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Best Training Programs for Ecto?


I am a natural ectomorph (and tall at 6'3") who's not seeing fast enough lean-muscle-mass and strength results from his current training routine (and I believe my diet is okay).

I had been using variations on the heavy-weight, low-reps technique, but would like to see what training routines work better for bodybuilders who are also ectomorphic. Please tell me which programs you used that really helped you pack on the lean muscle mass over a short timeframe and can, thus, recommend from first-hand experience. Give me the details of the program (or refer me to a place that has the information).


i was an ectomorph. i don't know if i am anymore... anyway, i wouldn't put to much stock in those labels. if you're not gaining weight or strength, eat more. eating, for me, is the greatest plateau buster. outline your diet for us. and please don't post a pic of your abs.


I used to weigh 167lbs at 6'3. I ate 5-6 meals a day and lifted 4 times a week.

Now I weigh around 217. I eat 5 meals a day and lift 4 times a week.

The two big things were:
1) Cutting down on my extra activity -- if you're skinny there's a good chance you're running, playing sports all the time, etc. To crack 205 all I did was lift...any extra activity was cutting into my ability to recover from my workouts.

2) Counting my calories: I couldn't gain weight for the life of me. I got really frustrated and told myself I'd do whatever it took. I started eating 5 meals a day at 600 calories. After my weight stopped moving up I ate 5 meals x 700 calories. Then, a few weeks later it was 5 x 800 calories. A few weeks later it was 2 x 900 and 3 x 800. Finally I was eating 5 x 900 and I got to a point that I was satisfied with. I found a low-fat diet worked best for me (didn't gain much fat at all until I got sick of eating 900 calories of low-fat food 5 times a day)

My workouts are pretty much the same as when I was smaller. One thing that helped for a while was capping the sets in a workout. I would do 8-12 sets max and then leave the gym. Now I can do maybe 20-30 and feel fine, but initially I was overtraining on 15.


What program and diet are you currently on?


This is great advice for you. Listen to it.

To reiterate, and add to it;
-Do not train more that 4 times per week.
-Eat more than you think you should be eating..... no, seriously.
-Train to failure very scarecely, almost never.
-Limit any outside gym physical activities.
-Be out of the gym in under an hour.
-Focus most of your time on the major, compound movements.
-Lastly, eat more than you think you should be eating.

Good luck.


To be honest, if your as ecto as I, the training program is secondary to the calories. I could be on the worlds greatest program but if I'm not eating over 5000cals I do not gain.

If your are looking for program advice, Chad W.'s programs have been good to me.
Especially the Waterbury Method and Quatro Dynamo. I modify these because there are some exercises I can't do (Bad Back + train in my basement), but try to remain as true to the program as possible.


I am also an ectomorph. However I have never been on a program that gave me size gains 'fast'.

The best programs are ones in which I can make continual progress with strength. If you're getting stronger, you're getting bigger. For me this is 12 work sets or less, 4 times a week.

I think full body programs are better, however I also use splits.

I 2nd the thing about food. You need to be on at least 3500cals a day or it's just not gonna happen. The below is excellent advice. Treat eating like working out, never miss a session with the weights or with a fork.


Don't focus on getting bigger, focus on getting stronger. Obviously you need to make sure that you are getting enough calories to grow, but I think focusing too much on the scale rather than the poundages you are lifting will get you to hit a plateau.


I think NOT focusing on the scale could be the biggest mistake he could make. The rest of the advice in this thread is spot on. Many guys who are much bigger now used to be skinny before they started training. Your food intake is the most important aspect of what you are doing if you have a fast metabolism. the last thing you need to do is downplay just how important it is. Once I finally started eating as if it was one of my larger priorities, my muscular body weight increased quickly. Most people do NOT eat enough.


I say it in almost every newbie thread.

Fast food.

You won't gain much fat if you're an ecto, but the extra calories will help.

You don't need to rely on it totally but it's better than missing a meal, it's easy and cheap.

2 Double cheeseburgers is 2.16 with tax in Louisiana and just about 900 calories.


I'm an ecto and if I eat fast food I get fat. I want to get bigger and a little fat is fine but it's gotta be within reason.

Cheeseburgers will make me look pregant.


First comes child then comes muscle


I seem alright with the fastfood, even though it's much mroe expensive this side of the pond (at least compared to when I went to America about 4-5 years ago...)

Me? gained 10kg/22lbs in the past 6 months...how? the seefood diet.You see food, you eat it. I actually gained about 15-20kg in a year (yes, I started low) but I got sick, I'll be back where I was in a few weeks, months whatever.

Moral of the story, eat, eat and did I mention eat again...unless you want to look like a Kate Moss wannabe :wink:


Stick to the basics, 5x5 is a good starting point to pack on size and strength. Just make sure to use progressive overload. If your metabolism is fast slow it down. Cycle calorie intake. Most important feast in the the evening like a king. You'll get fat probably but also pack on muscle with strength increase. Also cycling calories can raise your natural test levels.


The best training program for an ecto is:

Fork raises - every two hours

Lots of pro/fat/carbs.

Oh, and lift heavy stuff.