The Muscle-Building Workout Inspired By These Four Transformations

They've already achieved their body goals, and now they're here to help others do the same. This is their go-to workout moves.

Kirsten Curtis |

Earlier this year, we featured four incredible men that built strong muscular bodies and gained brute strength despite being skinny at the beginning. The individual stories of Jody Williams, Ruan du Preez, Nishalen Govender and Tshepo Nyathi are inspirational in their own right, and now that they’ve achieved their body goals, they wish to help others do the same. Here are the workout moves that these men recommend to anyone looking to muscle up.


Nishalen Govender recalls being that skinny kid on the rugby field. Now, a decade later he’s transformed his physique completely and built impressive muscle. For his bicep workout, he prefers to target the muscle using a variation of curling lifts.

Read all about how he ditched his skinny frame and bulked up here.

Machine Preacher Curl

“These are good for isolating the biceps – because you can’t use momentum to cheat, like you would with, say, a standing barbell curl.”

Hammer Curls

“The biceps are made up of different muscles – switching between regular biceps curls and hammer curls makes sure you hit them from different angles, for max size.”

Alternating Dumbbell Curls (aka Bicep Curls)

“Working one arm at a time is a way to prevent imbalances, because your stronger arm can’t pick up the slack for its weaker counterpart.”


Ruan is an attorney by day, but outside of office hours, he swaps his suit and tie for bodybuilding attire, when he gets on the stage as a physique competitor. This is how he gets his chiseled chest.

Find out how he gained 14KG of pure muscle here

Incline Dumbbell Press

“This move works the upper part of your chest, and brings the front of your shoulder to the party for well-rounded gains.”

Bench Press

“Position the barbell over your sternum, not your neck, to work your pecs.”

Cable Crossovers

“These are great for correcting imbalances. Focus on perfecting a controlled, full range of motion, rather than going super-heavy.”


Jody Williams went from scrawny to brawny in 15 months, but like most success stories, it wasn’t easy.

“I still remember the first time I went to the  gym–I was so intimidated, and I always compared myself to all the bigger and stronger guys,” he says. But the twenty-three-year-old soon overcame the initial awkward phase, and dedicated himself to lifting and sweating his way out of his skinny frame. This is his go-to back exercises.

Read his full transformation story here



“These are your back’s best friend. But if you can’t even do one, start with band-assisted pull-ups and negatives – jump up to the bar, then lower yourself slowly.”

Lat Pull-downs

“Bar in front of your head, not behind. Target your lats better by opting for a wider grip.”


“These target the muscles of your upper back for that rippled effect. Vests for the win!”

Related: The Core-Crushing Workout That Will Supercharge Your Abs


The 25-year-old had a rough time as a teen, because of how skinny he was. The other kids would make fun of him, which kept Tshepo’s confidence low.

But the boy from Pretoria had a love for sport – his favourites being soccer, rugby and athletics – and this was the driving force behind his training. Now, Tshepo is no longer that scared, skinny kid, but a fit and focused personal trainer.

Find out how he built beastly muscle here

Barbell Squats

“These are great for building your thighs and glutes. Keep your gaze up, to avoid front- loading your quads and knees – look at a spot high on the wall, not on the floor.”

Barbell Hip Thrusts

“Be sure to keep those abs tight; and drive through your glutes and hamstrings, not your lower back.”

Standing Calf Raises

“Alternate the position of your feet (toes in, straight and out) to target different parts of your calves.”


a guy sitting on a bench about to do a weight plate workout
Duane Vermeulen’s Winning Workout For Explosive Power How You Can Build Solid Muscle Using The ViPR Carve Muscles Of Steel With This Total Body Weight Plate Workout

READ MORE ON: advice build muscle exercise Fitness guy wisdom lose weight motivation Muscle training workout

Copyright © 2021 Rodale Inc.
Subscribe for notification