Bodyweight Training for the Skinny-Fat Guy

Being skinny-fat means that you lack upper body muscle mass while having excess body-fat in the lower waist, chest and hips.

Compared to other guys, skinny-fat guys gain muscle mass at a much slower rate and we gain fat just by “looking at food”.

It’s not uncommon for skinny-fat guys to train for months or even DECADES without anything to show for it.

In my experience training over 100 men in my online coaching program, the skinny-fat body-type is BY FAR the hardest to transform and there’s a huge lack of quality training programs for our unique body-type.

I personally started out training skinny-fat.

At 6’2″ (190 CM) and 200 pounds bodyweight (90 KG), I couldn’t do a single push up and I couldn’t overhead press an empty barbell. (How embarassing!)

I had narrow shoulders, puffy nipples and my physique was soft all over.

At age 17, I had never had a girlfriend and that’s what ultimately lead me to get into bodybuilding.

I wanted to improve my life and I knew that in order to do that, I need to build a better body so I can become comfortable in my own skin.

As a result, I started training on a program called Starting Strength where I did heavy squats, bench presses, deadlifts, rows and presses 3 times per week.

I showed up to the gym every single time and put my 100% into each set.

In my first year of training I added a total of 500 pounds (227 KG) to my bench press, squat and deadlift max and I was proud of myself.

There was just one problem… I didn’t gain any visible muscles!

I got strong, but I didn’t improve my body-composition at all.

The photo below shows my first 2 years of “training progress”:

In the photo above you can see that I first bulked up and gained a lot of strength and body-weight.

After my bulk, I cut off the excess body-fat I had gained… Only to find out that I had gained almost no muscle mass.

So here I was on a high protein diet for 2 years and with a deadlift, squat and bench press total that was 500 pounds more than before, but my body still looked exactly the same!

At the time I thought that I’m a total non-responder to training and almost gave up on my physique goals.

But I decided to give training one more shot.

I switched my focus to doing a basic bodyweight training program that I could do for just 30 minutes per day at home, and to my surprise, I got better results.

My muscles started filling out in all the right places (the shoulders, upper chest, arms and lats) and I got visible abs for the first time in my life.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Here’s a photo of how I looked before focusing on bodyweight training (when I could do 0 chin ups and 0 diamond push ups):

And here’s a photo of how I looked when I could do 15 chin ups and 30 diamond push ups with perfect form:

Bodyweight training gave me much better results than heavy weight training ever did and I didn’t have any of the nagging joint pain that I always got when doing heavy deadlifts and squats.

At the time the after photo was taken, I was a lean 190-195 pounds at 6’2″ and I could do more than 15 chin ups with perfect form.

This was truly the first time in my life where I felt like I was in shape.

I felt strong, fast, light, energised and I always went into my training sessions fully recovered.

So, why does bodyweight training work so well for us skinny-fat guys?

The short answer is: SIGNALING.

When you become better at moving your body through space, you SIGNAL to the body it has to change.

Just imagine adding 1 rep to your chin up max for 15 weeks straight.

When you go from 0 to 15 chin ups, there’s no way your body will remain the same.

It has to adapt by adding muscle size and shedding fat:


Overall, bodyweight exercises represent the opposite of being skinny-fat.

The skinny-fat guy is soft, weak and under-muscled however to master bodyweight exercises you have to become the exact opposite: strong, lean and muscular.

Build Your Foundation With Bodyweight Exercises

By mastering these bodyweight exercises, you will build a solid foundation of strength and muscle mass that sets you up to make bigger gains in the future.

Your strength and muscle foundation is important because training is just like building a house:

When you have a strong foundation, everything else becomes so much easier.

You progress faster, muscle gains are easier to come by and you prevent serious injuries that can put you out of training.

Most guys at the gym lack a foundation on bodyweight exercises.

They may lift hundreds of pounds on the squat, bench press and deadlift but they can’t do a set of 20 clean chin ups or 100 bodyweight squats.

As a result, they end up paying for it later by getting a shoulder, back or knee injury that puts them completely out of the gym.

Overall, here are the top benefits of starting off with bodyweight exercises:

  • The main bodyweight exercises are compound. This means they train several muscle groups at the same time so you get more bang-for-the-buck with each exercise.
  • Bodyweight training is easy on your Central Nervous System. As a result, you can recover faster between training sessions, train more often and thereby build more muscle mass.
  • Bodyweight training keeps you focused. When you train just a few basic compound exercises, you stay focused and get very strong on those key movements.
  • Bodyweight training signals to your body that it has to transform. Just imagine going from 0 to 15 chin ups — there’s no way your body will remain the same!
  • Bodyweight training can be done anywhere at anytime. You have no excuses to skip your training sessions when they can be done from the comfort of your home or while travelling.
  • You can build 80% of your muscle mass with bodyweight exercises alone – even if you’re old or you have bad genetics for muscle building.

Be proud but stay hungry!

Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer


Read my guide the 2 Phases of a Skinny-Fat Transformation:


View My Top 40 Fitness Articles (Read By Over 3 Million Skinny-Fat Guys):


  1. What would be the best solution if I find 100 bodyweight squats easy? Adding weight is not ideal because if limited space and equipment. Should I increase to 200 or use more sets of 100?

  2. Ntshuxeko maluleke says:

    Ii grew up in south africa where mostly everyone is fit, so i never thought there are people out there who share the same struggle as me, I have been following your post for couple of weeks while I’m implementing some of your tricks into my routines and its working out well…and one of your most important trick is not your gym routine is your mindset and your will…

  3. Hi Oskar,

    I cant find anyone similar to me but I am 5’9 and literally weigh nothing: 116 pounds, but I have 15.6% body fat (a chubby face and small belly) but extremely thin with little muscle everywhere else. I know you recommend cutting first but I feel I will get dangerously underweight if I do so. I want to be a lot bigger but little/no fat. How can I tone up my face and belly without ‘eating less’ as such, so I can still do bodyweight exercises/compound lifts to get bigger?

    I really am quite desperate to get an answer.


  4. Hey Oskar,

    How actually u do all this workout? I’m kinda confused. Do i need to do circuit training or just do it with rest between sets? One more question…. I can do 20 diamond push up but after i follow your intermittent fasting for fat loss my reps for diamond push ups drop to 17. I’m doing intermittent fasting because when i follow your ” 10 simple tips to loss fat without starving yourself ” my weight still the same. How can i increase my reps for diamond push ups ?

  5. hey oscar.i have been doing a low carb,high fat diet without breakfast and i lost 20 pounds in 2 months.But i think due to the lack of resistance training and too much cardio,i became skinny fat.I think i destroyed my metabolism,because i can gain weight easy if i overeat(carbs).
    Any advice?And what’s your opinions about the ketosis diet.will it work with this workout program?
    And should all of my meals include carbs?If i get hungry,should i eat?

  6. What should you do if you can’t do pull ups due to an injury?


  8. I’m 16 and 5’11 or around 6 feet and i weigh 67-69kg. I would be considered ‘skinny fat’ however i have a bit of muscle and good stamina. I go to the gym and i started 3 weeks ago. Im really interested in body weight exercises / calisthenics as you do. However, I need a FAST method to gain muscle quickly. Is body weight the way to go/calisthenics? I want to gain muscle asap and become strong too. Could you recommend a workout which could guarantee FAST muscle growth? I checked this program called the 5×5 program for weightlifting but im not sure if its the way to go. I can’t do pull ups, my biceps are very small, I can only do 7 proper push ups. Im not sure if hitting the gym straight is a good idea or getting the fundamentals down first. Could you please help? Which will help me to get muscle asap?

  9. Hello, I have no place to do pull up. I don’t have any pull up bar and all the doors here just not able for me to hang the doorway pull up bar. I live in a small town without any fitness facility, even there is no pull up bar in town park.

    Do you know what can I do instead of doing pull up? Someone told me a Power Twister will help me for that.

  10. Hi oscar I am from india and now I am 23 and look exactly similar body that you had in the past . Thanks for making these kind of posts. I really appreciate your effort, I never think the transformation is possible for I really belive in this methods.

  11. Sarah Martin says:

    Hi Oskar,

    I’m female and skinny fat. I look soft all over, but thighs, stomach, upper arms are the worst (so…like everything!)
    I really want to get toned and lean but it doesn’t seem to matter how much working out I do, I look the same! My diet could do with being cleaner- I dieted for several months (low calorie and low sugar) and lost weight but was miserable and put it all back on. I’m hoping I didn’t do too much damage to my metabolism. And I’m 20 y/o.
    Have you got any tips or suggestions?

    Thank you

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Sarah,

      What does your current diet and training look like?

      • Sarah Martin says:

        I work out about half an hour to forty mins everyday, I do between 10 to 20 mins on a stationary bike with the resistance varied to simulate hills. I then do body weight exercises; lunges, squats, push ups, triceps dips, and some stuff like situps, planks. I usually do 2 sets of 10 of each, I’m trying to build up. Other days I’ll do HIIT on the bike, or cardio and a ballet routine.
        Diet wise I’ve gone between very clean and terrible. I want to cut out sugar (because I find it really addictive and tend to binge), and reduce bread, pasta etc. I only eat wholegrain when i do eat it. But I’m finding it hard to eat clean. Can you give me some advice? I trained hard and eat really healthy for about 5 months but got really discourage when I didn’t see much change, I lost weight but my body didn’t look good- i looked skinny fat. I then gave up, and started binge eating and put all the weight back on and more.

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          I think your biggest struggle is the diet, especially sugar and starch cravings which you need to support your training.

          For sugar cravings, I recommend having a bit of dark chocolate with breakfast. Make sure it’s 70% cocoa or more. It helped me a lot!

          For starch cravings, eat a lot of white and sweet potatoes. They’re very filling and hard to overeat on.

          So essentially, don’t cut out things or go to extremes. Instead, replace the foods that you can’t control with foods you can control (dark chocolate and potatoes which are hard to overeat on).

  12. Hey Oskar,

    Is this programme workable for someone who has a skinny fat physique but is currently underweight? I have an ectomorph body type and only weigh 130 pounds at around 180cm.

    Thanks, really want to start this programme!

    • Hey Oskar, I’ve been working out for years, mostly doing things like dips and pull ups and pistols and consider myself pretty strong, but I’ve never been able to get really big. Anyway, I came across your site a few months ago and decided to try out the diamond push up routine. I could only maybe do five good ones, initially, and I’d just do two sets of as many as I could do. Soon i was doing 20/15 and my upper body was the biggest it’s ever been in only a month’s time. The issue is, after another month, i was able to do 35/25 and not only did the gains stop, but I seemed to shrink back down. I’m wondering if this is overtraining/plateauing/neural adaptation to where the exercise no longer elicits muscle growth? Your thoughts?

      • Oskar Faarkrog says:

        Great question.

        I think your gains stopped because you need more volume to grow now.

        Try to do something like 20 sets of 10 reps with very low rest between sets (30-60 sec) and increase the amount of sets you do each week. That should make you grow again.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Yes, it’s great for everyone who hasn’t mastered basic bodyweight exercises yet.

  13. Oskar

    I think actually about 6 weeks before I started I could do about 4 pull-ups and about 13 diamond I am now actually doing 9 pull ups 1st set and about 20 diamonds

    I have trained quite a bit in the past so muscle memory should help a little.


