I am underweight. How do I gain weight and muscle? This thread for example. Triggers me so hard. If someone else asks why they are not gaining anything or just very slowly, staff comes and marks it as DUPLICATE. It is not always a duplicate if a person doesn't gain or just gains very slowly. It's a unique case, which has to be handled in another way, and not just by saying "lift heavy, have good diet and good sleep" That's not all about it. I am the best example of that. Won't introduce that here. Read my other threads.

So, please stop marking such questions as duplicates if they are not duplicates. Some people can lift heavy and eat good and sleep good and still not gaining. And no, don't come now with "thats just you, you cannot change your genes etc." That is probably a excuse. You just don't wanna say, that you have no idea what is going on. You don't want to say that you don't know anything about fitness.

My wishes are that you stop voting a answer which is incorrect.

To gain good weight, to bulk, to add muscle, you need to:

Stimulate growth by lifting heavy Provide fuel for growth by eating a lot Prioritize your goal by getting your life in order Most healthy people who do these things gain weight. Mostly muscle.

^ This is not correct. For some this can work. But some probably does not mean 90% of humanity.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a rant rather than an actual question.
    – G_H
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 11:13

4 Answers 4


It's being marked as a duplicate because you really haven't presented enough information for anyone to make the determination that your situation is different.

You have asked 4 questions on this site (I am not counting the deleted one). In only one of those do you link to a program, and even at that you are not following the program that they laid out, and one recent question is a long rant about creating a program for "non responders".

In your migrated question here, you link to "proof" of non responders, and get upset when people tell you you're reading it wrong. There are a lot of people here that have a lot of knowledge about fitness and weightlifting. Give them something to work with.

One other thing - you stated in one of your recent questions:

Don't say "pay a PT". Internet should have tutorials how to make such routines. For free.

The internet does have such tutorials. For free. Tons of them. But, for any fitness routine to work, you have to follow the instructions all the time for it to work. You can't shrug off the recommendations, not follow the program, and then declare that you are a non-responder.

For example:

Let's say the person trained for 6 months and his results were 2 chin ups, 5x5x5 push up, 0 dips, 2x2x2 inverted rows with rings and so on. So very small progress in short.

warmup: 5-10 stick dislocates, 5-10 squat sky reaches, 10+ wrist prep, 30s deadbugs, 10 arch hangs, 10 squats

negative chin ups, 1 full, 10sec 5x4x3

beginner shrimp squat(means knee isn't going to ground but lands higher on something) 10x12x8

dips negative, 6sec 4x6x5

inverted rows, 6x9x6x4

incline pushup, 7x5x6x5

You are cherry picking small pieces out of each section, only doing those, and wondering why it won't work. Negatives are great, but they are only a small part of working a muscle, and they aren't the primary suggestion for each exercise. From the FAQ on that thread:

You can make whatever changes you like, but if there was something we could change in the routine to improve results right of the bat for everyone, we would have changed that. The routine is set up in the way it is for various reasons that are too complicated to get into here, and very few of the design decisions were arbitrary. If you don't know what you're doing, stick with the routine as written.

If you want your questions to get better responses, write a better question, rather than arguing in comments and ranting about how we don't understand you. We would love to help you, but so far I haven't seen anything that anyone can really work with. (Despite suggestions, answers and comments asking for more details).


I think you have it backwards. The reason everyone believes that is because it works for 90% of humanity (maybe closer to 95% maybe even 99%). Majority of the time when someone isn't making gains it's because either their diet sucks, their workout programs suck, or both and they refuse to admit it.

Every published science article on sports shows that this is the path forwards. But also every published science article shows that progress is not uniform. Some people will progress very successfully. Some people will struggle. Most people fall right in the middle.

Because this is a generic Q&A site, and because we don't know your unique circumstances, we give general advice that will work for majority of the people.

