Skip to Content

Why Are Calisthenics Guys Skinny? (Why It Makes You Lean!)

If you’re wondering why calisthenics guys are so skinny, then you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, I explain the science of being skinny, why calisthenics makes you lean, and more.

Skinny calisthenics athlete

The Science of Skinny

Calorie Deficit

To be skinny, you need to have a low level of body fat.

Scientifically, the only way you can lose body fat is to be in a calorie deficit.

This is when you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming. As a result, your body has to rely on stored energy (i.e. fat) to meet your energy requirements.

Low Muscle Tone

Another commonality of ectomorphs (skinny people) is that they have a low level of muscle mass.

Usually this is because they’re not eating enough calories.

(Ectomorphs have a faster metabolism than others, meaning they burn calories at a faster rate.)

Skinny people tend to do little resistance training too, which is another reason why they struggle to gain muscle.

Why Are Calisthenics Guys So Skinny?

Calisthenics Athletes Rely On Bodyweight

Calisthenics and weight training are 2 forms of resistance training.

In calisthenics, the resistance is your bodyweight.

In weight training, the resistance is the weight of the dumbbell (or machine, bar, etc.)

Since your bodyweight has a limit, it’s difficult to increase the resistance when you progress with calisthenics.

Whereas with weight training, it’s much easier to increase the resistance.

Now, the bigger the resistance, the bigger your muscles need to be.

(And so the bigger the resistance, the bigger your muscles grow.)

Since the resistance has a limit in calisthenics (your bodyweight), it gets to the point where it’s much harder to add more muscle mass.

Calisthenics Athletes Prioritise Strength Over Size

Most calisthenics trainers do calisthenics to improve their functional strength.

This means they’ve got great balance, a strong core, and a great relationship with gravity.

(It also means that adding as much muscle as possible is a secondary goal.)

Whereas your average weightlifter trains to improve their physique.

Reasons Why Calisthenics Will Make You Skinny

Calisthenics Helps You Burn More Calories

As you now know, having low levels of body fat due to a calorie deficit is one aspect of getting skinny.

Now, there are 2 ways you can increase a calorie deficit.

You can either:

  • Eat less calories
  • Burn more calories

Since calisthenics helps you burn more calories, it means you’ll be in a bigger calorie deficit which results in more fat loss and a skinnier you.

Reasons Why Calisthenics Won’t Make You Skinny

Calisthenics Helps You Build Muscle

The second aspect of becoming skinny is having low levels of muscle mass.

Well, calisthenics is a great way to build muscle and so if you eat plenty of calories, it’s possible that calisthenics won’t make you skinny.

How To Avoid Becoming Skinny When Doing Calisthenics

Stay In A Calorie Surplus

If you’re a naturally skinny person, your metabolism is higher than the average Joe’s.

This means you burn more calories at rest than others.

As a result, you need to eat even more food to maintain and gain weight.

So a simple (and fun) way to avoid becoming skinny when doing calisthenics is to eat more food.

It’s really as simple as that.

Eat Plenty of Protein

As I’m sure you know, your muscles are made of protein.

So to gain and maintain muscle when doing calisthenics, you need to be eating sufficient protein to give your muscles the building blocks they need to repair.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight.

So if you weigh 200lbs, then you should be aiming for 200g of protein per day.

This can be a challenge for some as protein is the most filling macronutrient, so a great way to hit your protein goal is to supplement with whey protein powder.

Train Intensely

The more intense your calisthenics workouts are, the more micro-tears your muscles experience.

Our bodies respond to these micro-tears by repairing the muscle and making it larger, in a process called hypertrophy.

So in simple terms, if you want to build the most muscle, you need to be doing vigorous calisthenics workouts.

Here’s a challenging calisthenics workout to get you started!

Once you’ve done each exercise, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat the circuit a further 3 times.

Exercise 1: Single-Leg Pistol Squat – Right Leg (until Failure)

Exercise 2: One-Arm Push Up – Left Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 3: One-Arm Pull Up – Right Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 4: Single-Leg Pistol Squat – Left Leg (until Failure)

Exercise 5: One-Arm Push Up – Right Arm (until Failure)

Exercise 6: One-Arm Pull Up – Left Arm (until Failure)

Take Supplements

Once your diet is on point and you’re training intensely, another step you can take to avoid becoming skinny is to use supplements.

In my view, you should avoid the over-hyped mass gainers and look towards supplements that improve your health in general.


Well, when you’re at your healthiest, your body’s resources can focus on building muscle, rather than fixing any health issues you have.

So if you’re a skinny guy looking to bulk up, I’d recommend you go for:

  • Creatine
  • Whey Protein
  • Holy Basil
  • Vitamin D
  • Glutamine
  • Digestive Enzymes


Calorie Deficit For Weight Loss