  14. Hey Dan

    I’m 18 and at 90-87kgs, I’ve never Had a hard core in my life and I’ve been working out since about 15, could you send me a meal plan that would help me stay between 90-87 kgs. I’ve tryed all the diets and all the advice but yours seems the most promising. Thanks.

    • I mean Oskar lol

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Joe, personalised meal plans take a long time to make so this is only a service I provide for my coaching clients. I hope you understand.

      There are plenty of free fat loss tips on the blog though so I hope you find these useful!

  15. Hey Mate! You absolutely did amazing, I just wanted to know is gynecomastia is reversible? I\ve but in very minor amount?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Arbab,

      Gynecomastia is a result of hormonal imbalances and it’s reversible if you’ve had it for less than 3 years.

      The first thing you want to do is to optimise your hormones through diet:

      1) Get lean to the point where you have a flat waist, 2) Eat foods that promote testosterone production and 3) Avoid foods that increase estrogen levels.

      While doing so, you track your hormones (testosterone, estradiol and SHBG) and see if they improve over the next 6 months.

      If you’ve had it for more than 3 years the only solution is surgery.

  16. Whoops only just read this after I posted about you releasing a book. This is be a great seller as it is so simplistic and applies to vast amount of people. You deserve all the sucess that this brings you. I will definatly be buying the book and leaving a serious 5 star review just to say my thank you

  17. Oskar

    A book on this would become a best seller for sure!!

    OMG I can’t believe I have wasted the last 4 years spinning my wheels, I promise you I have tried everything at least twice. Lean gains, bigger leaner stronger, meat and nuts breakfast, intermittent fasting, and more none of these showed results. I have been doing your programme now for about 4 weeks and God the changes are happening fast. I am about 17/18 percent bf but can now do 9 perfect pull ups and about 18 perfect controlled diamond push ups, so what will I achieve when I get down the 12 percent? the strangest thing is I find it so easy to do it is unreal. I work from home, a pull up bar and 30 mins is all I need. if I hadvstarted doing this 4 years ago I would be big.

    Anyway I am 100% dedicated to your training program as it is making me feel great, every single word you speak is true, I am not surprised your website is a huge success. All of the other systems are fads and are unsustainable. your program feels natural and effortless to follow.

    The excitement for each workout to add a rep is unreal. Also I have been practising imaging workouts. This is scientifically proven to increase strength from visualisation I think combining this with your program has helped me get my pull-ups where they are

    Once again thank you


    United Kingdom

  18. Hey Oskar , for SKINNY fat guys what do you think is better since they are lighter, wide grip pullup or shoulder width grip ?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      In general, shoulder width is better since for most people it activates the lats about as much as the wider grip, but it also enables you to do more reps so you get more work done. With that said, SKINNY fat guys can benefit from doing weighted pull up variations once regular ones are too easy.

  19. Hey Oskar, I’m very skinny fat and I need to cut badly. The only thing I needed to ask was how many calories should I eat to cut, while doing the bodyweight exercises? My height is 5’6 and I weigh around 164 pounds. Additionally I’m 16 so I’m still kinda young. I have another question too Is 20 minutes of cardio almost everyday bad for skinny fat? Did you just lost weight only doing the bodyweight exercises and eating clean? Anyways thank you so much!

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      I was doing a variety of training and sports (partner stunt acrobatics) during my fat loss, but you can certainly lose the fat with bodyweight training and a fat loss diet.

      You should look up “Daily Caloric Expenditure” and then calculate how many calories you expend per day. Then once you have that number, subtract 300-500 calories and try to see if that helps fat loss by measuring your hips and waist every week (the measurements should be dropping for fat loss). If they aren’t dropping, reduce calories further. Also, remember to consume your calories from a balanced diet and to implement weekly refeed meals which reset your metabolism and prevent your natural testosterone production from dropping.

  20. Hi Oskar,

    What if I’m just skinny and not necessarily skinny-fat? 188cm, currently around 74kg at what I estimate is 15-18% bf, but I’ve been as low as 65kg back in college days and much of the gain has unfortunately been fat. Would this advice work for me, too?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Yes, definitely. There are guys who are skinny-FAT and guys who are SKINNY-fat if that makes sense?

  21. Another great and informative article. Thanks a ton Oskar. You are the man 👍

  22. Andre Soto says:

    Hi may name is Andre.

    I have been reading your posts and following your program for about 4 or 5 months now. Before, I could not do a single pull up. Now I can do about 3, going all the way down. I went from 200 pounds, to 180. I have been very grateful for your posts and your inspiration for us skinny-fat guys.

    Though I must say, lately I feel like I’ve been gaining some weight back. I stay in a caloric deficit, but on weekends like Saturday and Sunday, I eat more calories. And I eat some bad ‘cheat meals’ as well. Sometimes I’ll eat more bad foods than I should, and try to make up for it by having very little calories during the week. I feel this may be causing the slight weight gain. Any advice on having cheat meals? Should I keep better track of my calories, or just not do cheat meals? I feel like I will go crazy without them.

    Thank for any help, your posts have been life changing. I feel like my fitness journey has been similar to yours.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      I’m happy to hear about your results! You’ve done very well.

      For cheat meals: Keep it to MAX 1 right now and try to have it after your workout where your nutrient partitioning is best.

      You can introduce a second cheat meal later when you have more muscle mass and thereby a faster metabolism and a higher work capacity but right now, one is the max I would go for.

  23. In this article you say that you took meds for depression. Did you make gains while at them? I take antidepressants and I feel like my gains aren’t very good because of all the cortisol I release everyday because of the anxiety. Do you know anything about that?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey M, have you checked your cortisol levels or do you just make a guess? Mine were great last time I checked.

      Regarding meds: I take the lowest dosage of slow release Concerta. It’s usually meant for ADD but the mild stimulant effect gives me an overall feeling of well being without any side effects.

      I wouldn’t touch traditional anti depressant meds because of all the side effects

  24. Revisiting this blog I as often like to Oskar, and I noted in your before and after pics the re-emergence of your adam’s apple.

    I noted this because it was something that also happened to me when I got lean, but it’s such a fundamental tenet of the masculine look that is overlooked in pretty much every mainstream publication about men’s aesthetics, from to Men’s Health.

    One of the less considered benefits of getting lean is getting a visible adam’s apple, visible neck tendons and clearer facial features. It says “this guy is healthy”, even when you’re wearing long sleeved baggy clothing.

    I like the way this post has been updated to help draw attention to these subtleties.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thank you for your comment James and you’re absolutely right. Perhaps the topic of facial aesthetics deserves a post in itself.

  25. Great article. Can you post a phase 2 week training routine?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Marcos I have many phase 2 training programs for my coaching clients but these aren’t available for free.

  26. Whoa Oskar!!! This is a massive article. Some of it I had read earlier, rest is new!
    Like it very much…you seem like family now. Plus you have helped me a lot. I have visible 4 pack and some lats because of your advice.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Wow man! I’m so glad to hear that. Would you mind sending a testimonial to my email I can put on my success stories page?

  27. MASSIVE respect brother. You are truly inspiring

  28. Hello Oskar,
    congratulations to your great transformation! You challenged a long way and got great results. Every change starts in your mind. Thanks for your motivation and workout tips. I really appreciate this.

  29. Mikey Hall says:

    This is the best article i’ve ever come across on the web about the skinny fat physique. The story at the end really motivated me to start my transformation.

  30. Hi Oskar

    Great article and blog here!! the routine is work for me.
    But now I have a SI joint dysfunction which I can’t do squat because the weight will overload on the lumbar. I feel pain after doin squat. :( So I stop doin it and working out on core body to make th SI joint function again.

    But for now any advice for leg workout? Should I do the leg press machine instead?

    Thanks in advance

  31. Hey Oskar,
    I have read every article in your website and I got it: as a skinny-fat guy I should lose fat first, I should focus on compound lifts or bodyweight compound exercises.

    The problem is: I can’t lose fat.
    And I’m starting to believe it’s not “an excuse” when overweight or obese people claim it’s so hard for them to lose weight.

    What I mean is that even if I lose weight doing, I think, everything right, I always end up looking flabbier, even fattier and less “toned” or “firm” as a I love weight.

    One example in this picture.

    So what should I do? Sometimes I’m tempted to stop cutting as I see myself looking more flabby, soft, less muscular as the pounds go. And then I feel like I should bulk, and I have even done this few times, cutting, freaking out at what I look like, bulking, getting fatter,…

    Any advice?

    • My physique was way worse than yours when I was cutting. LOL. Yours isn’t anywhere near as bad as you think it is. It’s a pretty normal body in fact.

      In saying that, sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. And when cutting, losing glycogen from your arms and shoulders, and losing fat from everywhere except the midsection and lower chest, it can feel VERY fruitless. During such times I found it was better to just keep taking solace from my waist measurement dropping week after week, and before you realise it your abs start to show through a bit and you’re maybe 8-10lbs away from where you want to be. And you’re starting to feel much happier with how you look. Just takes a little mental strength.

      • Thanks for replying
        This is definitely motivating
        DId you count calories when cutting and what do you think it’s a good calorie intake for someone who is 173 and exercises 3-4 times a week?

        • Hi Jared

          No worries :) I’ll leave that question for Oskar as I don’t feel qualified to advise (I did screw up a bit when cutting at times) but I will say that in my personal opinion, you’re probably not that many months off your weight loss goal. However, I did count calories at the start, but as I continued cutting I found I ate the same foods virtually every day in the same portions, so I stopped tracking.

          It was other stuff that I did (drinking too much coffee + cardio) that gave me a bit of a blurred picture of what my calorie deficit really was (it was huge at times), and has affected my confidence in advising anyone in case I accidentally screw them over, metabolically speaking.

          Another thing I just thought of is when you work with bodyweight a lot (and progress at it with longer sets) it will continue to tighten your abs and generally give them a slightly higher “resting tone”, meaning that you get a better picture of how much fat you’d like to lose and how much was previously just a lack of tightness in the abdominal wall. I also practice stomach vacuums several times daily for this purpose, usually 30-60 seconds at a time. But I started off just doing them for 15-20 seconds.

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          I didn’t count calories but I believe it’s a great idea the first few months to build discipline and get a rough idea of the amount of calories you’re taking in.

  32. Solid advice! I like to revisit your posts.

  33. Awesome blog dude

  34. Hey man should I do this workout every other day? What’s the best way to fit in 4 workouts a week? Thanks!

  35. Hello oskar i was wondering why there is no SEARCH BAR on your site?
    it will be usefull for us your readers to find relevant content that we might check on or need.

  36. Your ideas resemble those of Paul Wade. And they do work wonders.

  37. Jose Fernandez Duque says:

    Hi Oskar,

    Im using this routine in a low calorie diet for loosing weight, but Im having trouble progressing on the push ups and squats. Its getting dificult to add reps. Dont think my calories are too low cause I’ve been feeling just fine. Have you experience this? What key points you thinks I should take a closer look?

  38. Hi!

    How do you view body weight exercise on an empty stomach?
    I thinking of doing your BW phase 1 routine in the morning at 5:30am before breakfast.


  39. Mickey says:

    How the hell do you hit the Lateral deltoid with just those 3 exercises? :O

  40. Matthew says:

    Is there an exact template or any other information I can find on the bodyweight exercises? I’m very new to this.

