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Ectomorph Training?

I’m trying to maximize mass on an ectomorph frame without force-feeding (which wouldn’t be permanent). I’m 37, 6’, 165 (have never gotten over 171) lifted regularly for 15 years (mostly split workouts w pyramids). I’m strong enough for my practical purposes (275 bench, 300ish squat) but would like a program that would maximize my mass while maintaining health.

I’ve liked kettlebell circuits (60#) for back pain, and have recently read up on 5/3/1 (worried if it will create enough mass without tearing me up), Gironda’s 10/8/6/15 (overtrain?), and HST (undertrain?). Again, I have little experience with these programs so any experiences or suggestions would be great!

Thanks, Nate

[quote]ns182 wrote:
without force-feeding
[/quote]

If you could do that, I am betting you would be bigger by now.

Just a tip…it isn’t always easy to get the food down to grow…and yes, some might call that “force feeding”.

Also, training based on what you think you look like now is the wrong way to go. Don’t train or eat like an “ectomorph”. Train and eat like someone trying to make progress. Forget the nickname.

You’ve lifted regularly for 15 years yet never weighed more than 171?

You’re not consistently eating enough

What does your normal diet look like?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Don’t train or eat like an “ectomorph”. Train and eat like someone trying to make progress. Forget the nickname.[/quote]
A crucial concept worth repeating. Nate, let this sink in for a sec.

[quote]ns182 wrote:
I’m trying to maximize mass on an ectomorph frame without force-feeding (which wouldn’t be permanent).[/quote]
What do you mean “wouldn’t be permanent”? You need to eat enough calories to make the scale go up, whether that takes 3,000 calories or 6,000 calories. You have to figure out a way to get there and it might suck at first, but you’ll adapt.

Also, what, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

Generally you don’t want your bench to be so close to your squat. Do you deadlift or row, and if so, how much? For your size, that’s a good bench, but the fact that your lower body strength is so close could be an indicator of a strength imbalance which could set you up for injuries or slow progress down the road.

Do you currently have back pain and some injury that limits your training?

5/3/1 will not “tear you up” by any means. It’s literally designed to progress slowly and steadily and has a deload (a lighter/easier week) once a month.

No, not overtraining.

No idea what program you’re referring to.

A lot of guys in the Over-35 forum seem to love the 5/3/1 program, so I’ll make it simple, do this for the next 90 days then check back with results:

Important note though, if you don’t figure out how to eat properly (meaning enough and consistently), you will absolutely be wasting time. Check these articles to get a better handle on your nutrition:


How’s your finances? I ask because it might be worth signing up for 12 weeks with someone like Shelby starnes, it takes the thought and doubt out of the process. Obviously 12 weeks isn’t an end point but at least at that point you will have learned some about what it takes.
I say this only because it’s what I ended up doing recently after wallowing between 185 and 195 for a long time and it’s nice have a plan and just follow it.

I am an “ectomorph” too. But I think it’s just means, like someone said here, that our brain tells us to stop eating, while endomorphs dont have this signal.

While you might not be able to forcefeed yourself during one meal, you can start eating one meal per day more and have a littlebit extra with each meal.

Like if you eat 3 meals “breffy, lunch, dinner” you can drink a glass of skim milk for example after eating, and it will give you 250~Calories more, and then have a sandwich snack at some point 250~ Calories, and you’re already eating 500Calories more per day and gaining weight…

[quote]NikH wrote:
I am an “ectomorph” too. But I think it’s just means, like someone said here, that our brain tells us to stop eating, while endomorphs dont have this signal.

While you might not be able to forcefeed yourself during one meal, you can start eating one meal per day more and have a littlebit extra with each meal.

Like if you eat 3 meals “breffy, lunch, dinner” you can drink a glass of skim milk for example after eating, and it will give you 250~Calories more, and then have a sandwich snack at some point 250~ Calories, and you’re already eating 500Calories more per day and gaining weight…[/quote]

lol no.

1 Like

Somatotypes are bullshit. You’re not an “ectomorph” - you’re small, and need to eat big and lift heavy to get larger.

In my fifties now i ran marathons with ridiculous training(i am a real ectomorph). What works for me to add muscles is 13 trainings weekly. Early 6 gym training heavy or medium, 3-7 reps. Plus at home later(even TV commercials) lighter bodyweight/dumbells.
Off course 7 meals with 50 cals extra add up over weeks and months(an extra oatmeal scoop etc…).

Just try for 5 weeks i bet you will get results.


With our small muscles we can train frequently with benefits if we manage our CNS. I do upper lower you might try it or legs/pull/push. My suggestion is to hit 2 or 3 times each muscle heavy/medium weekly plus daily(light) WO later(at least 5 hours apart).

[quote]Consul wrote:
Somatotypes are bullshit. You’re not an “ectomorph” - you’re small, and need to eat big and lift heavy to get larger. [/quote]

I disagree that somatotypes are bullshit. If you are an ectomorph in the true sense of the word then I believe it is much harder to fill out such a gangly frame and that you will have to put on more lbm than someone who is typically meso/endo to look comparably muscular.

OP you are only 6’ at 170 so it shouldn’t be hard to change your shape so to speak.

I agree with you needing to eat big (or bigger), as chris asked, can you post what you ate yesterday?

Oh and DEADLIFT!!

[quote]ryan.b_96 wrote:

[quote]NikH wrote:
I am an “ectomorph” too. But I think it’s just means, like someone said here, that our brain tells us to stop eating, while endomorphs dont have this signal.

While you might not be able to forcefeed yourself during one meal, you can start eating one meal per day more and have a littlebit extra with each meal.

