Fit & Fabulous: 10 Exercises To Gain Weight for Females At Home (2023)

Are you a skinny woman who finds it extremely hard to gain weight even though you eat well?

Well, this makes you an ectomorph – a body type characterized by long and slim limbs, narrow hips and shoulders, and minimal body fat.

But do you know why it’s so challenging for ectomorphs to gain weight? It’s because they burn an insane number of calories even while performing subconscious (NEAT) activities, say fidgeting or pacing around.

For instance, research shows that an average person might burn 13% more calories while standing compared to lying on their back. Whereas an ectomorph might burn 94% more calories while standing!😱

But all’s not lost! There are plenty of weight gain exercises for females that’ll help you build muscle and get the body you’ve always wanted!

In this blog, we’ll share some of the best home workouts for skinny women, some of the top foods for healthy weight gain, and a few expert tips to help you gain muscle.

Why You Can’t Gain Weight?

Here are the top reasons why skinny women find it hard to gain weight.

1. High Metabolic Rate

Skinny women generally torch calories at a much faster rate and hence would need more calories to support weight gain efforts.

Fit & Fabulous: 10 Exercises To Gain Weight for Females At Home (1)

2. Genetic Factors

If your grandparents and/or parents have a small body frame, you could have a genetic predisposition to being lean and thus find it harder to gain weight.

3. Health conditions

Underlying health conditions including hyperthyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, or type 1 diabetes may disrupt metabolism, nutrient absorption, or hormonal regulation, making it difficult to gain weight.

4. Active Lifestyle

Female athletes or those with physically demanding jobs could have a higher calorie expenditure that makes it hard to gain weight unless they compensate for this by increasing their calorie intake.

Fit & Fabulous: 10 Exercises To Gain Weight for Females At Home (2)

5. Poor appetite

Some women have a naturally low appetite, thus consuming very few calories making it challenging for them to gain weight.

(Video) 8 Best Exercises To Build Muscle At Home


10 Exercises to gain weight for females at home

Wondering which exercise is best for weight gain? Take a look at our top 10 weight gain exercises for females.

1. Wide squats

One of the best bodyweight exercises for weight gain, as the wide stance activates the hip muscles, inner thigh muscles, and glutes to a greater extent compared to regular squats.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, core.

How to perform

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Angle your toes outward at about 45 degrees.
  • Begin by crossing your arms and letting them rest on each shoulder.
  • Lower yourself to the ground until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for a second and then return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

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2. Standing shoulder press

Level up your shoulder strength with this exercise to gain weight for females at home.

Muscles worked: Shoulders, triceps, glutes, trapezius, lower back muscles.

How to perform

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Begin by holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip just above the sides of your head as shown in the video.
  • Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor and at right angles to your forearms.
  • Engaging your core, push the dumbbells up above your head.
  • Pause for a second and then return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

Buy Burnlab’s adjustable dumbbell kit here.

3. Band assisted pull-ups

Build thicker arms and shoulders with this weight gain exercise for females.

Muscles worked: Latissimus dorsi, trapezius, biceps.

How to perform

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  • Loop a resistance band around a bar to create a hanging loop.
  • Grip the bar with an overhand grip and hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your feet in the band and lower your body until your arms are straight (you should be hanging from the bar). This is the starting position.
  • Now raise your body until your chin is at the height of the bar.
  • Slowly lower back down to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

Buy Burnlab’s pull-up bands here.

4. Romanian deadlift with resistance band

Say hello to a strong, toned booty with this weight gain exercise at home.

Muscles worked: Glutes, hamstrings, erector spinae, upper back

How to perform

  • Grab the ends of a resistance band one in each hand.
  • Step onto the middle of the band with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Hinge your hips back and sit into your glutes as shown in the video.
  • Drive your shoulder blades down and back to maintain a neutral spine. This is the starting position.
  • Now bring your hips forward and squeeze your glutes together to come into a standing position.
  • Lower back into the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

5. Push-up

Get a bigger chest and thicker arms with this amazing bodyweight exercise for weight gain.

Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, shoulders, abs, quadriceps.

How to perform

  • Lie on the floor with your chest facing down.
  • Bring your hands even with your chest just below your shoulders. This is the starting position.
  • Push through your heels and your hands and press up, bringing the torso, chest, and thighs off the ground as one unit.
  • Keep your core engaged and ensure your hips are not sagging down or protruding upward.
  • Slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

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6. Dumbbell walking lunges

A fantastic exercise to gain weight for females at home as it helps build leg muscle mass and strength.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, abs, adductors, calves, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, trapezius.

How to perform


  • Grab one dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides.
  • Keeping a straight chest, take a big step forward with your right leg and bend your knees to lower your hips to the ground.
  • Your left knee should be a few inches off the ground.
  • Drive through your right foot and extend the knee as you stand up fully and return to the starting position.
  • Now repeat the movement with the left leg.
  • Perform the desired number of reps (around 10 steps per leg).

