T Nation

Ectomorph Strength

There seems to be a lot of talk about helping skinny kids get big on these boards, but do you reckon a real ecto has a shot at getting properly strong without assistance? Are there any in strength sports at all?

I was wondering this today watching all those short fellas at the olympics in the 60kg weightlifting today.

It doesn’t matter what body type you are or what type of genetics you have, you can get big and strong. Do you have a chance to be the next worlds strongest man, powerlifting champion, or olympic weightlifter? Probably not, but you can get strong and big.

While people do have different body structures, metabolisms and body types, the incredible amount of following these somatotype theories have astounds me.

First of all, most people are a combination of the traits that supposedly characterise the three somatotypes. Second of all while genetics are always a limitation, you really shouldn’t concern yourself with them.

The reason why olympic weightlifters are short with short limbs is because it is advantageous for their leverages and for them to fill out their weight class with muscle as opposed to being lanky dudes with crappy leverages and less muscle.

I assure you there are plenty of freaks who are tall and have long limbs who are out there in strength sports, although olympic weightlifting and powerlifting do tend to be dominated by people with the right sort of leverages for their lifts. In the same breath I have to mention that a lot of bodybuilders are also shorter because a stockier competitor appears more pleasing on stage usually.

However this by no means implies that you are limited in your muscular development or that you have poor genetics. A lot of the taller strongman competitors would probably be called ectomorphs if they didn’t train and ate very little.

Dude come on…little 123lb chinese kids in the olympics clean and jerk 358lbs. Look at them and tell me they look big.

Hey, sorry I haven’t been back on here for a while. Cheers for your replies. I have recently started at an allround weightlifting club, but being 6’3"/190cm and under 200lbs (for the moment) I just wonder if I am wasting my time!

Are there any lifts taller people excel at?

deadlift, somehow im good at bench and im 6’4’’

[quote]Roundhead wrote:
There seems to be a lot of talk about helping skinny kids get big on these boards, but do you reckon a real ecto has a shot at getting properly strong without assistance? Are there any in strength sports at all?

I was wondering this today watching all those short fellas at the olympics in the 60kg weightlifting today.[/quote]

It’s not that one can’t be realllly reallly good/strong/big no matter who you are. It’s that when your competing at the highest levels, everyones skill is very very high and people who’s natural stature swings in their favor usually end up making it the farthest. That’s why most gymnasts for the rings are around 135lbs 5’1-3’’; not that thre aren’t bigger gymnasts, just at the HIGHEST levels of competition the slightly taller guys just doesn’t have that natural advantage.

So although you aren’t naturally inclined to be another ronnie coleman, it doesn’t mean you can’t get pretty big and strong.

[quote]bignate wrote:
deadlift, somehow im good at bench and im 6’4’’[/quote]

6’4…but 250 pounds.

Height isn’t much of a disadvantage leverage wise if your a heavy mofo. Mass > leverage.

Plus Id put money to say you’ve got a fancy pair of triceps on you.

Wish I was 250…Im jealous, not sure my girl would like it though…

And yeah tall guys with long arms have a ROM advantage in deads, and being over 6 foot gives you a certain leverage advantage depending on how you start your pull.

Mass > leverage? Sorry, you fail physics class.

well, mass can help the bench from a leverage standpoint. the larger (be it muscle, fat, or a combo) your chest is, the shorter the bar’s distance traveled.

and for the squat, I believe it was Tate that talked about how a thick waist (usually a side effect of being massive) aids in the squat. I think the analogy he used was likening it to the base of a pyramid.

[quote]Ryan P. McCarter wrote:
Mass > leverage? Sorry, you fail physics class.[/quote]

Fortunately for the general populations I am soon to be a civil engineer, and I did not in fact fail any physics.

Its obvious that Im talking about mass as in muscle mass, as in force production by cross sectional area contraction, and even if I wasn’t your statement still makes no sense…because the situation isn’t black and white, you don’t know his arm span, how large his chest is, his shoulder width.

Either your just trying to be annoying by purposefully misinterpreting my obvious statements, or your stupid, either way.

F minus, see me after class.

By Mass>leverage, are you saying mass is more important than leverage or the mass leads to improved leverage?

My arm span is, like most people, pretty similar to my height- about 190cm/6’3".

So would I improve my chances of getting properly strong if I put on an extra 50lbs or so?!

