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What Is The Best Workout For An Ectomorph?

What is the best workout for an ectomorph? Struggle to add size to that frame? Although it's another obstacle, an ectomorph can achieve their dream physique with hard work and dedication. Here's more.

The Question:

Ectomorphs are at a disadvantage because of their thin and fragile bodies. And unfortunately, they struggle to add size to that frame. Although it's another obstacle in the way, an ectomorph can achieve their dream physique with some hard work and dedication.

What is the best workout for an ectomorph? Be specific.

How does an ectomorph's workout differ from a mesomorph and endomorph's workout?

What are some good foods for an ectomorph?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

  1. Liquid_diet View Profile
  2. s.RILLEYY View Profile
  3. EAGLES56 View Profile


      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.

1st Place - Liquid_diet

Ectomorphs have super-fast metabolisms that burn calories almost too efficiently. This can prevent them from putting on weight easily, which creates a disadvantage for anyone aspiring to be a bodybuilder, and even a struggle for some to maintain a healthy body mass index.

As with any fitness program, diet and training and rest are going to be equally important for an ectomorph, and diet may even be slightly more important.


What Is The Best Workout For An Ectomorph? Be Specific.


I am going to recommend the minimum amount of cardio required for general cardiovascular health. With an ectomorph already burning calories at such a fast pace, burning even more with cardio is not an efficient way to pack on any substantial mass.

The ectomorph looking to maintain cardiovascular fitness for general health and longevity should only do cardio at a moderate pace for 30 minutes three times per week. Any more than this is going to be detrimental to the goal of gaining weight.

For one cardio day, it is OK to substitute 15 minutes of HIIT or circuit training depending on one's training preferences.

Strength Training:

For strength training, I am going to recommend a simple push/pull routine with heavy compound movements and minimal isolation movements per muscle group. Since strength training also burns calories, I am only going to recommend a 3-day split, with an optional shock technique day incorporating supersets. The first exercise for each muscle group will have a pyramid rep scheme.

Rest time should be kept between 2-3 minutes as much as possible. Rest days can be spread throughout the week, with at least one day of rest in between the last lifting day, and the optional superset workout.

I suggest doing abs at the end of each workout, performing two high-rep ab days and one low-rep ab day with weight.

Day 1 - Chest/Triceps:
Day 2 - Back/Biceps:
Day 3 - Legs/Shoulders:
High Rep Ab Day:
Low Rep Ab Day:
Optional Superset Day:

Mesomorph & Endomorph

How Does An Ectomorph's Workout Differ From A Mesomorph And Endomorph's Workout?


The endomorph must focus on burning as many calories as possible to decrease body fat during strength training. Rest times should be kept as short as possible in between sets. Moderate weight should be used.

The endomorph's main concern is to cut body fat to reveal the muscle that is underneath. Many endomorphs must perform cardiovascular exercise for 45-60 minutes at least 5 days a week to lose enough body fat to appear defined.


The mesomorph is right in the middle of the spectrum, and can generally put on quality mass or reduce body fat relatively easily. Once the desired body composition and appearance is achieved, the mesomorph can usually just maintain, making sure to continue exercising regularly and living a healthy lifestyle.

Mesomorphs should strength train with moderately heavy weight with rest times between 90-120 seconds, and can get away with doing the same amount of cardio as an ectomorph.


What Are Some Good Foods For An Ectomorph?

With training and rest in check, diet is going to be very important for the ectomorph to put on quality mass. Ectomorphs can get way with eating more "dirty" foods than the other body types, as body fat will not be put on as easily when bulking.

Of course it is good to stick to quality sources of protein and healthy fats as much as possible, but the occasional cheeseburger or slice of pizza is not going to make an ectomorph fat.

Ectomorphs don't have to be as wary of the Glycemic Index as well, and are able to eat refined flours found in white bread products without much worry of increasing body fat.

Ectomorphs can and should eat a lot day. It is going to be important that an ectomorph eats at least every 2.5 hours. Each meal should include quality protein and healthy fats as much as possible, with at least 1.5 grams of protein consumed per pound of body weight daily. The ectomorph can also consume carbs all day long without having to worry.

Clean Food Sources:

Ok For Ectomorphs:


The ectomorph should not ever be discouraged from pursuing his fitness goals and dreams. With a quality workout program and sufficient calories, most ectomorphs will find it possible to put on some quality mass with the added benefit of maintaining a relatively low body fat percentage.

This will shorten the calorie-restricted and cardio-packed cutting period that many mesomorphs and endomorphs must endure to reveal muscular definition. So actually, it's not all bad being an ectomorph!

2nd Place - s.RILLEYY

Ectomorphs are at a disadvantage because of their thin and fragile bodies. And unfortunately, they struggle to add size to that frame. Although it's another obstacle in the way, an ectomorph can achieve their dream physique with some hard work and dedication.

Ectomorphs are generally better endurance athletes than bodybuilders by nature, and may excel in cross country running. That is not to say an ecto cannot take part in bodybuilding. It is possible to achieve great gains in mass and strength regardless of having this body type.

Ectomorph bodies are generally not built to carry a lot of muscle and for that reason your body needs a strong reason to add additional muscle tissue. In other words, for ectos to add muscle to their frame they need a powerful growth stimulus.


What Is The Best Workout For An Ectomorph?

An ecto's ideal workout program is simple. You must train heavy and do it focusing on mainly free weights. If you are naturally skinny and you are working out on primarily machines, once again you are wasting your time.

Your weight workouts should not last more than 45-60 minutes. Get in and get out. Get your workout done and go eat as quickly as possible. Here is a good workout program for the ectomorph sticking to a majority of compound, free-weight movements.

Day 1: Chest & Triceps:

Day 2: Back & Biceps:

Day 3: Rest:

Day 4: Quads:

Day 5: Shoulders & Calves:

Day 6-7: Rest:

With a routine involving a majority of free weight, compound movements you will force your muscles to grow! A person with this type of body will also need more time to recover in-between workouts to give their body time to adjust to this vigorous new routine they are putting their body through.

Remember to switch up your routine everyone once in a while to keep progress moving along.

Mesomorph & Endomorph

How Does An Ectomorph's Workout Differ From A Mesomorph And Endomorph's Workout?

The more you can train without exceeding your body's capacity to handle physical work, the more you'll progress. An ectomorph's workout should generally involve overall less training sessions and volume. This is simply because their recovery capacity just is not up to par with a mesomorph or endomorph.

An ectomorph's rest in between sets should be longer due than a meso or endo due to the amount of power work from the compound exercises.

Ecto's should focus on adding extra intensity techniques to their workout, when needed of course. If they are training hard enough and have a high pain threshold, they can put the muscle through a growth stimulus powerful enough to force their ecto body to add on muscle without having to do more than 5-8 sets per muscle group.

Ecto's need plenty of rest to grow. Perhaps more time off than other body types although, everyone's recovery rate is different. They should include at least three non-consecutive 'off' days per week, training no more than two days in a row. Less resting could hurt your potential gains.


What Are Some Good Foods For An Ectomorph?

As always we need a well balanced diet for anyone wanting to gain some lean muscle. As an ectomorph you are going to need a high calorie meal plan, as your metabolism is extremely fast.

The following is a list of the best Protein, Carbohydrate, & Fat Sources While trying to pack on some lean mass.




Junk Food:

Junk food can be a useful tool to the ectomorphic bodybuilder trying to put on size without worrying about body fat levels too much. But with anything in bodybuilding there are rules to how you must employ junk food into your daily diet to aid in gaining size and not just satisfying your taste buds. The selection of junk food must contain adequate amounts of protein to meet your needs.

So, this can be Wendy's, KFC, Pizza and foods like that. Just think about it, if you eat a triple cheeseburger from Wendy's you are getting around 50g of protein, but you are also getting a whopping amount of calories that will go along with that, that you will not get from eating your standard chicken and rice meal.

Try to limit your intake of carbohydrates when you go out for these meals, which means, at Wendy's skip the fries and stick to the burgers, KFC stick to the chicken and ditch the mash potatoes, and when having pizza skip the bread and just stick to the pizza.

Weight Gainer Shakes:

High Calorie weight gainer shakes will be your friend also, it may be smart to invest in a weight gainer powder if you don't have time to cook or eat the foods or just need that extra calorie kick!

A very simple recipe I used for a high calorie, weight-gainer shake was simply blending:

Chug it down and enjoy!

By eating a lot of healthy nutritional dense foods, while combining with weight-gainer shakes and some junk food (IN PROPORTION), their is no reason why a ectomorph cannot build some nice muscle mass and obtain a well-sculptured physique.

3rd Place - EAGLES56

Ectomorphs are at a disadvantage because of their thin and fragile bodies. And unfortunately, they struggle to add size to that frame. Although it's another obstacle in the way, an ectomorph can achieve their dream physique with some hard work and dedication.


What Is The Best Workout For An Ectomorph? Be Specific.

Training is merely the stimulus, what and how you eat determines the vast majority of one's actual progression and success. As someone with ectomorphic tendencies, I have found high volume work such as German Volume Training has helped me pack on size.

Related German Volume Training Articles:

It is a simple principle; perform ten sets of ten with 60% of one's 1 Rep Maximum. One should be able to rep the ideal weight about 20 times in one set, any more and it is too light, not enough and the load is too much. The first couple sets will feel easy but by the third and fourth sets, a degree of difficulty should arise. Exercises A1 and A2 form the backbone of the routine while exercises B1 and B2 are supplementary additions.

This is a tried and true method to gain size provided one is eating enough. Feel free to substitute your own exercises instead of what I've put together below (you could also add additional exercises by splitting the 10 x 10 format into 5 x 10 for 2 individual exercises; See Workout B). Do not add extra volume, this is already plenty provided the weight is high enough.

Perform the following in a superset fashion. Exercise A1, 30-60 seconds rest, Exercise A2, 60-90 seconds rest, repeat.

Workout A:

Workout B:

Day 1 [Chest + Back]
Day 2 [Legs]
Day 3 [Cardio/OFF]

Day 4 [Shoulders + Arms]
Day 5 [Cardio/OFF]

Mesomorph & Endomorph

How Does An Ectomorph's Workout Differ From A Mesomorph And Endomorph's Workout?

There shouldn't be a significant difference between the workout recommended for an ectomorph of mesomorph (I'm hesitant to say endomorph as well since an endomorph's body shape may limit exercise availability or require slight alterations).

Remember, one's diet affects their progress to a much higher degree than one's training. Simply put, train hard and have no regrets. The dedicated make progress.


What Are Some Good Foods For An Ectomorph?

Typically, ectomorphs struggle to gain weight. To actually gain weight, one must consume more calories than they expend. This does not mean that one should devour the entire buffet table in an effort to watch the scale go up a few digits.

Eat clean and eat more frequently. Keep track of calories ingested, activity and bodyweight. Weigh in on a scale in the morning on an empty stomach, check and record bodyweight WEEKLY.

If one's weight drops, they simply are not eating enough. Add 500 calories a day and wait for the next weigh in. No progress? Add another 500 calories. When bulking, I aim for a minimal caloric intake of 20x my bodyweight.

Simple Healthy Foods:

Protein Sources:

Carbohydrate Sources:

Fat Sources:

Recommended Weight Gain Foods:

  • Nuts (Cashews, Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts)
    Calorie dense, high in healthy fats and protein. 50g of peanuts - roughly one or two handfuls - is approximately 350 calories, 15g protein, 25g fat, 10g carbs.
  • Oats (Steel cut/Rolled)
    Oats are a very economical and nutritional food choice. Approximately 80g (1 cup) of oats is just over 300 calories, 15g protein, 5g fat, 50g complex carbs - ZERO sugar!
  • Milk (2% or whole)
    Try drinking milk instead of water for a portion of the day. Drinking a gallon of milk per day has served as a staple weight gain protocol for many people who struggle to gain weight. 4L of 2% milk delivers over 2000 calories, 145g protein, 70g fat, 200g slow digesting milk sugar.
  • Whole Grains
    A bagel or two with breakfast adds about 300 calories per bagel.

Weight Gain Tips:

  • Eat more, more frequently. Aim for 6-8 meals spread over the course of the day.
  • Always eat breakfast! This should be your largest meal, consisting primarily of complex carbohydrates and protein. I recommend whole grain products, eggs, fruit and milk.
  • Never miss a meal! If it means a trip to a fast food joint, do it. You need to fuel your body at least every 2-3 hours.
  • Drink a gallon of milk throughout the day (unless you're lactose intolerant).
  • Carry homemade Trail Mix with you everywhere. This can consist of just mixed nuts, or added granola - it's really up to you.
  • Stay hydrated AND chug an electrolyte rich drink. Maintaining proper hydration is incredibly beneficial when looking to gain a few pounds. Try to drink a few liters of Gatorade or other sports drink throughout the day to keep salts up with the additional water intake.
  • Have a slow-digesting protein (casein) rich meal before going to bed to ward off catabolism during the night.
  • Rest. Sleep 8 hrs or more a night.