How to Build Muscle & Get Strong
We help people build muscle. Thing is, most people build a bit of muscle, get fat, get stuck, and fail to continue making progress. We'll help you blast through those plateaus. And we'll do it with style, so that you don't just look bigger, you look awesome.
Over the past ten years, the transformations that we've gotten for ourselves and for our clients have earned us the reputation of being the very best at helping skinny people bulk up.
We've each gained over sixty pounds at under 11% body fat, completely naturally, and while lifting just three days per week:
That's me, Shane, on the left. I'm a husband, a dad, and a "casual." I only lift a couple times per week, I prefer writing and drawing to sports, and I'm more of a nerd than a jock. But I still enjoy being muscular, lean, and healthy. And if I'm spending 2–3 hours in the gym every week, may as well become damn strong, right? Marco's on the right. He grew up skateboarding and playing a variety of sports, then spent years as a strength coach working with athletes.
We've been lucky enough to train college and professional athletes, includes our Canadian Olympic rugby team. But our specialty is helping everyday people—people like us—gain muscle and strength. For instance, here are a couple transformations from people doing our Bony to Beastly and Bony to Bombshell programs:
How We Help People Bulk Up
One of the things I found frustrating when I first started looking for muscle-building information was that none of it seemed to be written for me. I was a skinny dude, underweight and out of shape, and I wanted to become bigger, stronger, and more muscular. But almost nothing was written from the perspective of a skinny guy trying to gain weight.
Here and there, I'd come across bodybuilding sites for people trying to build muscle, but it never resonated with me. I'm not a bodybuilder, I don't live in the gym, and I don't ever plan on stepping on stage. Or I'd come across powerlifting sites for people trying to get stronger, but that didn't seem all that much better. Powerlifters want to get stronger, sure, but it's a very specific type of strength, where their training is oriented around improving their 1-rep max strength on the squat, bench press, and deadlift. I was more interested in building general strength, getting stronger in a wider variety of rep ranges, at a wider variety of lifts. I want a strong bench and deadlift, sure, but I also want a strong chin-up, overhead press, and barbell curl. Where's that program? It didn't exist.
Worse, there were powerbuilding programs, designed for people trying to become both bigger and stronger. Great, right? But if you aren't trying to become a bodybuilder or a powerlifter, then why would you want to train for both?
Once I started learning more about lifting, I could see the roots of bodybuilding and powerlifting in almost every program. Starting Strength? That's a program created by a powerlifter built on the foundation of the main powerlifting lift: the squat. Or what about StrongLifts 5x5? It's made by an everyday guy, and that's great, but it's built on that same powerlifting foundation, and even more focused on building a bigger squat. Where's the program designed to help people build muscle, get stronger, become better looking, and improve their general health? We couldn't find one. Not a great one, anyway. So we decided to make it.
So this isn't a powerlifting or bodybuilding website, nor any combination of the two. Not in a dismissive way, though. We can learn a lot about gaining strength from powerlifters, then use that knowledge and apply it to other lifts, other rep ranges, building bodies that are stronger overall. The same is true with bodybuilding. Bodybuilders are great at building muscle, and there's plenty to be learned from them. But again, we can apply that knowledge to our own goals.
This is all to say that we write for people who are less interested in the sport of lifting, more interested in the hobby of lifting, using it as a tool to improve their lives:
- Building more muscle. We've each gained over sixty pounds at under 12% body fat, and we've helped over ten thousand clients bulk up with our Bony to Beastly Bulking Program for skinny men, our Bony to Bombshell Weight Gain Program for skinny women, and our Outlift Program for intermediate lifers. Helping people build muscle is what we do best.
- Getting stronger. But not strong in a powerlifting sense, where all we care about is how much we squat, bench, and deadlift for a single repetition. We care more about getting strong at a wider variety of lifts (including chin-ups, overhead presses, and even biceps curls) and in a wider variety of rep ranges. When Marco was working as the strength coach for college, professional, and Olympic athletes, this was his specialty.
- Being healthy. Marco has a degree in health sciences (BHSc), and in addition to getting bigger, stronger, and fitter, we care about building healthy lifestyles that involve regular exercise, eating good diets, managing stress, and sleeping like deep winter bears.
- Looking great. If we're already going through the effort of building muscle, becoming stronger, and exercising regularly, we may as well look awesome. Aesthetics aren't everything, but it's certainly nice to look great.
We write about things like:
- Lift selection for muscle growth
- The "big five" bulking lifts
- How to use isolation lifts to boost muscle growth
- How many reps should we do per set?
- How long should we rest between sets?
- How many sets should we do per workout?
- Should we always use a large range of motion?
- When should we train to failure?
- How to sleep for muscle growth
We're in this for the long haul, and we're trying our best to create positive changes in our lives. Most health institutions recommend lifting weights at least twice per week, being reasonably lean and muscular, keeping ourselves in good cardiovascular shape, eating a good diet, minimizing chronic stress, and getting proper sleep.
But we also enjoy getting visible results from our efforts in the gym. If we're exercising anyway, we may as well become great at it, min-max our lifting routines, and get even better results, right?
Most of the content we make is free, and you can read our articles here. If you have any questions about anything, drop a comment in the most relevant article and I'll do my best to answer. We also have a few muscle-building workout programs you might like, and with those, we can help you track and improve your progress as you go along.
So, do you want to be stronger than you were yesterday? We'll help you outlift yourself. Want to be stronger than your friend? We'll help you outlift them, too.
Join Our Newsletter
How many weekly sets should we be doing per muscle group per week when training for hypertrophy? That’s a good question but also a tricky question because of how many…Read More
GreySkull LP (GSLP) is a powerbuilding program designed to help beginners get bigger and stronger. It’s one of the more popular programs in the strength training community, and it’s often…Read More
How many reps should you do to build muscle? In strength training, doing five reps per set is a popular way to gain mass. In bodybuilding, though, where the goal…Read More
While writing our guide on how to build a barbell home gym, I dove way too deep into researching barbells. Which companies make the best barbells, which coatings do the…Read More