    • You should buy a book titled “Convict Conditioning” by Paul Wade.
      It’s one of the best out there.

  41. hey.. You always ask skinny fat guys to lose weight.. but i am a skinny fat guy who already is light weighing.. any suggestions if you have for this

    • It’s less about weight on the scale and more about body shape. If *nearly all* your bodyfat is stored around your lower midsection and lower chest but your shoulders are narrow and you have a very light bone structure, you might not weigh that much compared to other guys of a similar height. The tape measure and monthly progress pictures give a better impression than numbers on the scale.

      You can just lean down to a flat belly, lose the majority of chest fat and do a basic bodyweight progression whilst doing so. As a complete newbie, there is a possibility that you might be able to add a little bit of thickness to the upper chest whilst progressing to a decent number of diamond push-ups or some other incline chest exercise.

      • Sorry Surya – I meant to say there is a possibility that in the early stages of doing the workouts *whilst leaning down*, you might get a bit of upper chest thickness. Some people (even some skinny fat guys) can experience some small gains whilst leaning down but it does usually soon tail off and remain static due to the calorie deficit.

  42. Kristoffer says:

    Hi, I recently found this site and it is great! I have started my transformation now :)

    I have a question about this routine: should I perform all the sets of the pull ups before moving on to doing all the sets of push ups etc, or should I perform them in a circuit, i.e: pull ups set 1, push ups set 1, squats set 1, pull ups set 2, etc?

    What would be the pros and cons of the two approaches?

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Do one exercise at a time, and later when you’re strong you can do circuits for conditioning. Take it step-by-step

  43. Hi Oscar, i consider myslef as a skinny fat too. Since i have a 24% body fat but lack of a muscles on my 193 cm, 92 kg body. I can’t do any chin up for now, but i can do diamond push up in 15 a good form. Do you recommend me for building strength or fat loss first? I once gained strength by lifting heavy weight couple years ago, then i decided to cut down my body fat percentage by doing strict diet, instead i lost mostly muscles and strength that i gained but only lost slight level of body fat.

  44. Great exercise Oskar. I didn’t realize that one needs only three basic exercising routines to be physically fit. I often hit the gym 4 to 5 times a day and go for jogging every morning. Of course, I did feel fresh and strong, but never thought that I could save time by doing the three basic exercises right in my home or at my lawn.

  45. I am 52 trying to lose 60 lbs. I have lost 60 lbs already–I used to be 120 lbs over weight. I am 5′ 6″ tall and weigh 228 lbs. I can do 40 pushups in a minute but not even 1 pullup–still too heavy I guess. When I began I could not do even 10 pushups. So I am happy with my progress. I low carb mostly, as I am type 2 diabetic trying to control my blood sugars with diet alone. I have strange reactions to metformin.

  46. Hi Oskar!! I would like to thank you for such an awesome article. I am a skinny fat guy , I have been on a cut program and have lost abt 10 kgs of weight. here are my current dimensions.
    body weight=61 kgs
    height =179.5cm
    I still find some fat around my waist(love handles). Shall I start the bulk programme or shall I cut more.

  47. I am a military member but still happen to be skinny fat (always have been). I can do a good number of pushups/situps/pullups and can run 1.5 miles in 10 minutes, yet the random pot belly won’t go. I have a fairly light and healthy diet, am 5’8 and weigh 145 lbs. I do a mix of strength and bodyweight training with very little cardio now, but I’m worried that if I cut first, I’ll become rail thin (have to be a certain weight in the military.)

  48. Hey man i am 5 ft 5 184lbs and have been strength training for about 2 years and went from about 7 pullups to 15, deadlift went from not being able to lift 315 to hitting 315 for ten reps. I started at 195 lbs and am still kinda skinny fat but look better than i did then. I am strong enough to get about 15 dips full range of motion for one set, can do 50 pushups or so, can do about 10 handstand pushups on a wall etc.

    my testosterone was bery low ablut 6 months ago and i was doing a collegiate footba program about 3-4 times a week and my nipples started getting sensitive. I found out my test levels were at 247 and then i took a break and did lighter higher rep workouts and slept a lot better as well. When i was lifting heavy (3-5) rep range i was so fired up that i was unable to sleep. Now i have been trying to keep my exercises more muscular than neural so i can put on muscle and not get strong. I also try not to exhaust all my resources on each set by keeping a good 2 reps in the tank. Do you think thats a good idea?

    For someone like me ( im in college and working part time so i have limited time. I was thinking about doing a full body program 3 times a week with about 6-10 repititions on ring dips ring pullups and gumnastics movements and squat feont squat and deadlift stuff at the end of my workout. What do you think of that? Or would you rather recommend i do a ligther weight higher rep type scheme for a while? Thanks

  49. Now, in other articles I read you say that you don’t do squats more than once a week because your legs (and butt?) are already big. Is this so? I have the same kind of physique (big strong legs and butt) so I don’t do more than 1 set of squats per week and instead focus more in deadlifts, push ups, pull ups, chin ups … What do you think of this?

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      You’re doing the right thing. No reason to work a body-part you don’t want to grow, other than the bare minimum needed to maintain good strength.

      • Thanks for the reply, Oskar. I appreciate the time you take to answer all of our questions, really!.
        Regarding my initial question on squats, I do have too much fat mainly in my butt and waist. Man boobs are almost gone but my chest still has to grow a LOT because none of it existed a year back. Same with the back and shoulders. Been training for a year now and I look much better but still can’t beat the fat loss race to a solid base. I wanna lose all this fat in my butt and its taking lots of time! (I don’t want to create much muscle in my butt because its huge, like my legs). Do squats burn fat or should be best used to grow muscle only? Should I not do them more than for good strength or are they useful to burn the fat in that area?

  50. I have been swimming through tons of guides on how to beat skinny fat (or just to get in shape in general), and I gotta say this one is my favorite.

    Thank you so much for this post. I can’t wait to get started. (and actually get some results!)

  51. Great article, Oskar. Thanks for Sharing. I am guy 6′ ft tall and weight 154 lbs. i am doing 6 sets of 12 push ups in the wall. What type of you set recommend for me do next? i aint able to doing pull ups and dont try normal push ups yet. I also have very long arms. Thanks again.

  52. hi oskar, 5’9″ here, 19 years old, about 70 kgs, skinny fat ECTOMORPH ( little to no muscle and lot of fat especially around hips that is really embarassing). what would you recommend i do. should i do workouts at the gym or simply do the bodyweight exercises mentioned (squats pushups and chinups) at home/gym, also tell me the days i do the workout, number of sets and rest in between sets? Ive been working out for the past 1 year with literally no results (following a standard gym workout and diet) and im getting really demoralized. i feel im genetically cursed, any help will be greatly appreciated thank you.

  53. Would you recommend this program to women too? I cannot perform push ups nor pull ups… :(

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Mia, I’m afraid this program isn’t optimal for women since you have different needs and usually want to focus more on your lower body and waist rather than getting wide shoulders. What are your goals with training?

  54. Hi, Love your site really informative. I spent some time 4 years ago doing squats and deadlifts multiple times a week and eating in a huge surplus and gained 21lbs.

    Ever since then I’ve been desperately trying to reduce the size of my glutes and and quads as they are bigger than I’d like and I hate them. However I can’t seem to get them to slim down, ive lost 14lbs I no longer do any lower body resistance exercises just sprint hiit sessions and and they just seem to blow up after that.

    The only thing that seems to slim them down is after a game of soccer, but that is only once a week so not enough.

    Any ideas and advice would be awesome.


  55. Hey Oskar,

    Thank you for your website, you’re helping out a lot of people. Is there a rest period you recommend between sets?

  56. Hi Oskar,
    Long time follower of your wonderful website and blog!

    I am currently following your body weight training program and doing my best to eat right. Everything you say makes sense! Body weights with diet and adequate rest until you become lean!

    Could you please comment on why so many sites say that weight training is required to overcome the skinnyfat syndrome? such as:

    It doesn’t make sense. They say you need to focus on muscle building but when you want to build muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus. When i tried these methods i got burnt out because my food intake wasn’t enough for proper recovery! I was feeling burnt out all the time :/ There are so many sites that tell people to go do heavy compound workouts! Should i be adding this into my routine or continue on with your body weight training?

    SO CONFUSED! Thanks for all your help friend

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Hey Shane,

      I respect the author of muscleforlife, but he has NEVER been skinny-fat, so his advice is wrong. I know because I followed that kind of advice, and the same goes for hundreds of my blog readers who ended up fat by doing it.

      My advice is that you pick ‘one coach’ or one website and stick to that advice. If you keep switching you will get nowhere.

  57. Hi Oskar

    Does the execises (pull up, push up, squat), i need to combine in one day of traininig session or do only one execise per one day of training session eg mon- pull up, tue- push up, wed squat :)

  58. Hi Oskar,

    i’m new to bodyweight trainining, do i need to do the push up, pull up and squat in one day or splt it up, example- monday – pull up, tuesday push up wednesday- squat

  59. Hi Oskar,

    when you say that you should at least do 15 pull ups or 20 push ups to progress to the next stage, you mean on the first set? or in every set?

    Thank you

  60. Hi Oskar,
    Like you I did 5×5 for 9 months and made huge gains in strength. I stayed skinny fat but my thighs got huge, to the point they were rubbing together and I was ripping pants! Anyway I stopped that routine and now want to go for something like your routine. The question that I couldn’t find an answer to anywhere on your site relates to the fact that I loved doing the 5×5 routine. So I want to put together a combined body weight/barbell routine with higher reps and lower weight than say 5×5. What do you recommend? Is there benefit to adding the primary barbell lifts at lighter weight/higher reps to BWT, or to alternate days? I just love doing lifts and want to keep doing them. Thanks Oskar!

  61. Hey Oskar ,
    I’m a great fan of your minimalist workouts and have been into calisthenics since then . I am a 19 year old guy with decent muscle definition and 74 kg weight and 6ft. height . I can perform 7chinups ,4 pullups and 20 diamond pushups with perfect form . But my doubt about this workout is that , how much rest should I have in between each set and exercise , and what are the recommended reps for me . Also , should I perform circuits like these and if yes then how many times a week . And lastly!! I want to start cutting because my belly and chest have some flab . Thank you very much for these articles and please provide your expertise.

  62. Hi Oskar,
    Thanks for putting up a great site with useful and practical information.

    It’s easy to fall into the typical advice “eat 300g of protein, squat heavy 3x a week, and you must deadlift to get big!” that’s all over the internet.
    I’ve tried all that and gained strength but still looked horrible without a shirt on.

    Since I started following your advice i’ve made a lot of progress.

    I’ve been lifting for 3 years. Began with starting strength, then moved on to 3-5 day split routines and now i’m doing bodyweight training.
    The routine I’ve been doing for the last 4 months is: chinups, pushups, squats – 4 times a week.

    My current physique looks almost the same as you in the middle photo (november 2012).
    What weights/bodyweight routine do you recommend for bulking?

  63. Hello Oskar i have a some questions to ask
    1. I have bad posture my stomach is buldging (is it becouse of weak abdominal wall?) , and my back is rounded plus i have forward head posture, i’ve seen in your first pictures (side picture) that you had the same postural problems and i was thinking how the heck did you fix them.
    2.I think that my posture is limiting me from doing the exercises correctly so when i do my pull ups i allways feel them in the branchials little bit biceps and maybe shoulder and teres major (LOL) how do i do pull ups with my teres major in the movement instead of the lat’s this is strange to me becouse in human anatomy book they write that teres major (minor) are the LATS little helper.
    pfff this skinny fat body is a product of bad postural habit’s like sitting in front of the computer playing video games whatever bad eating habit’s no physical activity digestion problem’s, hormonal problem’s.
    we are a product of the modern day lifestyle
    so the big question is how to break out of this cursed lifestyle.
    Thank you for your support and keeping posting new articles on the site and writing the newsletter, i really like you man it’s hard to find honest and good people like you, good night.

  64. Anonymous says:

    I would really like to thank you for “saving” me from Starting Strength. The day after I started the program, I found your site and have been doing these exercises for about a week now.

    Unfortunately, I’ve been having a problem. When I started out, I could do 3 sets of 10 push-ups. I tried to increase to 12 push-ups, but did 11 for the first 2 and only managed 8 on the last (I thought, no biggie, I’ll just do more next time). But after taking two rest days, I could only do 1 set of 8 push-ups, and the last 2 sets I had to do knee push-ups.

    The day after that happened (today), I did one set of 10 push-ups (but my brother pointed out to me that I had very bad form for the last couple), and had to stop to go somewhere. I found time later in the day to do push-ups, but I couldn’t even manage one full one.

    Have you ever experienced anything like this? I feel like my whole body is weak when I do them, and my arms hurt, but I don’t feel the “burn” like I’m actually working out my muscles as much as I need to. The first few days I was very sore, but now I don’t feel sore at all. This used to happen to me when I weight-lifted a few years ago, too.

    Please help?

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Reduce the sets to 2 sets per exercise, and supplement with L-glutamine (3 x 5 grams a day). Also, make sure that you stop each set 1 rep before failure.

      This should help you increase reps consistently.

  65. AndTheWhinerIs... says:

    Hi Oskar, thanks for providing this awesome website to the fitness community! I was about to start SS, and i came across your website. In reading through everything, I have discovered that I’m actually a mesomorph (with luv handles). I have been doing a modified version of Bill Starr’s 5×5 straight across for a very long time, after successfully coming back from a shoulder injury. I do DB Rows, weighted pushups, and DB squats 3 times a week. I use very light weights for everything (around 35 pounds maximum weight), i suppose I’m still hung up on trying to keep from hurting that shoulder again. My cardio is spotty, sometimes I do DVD stuff like Turbo Jam a couple times a week. Ab work is spottty, too, 10 minutes of bicycles, crunches, etc. every few days. However, I’m a pretty healthy eater. I don’t count calories or anything but I eat balanced meals and only snack when I’m hungry. Nuts, yogurt, veggies, etc. I’m 6’1″, 189 pounds (+/- 3 or 4 pounds).

    So what kinda strength training do you recommend for someone like me? It’s easy for me to get a big chest, arms, shoulders, etc. within maybe a couple weeks of training. But I would of course like to burn off the luv handles (that’s always been a challenge) and keep doing strength training that makes me look big and toned. But, i don’t have to be totally all the way jacked. Personally, i am not too much into cutting and bulking. Just looking for something that will do me good for the rest of my life, and allow me to add or swap out exercises if I get bored. Also, minimal amount of exercises so i can be done in 20 minutes or less. (Funny enough, I’m taking a break from the 5×5 now and the luv handles seem to have gotten smaller!)

    Thanks for any assistance, Oskar. This website rawks!

  66. Hi Oskar,

    I’ve just spent about 2 hours reading some of your articles. I came here looking for a solution to my ever so embarrassing puffy nipples and ended here realizing the problem that I have. I never knew skinny-fat existed until I read this and truly this makes me want to change my whole life. I have just started lifting a few weeks ago and really felt no progress, just soreness for a few days then a return to the same exercise using the same weight over and over. I NEVER felt improvement when using weights. I am going to stop lifting so much and do the bodyweight work plus a little bit of lifting whenever I feel up to it (is that ok to do?).

    I have a question. You say to do the routine 4 days per week. What do you suggest I do on the other three days? I am thinking of dedicating some to full on cardio and abs. I am a high school student going into senior year and want my last year of track to be my best and record-breaking (I am really close to the records in my school). I am truly sick of myself and the way I have been treating my body. I fit right into the category that you have described of skinny-fat and I never knew. I never understood why I saw no improvement. I really hope that this changes everything for me. I want to look good for my girlfriend and for college next year!

    Also, I don’t fully understand the routine: do I choose the amount of reps per set? How do I know the right amount to do per set?

    Thank you so much,

  67. hy
    am from kenya. what oskar has said is very true. i was super skinny in my first ACCA tuition classes.
    i can remember my best friend said that he heard the students especially ladies talking about me in the class that am too skinny but….
    after about 6 months of proper training i gained muscles. even my friends at college were asking about the ‘gym’ i was training with.
    they didnt believe it was only freeletics.
    my training till now is as follows
    mon & thur push ups and dips
    tue & fri pull ups and squats/lunges
    wed sat sun rest

  68. Anonymous says:

    Oskar, I’ve been reading your webpage and you are awesome. Even though I haven’t started your routines yet, I want to express you my gratitutde.

    It’s clear that you’ve made a huge effort to create all this, your dedication is admirable.
    You give us skinnyfat people (like you once were) hope. You tell us a method that actually works and you it’s free (yet very valuable, and Im sure this will actually benefit you if it hasn’t yet). Even the design of the page is well made, you are clever and you actually carefully reason why you do what you do, with perfect English and proper ortography, plus you answer most of the comments. This is rare, very rare; and it’s great. We need more like you! People like you make the world a better place.
    Im sure you had high testosterone when you built the site and wrote all this lol

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to return you the favour.
    All I can do now is say thank you. Thank you, Oskar! Thanks a lot! You are awesome.

    My best wishes,
    – A currently skinnyfat guy

  69. I am so glad I have found your website,would really love to meet you some day if I ever fly to Denmark.(no homo) I am skinny fat and struggling from ages now. I have read almost all your articles today. However I have few questions which I would really appreciate if you will reply.
    q1: like you said in some article that some people went from x amount of pushups/pullups to xx amount of pushups/pullups, let’s say I wanted to start training how you have explained starting from the beginner body weight training. I agree that I won’t be able to get 20 pullups in that 1 hour of my gym session, so should I just do 4 pullups and then come home? When I have full energy to do weight training? Should I spend time and get some workout done while also trying to increase my pullups/pushups everyday..?
    q2: in one article you say that you only eat 2 meals a day, tbh with you I am one hell of a hungry bastard I eat so much you won’t believe, however I always eat healthy. Even though I know in one article you have also mentioned that eating healthy doesn’t mean you eat all you can. But I feel really hungry don’t know if it’s my metabolic rate even though I am skinnny FAT. So if I eat only 2 meals like you did and I feel hungry all day what should I do?
    q3: like you say you consume a large meal as dinner, what about the research that say the livers can only digest a certain amount of protein in on sitting and if you have 120g in a day and in breakfast from 6eggs you probably get 30grams and rest you have 90g of protein in sitting in dinner, how will your liver digest that much?
    q4: eating at different times wouldn’t it help yor metabolic rate?
    q5: what about muscle rest? Like you say do the same workout day after day shouldn’t we let the muscles rest to let it grow?
    Q6: when you talk about having a smoothie while bulking, is it a protein shake smoothie like with protein powder? Plus I have also noticed you eat a lot of fats since you eat a lot of peanut butter, at some point you also snacked 5-6 spoons on pb per day.
    that’s all for now. :P will really appreciate your reply and congrats on your transformation it’s really really inspiring. :D God bless.

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Hi Jashan,

      I’m happy to hear you like the website.

      Q1: Just follow the beginner bodyweight program:

      You do a few sets 4 days a week, and each time you train you try to do more reps on your first set. Over time you will get stronger and stronger.

      You can add weight training later when you can do 15 pull ups, but forget about that until you have a good base.

      Q2: If you feel hungry all day you’re not eating enough. Try 3 meals or 4 meals. Everybody is different, and you will need a different eating strategy at different times in your transformation. I eat more than 2 meals a day now. Sometimes 6, sometimes 2. The most important thing is getting the right macronutrient split and overall calories for the day and eat at times that work for YOU.

      Q3: Everybody has a different amount of protein they can digest. Also, you can digest more AFTER a workout, so if you workout before dinner you can eat a much bigger dinner than usual.

      Finding the optimal meal size and timing is very individual, so I can’t say how many meals you should eat without actually coaching you and knowing about your preferences, lifestyle, goal and response.

      Q4: It doesn’t matter for you now. Focus on the big picture and not the details. Master the basics before you go into the advanced stuff.

      Q5: I recommend 4 full body bodyweight 25-40 minute workouts a week for beginners. My beginner bodyweight program is great for that.

      Q6: I do eat a high fat diet, because it makes me feel better and boosts testosterone (the main muscle building hormone in the body). However, if you’re trying to cut fat (which most beginners must do first), you shouldn’t eat more than a few TBSP. natural peanut butter at night, because peanut butter is very high calorie. Calories are king for fat loss, so you need to find the right balance.

      Thank you very much, and I know that these answers are not 100% what you wanted, but I hope you understand that I can’t give you personalized answers without knowing your full history and testing different methods on you.

  70. Daniel P says:


    I have been skinny-fat my entire life (35 years)! No more. I have been doing the workouts for 3 weeks and making small progress.

    I am 5’11 and 187 lbs. I will be taking pictures every month. I hope one day my story can motivate others to change. It’s never to late.


    Dan from Orlando Florida

  71. hi Oskar,
    i am from india and i am 26 yrs old. i have started going to the gym since past 1 month and have been following ur advice on pullups and push ups. I do 3 sets of push ups with 22-25,18-15,10-12 reps and now able to to do pull ups as well with about 15 to 14 pull ups in 3 to 4 sets with maximum 6 reps in one set and last set ending with negetive pull ups. After doing so…i become completely clue less as to what to do next, which routine should i follow .i do not have any workout plan or coach to guide me and i become quite confuse as to what should i do next. Also, i have a good amount of fat arround my belly which i want to get rid of. please help me in making my work out schedule and guide me on my diet as well. i am 5’6 with 62 kg weight. should i just do body weight exercise or should i do training as well…and if yes for the weight training plz help me in making my workout programme.

  72. Hey Oskar !
    I Have several questions for you
    my weight is 154 lbs and i’ve been doing these workouts for 2 weeks so far
    Leg raises , squats , setups , mountain climbers ..
    do to a leg injury i’m unable to do Pushups ! so do you have any suggestion ? something to do instead of pushups ? and btw i do these exercises 4 times a week when will i start seeing results ? am not in a hurry but i just wanna know approximately when will i start seeing changes Thanks and sorry for the long questions ! i know that everything i said may sound silly or stupid but i’m trying my best not to get any excuse to workout

  73. Hi Oskar, you recommend negatives in your wonderful ebook to finally be able to do a chin up. I have a doubt. Lets say I can do many negatives. Is it better to add a backpack and do them, or better to add more reps to negatives? If I can do 8 slow negatives, instead of doing 10, 12 or even 15 reps, would it be better to stay at 8 reps but instead keep on adding more and more weights in the backpack? Would this give more strength?

