Gaining weight can be a huge challenge if one has the propensity to be thin or suffers from an underlying health issue. Being fit and looking fab is what we all aspire for, but is it that easy to achieve? The task can be daunting if one is underweight. Most people relate exercising with weight loss but did you know gaining some healthy weight too requires exercises and a good diet. However, fret not - we have exercises that can help you gain weight healthily by building muscle mass.
There are two primary motivations for seeking methods to engage in weight gain exercise. The first is the desire to enhance muscle mass, while the second is the need to address being underweight, as current weight is deemed unhealthy with respect to height.
Pre-covid exercising was majorly an outdoor task — be it in the gym or a park but covid rekindled the age-old way of exercising indoors. We’ll follow the trend and suggest easy-to-perform exercises you can do at home. First things first - don’t overdo anything, but pick up the pace gradually.
Reasons Why One Can’t Gain Weight
Let's start by addressing the reasons why gaining weight can be challenging. For many individuals, putting on weight is a difficult task, often due to genetic factors that influence their body's growth.
There are various factors that can contribute to difficulties in gaining weight, including:
Busy lifestyles can hinder the development of a balanced diet plan, leading to weight loss.
Lack of Physical Activity:
Establishing a regular exercise routine is essential for those looking to increase their body weight since exercise helps increase muscle mass, which helps in weight gain.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
Some individuals may experience digestive issues due to conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, which can impede weight gain.
People with high metabolism burn calories faster, leading to less or no accumulation of fat in the body. Therefore, weight gain becomes difficult.
Individuals suffering from hyperthyroidism experience a heightened metabolism, which often leads to increased calorie expenditure throughout the day. In the absence of appropriate medication, hyperthyroidism can make it challenging to gain weight, even when dietary intake is raised.
Type 1 diabetes:
Due to less insulin being produced in the body, patients suffer from high blood glucose which is excreted in the urine, leading to weight loss.
Individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) lower than 18.5 are classified underweight. It's important to note that when striving to gain weight, it's crucial to prioritise healthy weight gain through weight gain exercise.
How Can Weight Gain Exercises Help?
Exercise alone is not typically used to gain weight. Strength and resistance weight gain exercises stimulate muscle growth, cardiovascular fitness, and overall health. If your goal is to gain weight, you should focus on your diet and nutrition. However, a weight gain exercise can complement your efforts by helping you build muscle mass, which contributes to a healthier weight gain. Because muscle is denser than fat, this increase in muscle mass can result in weight gain, primarily in the form of lean muscle. While exercise does not directly add fat to your body, it can play a role in facilitating muscle growth. Additionally, many suggest that regular weight gain exercise may boost your appetite, potentially making it easier to consume the extra calories necessary to maintain a caloric surplus and achieve weight gain.
8 Weight Gain Exercises To Try At Home
Push-ups are an excellent weight gain exercise for weight gain because they develop arm and shoulder muscles. They are a challenging yet highly efficient workout for gaining body weight.
Push-ups engage and work out various muscle groups, including the abdominals, chest muscles, shoulders, triceps, and the muscles under your armpits known as the wing muscles.
Here’s how you can do the weight gain exercise - Pushups
- Begin this exercise lying on the ground with face downwards.
- Place your hands flat on the ground, arms extended to your sides, and hands positioned shoulder-width apart.
- Gradually lift your body off the ground, fully extending your arms while keeping your back and legs in a straight line.
- Lower your body in a controlled manner until your nose comes close to the floor.
- Continue this sequence for as many repetitions as you are comfortable with.
Bench presses are effective for developing your shoulder, tricep, and chest muscles, making them valuable as a muscle growth and weight gain exercise. Increasing the weight used for bench press will result in greater muscle development.
The bench press is a valuable method for increasing the size of your chest muscles. Nevertheless, as with any exercise, executing this weight gain exercise correctly is essential.
To perform this workout, you'll require a flat bench for lying down and a weighted bar. It's important to avoid overloading the bar to prevent potential injuries.
Here’s how you can do the weight gain exercise - Bench Press:
- Begin by reclining on your back on the bench while maintaining a relaxed posture.
- Extend your fingers to grasp the bar.
- Gradually raise the weight bar, ensuring your arms reach full extension.
- Lower the bar back down to the starting position, either returning it to the rack or bringing it close to your chest with your arms bent at a 90° angle.
- Perform 4 to 5 repetitions or adjust the number according to your comfort level.
Lunges, similar to squats, contribute to the development and toning of your leg and hip muscles, making them a highly effective method for gaining weight.
You can also introduce weights or experiment with various lunge variations to increase the workout's intensity for weight gain exercise.
The versatility of this exercise allows you to perform it virtually anywhere, and it's particularly effective for both bulking up and toning your leg and buttock muscles.
Here’s how you can do the weight gain exercise - Lunges:
- Begin by standing upright while engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Take a step forward with one leg and lower your body as if you were kneeling, ensuring your knees form 90-degree angles.
- Push through your heel to return to the starting position.
- Repeat this movement as many times as you're comfortable with one leg.
- Then, switch to the other leg and repeat the process.