  • strongerbyscience.com/non-responders They dont react to normal training, what people here accept as the ultimative answer.
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 11:04
  • 1
    The article clearly states that most "non-responders" are actually either training too little or too much and they start responding once corrected. Most people are doing too little because they get in their comfort zone and stay there. Some people go too hard and workout beyond their ability to recover. That's why progressive overload is so effective. You increase volume just a little bit over time. If you can do the added weight, then you're on track. If you excessively fail, then you are overworking.
    – DeeV
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 19:41
  • and in those studies they didn't interpret how the guys worked out or? We don't know whether they trained to muscle failure or stopped 2-3 reps before? I trained for 6 months with much weaker results than what the average man gets. I trained to muscle failure on almost every set and I was tired often when starting the workout. That means what? :)
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 11:28
  • 1
    @Stjema - Actually, that probably means that you are way overtraining.
    – JohnP Mod
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:15
  • Isn't it very rare that beginners overtrain? @JohnP Or does it mean my body is so weak that overtraining happens very early? Weak CNS etc?
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:25
  • @Stjema Overtraining in this context means that you're not giving yourself enough time to recover which is actually very common. If you're always tired before every workout, then it sounds like you're burning yourself out.
    – DeeV
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:30
  • but im training as the routine says. on-off-on-off-on-off-off @DeeV and im a beginner. i have unlimited power as a beginner.
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 16:14
  • @DeeV I sitll don't want to hire a PT. If he can help me, then I can do that on my own. But how? And how are they supposed to overtrain if they gain more muscle and strength when increasing volume?
    – Stjema
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 11:00

I moved this question to the Meta section, since it's more about the behavior of questions/answers, than an actual question about fitness.

It's not entirely clear what you're trying to get across. You're saying that building muscle, as understood by current science, is wrong, yet you provide nothing in terms of counter-arguments or studies to the contrary. You only say "it's wrong".

If you have any evidence that suggests that a combination of training, a good diet, and sufficient rest does NOT provide an increase in performance in the training you're doing, you should definitely share that.

And just to nip this n=1 study in the bud; "it didn't work for me (or my friends)" is not evidence.

When people have unique problems, they are usually very bad at explaining their exact circumstance. The questions then come off as very generic, and we have nothing to do but give generic answers, or refer to a generic answer that has already been given before.

Take your own question as an example: Is it possible to become a high responder to training 3 times week, 3 sets, rep-range 5-12?

You give two sentences of information, and what kind of answer are you expecting? For someone to just deduce what your exact problem is, what your exact goals are, and write up an entire workout regimen with dietary advice included?

  • strongerbyscience.com/non-responders They dont react to normal training, what people here accept as the ultimative answer. @Alec
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 10:49
  • 3
    @Stjema - Did you read past the headline? That report doesn't agree with you at all. It specifically states that "After another six weeks of training, there were no non-responders. There was still a lot of variability in results – some people’s peak power increased a lot, and some people’s didn’t increase very much – but everyone’s fitness improved."
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 12:47
  • "it’s unlikely that the “true” hypertrophic non-response rate is nearly as high as most studies report".
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 12:48
  • "A new study showed that there were way fewer nonresponders when people were put on personalized training programs instead of one-size-fits-all standardized programs."
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 12:48
  • I see nothing in this article that contradicts the answers generally given on this site.
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 12:48
  • Yes I did. And it clearly says that non-responders are real. To not be one, you need more volume, which IIRC leads to overtraining and destroying your body in a negative way. You can do higher volume for some days or weeks, but you will reach the point where you cannot do it anymore, and then what? Then you are again just a non-responder to normal volume training. 3x5-12 If I am down there, and you are up there in muscle and strength gains, I am the non-responder. And you have luck and are not the non-responder.
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 14:01
  • "it’s unlikely that the “true” hypertrophic non-response rate is nearly as high as most studies report". – Alec♦ 1 hour ago <- Don't understand that What is a personalized workout? How do I create that? What requirements do I need to be able to create this? Very vague thing. I guess that means more volume? Which you cannot do in a full body workout. What do you wanna personalize? Volume, sure, for a short time you can increase it. Decreasing volume? Didn't the study say that more volume leads to less non-respnders? And improving my fitness.. come on.... i want muscle, not fitness
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 14:03
  • It's not vague just because you haven't heard of it. A personalized workout is a workout that is created by a professional trainer, who has met you, knows your current state, and what your goals are. You get a program that is tailored to exactly your body and your goals. As the article suggests, getting this is the key for "non-responders", and it goes on to state quite clearly that after a long enough period, there are no "non-responders".
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 14:18
  • But what can you personalize there? How does the trainer know what I need? I myself know that I want hypertrophy. How does that info help him? It's not like he will say: "Oh you need 8-12 rep range then" I trained for 6 months with the result of 2 chin ups :D I don't think any trainer can help me there. Yes, I trained with a good beginner routine. And where is the @ mention? I don't see it. I wrote it at the start of the sentence but now it's not visible, the heck?
    – Stjema
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 16:05
  • There's a lot to personalize. I'm not sure the comment section here would fit a good answer, but that would be a good question to post back on the main site, if it hasn't already been asked.
    – Alec
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 16:44
  • @Stjema - Towards the bottom of the article are some bulleted points: 1. Take care of business outside the gym. Sleep more. Manage stress as well as you can (if there’s nothing you can do to decrease the stressors in your day-to-day life, I’d strongly recommend taking up meditation). Eat more calories and especially protein
    – JohnP Mod
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 14:25
  • 2. Assuming you’ve already tried increasing training volume (which should be your first thought, since higher training volumes generally mean more muscle growth) instead try decreasing your training volume
    – JohnP Mod
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 14:25
  • and 4. Try something new. As mentioned in the last article, a couple of papers (one, two) show that certain styles of training produce great results for some people but not others. If your muscles haven’t grown from heavy sets of 5 with long rest periods, they may instead grow from lighter sets of 20 with short rest periods, or from explosive training with low reps and no grinders.
    – JohnP Mod
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 14:26
  • And the addendum as of June 2017: "A new study showed that there were way fewer nonresponders when people were put on personalized training programs instead of one-size-fits-all standardized programs. This study was primarily looking at aerobic fitness, but it also examined strength measures (bench press and leg press 5RM). It found that all the subjects on personalized programs got stronger, while only 64.3% of the subjects on standardized programs got stronger. This gives us more evidence that “nonresponders” in scientific studies aren’t necessarily “true” nonresponders."
    – JohnP Mod
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 14:27
  • @JohnP and Alex. Hi. A bit late I am. How can a body of a human grow muscles by doing 6 sets and with a rep range of 10-15 per exercise, 3 times a day? Doesn't the muscles need at least 70% force of your 1RM? And isn't that too much? Isn't that something like German Volume Training? Doesn't majority of the people who try that say, that they can't recover from that?
    – Stjema
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 10:58

