Should Skinny Guys Lift Heavy or Light?

Throughout the years, there has always been an ever-lasting debate on whether people should lift heavy or light when it comes to bodybuilding. If it’s your first time hitting the gym, then you’re probably gonna be able to instantly differentiate between two types of people, the ones that lift heavy for shorter reps and the ones that lift light for longer reps. This can get pretty confusing, especially for beginners and skinny guys. With that being said, should skinny guys lift heavy or light?

In order to gain weight and muscle mass, skinny guys should always lift heavy, meaning that they should use a sufficient amount of weight for a low repetition range (6-8 reps) and that’s capable of generating maximum tension and fatigue at the last rep.

In this article, we’ll talk more in-depth about if skinny guys should lift heavy or light, as well as the benefits of lifting heavy.

Should Skinny Guys Lift Heavy Or Light?

should skinny guys lift heavy or light: heavy dumbbell

To answer this question, we first need to understand what “heavy” and “light” means since they’re a relative term that can change from one person to another. To put this into perspective, when you’re just starting out, 90 lbs of weight for a benchpress for example might be considered extremely heavy for you, but for someone else, it’s considered to be a “warm-up” or “light” weight on which he can do 20 to 30 repetitions with ease.

With that being said, lifting “heavy” means that you’re lifting an adequate amount of weight that’s sufficient to give you maximum tension towards your last objective rep. For example, as a skinny guy, if your rep objective is 6 to 8 repetitions, then you need to lift a weight that will make you struggle and feel the tension around your last rep.

Now that you know the true definition of “lifting heavy”, the main question will have a whole new meaning. If your main goal is to gain weight and build muscle mass as a skinny guy, then you should absolutely lift heavy because that’s the best way to do it. 

However, if you’re a beginner, then I highly recommend starting off with empty or light weights for about a month or so just to get used to the exercises and to learn how to do the proper form. If you start with heavy weight right off the bat, then you’re just pretty much asking for injuries.

So to summarize, after a month of light weight, lift the heaviest you can to be able to perform all your objective repetitions and to struggle and feel the tension right at the last rep.

Read more: Should Ectomorphs Lift Heavy, How Many Reps Should an Ectomorph Do.

Benefits Of Lifting Heavy For Skinny Guys

man about to deadlift

If you’re still not convinced, here are some of the main benefits of lifting heavy as a skinny guy:

It’s The Best Way To Build Muscles

Gaining weight and building muscle all come down to how much tension you’re putting them on for. To put this into perspective, you need to understand the formula of how muscles are built. Muscles grow when they’re put under stress and get damaged. Since your body is your own defense mechanism and it’s constantly adapting, it’s going to start repairing them and replacing the damaged muscle fibers. And because your body doesn’t want that to happen again, it’s going to thicken your muscles and make them grow in size. With that being said, the best way to damage your muscles is by lifting heavy and pushing them to their limits by putting them under stress.

It Improves Strength

When your muscles grow in size, this means that they’re getting stronger, and that’s another benefit of lifting heavy. If you’re consistent about it, and you always make sure that you’re adding weight during your workouts and putting your muscles under tension and stress, then you’re always going to notice growth and progress. And when you get stronger, this means that daily tasks that require strength will get so much easier.

It Reduces The Risk of Injury

When you lift heavy, you’re both getting bigger and stronger. This means that you’ll add (or rather strengthen) another layer of protection for your body consisting mainly of pure muscles. So next time you’re going to do a movement or exercise that requires strength, you’re less likely to get injured because of it. 

It Boosts Confidence

Nothing comes close to the feeling that you get when you hit a new weight record or when you finally manage to lift a weight that you were stuck on forever. And when you lift heavy, this feeling is pretty common, and it boosts your confidence and makes you think that you can absolutely conquer everything if you put your mind to it. In addition to that, lifting heavy will grab everyone’s attention towards you which will increase your self-confidence as well.

It’s Fun & Challenging

If you’re like me and you always like a new challenge, then lifting heavy is your best bet. It’s a challenging thing to constantly do at the gym but it’s definitely rewarding. What’s great about it is that you’re also never going to get bored. Since lifting light weight is pretty easy, it can get quite boring if you constantly do it. That’s why lifting heavy will always pose a new challenge for you that’s hard and refreshing.


To summarize everything, lifting heavy is a great way for skinny guys to gain weight and build muscle mass and strength. If you’re a beginner, just make sure that you adapt yourself and your body to the proper form of the exercises with empty to light weights during the first couple of weeks. After that, start lifting weight that’s sufficient enough to make you struggle around your last objective rep which should be around 6-8 repetitions per set. And when you’re about to lift heavy, make sure to warm up before, use a proper form, and never lift more than your limit to avoid any sort of injury.

And if you’re constantly struggling with being skinny that probably means that you’re an Ectomorph. Check out my Ectomorph workout plan to get started on your fitness transformation journey.

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