7. Dumbbell bench press

This is a great exercise to gain weight for females at home as it helps bulk up your chest muscles.

Muscles worked: Chest, shoulder, triceps.

How to perform

  • Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor.
  • Hold one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip.
  • Begin by pressing the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended.
  • Now slowly lower the dumbbells until they are just above your chest.
  • Pause for a moment before returning to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

8. Bent over rows with resistance bands

Get a strong and muscular back with this exercise to gain weight for females at home.

Muscles worked: Latissimus dorsi, middle and lower trapezius, rhomboids, posterior deltoids.

How to perform

  • Step onto the middle of a resistance tube and exchange the handles in your hands so that band crisscrosses over your feet in front of your shins.
  • Bend your knees slightly and then lean over from your hips so that your back is almost parallel to the ground.
  • Keep a flat back and turn your palms in toward each other. This is the starting position.
  • Slowly bend at your elbow and pull the band up and back to your sides to bring your hands level to your waist.
  • Pause for a moment and then return to the starting position
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

9. Dumbbell biceps curls

An awesome exercise for weight gain for females at home as it helps you get thicker arms.

Muscles worked: Biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

How to perform

  • Assume a shoulder-width stance.
  • Begin by holding one dumbbell in each hand at your thigh level with your arms facing forward.
  • Pull your shoulders back and slowly curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulders. Ensure your elbows are close to your body.
  • Pause for a moment and then return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps.

10. Cobra pose

Cobra Pose can indirectly support weight gain in females as it improves digestion and helps the body absorb nutrients effectively.

Muscles worked: Chest, abs, obliques, back, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes.

How to perform

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  • Lie on your stomach with your chin on the mat.
  • Place your palms under your shoulders. This is the starting position.
  • Now inhale and slowly lift your chest off the floor as far as you can while your hips remain firm on the mat.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. Press your chest forward.
  • Exhale and gently lower back to the starting position.
  • Perform around 6-10 reps.

Buy Burnlab’s Prana Yoga Mat here.

How to eat to gain muscle

If you want to build muscle and get those shapely curves, here’s how you should eat.

1. Maintain a calorie surplus

Figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight. (Most women need around 15 calories per pound of body weight to maintain their current weight.)

Now add around 200-300 calories to this to arrive at the total number of calories you need to be consuming per day for healthy weight gain. Doing so can help you gain around 0.25 to 0.75 pounds per week.

2. Get your macros right

Go crazy for carbs! Research shows that 60% of an ectomorph’s calorie intake should come from carbs, 25% from protein, and 25% from fat.

3. Eat sufficient protein

Ensure that you eat at least 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. So load up on foods including meat, legumes, soy, dairy, etc.

Tip: If you aren’t able to hit your protein goals, you might want to stock up on some protein powder.

Healthy foods for healthy weight gain

Here’s a list of the best foods for skinny women to increase their lean muscle mass and gain healthy weight.

  1. Lean meat. Chicken breast, white fish, and shrimp are all loaded with proteins, vitamins, and minerals and are low in saturated fat.
  2. Fatty fish. Try salmon to get a healthy dose of inflammation-reducing omega-3s and proteins.
  3. Whole grains and legumes. Carb-rich foods including brown rice, oats, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc. supply your muscles with glycogen that can enhance your exercise performance and bolster muscle growth.
  4. Eggs. Eggs are a must as they contain all the nine essential amino acids required for muscle growth and repair.
  5. Vegetables. Carrots, spinach, etc., are rich in nitrates that are excellent for muscle growth.
  6. Fermented dairy. Foods such as cheese, cottage cheese, and curd are rich sources of calcium, protein, and probiotics that aid in digestion.
  7. Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, and flax seeds are all great sources of healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients.
  8. Fruits. The natural sugar found in bananas, papayas, apples, etc. gives you the energy to boost your workouts and promote muscle recovery.
  9. Healthy fats. Avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil are the best way to add high calories to your weight gain diet.

Tips to gain weight & muscle

Check out our expert tips to help skinny women gain weight and muscle.

1. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy

When you lift heavy, your muscle tissue breaks down and then repairs itself to come back bigger and stronger than before. So ditch those 2 kg dumbbells and start lifting heavier weights if you want to see those gorgeous curves.

Keep your rep range between 6 and 12. You should feel fatigued when you reach your last 2 reps.

Related: 12 Simple But Effective At-Home Body Toning Exercises For Women

2. Practice compound movements

Compound movements (such as the ones listed in this article) are the best exercises to gain weight. Not only do they train multiple muscle groups simultaneously, but they also help you lift heavier and see quick results compared to isolation exercises.

3. Do cardio in moderation

Since cardio exercises have a rep for burning calories, it’s best to stick to just 20 minutes of low-intensity cardio (think walking or jogging), 2 times a week.

4. Get good sleep

Get around 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night to give your muscles time to rest and recover.

