The Biggest Muscle-Building Mistakes Skinny Guys Make

Learning what to do with our training and nutrition is essential. But knowing what to avoid is just as crucial for long-term progress, longevity, and fulfillment.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of the five biggest muscle-building mistakes skinny guys make. 

Let’s see what they are.

1. Chasing The Muscle Soreness 

Many trainees, especially new ones, believe that muscle soreness is necessary for growth. While certainly logical, research doesn’t find a direct link between soreness and growth. 

Muscle soreness indicates a degree of muscle disruption. But whether the disruption leads to growth is a whole other question. An activity might cause lots of soreness without leading to any growth, just as it can cause minimal soreness but help you get bigger.

2. Doing High-Repetition ‘Pump’ Sets

Inspired by professional bodybuilders, many skinny guys fall for the idea of high-repetition ‘burn’ training and pump-chasing. Doing lots of reps causes a muscle pump, making our muscles appear larger. But what many trainees fail to realize is that the pump is temporary and results from blood rushing into our muscles.

While high-rep training certainly has its place in any good hypertrophy program, it should make up a small percentage of your training. Doing repetitions across various intensity ranges allows you to cause adequate mechanical tension and metabolic stress for muscle growth and strength gain. 

3. Maxing Out In Every Workout

In contrast to those doing 30, 40, even 50 reps per set, some skinny guys do the opposite: lift as much weight as they can for a single repetition. 

While maxing out can boost your ego, it doesn’t help you improve in any way. Instead, lifting as much weight as possible shows you how strong you are now. Occasionally testing your 1 rep max is fine and a good way to measure progress, but you shouldn’t be doing it all the time. Plus, maxing out is stressful on your body and can lead to an injury if you overdo it.

4. Not Eating Enough to Support Growth

Another muscle-building mistake skinny guys make all the time is not eating enough calories and protein to support growth. Sure, skinny guys often work hard in the gym, but they pay little attention to their nutrition, which prevents them from making good progress.

You must focus on two things:

  • Maintaining a small surplus of 200 to 300 calories, resulting in gradual weight gain. There are many recommendations for the optimal rate of weight gain, and you should experiment. But start with no more than two pounds per month and adjust if you need to.
  • Consuming enough protein to support muscle growth and training recovery. According to research, we should consume 0.8 to one gram of protein per pound of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 160 pounds, eat 128 to 160 grams of protein daily.

5. Not Resting Enough Between Sets

Many beginners do their workouts like they are in a rush to get somewhere. They do a set, take a few breaths, and jump to the next part of their workout. 

While hard work is always admirable, not resting enough between sets prevents you from accumulating enough volume and intensity to grow optimally. 

Instead of rushing through your workouts, pace yourself, making sure to rest enough between sets to prevent a performance decline. For example, if you can do eight reps with a given weight on the first set, you should get at least six or seven on the last set.


Muscle growth is a relatively straightforward process. Train hard, be consistent, recover well, and you will grow. 

Still, details matter, and there are plenty of mistakes to be made along the way. Keep the above errors in mind, and you will save yourself a lot of time, effort, and frustrations.






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