I’m 6’-1" and when I weighed 195 I pulled (deadlifted) 525 at a USAPL meet. And right now my bench is approching the 300lb mark; but that’s been a long time coming. my long ass arms made it very hard to get to where I’m at.

Being tall + strong + skinny(ish) is totally possible. Just gotta live right.

By ‘live’ i mean, train, eat, sleep.

[quote]Westclock wrote:
Ryan P. McCarter wrote:
Mass > leverage? Sorry, you fail physics class.

Fortunately for the general populations I am soon to be a civil engineer, and I did not in fact fail any physics.

Its obvious that Im talking about mass as in muscle mass, as in force production by cross sectional area contraction, and even if I wasn’t your statement still makes no sense…because the situation isn’t black and white, you don’t know his arm span, how large his chest is, his shoulder width.

Either your just trying to be annoying by purposefully misinterpreting my obvious statements, or your stupid, either way.

F minus, see me after class.

[/quote]

I’m purposely trying to be annoying? Aren’t you the one claiming to be stronger in your upper body than Olympic gymnasts? That average, untrained people are stronger than gymnasts?

Mass obviously helps to increase force production, and I also agree that anyone strong, but all else being equal, a 6’5" lifter won’t be as strong as a 5’7" liftecan getr. I’m not trying to discourage anybody, but there’s a reason certain body types are favored in certain sports.

Anyway, to the OP, yes you can get strong if you’re an ectomorph. Kelly Bagget actually wrote an article you might be interested in.

http://www.mindandmuscle.net/mindandmuscle/print/printview.php?artID=48

Hi

Strongman competitors are usually quite tall, 190+ cm. And tell me if they are not strong…

This one as an example won the worlds stongest man three times:
http://www.magnus-samuelsson.net/en/default.asp?view=facts

I am quite tall to 194/6´5 115 kg, I have trained 1,5 years when I started I weighed 77 kg I am totally clean have never tried anything. My best lifts are DL 190x3 no straps,belt, SQ 140x5 kg no belt,wraps Bench 125 kg.

I hurt my back quite bad one year, take that in consideration.

Polish ectomorph Szymon Kolecki just recently took a silver at Beijing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1dRq5no1eg&feature=related

[quote]Roundhead wrote:
By Mass>leverage, are you saying mass is more important than leverage or the mass leads to improved leverage?

My arm span is, like most people, pretty similar to my height- about 190cm/6’3".

So would I improve my chances of getting properly strong if I put on an extra 50lbs or so?![/quote]

I’m surprised you need some math formula to prove this to you.

You want to know how a skinny guy gets strong? Eat a lot and lift lots of heavy weights. You don’t need math, you don’t need to figure out equations and shit. Just eat and lift heavy.

Regarding the bench press, I think it doesn’t matter how tall you are, because the leverage is in general the same for all body types. The ratio between arm lenght and insertion point of the tendons in the upper arm are similar for people of all height, so don’t make excuses, that you can’t bench press, when you are over 6’.^^

(Funny story: my physics teacher tried to prove, that shorter people can hold an item with a straightened arm longer than taller people, and guess what, he failed. In our experiment the taller guy beat the other by almost a minute. ;))

However, I agree that taller people have a harder time to pull from the floor, because they have to squat lower to reach the bar, when they attempt a DL.

My guess, why all the olympic weightlifters tend to be shorter (even in the heavier classes) is due to the genetic diversity. Odds are higher, that you are very CNS efficient than being CNS efficient AND exceptionally tall. (with that genetic jackpot you could earn more money in other sports anyway.^^)

  • Andy

[quote]Nikiforos wrote:
Roundhead wrote:
So would I improve my chances of getting properly strong if I put on an extra 50lbs or so?!

I’m surprised you need some math formula to prove this to you.[/quote]

Probably should have been clearer here. What I was saying is that 50lbs of weight would be beneficial, as opposed to 50lbs of specifically muscle. ie, the weight is of inherent benefit, apart from it being muscle mass.

Cheers for the comments. The club I want to train at compete in loads of different lifts (the next competition is in the clean and jerk, pull over and push, continental to belt, half gardner and hack lift), so i don’t know if mayeb different folks have advantages in different lifts. But you’re right, there are enough examples out there (and on this forum) for me not to use my height as an excuse.