I am a 26 year old male. I weigh about 80 kilograms (180 pounds) and stand at 183cm tall (slightly over 6 feet).

I seem to have a very fast metabolism based on my lack of exercise and high fat/sugar diet and no weight gain.

I'm not looking to build a lot of muscle, I just want to have more than I do now...just some basic definition and a decent level of strength. I was considering buying a shake weight, although I have been told it would be better to just buy dumbbells.

What is the cheapest way to go about accomplishing my goal and how soon would I see results?

  • 5
    Check out the book Starting Strength (and the appropriate tag here on the site, along with all the questions). It's a really good program, especially for novices -- you'd be hard pressed to find a better one.
    – VPeric
    Feb 13, 2012 at 12:31
  • +1 for Starting Strength. Because squatting uses the largest muscle group in your body, it will stimulate your growth better than any other routine.
    – J. Win.
    Feb 13, 2012 at 20:43

5 Answers 5


The cheapest way is to build muscle is to do bodyweight exercises. These include venerable techniques like:

  • Pushups
  • Pullups
  • Dips
  • Situps
  • Back extensions
  • etc.

However, I will echo your advisers that the shake weight is crap for building muscle. The only thing the shake weight can do for you, other than make you look ridiculous, is to provide nervous energy to burn fat. However, there are much more effective and respectable ways to do that as well. The short list of problems are:

  • Very limited range of motion--this means you will only gain strength for that limited range of motion which does not translate to usable strength
  • Added stress on joints--elbows are notoriously bad at absorbing stress, and you are repeatedly stressing the ligaments surrounding the elbow several times a second.
  • Limited application--you have to hold the shake weight, and there is no way to strengthen your legs using it.

Dumbbells, Kettlebells, and Barbells all have many more advantages over something like the shake weight. They also help produce usable strength. Body weight exercises also do the same, and you simply manipulate leverages to produce more strength.


Totally agree with above, would add that you need to eat right to have ANY progress on ANY health-related goal. I've heard some say up to 90% of your fitness is related to diet.

For muscle, high protein foods, LOTS of food, and if you feel the need, protein supplement. (powder)

Shake weight is useless, get a set of 15lb or 20lb dumbells and do various lifting activities. Pushups, pullups, dumbbell curls, rows, and various presses and shoulder raises will get you the "beach" muscles you are probably interested in.


I was a super skinny guy and let me tell you. 75% of your muscle comes from your diet. Carbs and Protein should give you enough muscle to confident in just a month.

Carbs = 3g-4g * your-body-weight. Protein - 2g-3g * your-body-weight.

Atleast 3 days of rest and start by doing the big 3's - squats, deadlifts and barbell row/push.


Cheapest as has been said is bodyweight exercises. Quickest is lifting barbells at heavy weights. Depending on gym costs that could be appropriately cheap for you, or it could be quite expensive.

I'd be very surprised to see anyone make gains using only bodyweight as quickly as with free weights.


The absolute cheapest method of gaining muscle mass would be pushups, situps, squats, and lunges in the privacy of your own home. Most jungle gyms have monkey bars that you can use to do pullups on. There are lots of different exercises you can do on pull-up bars to build muscles: here is a video on pull-up bar ab exercises.

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