Squats are a fundamental lower-body exercise that plays a crucial role in toning and strengthening the lower body. They are commonly integrated into weight gain exercises. Once you've mastered the basic squat form, you can advance to more challenging variations by incorporating weights.
Here’s how you can do the weight gain exercise - Squats:
- Stand with your feet positioned at hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on your hips and engage your abdominal muscles.
- Initiate the descent by bending your knees, as if you're preparing to sit down, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your upper body as stable as possible.
- Push yourself back up to the initial standing position.
- Repeat this movement for as many repetitions as you desire.
While pull-ups are commonly associated with weight loss, they can also be a valuable weight gain exercise for those aiming to gain weight. The crucial factor is to execute them with proper form and a deliberate, controlled motion. Pull-ups primarily target the substantial back muscles and are an excellent choice for building strength.
Moreover, pull-ups contribute to enhancing grip strength and offer the flexibility of various hand positions. For optimal results, aim to complete three sets of eight to ten repetitions, using an appropriate weight load that you can safely manage. To perform pull-ups, you'll need a pull-up bar.
Here’s how you can do the weight gain exercise - Pull-ups:
- Grasp the pull-up bar with your palms facing the direction of your preference.
- Lift your body upward until your chin is just above the bar.
- Lower your body until your arms are fully extended.
- Repeat this exercise.
Glute kickbacks primarily target and benefit your gluteal muscles, along with engaging your hamstrings, contributing to butt strengthening.
They are valuable for those looking to gain body weight.
Glute kickbacks are particularly effective because they simultaneously work on three muscle groups: core, buttocks, and lower back.
The primary focus of this weight gain exercise is to enhance the strength of your buttocks and hamstrings.
Here’s how you can do the weight gain exercise - Glute Kickback:
- Start by kneeling on the ground with your hands positioned in a press-up stance.
- Gradually lift one leg upward until your hamstrings align with your back.
- Squeeze your glutes during the movement, pausing for a moment when fully extended.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the same steps with the other leg.
Deadlifts are a fantastic way to improve your posture while increasing your overall muscle mass. Additionally, they offer an effective means to tone and strengthen your leg muscles. Whether you choose to perform this exercise at home or in the gym using kettlebells, dumbbells, or barbells, it can work as a weight gain exercise.
Here are the steps for performing the weight gain exercise - Deadlifts:
- Stand upright with your shoulders and feet positioned wide apart.
- Grasp the bar and maintain a forward gaze.
- While keeping your back straight, lift the bar upward until it reaches your thighs and then your hips.
- Slowly bend at the hips to lower the bar back to the ground.
- Repeat the exercise according to your comfort and fitness level.
Tricep dips are another straightforward exercise for your arms and back that can be performed at home to support as a weight gain exercise. When executed correctly, dips can contribute to upper-body muscle growth and help build strength for other exercises like the bench press.
Here's how to perform the weight gain exercise - tricep dips:
- Sit at the edge of a chair or bench, gripping the edges with your hands.
- Lift your body off the seat and lower your hips toward the ground.
- Maintain this position by exerting pressure on your palms.
- Gradually return to your initial seated position.
Exercises to avoid
Gaining weight is generally not about avoiding exercises but rather selecting the right exercises and tailoring your workout routine to your goals. You'll want to focus on exercises that promote muscle growth and strength. However, some workouts might burn a significant number of calories and may not align with your weight gain objectives if you overdo them.
To promote weight gain, it's advisable to reduce the frequency and intensity of aerobic and cardio exercises. These activities are primarily designed for fat burning and muscle toning rather than substantial muscle building.
However, you don't need to completely eliminate them from your workout routine. Instead, you can incorporate these exercises in moderation to enhance muscle definition, helping you attain the desired physique and appearance.
Don’t Ignore Lifestyle Changes
Gaining weight involves more than just diet and exercise. Here are additional steps to optimise your workouts while maintaining your overall well-being:
1. Prioritise Sleep:
Aim for a consistent six to eight hours of sleep per night. Adequate rest is essential for recovery and muscle growth.
2. Manage Stress:
High stress levels can lead to the release of cortisol, which may result in unhealthy weight fluctuations. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, massage, or dedicating time to your favourite hobbies.
3. Eliminate Harmful Habits:
Consider reducing or quitting habits like alcohol consumption and smoking. Although quitting smoking can be challenging, consult with a healthcare professional to develop a personalised cessation plan.
4. Set Realistic Goals:
Avoid pushing yourself too hard too quickly, as it can lead to burnout and potential harm. Start with manageable goals, gradually increase repetitions or weights, and keep a record of your progress.
These steps encompass a holistic approach to gaining weight, ensuring that you achieve your fitness goals while maintaining your overall health and well-being.
Establishing a consistent exercise routine not only accelerates weight gain but also enhances your immunity.
The importance of performing weight gain exercises correctly cannot be overemphasised. Go slow initially and gradually increase the number of repetitions over time. Avoid heavy lifting from the get-go to prevent injury.
Remember, proper nutrition is equally vital for weight gain. Maintaining a balanced diet is as essential as engaging in regular exercise. The combination of the two can yield remarkable results.