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We hope that our female weight gain workout plan will help you build muscle mass, increase strength, and achieve a healthy weight.

So, go on ladies! Try these weight gain exercises at home and feel confident and empowered in your bodies!


Which exercise is best for weight gain for girl? ›

  • Push-ups. About: Push-ups are known for building upper body and core strength. ...
  • Pull-ups. About: another effective weight gain exercise is a good set of pull-ups. ...
  • Squats. About: if you are looking for the best weight gain exercise, this is the one for you. ...
  • Crunches. ...
  • Lunges. ...
  • Bench Dips. ...
  • Glute Kickback. ...
  • Burpees.
Oct 3, 2022

How can a woman gain weight fast at home? ›

  1. Eating more frequently. Slowly begin to eat 5 to 6 smaller meals during the day. ...
  2. Choosing food with lots of nutrients. Set up a routine to eat and drink things you like and that have a lot of nutrients as well as calories. ...
  3. Top it off. ...
  4. Try smoothies and shakes. ...
  5. But watch what and when you drink. ...
  6. Exercise.

How can a skinny girl increase her waist size? ›

To do that, you need a healthy diet coupled with the right exercise routine that puts a laser focus on the waistline. Keep in mind that the three pillars of building a bigger waist regardless of your gender are: a healthy diet, increasing weight gradually, and putting an all-out effort into effective exercises.

What makes a woman gain weight fast? ›

It's often due to fluid retention, abnormal growths, constipation, or pregnancy. Unintentional weight gain can be periodic, continuous, or rapid. Periodic unintentional weight gain includes regular fluctuations in weight. One example of unintentional weight gain is experienced during a woman's menstrual cycle.

How can a woman gain 20 pounds in a month? ›

General tips for gaining weight safely
  1. Eat three to five meals a day. Eating at least three meals a day can make it easier to increase calorie intake. ...
  2. Weight training. ...
  3. Eat enough protein. ...
  4. Eat meals with fibrous carbohydrates and healthful fats. ...
  5. Drink high-calorie smoothies or shakes. ...
  6. Seek help where needed.
May 30, 2018

How to gain 10 pounds in 10 days? ›

Here's How to Gain 10 Pounds in 10 Days!
  1. Eat. Eat, and don't stop eating! ...
  2. Eat Smart. Don't waste your time with low-impact foods like salads and chicken breast.
  3. Drink Smart. If a beverage doesn't have sugar in it, it's not worth your time. ...
  4. Don't Move. ...
  5. Forget About “Meal Times”
May 12, 2017

Is Peanut Butter good for you to gain weight? ›

Peanut butter is an excellent option because it's packed with nutrients, inexpensive, and easy to add to your diet. Peanut butter is unlikely to lead to unwanted weight gain if eaten within your daily calorie needs. Yet, it's also a nutritious option if you're seeking healthy weight gain.

Why is it hard for a skinny person to gain weight? ›

Reasons why you may not be able to gain weight. Genetics play a role in body types and may dictate a naturally lean body type for some people. For others, underlying medical conditions and certain medical treatments may cause weight loss or difficulty gaining weight.

How can a woman gain weight in 10 days at home? ›

Here are 10 additional tips for gaining weight:
  1. Avoid drinking water before meals. This can fill your stomach and make it harder to get enough calories ( 35 ).
  2. Eat more often. ...
  3. Drink milk. ...
  4. Try weight gainer shakes. ...
  5. Use bigger plates. ...
  6. Add cream to your coffee. ...
  7. Take creatine. ...
  8. Get quality sleep.

Can a skinny girl gain weight by exercise? ›

Trust us, nothing works better than resistance weight training if your goal is to build a healthy muscle mass. In fact, several studies including the one published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, found that skinny women quickly gained muscle when they did weight training regularly.

Where do most girls gain weight? ›

The typical fat-gain areas for many women are the hips, arms and thighs, giving them what is termed a 'pear-shape'. The other areas where many women accumulate fat are the chest and the abdomen. Such women have slim arms and legs, and are seen as 'apple-shaped'.

How can a skinny girl gain muscle weight? ›

Let's go over 10 QUICK TIPS that you need to know if you want to learn the fastest way to gain muscle.
  1. Eat nuts on the reg. ...
  2. Eat dried fruit (and fresh). ...
  3. Eat oats cold. ...
  4. Eat plenty of lean meat and fatty fish. ...
  5. Drink your calories. ...
  6. Eat six times per day. ...
  7. Avoid low-density food. ...
  8. Smear on the almond butter.
Oct 7, 2015

How to become curvy from skinny? ›

Tone the curves around your hips, thighs, waist and breasts by strength training.
  1. Do squats to target your glutes and thighs. Always keep your stomach flexed and your spine neutral. ...
  2. Try step ups to improve your glutes, hips, and thighs. ...
  3. Do planks. ...
  4. Do Serratus pushups. ...
  5. Target your outer thighs with clam shells.


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