  74. Hi, my question is about negative chin-ups since I’m currently a zero-fighter. How many negative chin-ups, and how many sets did you do in your sessions before you finally achieved that perfect 1 chin-up? Should I do negatives till complete failure?


    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      I don’t remember. It just suddenly came one day and then I got to like 5 pull ups in a week or two. Stop 1 rep before failure.

  75. Mj abdull says:

    Hello Oskar !

    I Need your help currently i’m having a money crisis and i can’t go to the gym or buy alot of nutrition
    i can eat basic food because i can’t afford everything to have a good diet but i really wanna change my skinny fat look currently i’m studying outside my country and i will comeback after 4 months and i wanna take advantage of that period of time and i don’t want it to be wasted just studying when i comeback i want my friends to see a new me i know i can’t get alot of muscles in that time and i need to go to the gym but i want to make sure i’m at least fit so when i get into gym i can immediately start bulking so i wanna ask you about pull ups unfortunately i don’t have one and i can’t get one at home so can i replace pull ups with any other exercise ? and i know that’s alot to ask but can you tell me what should i exactly eat at my situation ? because not everything is available for me so i wanna know if you can help and sorry if it took alot of your time .. thanks

    • Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer says:

      Making a full diet plan takes too much time, but here should be your priorities:

      1) Lose the fat first. This is done by being in a dietary caloric deficit. Use an app such as myfitnesspal to track calories.
      2) If you can’t do pull ups, focus on push ups, squats, sit ups and leg raises. An alternative could be inverted rows if you can do them somewhere.

  76. Hi Oskar, ur transformation is from 2012 to 2013 – you said during this time you did push, pull, and squats. My doubt is, in april 2012 when u started how many pullups were u able to do? Did u slowly progress from zero to negatives, and then negatives to full chins etc.? Or in april 2012 itself were u strong enough to do many regular chins?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      I honestly don’t remember how many I could do. At that time I had already trained for over 2 years, but I still looked skinny-fat. A guess would be 8 chin ups on my first set.

      Before I could do chin ups, I did negatives.

      • Thanks, Oskar. The reason I am asking is, I am only slightly skinnyfat (my body now is better than your ‘before’ 2012 picture in terms of more muscle and less fat), and yet I can only do one chin. Whereas you were strong enough to do 8 chins even before your amazing transformation. That’s why I am confused – with my good physique I lack strength to do chins, whereas even with your average 2012 physique you were able to do many chins.

        Totally confused.

  77. Hi Oskar,
    I’m a skinny fat with narrow shoulders and back and wide hips and thighs with an hourglass figure. I have some fat on my waist and some on my thighs and butt. I also think I have a wide hip bone structure, so fat loss in that region is limited. I was wondering how to proceed to fix this.
    So far I have been doing a 5-day split in evening and cardio in the morning for few weeks which has resulted in some fat loss and some muscle gain (though I lost about 4 kg of weight) with calorific deficit diet.
    I’m guessing I should work on building a broader back and shoulders to offset the wide hips. But as per your article, I should focus on bodyweight training till I build enough strength and then work on the back. Is it possible to do them simultaneously? Also, the bodyweight training includes squats – won’t they result in the hips and thighs getting even more bigger? And should I work the obliques so that the hourglass figure diminishes?


  78. Hi Oskar, for pullups I can only do one…. so do I do one pullup after every few seconds for ten times? I cant practise grease the groove technique since I work all day and can only workout at night.

    YOur advice welcome……..

  79. Chris Tran says:


    I suffer from lordosis and kyphosis. (weak core muscles, weak back muscles, forward neck)

    I was wondering if I should do these exercises or see a physical therapists. My butt sticks out when I do push ups and I feel my form for all my exercises are off.

    Which direction should I take to begin my skinny fat transformation? I feel like I can take on the challenges but I always fear I’ll head in the wrong direction if I don’t correct my posture and do the exercises CORRECTLY first.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Chris Tran,

      I have these issues too, and exercise combined with stretching helped a bit.

      You can spend some time googling these issues to come up with a program that emphasizes your underdeveloped muscles and stretches your overdeveloped muscles. Otherwise, hire a physical therapist.

      To improve exercise technique, record videos of yourself and compare them with instructional videos on YouTube. Also, hire a good personal trainer at the gym for a 2-3 hour sessions so he can teach you all exercises you need to know. I did this recently with a guy from flew in from Ireland and we fixed his form on all exercises in one long gym session.

  80. Beginner here.

    How many reps should I do for my body-weight squats?

  81. Even if one can’t do pullups, simply hanging in a deadhang or flexed arm position or doing negatives can still build a lot of muscle in back, shoulders, and biceps. So even before doing one single pullup, one can still gain muscle by doing negatives … and with that muscle and strength it will be easy to do a real pullup later on.

  82. Hi Oskar.

    Im an 18-year old skinny-fat guy with tiny arms, a non-existing chest, man-boobs and a bit of belly-fat. Some days ago I was motivated and ready to start working out, and decided to start with Mark Rippetoes “Starting Strength”.

    Some google searches and browsing through different articles I stumbled upon your website, and it has absolutely revolutionized my mind completely. I am SO glad I found this site now and DIDNT begin the Starting strength program. Your work-out plan seems much more fun (Ive always wanted to do chin ups and train more with my body, rather than with heavy weights) and I feel more motivated than ever to begin my transformation!

    I havent started yet, but I so dearly hope that I wont misinterpret anything and do this correctly, as well as sticking to a detailed plan. Then maybe I can finally become what I’ve always wanted to become! Btw, I have read your transformation-story and I can completely relate to what you described yourself as when you were 18 and just starting out.

    I hope this will work. I have tried to get in shape so many times before, and over and over again I have failed. If this doesnt work, I’ll probably give up forever.

    Anyway, thanks for this site and your free e-book. I hope I’ll stay motivated and work hard! If you’d have some tips you want to tell me, please feel free to send me an email, I would love to read!

    Best wishes, Kjetil

  83. Hi Oskar,

    Do you know of or have you heard of any way to help improve knock-knees? Or chicken leg? I have both.

    I also have pretty moderate to severe gynecomastia. My areoli especially are big. Have your excercises worked to reduce breast tissue and/or areola size for a case like mine?


  84. Hi , I have been weight training for maybe 8 months now and actually have lost fat and lowered my body fat %

    But reading this makes me think I should do more bodyweight exercise as I definitely cannot do 15 chin ups ! do you think it would hinder my progress to start doing this bodyweight now as a focus , 8 months in ?

  85. Oskar,

    (at the top of the article) when you say “To drop down and do 50 perfect form push ups and 20 chin ups straight after” do you mean 50 and 20 per set or total (over the 2-4 sets)?

  86. Hi Oskar I can currently max out 16 pull ups superset with 30 diamond push ups, I still have quite some lower chest and belly fat, how do I lose it all and get to solid base? Also should I do push ups first than pull ups or the other way? I train almost everyday only rest when I feel really weak.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Lester,

      Those are some pretty good numbers!

      There’s only one way to lose the fat and that is to create a caloric deficit. You can try to add in some cardio 3-5 times or reduce your calories by eating less food.

      It doesn’t matter what way you do it. You can switch it up from workout to workout.

  87. yo oscar.

    i also got that skinny-fat physic and i wanna chance that.
    right now iam 220lbs and 6’4, most fat is around my hips and stomach. do you think cutting down to 154lbs is enough? and from there to start a clean bulk? or should i go even lower?

    do you think these macros are okay for a good balanced diet?
    carbs 250g, protein 125g, fats 56g

    personally i think i should upper the fats a bit more (and cut the carbs down to 200) to make sure my testosteron stays at a good level. or is it fine like that?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Just start cutting and stop when you are at around 10-12% bodyfat. I don’t know if that will happen at exactly 154 lbs. Remember, you may gain some muscle in the process so you can’t predict your finishing bodyweight.

      Your caloric intake is at around 2000 and you’re 6’4 and 220 lbs. That’s an extremely low caloric intake for your size and that is much worse than eating a low carb or low fat diet. What will you do once you lose 20-30 pounds and fat loss stops? Reduce calories to 1700? It’s better to start a bit higher and gradually reduce calories. I would start at 3000 and reduce calories with 300 or so each week until you start losing 1-2 pounds a week. Also, you’re right about having a higher fat intake.

  88. Hey,

    I just started reading your site it’s fantastic! So thanks a lot.

    I’m confused about one thing. How does this work out last 30-60 minutes? If I do 3 sets of push-ups, 3 sets of chin-ups, and 3 sets of squats it only take maybe 20 minutes.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Depends a lot on how much rest time you take, how many reps you do, how fast you do the reps and how much you warm up. If it takes 20 minutes then thats fine. No problem there. As long as you progress, it’s all good.

  89. Hi Oskar,

    Great site with great information! :)

    With regard to the chin ups, do you mean do them 3 times a week until I can reach 5 reps, then switch them to more frequently? I’m currently doing 2,2,1 full reps with negatives after, Mon-Fri 5 days a week and don’t seem to be able to progress. I’m progressing fine on push ups 5 days a week but not chins?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Chris,

      Thank you!

      Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. How long time have you been stalling on the chins?

  90. Hi,
    I have been following your site and I can agree that lifting heavy is not for everyone that want to build up from experience. It is true I haven’t eaten like a horse as for me getting fat again is not an option.
    I had to loose 44 Lbs and it wans’t easy so I’m not getting on that road again.
    Finding this site changed my perspective a little bit and I’ll give it a try. At this point I can do 10 chin ups and 3 sets of 12 reps diamond push ups. Still have love handels and I really want them gone by fololowing the festing technique.
    Unfortunately, because of some contidion in my right arm joint it really hurt doing the diamond pullups so I wanted to ask…how do u feel about dips for the upper chest and triceps?

    Thanks a lot,

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Dips are not good for the upper chest, but they are very good for triceps.

      If you have access to a gym, do incline presses (machine, dumbbells, barbell or whatever you prefer), and incline dumbbell pullovers for upper chest.

      Also, military presses and handstand push ups train your upper chest.

      If those things are not an option, just do the dips. It’s better to have an unproportional chest than to have no chest at all.

      • Thanks a lot Oskar.

        I’ll try to go to 20 diamond push ups as they feel very good on my upper chest. I just hope my joint will allow me:).

        Thanks a lot for all your help.

  91. Its too old.put up new pic of 2014

  92. Change your profile pic of comment box

  93. I have been following the typical “lift heavy compound weights 3 times a week” advice for years and all that happened was that I would make a few gains, feel tired all week, get ill and then eventually end up back where I started as my CNS was fried. I have followed the tips in this article for a few weeks and I feel I am getting stronger, making progress and for one enjoying working out again.

    One question though, I really struggle with chin ups so have been doing reverse rows by setting a pull bar half way up my door frame, do you think this is a good alternative to chin ups? I can do about 10 in one go currently,

    Anyway, great article that has really opened my eyes and given me belief that I can finally get rid of my skinny fat frame. Cheers.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thank you Sachin.

      Reverse rows are great to build up strength, but you should combine them with negative chin ups. You can see how to get your first chin up in my free ebook.

      And yes, heavy lifting fries the CNS, which requires you to take days off. When you lift lighter and focus on working the muscle, you can train pretty much everyday. I found that training for the pump with higher reps everyday gives me much better results in terms of physique.

