Article last updated: May 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
I’ve received a lot of emails recently about diet and training advice. The emails typically sound like this:
Hi, I’m new to training, what is the best training routine out there?
In this article I will give you The Best Training Routine For A Skinny-Fat Guy. This training routine will get you ripped in the shortest time possible.
Actually, I’m just kidding.
There’s no magical routine out there!
There’s no shortcut to changing your body!
The Best Training Routine Is Adjustable
First of all, as I explained in my previous article Why You Shouldn’t Do Starting Strength as a Beginner, a training routine should just be a plan that you adjust on a daily basis. My plan right now is something like this:
- Exercise 1: 2-4 sets of Close Grip Chin Ups (the last rep of my final set is a very slow negative L-Sit Chin Up)
- Exercise 2: 2-4 sets of Diamond Pushups or Bodyweight Skullcrushers (after my last set I do regular push ups to failure)
- Assistance Exercises IF I have the energy: Single Legged Squats, Hanging Leg Raises and Climbing Rope)
That’s right, my plan is very minimalistic. I do this whenever I feel like doing it, but when I do it, I give my 100 %. On days where I have tons of energy I add single legged squats and make it a triset rather than a superset, and I might do a few dropsets at the end of each exercise.
This is actually one of the reasons why I recommend bodyweight training as I mentioned in my previous article about the 6 Benefits of Bodyweight Training. You can push hard on bodyweight exercises and recover much faster than from heavy compound lifts that stress your lower back a lot (the lower back recovers VERY slowly in comparison to other muscle groups).
So as you can see, I don’t have a magical training routine. I focus on exercises that target my weak parts and I rarely do leg training, since I don’t want to build bigger legs.
The Best Training Routine Focuses On Your Weak Muscle Groups
This leads to the second problem: a lot of routines are good general plans for adding mass to your body. If you’re a skinnyfat guy, there’s a good chance that your hips are wide, your shoulders are narrow, your waist and chest are soft and you have no definition on your arms. If you do a typical beginner routine with a lot of compound movements, you will eventually get bigger overall. This is a wrong approach for a skinnyfat guy!
Instead, you should focus on adding muscle to create an illusion of a V-shaped upper body. This is done by training the back super hard with chin ups along with your shoulders, upper chest and arms as shown in the picture on the right.
There’s a reason why I always emphasize back training: WIDE LATS ARE EASIER TO BUILD THAN WIDE SHOULDERS. With naturally narrow shoulders, you can train your shoulders for years, and they will still appear narrow if your lats are lacking.
When I started training I got strong at compound movements, and I gained weight. The result was that I simply became a bigger skinny-fat version of myself.
With your worse than average skinny-fat genetics and low testosterone levels you are already struggling to put on any signifcant muscle mass. Therefore, to maximize your chances of looking good, you better add that muscle mass in the right places (lats, shoulders, arms and upper chest). By doing heavy compound movements my lats to bigger from all the heavy deadlifts but my shoulders, arms and upper chest didn’t improve at all.
To Sum Up
- There’s no magical training routine out there
- Your routine should just be a plan that can be adjusted on a daily basis
- You need to learn to listen to your body so you can adjust your routine efficiently
- Your routine should focus on your weak muscle groups and in most cases you need to focus on building a wide back
Finally, the best training routine for you is the one you can stick to! If you can’t stick to your routine in the long-term, it doesn’t matter how good it is. You won’t make much progress.
A lot of “keyboard experts” say that you need to switch up your routine frequently to confuse your muscles. That’s BROSCIENCE. I’ve done the abovementioned routine for over 8 months straight, and I’ve had the best progress of my life. I never believed in this muscle confusion theory, and neither should you.
Instead, you should find a routine that you know you can stick to in the long term – it’s easier to get really good at a few exercises, because that enables you to track your progress. If you have a complicated routine with 25 different exercises, it will first of all take time to learn the technique on each of them and second of all, tracking progress will be difficult.
I hope this article cleared up the confusion about magical training routines that will get you ripped fast. If you want me to help you adjust your current routine, simply drop a comment below.