slow twitch person. Yeah im thin but i have a small frame. You guys know how it is, you dont want to waste time training in high reps if they wont do much. Thats why i was wondering if anyone had done the high rep thing. Everywhere i go it says skinny people need to lift very heavy weights. But i guess the only way to find out is to give it a try. It cant hurt. Id like to think Darden knows more then these other people do.
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Tony84

Mr. Intensity wrote:
newbie2HIT wrote:
Tony, we spoke about this, but I'd like to hear what some of the other posters think...

I always thought higher reps were for toning more than mass? Could one still gain any decent mass doing high reps?

I dont get how working the muscles for endurance will get them to grow significantly? Marathon runners don't have big legs...





I've added the best size to my legs by doing high rep squats. The marathon runners don't gain much size because they are not eating enough, and are exerciseing at a low intensity, sprinting build pretty good legs.

Marathon runners dont want to have big muscular legs to begin with. Having huge legs is not going to help in a marathon. The bigger the muscle the faster it tends to burnout(or so ive heard anyway since i dont have them) Remember Newbie your not training for endurance your training to target a specific muscle fiber.

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serf

New Zealand

I know two people who started off very skinny at high school -- they were teased about being so skeletally thin, and now they're both big; in fact, one of them has 17.5 inch ripped arms.

Whether you'll every get 17.5 inch arms comes down to the length of your individual muscle bellies, but more so, consistency. In fact, don't think the bigger the better -- Bruce Lee has short biceps, but he still had an impressive body.

Both of the guys did something most of us don't do: they trained hard for years. And very gradually, their muscles got larger and larger. Now they're big. This is the revelation that woke me up: go to the gym 3-4 times a week for years. Train really hard; eat really well. I'll repeat myself, if you're skinny eat really well.

I myself have seen my gains catabolised into oblivion due to insufficient calories. Remember what Dr. Darden says in his books: as you get larger you have to increase your caloric needs to sustain your larger muscles (or something to that effect. If you don't eat enough, you'll never get large muscles, full-stop.

I'm in this with you lot -- I'm a skinny guy who has been training 2-3 times a week for a few months now and am growing consistently larger through hard training. The key is to keep it up and, before long, people will no longer see me as skinny. In fact, recently when I remarked to a friend about being skinny, he said, "You're not skinny man, my wife's brother is what you'd call skinny!"

Consistency.
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kurtvf

I think consistency and sticking to it and believing in yourself is the most important factor in the long run. I am glad I never believed anyone telling me I couldn't do it or would only gain 5 measly lbs. of muscle for all my effort.

I didn't know anything about slow or fast twitch fibers and muscle belly lengths when I started, and didn't really care since I couldn't change them. Maybe I was better off not knowing as this might have discouraged me.

Most people told me I was wasting my time (They told me the same thing when I said I was going to go to medical school-now twenty five years later I have two board certifications), If I listened to all the losers that most everyone is surrounded by I would have never tried anything.

I say shoot for the Moon and even if you don't get there you will be a heck of a lot better off. Just because someone is thin starting out I think has little to do with what they will look like after several years of hard, consistent training. You might even be one of the lucky ones and gain five or even ten lbs. of muscle in a year.
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Paul25

serf wrote:
I know two people who started off very skinny at high school -- they were teased about being so skeletally thin, and now they're both big; in fact, one of them has 17.5 inch ripped arms.

Whether you'll every get 17.5 inch arms comes down to the length of your individual muscle bellies, but more so, consistency. In fact, don't think the bigger the better -- Bruce Lee has short biceps, but he still had an impressive body.

Both of the guys did something most of us don't do: they trained hard for years. And very gradually, their muscles got larger and larger. Now they're big. This is the revelation that woke me up: go to the gym 3-4 times a week for years. Train really hard; eat really well. I'll repeat myself, if you're skinny eat really well.

I myself have seen my gains catabolised into oblivion due to insufficient calories. Remember what Dr. Darden says in his books: as you get larger you have to increase your caloric needs to sustain your larger muscles (or something to that effect. If you don't eat enough, you'll never get large muscles, full-stop.

I'm in this with you lot -- I'm a skinny guy who has been training 2-3 times a week for a few months now and am growing consistently larger through hard training. The key is to keep it up and, before long, people will no longer see me as skinny. In fact, recently when I remarked to a friend about being skinny, he said, "You're not skinny man, my wife's brother is what you'd call skinny!"

Consistency.


Good post and just stick with the simple basic stimulating exercises like Squats,Deadlifts,Chins,Roes and Presses, eat smart,Rest and then you will grow all the muscle your body will allow!

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AJFan

I think I'm like you Tony84, I'm skinny and find endurance exercise like running and cycling easy.

I keep in mind a guy that Arthur wrote about, I think his name was Woodrow Wilson, officer in the army about to get thrown out for being underweight. He contacted Arthur to train him. In 6 months he apparently gained 70 pounds of muscle. His wife hadn't seen him for the first four months, and when she did, she literally didn't recognise him.

Even though I'm good at endurance sports, high reps do not work for me at all. My first clue was that doing a typical 8-12 reps, three sets, if I went balls-out on the first two sets, I could only do 1 or 2 reps with a really light weight on the last set.

I'm now using 1 set of 6 reps and getting better results (1 set). I actually seem to gain better doing even less reps than that, although I'm still trying to work it out. I don't think ectos like us can take much high intensity exercise, leave heaps of time between workouts for recovery, I'm currently working out once every 5 days. I'm still playing with the variables to find out what works, but that's the best I've come across so far.

Here's a test that AJ recommended, that I did, it was an eye opener:

1. Find your 1RM for an exercise (gently).
2. Do the 1RM after resting for a few days.
3. Wait three days.
3. See how many reps you can do with 80% of the 1RM. Use this number of reps as your rep target for the exercise.

This should give you a clue as to whether you are fast or slow or whatever. On most exercises, I could only manage 3 reps with 80% of my 1RM.
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Tony84

I did that test to and it said i have mainly fast twitch muscles. This is why im so confused. Im skinny but i dont have good endurance. i cant run for shit.

I used to wrestle and everyone said that i was so much stronger then i looked so i dont know what type of muscle fibers i have. I think ill start with 8-12 instead of the higher stuff.
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Ciccio

Tony,

I think there's skinny and skinny.
What I mean by that is, you have the really skinny guys with naturally very low BF% and somewhat ripped physique. Those guys are often "hyperactive", restless (or however you want to call it) and have often a very good endurance.
Then there are the smooth skinny guys, which have a "normal" BF%, small frame or tall and narrow frame, short muscle bellies and/or long limbs and often are not that active and have not that endurance.
I was (and still are in comparison to naturally athletic build guys) of the later type. I never liked endurance sports and only standing on place for a longer time or driving the car for more then an hour exhausts my lower back and becomes quickly uncomfortable. I was always like this.
I do well with low reps on all upper body, lower back and harmstrings.
Just quads and traps have good endurance.
Another thing to consider:
Beeing skinny in teenage years and skinny as an adult are two completely different things!
So, to make it short, I don't buy into the "skinny guys need high reps" as a general guideline.
It's more complicated then that and even the two skinny types I descriped above are gross generalizations.

Franco

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