  94. Hi Oskar,

    I love your site and I’ve recently started on just this program. However, I have several questions:

    1) Why do you advise doing sets of MAX reps minus one (i.e. stopping the set just before you feel you can do only one more). Is it because you feel that doing MAX – 1 in a given set would not deplete all of your energy and motivation to attempt another set?

    2) How long should I wait between sets? Considering the MAX – 1, it seems that 60 seconds would not be nearly enough.

    3) Squats are boring!! Therefore I try to do fewer of them by adding weights. In several places, I have come across the suggestion to do a single set of 20 reps and to add at least 5 lbs extra every workout. I’m quoting from a certain site: “For the 20-rep assault, select a resistance that you would normally use for a tough set of 12 repetitions.”

    This sounds rather “starting strength”-esque, but I figure that if I’m doing this routine 4 times a week, then there is no way I could be adding even 2 lbs every time I go to the gym. Do you think doing 1×20 weighted squat reps 4 times a week is not too strenuous?

    4) Adding another exercise is highly tempting. This routine has me spending quite little time in the gym. I’m a fan of the standing military/overhead press and the deadlift. Is it not worth it yet to start doing them? The pushups/chinups/squats routine seems very promising and effective, but if, for example, the military press targets shoulders far more than those 3 exercises, then it wouldn’t be a superfluous exercise, now would it? On a similar note, the deadlift is commonly regarded as the single most effective compound exercise, so it’s hard to resist doing it as well.

    I appreciate any input. Thanks!

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hi Dominic,

      1) You got that right. Maxing out on any exercise stresses your body a lot, thereby making it difficult to recover from. (Keep in mind that you’re training full body 4 times a week here, so you will burn out if you max out every time).

      2) As long as you need, but no more than 4-5 minutes. The goal here is to gain strength, so you want to be fresh for your sets. However, you don’t want to exceed 4-5 minutes, because then you will get cold again.

      3) I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like a good plan if you want bigger legs. Try it out and let me know how it works out.

      4) You CAN add exercises, but I wouldn’t do it before you can do 15 good pull ups. In the beginning, it’s better to focus on a few exercises and get really good at them.

      • So I got another quick question. So far I am getting squats as 3 sets at 50/35/30 reps and I have been doing your program for almost 2 months. I think I may be struggling with the amount of reps due to issues I have being tall with a long upper body and having my lower tailbone round (which got me in trouble I think in the past with BB squats). So I have been doing box squats with books I have laying around and I can just about go parallel without rounding. I have been doing the squats fairly slow with 2 seconds down and 1 sec up. My question is, should I continue to try to get 100 reps or stop at fifty and then begin working on the single leg or add weight to my squats??

        To the previous post I would like to add that my workout time Is at least 40 minutes including warmup and sometimes this includes supersetting! I think once you get up in the reps you need more time to rest and this definitely adds the time. Just my 2 cents.

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          You can try working on the single legged squat once you hit 50 on all sets. Just keep in mind that it’s very tough on your joints (especially if you’re a tall guy), so listen to your body.

          It’s fine that your workout time goes up. Now-a-days, I often spend 1.5-2 hours at the gym. It’s all about building up to do more, then eventually your body will grow.

          • Ok great thank I will work on getting up to fifty. Just a clarification on your workout for legs you said
            “After that I want you to start training for the pistol squat by holding your hand onto something for support – this should be done 1 to 2 times a week.”

            Do you mean to do squats on the other times you workout when not training for pistols or are you only to train pistols for legs 1-2 times a week only?

            • Oskar Faarkrog says:

              You do the pistols together with the diamond push ups and chin ups, however instead of doing them 4 times a week like the other exercises, you do them just 1-2 times. I found that pistol squats are very taxing on recovery, therefore they don’t need to be done as often.

  95. Hey Oskar,

    So Ive been using your technique for 1.5 months. Progressed to diamond pushups about 15 and 3 chinups to about 8-9. I am starting to change it up a little and split the workout up using grease the groove with chinups and pushups, doing the pushups in the morning and chinups later in the day. Any suggestions on doing it this way? I am doing squats with the chinup workout, about 50 total on first set and 30 the following 2 sets for 100 total workout. Also still trying to lean up. 6’2 about 178 lbs.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You’ve made great progress. If you want to grease the groove, never go to failure. Instead, you train the movements everyday (even several times a day), but keep the trainings light.

  96. when it´s better to do this exercises if you are doing intermittent fasting? In feeding phase or in fasting phase?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Experiment with different times, and see when you have the most energy – that’s the most important.

      I personally prefer after eating, since I need food for energy.

  97. I like the simplified workout. I started losing weight 4 months ago, and I lost weight, but I became skinny-fat. There’s this belly fat I couldn’t seem to get rid of, and it’s awful. I figured that if I continued doing my intense cardio workouts, I’d really go super thin in the arms but still have some fat in the gut. I switched from one circuit to another, looking at videos on YouTube, and at times I just lament at the number of exercises I had to memorize and feel guilty when I miss one or two, because I couldn’t possibly all those 6-10 movements. Having to familiarize too many exercises sucks.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      It’s all about keeping it as simple as possible. You can always add stuff later and experiment when you master the basics.

  98. Hi Oskar, here some pics…with the right light you can see some abs (they exists! :D ) but I still have some fat..
    I was thinking about cutting a little more and then (maybe september) start to bulk..what do you think?
    I’d like to ask if you have a video showing the right way to do diamond push ups.

  99. Hi Oskar,
    great articles and book!
    I’d like to change my routine and switch to more bodyweight, I’ve been training for about 3 years but I never had many progresses (eating rice and chicken breast).
    I’m 5’6” and 138 pound but have still some fat (sometimes I can se 2 or 4 packs, somedays not) and still a bit “puffy nipples”, do you think I should cut a bit more?
    I’m actually training like this:
    day 1:
    squat 4×6 (143 pounds)
    bench press 4×6 (132 pounds)
    and some complementars
    day 2:
    deadlift 4×6 (132 pounds)
    chin ups (I do about 30 in five sets)
    day 3:
    bench press 4×6
    squat 4×6

    Do you think I should stop doing bench press for my nipples?How could I add/switch to bodyweight exercises?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Thanks Alberto,

      If you haven’t made much progress, I suggest you do the routine from this article, but switch the bodyweight squats with barbell squats since you’re used to those. Also, stop doing flat bench press since it builds the lower chest, the place where your puffy nipples are located.

      Send me a pic through the contact form and I’ll tell you if you should cut more.

      • Thanks Oskar!
        I’ll send pics this evening!
        So you think I should try doing only chin ups, diamond push ups and squat every day?

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          Yes, keep it simple and get really strong at those. You can always add other exercises later. Also, start with 4 days a week. Everyday may be too much.

          • Thanks again, I’ll let you know!
            Keep writing those good articles, they are really good for people like me that tried every kind of training without results!

          • Hey Oskar,
            What are the indicators that you go by to judge if your training too much?

            • Oskar Faarkrog says:

              When I start feeling pain in the joints (knees, wrists, elbows), I know that it’s time to back off for a few days. This is also how I structure my workouts. I train until I start feeling it in the joints rather than muscles.

  100. Hello Oskar,

    I enjoy reading your articles and they definitely keep me motivated. I’m 6’2″ and 168 pounds, lots 40 pounds by doing cardio, eating healthy and weight training to some extend( i didn’t over do it since my goal was to get stronger and lose fat, NOT to gain mass). Now I’m technically skinny fat, love handles and man boobs are still there, and I’m unsure what to do next, I’m thinking of Calisthenics because of the lack of a nearby gym, I definitely can do more pullups than before, from 8 to 10 which is a great improvement, Now as far as a diet goes, do you bulk during calisthenics in order to achieve a muscular look? (like I said, I’m not looking for mass here) Do you count calories when you try to get rid of that skinny-fat look? eating more than 2000 calories to get stronger a bigger muscles or should I keep eating around 1600 calories while I do calisthenics?


    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Now as far as a diet goes, do you bulk during calisthenics in order to achieve a muscular look?

      Yes I do, read this article:

      Do you count calories when you try to get rid of that skinny-fat look?

      I never count calories.

      Now I’m technically skinny fat, love handles and man boobs are still there, and I’m unsure what to do next

      It sounds like you need to cut the fast first, but send me a pic of your physique through the contact form and I’ll tell you whether you should lose the fat now or focus on gaining muscle.

  101. I can do like 100-110 ( total 3 sets) of regular squat

    It’s okay? And I will keep,doing that 4 weeks

    I doing like this

    It’s fine yeah?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      If you can do that many, it’s time work on the pistol squats. Do pistol squats twice a week, 2-4 sets. Hold onto something for support, and warm up with regular squats.

  102. I talking about this of u can answer me :)

    “But I should do the program 4 weeks? And 4 times a week? And do all the program in the day right? The squat, push-ups and the chin-ups

    Doing that until I getting lean and then u think its good to to the gym? Or u think stay home and doing the program but in more levels is ok.

    And u said doing regular squat 4 weeks, ( I wanna ask how many In a week I should doing that? Everyday? And u said the Pistol Squat doing 1-2 times a week so for how long time do that? And what about the all program? Cuz if I need doing this only 1-2 times a week I just need doing the push-ups and chin ups 4 times a week and add the Pistol Squat during only 1-2 days in the week?

    Thanks! I just wanna know I understand all

    U really help me :). ”

    Thanks Agian for ur time

    • Hey!

      Pls answer me as fast u can ! I really need ur answer

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Start with regular squats 4 days a week and work on flexibility so you can go below parallel on each rep. Wait with the pistol squats until you can comfortably do a lot of reps on regular squats with good form.

      • Okay,

        And I have question

        I am 67 kg 178 cm high, I got fat in my legs , arms, chest, Stomach

        If I will do the program 4-5 days in a week 3 sets , and lose weight
        I will see the fats in the things I have wrote dissapear ? It’s really annoying me…
        It’s so ugly and like Liquid fat :-(


        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          Fat loss is a result of eating less. To lose the fat, eat less calories. The training will ensure that you maintain muscle and gain strength, so you’re stronger once you start bulking.

          • Okay

            So I need eating less with the program until I will getting lean, and if I will be like 55 kg? It’s not count low weight for my height ? I don’t wanna look like Fingerboard

            • Oskar Faarkrog says:

              It is low, but if you lack muscle mass, then your bodyweight is going to be low when you cut.

              • I don’t got a lot muscles , I do ur program all week I try 4-5 days

                Today I success doing 1 chin up :) I was so happy and I saw I got more power then the first workout

                U remmber the photos I sent u I ur email? U think if I will keep doing this program and eating less all the fats in the body will disappear ?

                And how much weight I need lose in a week? 0.1-0.5 kg?


                • Oskar Faarkrog says:

                  Congrats on the chin up! All the fat will not disappear, but you will look better. Fat loss is non-linear, so you may lose 2 kg some weeks, and 0 kg other weeks. Aim for 2-3 kg per month.

                  • But if the fat will not disspear it’s mean the
                    Fat impoverishes that so annoying will stay?

                    I really wanna just be lean with Normal body without fat :(

                    I don’t wanna be in situation that I will be 50 or 55 kg and be still with the fat impoverishes

                    What should I do?


  103. Hey Oscar,
    My name is roy and im 17 years old. My weight is 67 and my height is 178 cm

    I have 2 questions:

    1. I will go soon to the gym, they gives us a program with some machines that works like for example for the chest/ legs / arms…

    So idk what to do, I read ur post . So
    The program I should do is for start : doing 4 weeks regular regular squat ( how many times in a week?) and doing push ups (20+) and then try do diamond push-ups .

    The thing I don’t understand is what the all program is? Can u write me the program from the start until,the end, how many sets to do and for how long time?

    It’s will really helps me , and about the gym program with the machines – do that or no?

    And what about Aerobic Activity? How many time I need do and for how many time a week?

    And as I know is good train with day rest ( 3 times a week) u think its ok?

    For the summary: if u can write me Neatly the things I need do in the program I will really thank you

    :) thanks

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      The program from this article:

      2-4 Sets of Chin-Ups
      2-4 Sets of Push Ups or Diamond Push Ups
      2-4 Sets Squat or Pistol Squat

      Frequency: You do those exercises 4 times a week on whatever days suit you.
      Sets: 2-4 sets depending on how much energy you have.
      Reps: Each set should be stopped 1 rep before failure. (Basically when you can feel that you won’t be able to complete the next rep, stop the set). However, once in a while you should push yourself and go to failure on the LAST set of each exercise.

      This is the program. No more, no less. You can do some walking or biking on the side if you want, but for now, just focus on getting strong on the abovementioned exercises.

      • So for this program I don’t need gym ? ( just do
        What u wrote I can actually at home too no?)
        And u saw my pictures I sent u in my email: how I make my body looks nice like yours

        Doing ur program for 4 weeks ? And u suggest doing Aerobic Running ?

        And the gym program with Machines not good u think?
        Because for getting strong no need training with weights ?


        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          You aren’t going to build my body in 4 weeks. It took me 4 years to build it.

          You don’t need weights or gym right now. You need to focus on eating less to lose fat, and do some basic bodyweight training to gain strength. Read through my START HERE page, and the articles linked there:

          I’m not saying gym is bad. It’s just not necessary yet.

          • Ok I read all this,

            When u think is good start training in the gym with the all machines ?

            And what about running ? How many days in a week u recommend?

            And my problem to start is that idk if what I eating already is not already less
            And idk how I can eating less then that ..

            • And what u menacing by: “some basic bodyweight training to gain strength. ”

              Is it the program ?

              2-4 Sets of Chin-Ups
              2-4 Sets of Push Ups or Diamond Push Ups
              2-4 Sets Squat or Pistol Squat

            • ** forget to write I eat 1707 calories and my bmr is 2111 calories

              • And sorry for a lot alot replays of me! I hope I don’t made u mad

                I just really wanna add this Important thing for no ask it later ( I really wanna start training :). )

                So, I understand ur program

                But I should do the program 4 weeks? And 4 times a week? And do all the program in the day right? The squat, push-ups and the chin-ups

                Doing that until I getting lean and then u think its good to to the gym? Or u think stay home and doing the program but in more levels is ok.

                And u said doing regular squat 4 weeks, ( I wanna ask how many In a week I should doing that? Everyday? And u said the Pistol Squat doing 1-2 times a week so for how long time do that? And what about the all program? Cuz if I need doing this only 1-2 times a week I just need doing the push-ups and chin ups 4 times a week and add the Pistol Squat during only 1-2 days in the week?

                Thanks! I just wanna know I understand all

                U really help me :)

                • Hey!

                  I wanna start the program tomorrow I waiting for ur answers

                  That really all my questions so if u can help me with all of them

                  U really my hero! I see now I have is hope!

                  • Oskar Faarkrog says:

                    Listen Roy,

                    I’m glad that my website has motivated you to get fit, but please do me a favor and write ONE comment at a time.

                    Now onto the suggestions:

                    1400 calories is VERY low. Start with something like 2000 calories, then do that for 1 week and see if you lose size around your waist and/or hips.

                    If you don’t lose any size around your hips or waist, try 1800 calories for a week. Reduce with around 200 calories a week, until you start seeing fat loss.

                    Don’t start with 1400, because what will you do once fat loss stops? Reduce to 1000? That’s crazy low. It’s better to lose the fat slow and stay patient, than start with a huge deficit. I lost something like 1.8 kg per month during my fat loss – that’s just 450 grams a week.

                    • Hey

                      Thanks for ur answer

                      But the thing I eating now without changes and stay at the weight few months like 1700-1800 calories

                      If I will up the fat and low the carb and eating 2000 calories I will lost still fat? Cuz it’s more food then I eat

                      And what u think about the new menu I wrote ?

                      And if u can answer me about the program ( it’s in the program post of yours) cuz tomorrow I wanna start train and go for it

  104. For someone with 14% BF, 6’7″ tall, belly and chest fat, but lanky arms and shoulders, would you recommend cutting or bulking? I’d like to build muscle, and I don’t want to look any skinnier than I do (with a shirt on). What do you suggest?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Cut to about 12% (shouldn’t take long). How many chin ups can you currently do, and what are your general strength levels like?

      • Generally my strength is lacking, currently cannot complete any chin ups.

      • Strength levels are currently rather low, can’t complete any chin ups.

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          Ok, you need to work on that then while cutting. Follow the routine from this article, and read up on how to get your first chin up in my free ebook. At your height and build it’s gonna take a long time to fill out your frame with muscle, but once you do fill out it will look VERY impressive.

  105. Alberto says:

    What exactly are you refering with SUPERSET?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You take two exercises, and do them back-to-back. For example, if I do chin ups and push ups together without a rest, I’m supersetting them.

  106. Is there any other alternative to chin ups ?

    • Ah, i’m sorry. I didn’t see dan’s question, therefore i’ll reformule my question : are lat pulldowns a good alternative for chin-ups ? (Sorry for my bad english).

      • Oskar Faarkrog says:

        Lat pulldowns are a good alternative, but I prefer chin ups, since they force you to stay lean to get very good at them.

  107. Hey Oskar! I have been a fan of bodyweight for couple of years but didn’t see how much it really would benefit me and others. I’m an American football player aspiring to become professional. Huge,powerful legs are needed, and I’m not picky about having big legs because I think every man should have nice sized legs.

    I would squat heavy 3-4 times a week, and my legs barely grew. My legs were at 15 inches when I started one year and half ago. I met with a trainer to help me with my legs. Guess how many heavy squats we did? 3-4 times a month! A month, not weeks… Instead I did lot of bodyweight squats, duck walks, frog hops, broad jumps and vertical jumps with weight vest focusing on burning my legs as much as I could. Result? One year and half later, my legs are now 22 inches! Bodyweight is very powerful indeed. We only did heavy squats so I wouldn’t lose my max strength.

  108. Hey Oskar. Thank you for writing these articles! Really helped me a lot.

    I have a concern of my own, I have been doing calisthenics for the past two months and I have been trying to increase my weight along the way. I am not sure whether I am doing everything right. I classify myself having an endomorph mesomorph body as I have broad shoulders but fatty body. I have been doing exercises -pushups, chin ups, pull ups, squats, handstands and I still have 18% body fats (according to online calculator). My daily consumptions are 4 meals per day -breakfast, lunch, snack (before workout *I usually workout in the evening*) and dinner. Usually my breakfast would include oat, milk and 3 eggs, lunch will be rice, chicken and broccoli, snack – peanut butter sandwich and two eggs and dinner- rice, chicken and some veggies.

    Under the nutrients part, am I overeating? In the past two months I have never included any cardio in my regimen (Should I ?). If so, how would you recommend me to start cutting fats (get leaner) while not losing muscles? I know you have written an article about it but it is hard to get lean first as I have started the bulking method first and I have gained 2 kilos from the past two months.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You’re welcome Sam.

      Your diet looks pretty good. I suggest you track your waist, hips and bodyweight each week. Your goal should be to lose about 0.5-1 kilo a week until you reach around 10-12% body fat. To do that, simply adjust the quantity of foods you eat.

  109. Hi Oskar, I am just 143 pounds at 5’10” and have belly fat. Do u recommend cardio for someone so thin yet a little fat? If so, do u recommend HIIT …how many days per week? In a word, is it good for a skinny fat guy like me to do cardio since I only weigh 143 pounds?

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      What is your bodyfat level and are you trying to get very lean now, or build more muscle?

      • I don’t know my bf but most of my body is okay (very little fat), 2 extra inches in the belly, that’s all. So my main objective is to build muscle, but every time I add inches to my arm or chest, my belly is also growing….I want to reach at least 160 pounds and then try to maintain it from there. I feel 160 will be right for a guy my height.

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          It’s a trade-off. I gain a bit of fat on my waist too when I bulk, but I never bulk for more than 2-3 weeks, so I lose the fat in no time. Also, the more muscular you get, the less noticeable your belly fat will be. Now-a-days when I bulk, I still look very good at the end.

          • When I look in the mirror, I look good, only a slight bulge on my belly, but with measuring tape it shows 2 inches increase. Is it because I have added some inches on my chest and arms….so the belly, despite becoming bigger looks smaller in comparison to chest?

            • Oskar Faarkrog says:

              It’s normal to add a few inches when you start eating more. Part of it is fat and part of it is because of eating more carbs and having more food in your stomach.

              As long as you stay below 15% body fat it’s all good. You can cut those inches in a few weeks.

              • Thanks again, Oskar. I added an inch and half in both arms (so three inches totally). How much would this translate to in terms of kilograms? Any idea? My total body weight increased by 10 kilos.

                • Oskar Faarkrog says:

                  I have no idea John, but I’ve heard that for every inch of muscle you gain on your arms, you gain around 10 pounds (4.5 kilos).

  110. Hi Oskar!

    I have been using this training program for almost 2 weeks and been doing it everyday. I’m at the moment stalling on chins and diamond pushups. I can do 7 chin ups and 15 diamonds as max. Each workout when I try to do one more than last time my body just wont do it and I’m doing the same reps as last time. I’ve been eating 3 clean solid meals with carbs, fats and protein and gotten least 8 hours of rest a day.

    Each session I start with warmup then after that 4 sets of Chins eg 7 rep then 6 then 5 then 5 with 3 minute rest between the sets and after that I do Reverse lat pulldowns to hit the back some more and you get the point. Do you have some advice for me on how I can continue to progress?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      How has your progress been during those 2 weeks? Do you feel like the workouts are too hard to recover from or too easy?

      • I have no soreness the day after a workout but when I’m doing the workout I feel like I’m pushing my body to the limit and I feel my muscles are sore during the workout. The reason for not getting soreness the day after is probably because I have been over-training and my body is accustomed of the training. But I have to say it have been somewhat easy to recover.

        Each workout I try to do a little bit more to keep progressing and at times like once a week I add like one rep to my total.

        During these 2 weeks I have lost like 2 kg and 1 inch around my waist.
        I have gone from max 10 diamonds to 14-16 diamonds and max 5-6 chin ups to 7-8 chin ups.

  111. Cheers, will try GTG method for now, I think I’ll be more consistent with it. By the way you have excellent blog which addresses the problems of a skinny fat person which unfortunately not many other sites don’t :D

  112. Hi Oskar, excellent article and blog you have! I have a question about this routine. You advice performing 2-4 sets of chin ups (along with the other two exercises) about 4 days a week. However on some other sites people advocate “Grease the Groove” method in which you do low number of reps (not going to failure) several times every day. Like you have a chin up bar at home and when you walk past it, you perform one or two chin ups and increase the number of reps as you progress.