I think that stimulating growth by lifting heavy and the right diet will increase muscle mass and strength because it does. I wrote the answer you quote. I think it's true.

It's also true that technically it doesn't work for everyone. Some people have diseases like muscular dystrophy, or simply have hormone problems. But in those cases no approach will work except to fix the underlying obstacle (if that's even possible). Once that's fixed you still need to eat, rest, and stimulate growth with heavy resistance.

So when it doesn't work, what's the problem? Over and over and over, I see this approach not work for two kinds of people:

  • people who can't or won't consistently follow a program
  • people who choose to limit themselves to a vegan diet

This doesn't mean that it's impossible to get fit or strong on a vegan diet. I think it's possible for some small minority of people. It does mean that if you're vegan and the only possible answer in the world isn't working, maybe you should consider the possibility that being vegan is not compatible with your fitness goals.

  • Why plant based diet bad for muscle growth? It's not hard to get all amino acids or enough protein. It has the same difficulty level to get that on a non-plant-based-diet. Sure you can just hate on plant-based diet or lack education.
    – Stjema
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 8:31
  • 1
    There are probably many reasons. I have suspicions but I'm not an expert so I'll say I don't know. I do know that a plant-based diet, like many highly restrictive diets, does seem to consistently (but not universally) be an obstacle to muscle growth. So when a friend says "I'm lifting but when I add reps or weight I run into a wall", my first two questions are "are you consistently following a program?" and "are you restricting your diet?" So far one of those has always been the problem. The solution is ethically sourced eggs, which even vegans have a hard time finding reasons not to eat. Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 9:47
  • You're ignoring my question. I wanna read a argument why a vegan diet doesn't allow me to grow muscles. Seems more like you're just here to blame a vegan diet, which is not restricted at all. Why I say that? Because I learned a lot about nutrition.
    – Stjema
    Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 10:53
  • 1
    @Stjema I don't know for sure why. I just know it seems to be true. If you don't like that fact then feel free to keep doing what you like. But when what you like doesn't work, maybe consider the obvious reason why it wouldn't work. Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 11:48
  • :facepalm-very-hard-facepalm: You think that what you write is true. You think.... Oh my god. Think again. Get Knowledge. Then Think Again. Dont like fact? You didn't write a single fact. Just usual misknowledge. A vegan diet is not the obvious reason why one doesn't grow muscles.
    – Stjema
    Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 12:04
  • 1
    Again, if you're hitting your goals while eating vegan, good for you. It doesn't sound like you are. Commented Apr 3, 2020 at 12:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .