What Is The Best Ectomorph Training Strategy? – Weight Lifting Q&A

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By Alex
Last updated on

Question: I was hoping you could tell me some ectomorph training tips and workout advice. I looked at your article on different body types, and was intrigued to find that the ectomorph somatotype accurately describes both my personality and my body type.

In terms of weight lifting, how does this body type affect the way I should train (i.e. reps, etc.)?

– Justin (Adelaide, South Australia)

Answer: Thanks for the question, Justin. I can definitely give you a few useful ectomorph training tips and strategies.

Knowing your body type can certainly help in finding an effective training strategy, but it can only do so to an extent…

…So before I pass down my golden nuggets of ectomorph training wisdom to you, let me first stress this point:

You won’t notice any distinct improvement in your progress, unless you already have the basic weight lifting and bodybuilding diet practices down pat.

Ectomorph Body Type
A Typical Ectomorph
Image Credit: austinanomic

So if you haven’t been doing the basics, then stop reading this page and instead click on the two links above – Read them, memorize them and implement the information found within them.

If you have been doing all the basics, religiously, and have still been struggling to add lean mass, then read on…

…All of the training tips in the bulleted list below are based on the knowledge that ectomorphs generally have poor recovery and burn calories too rapidly.

Thus, each training tip aims to solve these problems by minimizing muscle damage while maximizing recovery time, as well as by limiting caloric expenditure.

Now, without further ado, here are my top ectomorph training tips and advice:

  • Lift no more than 3 times per week.
  • Do an upper body/lower body split routine.
  • Focus 100% of your time and energy on the big compound lifts.
  • Don’t go to failure, unless it’s during the final set of an exercise.
  • Try to limit the duration of your workouts to less than 45 minutes.
  • Minimize your cardiovascular activity, especially intense cardio.
  • Optimal rep range for ectos is impossible to know, but if I had to guess, I’d say about 3-8.

If you really are a full-blown ectomorph, then the advice will certainly help you out.

However, the truth is that most self-proclaimed ectomorphic “hardgainers” are actually not hardgainers at all. In reality, they’re skinny because they don’t eat enough.

I may sound like a broken record player, but many (though not all) people need to have this point repeatedly pounded into their head:

Diet is king! If you’re having trouble gaining weight, you must eat, eat and then eat some more! If that doesn’t work, then keep eating until you start gaining muscle.

And on that note, I’ll wrap this page up. Good luck with reaching your goals.

Eat, train & be patient,

Alex from King of the Gym
Hey! My name is Alex and I'm the founder and author of King of the Gym. I've been lifting weights seriously since 2005 in high school when I started a home gym in my parents' basement. I started writing about fitness in 2009. Then, in 2014, I got into writing home gym equipment reviews and I haven't looked back. My current home gym is in my own house and it's constantly growing and evolving. My goal is to help you build the home gym of your dreams! Read more about me here.

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