    Well it sounds like a working method. But I’d like to hear your opinion about this, since you seem to be a knowledgeable guy. Mainly, is there any difference whether one performs your workout vs. grease the groove method? I can currently do 2 chin ups and was wondering which workout would be more efficient.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      The grease the groove method is great and I’ve used it before, but I would wait with it until you can do at least 5 chin ups. I can’t tell you which workout would be more efficient since everybody responds differently, but for now, I don’t think you would benefit much from grease the groove since your chin up number is too low for it.

      • Thanks for the reply Oskar. How about if I just do one rep several times a day (some hours apart), wouldn’t that eventually lead to being able to perform 2, then 3 and so on reps?

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          It surely will, but I believe that doing your max is better when your reps are so low. With that said, feel free to experiment with it. As long as you stay consistent, both methods will work.

  113. Hi Oskar, can u comment on this a little bit. For the last three months, I did nothing but pushups (and push-up variation like incline etc.) , dips for last one month. I increased my weight from 120 to 143 in three months, arm has increased by an inch and a half. (Belly also has Unfortunely increased a little).

    My question is, since i am currently 143 at 5’10” do I continue pushups variations and dips for another three months. Or will progress not take place since three months of progress has already been made? Does it mean I must give up body weight training and opt for weights? Pls advise.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You can do bodyweight training for as long as you want. There are always ways to progress. If you can’t do 15 chin ups and/or 25 diamond push ups then I would continue with just bodyweight training.

  114. Hello Oskar,
    I have just started this program and Im wondering if its okay to do barbell squat and do it 5×5. And at the moment Im using a somewhat challeging weight that I can still go parallel on. And each season I add some weight or what would you suggest bro?

    When Im reading on this site it gives me that one day I can do what no one expected from me since I have made about all the same mistakes as you had in your early years. So I appreciate you for making this site for the skinny-fats.


    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hi Tommy,

      It’s fine to replace the bodyweight squats with weighted squats and do them as you suggest.

      If I can do it, you can do it too!

  115. hey wassup dude im making my workout plan now the only problem is that the reps how many should i do…i can do 25-35 regular push ups and i can only do maybe one chin up

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You should move onto diamond push ups if you can do 25-35 regular push ups. Do as many reps as you can, but stop 1 rep before failure.

  116. Hi Oskar,

    Would you mind explaining how you recommend progressing with squats? Do you start with pure bodyweight squats (no bar)? How many sets/reps of bodyweight squats would you suggest before professing to pistol squats or adding some weight? Thanks!

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hi Scott,

      First you do slow, controlled bodyweight squats and work on your mobility so you can go all the way down. Once you have adequate mobility and you can do about 50 slow reps on bodyweight squats with feet together, you can start working on pistol squats.

      I still can’t do a full pistol squat without support, but I train them by placing my hands on something for support, then I lower myself all the way to the ground slowly, and then I push back up. The idea here is to use your hands as little as possible and keep the tension on your legs.

      • I think height also plays a role in pistols. I am 5’7” and my friend is 6’2”.
        We both started working on pistols together but I got the hang of it earlier and he still needs support. Though with hardwork anyone can do it.

  117. Hey Oskar

    I have lost around 4 stone in the past years but because i was young i never really did exercises so i lost the weight but i would certainly say i am skinny fat. I have been reading a lot of your stuff and i have until august to make some decent progress because i am going travelling to Australia for a year.

    When i finish college in a few weeks i am going to make a note of all of the things you have said to do and follow them religiously, one thing i am very unsure of is how to write up a diet, i usually need something to start me off and then i can work on it and change it around from there. Sorry for the long read but the diet has always been the thing that’s confused me. I am 6ft 1, 156 lbs and have around 1800-2000 cal a day to maintain my weight. I’m not expecting you to write me up a full diet but maybe some advice or a link to a site would be greatly appreciated :)

    Looking at your before and after’s has inspired me, i honestly don’t care to get extremely shredded, in fact i would be happy with the ‘lean’ picture after you cut from being skinny fat.

    When i start i will be taking pictures every day for 4 months and will gladly show the progress if you want, thanks bro :)


    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Josh, I’m glad I could inspire you and congrats on the fat loss!

      I don’t follow a strict diet, but read through this article:

      I outlined there what I did to lose 60 lbs, with a lot of diet tips to get you started. Also, read through my newest fat loss article.

      Finally, you said you would like to get that “lean look” I had after my fat loss. In that pic, I was about 177 lbs at 6″3, with very little bodyfat, so you probably need to gain 15-20 lbs of lean mass to get there depending on how lean you are now. You should be able to gain that in 1-1.5 years, if you follow the advice here:

      This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but most skinny-fat guys need to gain quite a lot of lean mass, to just look “lean”.

      And sure, I would love to see your progress. Send me some pics when you have been at it for a while.

  118. Harrison says:

    Rest Time between Sets?

  119. Oskar,

    Do you have posted anywhere your “best practices” for working up to pistol squats? I really want to master these, but I’m not sure where to start with progression. My balance and strength is pitiful at this point!



    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Joel,

      I still haven’t mastered the pistol squat myself so I’m not the best person to ask about that. When I train for it, I usually hold onto something for support, and go all the way down slowly, then up again for as many reps as I can. I can do about 12 reps like that, but as soon as I try it without support, I can’t get deep enough.

      For a detailed progression on pistol squat and other bodyweight exercises, you should check out the book Convict Conditioning

  120. Hey Oskar,

    Is there another bodyweight exercise that’s the equivalent as the chinup bar? I don’t have a bar or a gym. Hoping there’s something that might help.


    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hi Dan,

      I don’t know any, but just do the push ups and squats until you get access to a bar. Also, you can find a bar outside on playgrounds and parks.

  121. Excellent article man!

    I started doing exclusive bodyweight training a few months back due to a mjaor change in lifestyle (I started working on oil rigs and didn’t have access to a gym). Bodyweight rules and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t get into killer shape and develop kill stength with it.

    If anyone wants inspiration or motivation or doesn’t believe in bodyweight training, i suggest you watch the video below on youtube:


  122. Thanks! I found this very helpful.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      You’re welcome AJ, good luck with the training.

      • aditya verma says:

        Dear sir

        I need some serious advise from you, i have never ben to a gym for more than a month
        and have a average body type, age 29, height5.5, weight 72kgs. i kno its too late but i need to transform my body for good, can i even achive it now i wonder?
        i would really appreciate if you can guide me for the same.


  123. I’ve been training for 3 weeks now. I’m up from zero chinups to four, nearly 5 in the first set. Pushups have gone from around 7 standard, to 14 diamond in one set. Not a massive increase, and very slow (annoyingly) — but it’s progress at least.

    My question is — when do you start adding weight instead of reps? Is 15 diamond pushups enough to start adding weight in a backpack? And how many chinups — maybe 10 before adding weight? I’d rather train for bulk than endurance.

    Thank-you for putting something like this out there, it’s really a good thing to promote an idea that most people can start doing with minimal equipment and time.

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      That’s great progress Max, keep it up.

      There will be an article in the coming week about diamond push ups. Until then, focus on adding more reps to it. As for chin ups, get 15 reps, then either add time under tension or weight (depending on preference).

      • I have been following your site for a month now and follow your routine and the result is impressive. I have gone from 10 diamond for 4 set to now almost 25 diamond for each set with good form( for the first time I started to see that I have upper chest. My push up is a bit lacking my chest( i have a giant legs and butt muscle. I can do 13 push up with 14 kg support for 4 rep at the moment. I have lift for years with no result and instead get terrible proportion from lean upper body and huge bulky muscular legs.
        My question is what is next from here when I master all the push up and diamond. I try to find the article you mentioned but I don’t know where it is. My state 175kg 77kg and around 14% body fat. I also living in Denmark and will soon move to KBH. It is amazing that I found your website. I lift weight since I was 16 on and off and was demotivated several time because I get no result.

  124. Oskar,

    I’m skinny-fat and a total beginner to bodyweight training. The trainer at my gym has given me stretching exercises to perform. But I’m not sure it’s the same thing as dynamic stretching. Could you explain the term ‘dynamic stretching’?


  125. Hashem Amer says:

    A great article oskar,i have been following you for 2 months and i have learned so much.I have already switched to body weight exercises after 5 months at the gym although i gained a lot of muscle but i dont have the ripped look,lets see what a combination of bodyweight exercises for 6 days and sprinting would do :D

  126. Great article Oskar!

  127. Hi Oskar, I’m a big fan of you and your site since i found it 3 month ago. I was doing a modified SS routine like the one you mentioned in other article. As i still consider myself a beginner, i will start with this bodyweight routine. My question: what about deadlift? Don’t you recomend doing it as a beginner??
    Thanks as usual and regards!!

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Hey Fernando,

      How did the modified SS routine work for you?

      In my eBook I recommended the deadlift and chin-up to give people options. A lot of people emailed me that they want to lift weights, so I added the deadlift. The same goes for the modified SS routine.

      If I was a beginner, I would do bodyweight training only, and get strong at that, since that has given ME the best results. With that said, both things will work, you can even mix them up. The important thing is to train hard, stay consistent and focus on either gaining muscle or losing fat through eating more or less. Pick one routine, and stick to it for a good while. Track progress and see how YOUR results are on it, and make a decision based on that.

      • Hi Oskar, the modified SS routine (with chin-ups instead of bb rows) worked pretty good, I was slowly progressing in strength even when my focus was on getting lean. But then, after about 2 month, i injured one leg, so i had to stay away from squats and DL, and I started doing chin-ups, pushups and OH press every training session (3 times a week). And that’s when i noticed my best progress!!!! e.g. from hardly doing 3,2,2 chin-ups, now i can easily do 5×5 chin-ups. That’s why i like very much your beginner routine and I will switch to it (my leg is ok now).
        I’m almost 36 and i never thought i would be able to progress the way i am!! Thanks very much for your answer and valuable advice!!

        • Oskar Faarkrog says:

          You’re welcome! :-)

          The same thing happened to me when I switched from lifting weights to bodyweight training. I thought I would never get the physique I want, but after I made the switch, my progress really took off. Let me know how the routine works out for you.

  128. hi Oskar
    im following your page from germany nearly every day and its very great job you done my question is that im cutting since 2 months with your training methods like chin ups i use a machine but every to weeks lesser weights until im strong enough to do a normal chin up or diamond push up and so on. i am doing a low carb diet but i hear i should cylce the carbs on training days more and free days lesser carbs so the question is am going 5-6 times a week to the gym and im scared to eat carbs :( and is it normal that during the cutting phase my arms are smaller,more muscle mass than before but small, i will cut 2 months and want to start with bulking ( on february 2014 ) the good point is see an advance my stomach is my main problem but its smaller i hope you can help me Greets from Germany

    • Oskar Faarkrog says:

      Try doing negative chin ups instead of the machine, this should give you a chin up faster.

      If you are a the gym 5-6 times a week, you need to eat a good amount of carbs. Just make sure to get a good amount of carbs everyday while staying in a caloric deficit. There’s no reason to cycle them.

      It’s normal that your arms look smaller because you reduce your carb intake and also because you lose fat on them. If you’re losing fat around your stomach, you’re doing good, just keep it up!

Speak Your Mind