Like if you eat 3 meals “breffy, lunch, dinner” you can drink a glass of skim milk for example after eating, and it will give you 250~Calories more, and then have a sandwich snack at some point 250~ Calories, and you’re already eating 500Calories more per day and gaining weight…[/quote]

lol no.[/quote]

And Ryan, any chance of you posting something useful one of these days?

[quote]lemony2j wrote:

[quote]Consul wrote:
Somatotypes are bullshit. You’re not an “ectomorph” - you’re small, and need to eat big and lift heavy to get larger. [/quote]

I disagree that somatotypes are bullshit. If you are an ectomorph in the true sense of the word then I believe it is much harder to fill out such a gangly frame and that you will have to put on more lbm than someone who is typically meso/endo to look comparably muscular.

OP you are only 6’ at 170 so it shouldn’t be hard to change your shape so to speak.

I agree with you needing to eat big (or bigger), as chris asked, can you post what you ate yesterday?

Oh and DEADLIFT!![/quote]

I meant the actual concept of somatotypes is just pop psychology. Yes, there are naturally people with smaller frames and less lean body mass.

[quote]Consul wrote:

[quote]lemony2j wrote:

[quote]Consul wrote:
Somatotypes are bullshit. You’re not an “ectomorph” - you’re small, and need to eat big and lift heavy to get larger. [/quote]

I disagree that somatotypes are bullshit. If you are an ectomorph in the true sense of the word then I believe it is much harder to fill out such a gangly frame and that you will have to put on more lbm than someone who is typically meso/endo to look comparably muscular.

OP you are only 6’ at 170 so it shouldn’t be hard to change your shape so to speak.

I agree with you needing to eat big (or bigger), as chris asked, can you post what you ate yesterday?

Oh and DEADLIFT!![/quote]

I meant the actual concept of somatotypes is just pop psychology. Yes, there are naturally people with smaller frames and less lean body mass.
[/quote]

It is not just frames. Some people have higher thyroid, or lower testosterone, to mention just two of many possible reasons they may be thinner and have a harder time gaining mass. You can call it something else if you want but it comes down to the same thing as being an ectomorph.

I am the same height and had been stuck at 166lbs for a long time, pretty much irrespective of what I would eat. I have recently made some progress, though, gaining about 8 pounds to 174 lbs, thanks mainly to TRT. Still, I have the type of metabolism where I am very lean pretty much irrespective of calories and start losing mass if I skip more than two days of training.

When I eat more calories I get hot, restless, sick, and I am tossing and turning all night with insomnia burning them off, so benadryl and sometimes benzos are helpful just to be able to sleep when eating more. Also, whenever in the past I have taken a break from training I easily lose 10 lbs in the first couple of weeks, which I then have to struggle to regain, so I have learned that I cannot afford not training for more than two days in a row.

However, it is not so bad. If you look at the height/weight ratios of Men’s Fitness models, a lot of them are around 6’ 175 lbs and they look good enough for a magazine, so things could be worse. By being lean you can actually look bigger than guys who are heavier.

[quote]seekonk wrote:
I am the same height and had been stuck at 166lbs for a long time, pretty much irrespective of what I would eat. I have recently made some progress, though, gaining about 8 pounds to 174 lbs, thanks mainly to TRT. Still, I have the type of metabolism where I am very lean pretty much irrespective of calories and start losing mass if I skip more than two days of training. When I eat more calories I get hot, restless, sick, and I am tossing and turning all night with insomnia burning them off, so benadryl and sometimes benzos are helpful just to be able to sleep when eating more. Also, whenever in the past I have taken a break from training I easily lose 10 lbs in the first couple of weeks, which I then have to struggle to regain, so I have learned that I cannot afford not training for more than two days in a row.

However, it is not so bad. If you look at the height/weight ratios of Men’s Fitness models, a lot of them are around 6’ 175 lbs and they look good enough for a magazine, so things could be worse. By being lean you can actually look bigger than guys who are heavier.[/quote]

I improved my sleep quality with free software


to “dim” screen after daylight(suggested to me from 1 of our poster) and oysters rich in minerals sold here for sleep but with no card i cannot order so i get them from foods.

Eat big, go for reps. Without more details I couldn’t give any specialized advice. Being highly ectomorphic myself, I knew being big IS NO EASY FEAT! Those first few years were the hardest, consistency is the name of the game. Just enough vigorous training, plenty of good food, and adequate rest. You have to be a bit neurotic for this sport/hobby of ours. However, I won’t concede to the idea that my body type is a hindering me from being big that’ll simply won’t do. Train a like mad man…

As a guy who was an “ecto” and did construction work before going to the gym…

I was eating every chance I could. Whole milk, eggs, poultry, beef, yogurt, nuts… good, calorie dense foods. Even the occasional Entenmann’s coconut custard pie, then wash it down with a quart of whole or 2% milk.

I was ALWAYS hungry. I’ve never seen anyone who didn’t bust their ass on the basic exercises on a regular basis, be practically an eating machine. I never had to force food down, thank god.

EAT GODDAMNIT.

[quote]lemony2j wrote:

[quote]ryan.b_96 wrote:

[quote]NikH wrote:
I am an “ectomorph” too. But I think it’s just means, like someone said here, that our brain tells us to stop eating, while endomorphs dont have this signal.

While you might not be able to forcefeed yourself during one meal, you can start eating one meal per day more and have a littlebit extra with each meal.

Like if you eat 3 meals “breffy, lunch, dinner” you can drink a glass of skim milk for example after eating, and it will give you 250~Calories more, and then have a sandwich snack at some point 250~ Calories, and you’re already eating 500Calories more per day and gaining weight…[/quote]

lol no.[/quote]

And Ryan, any chance of you posting something useful one of these days?[/quote]

ectomorphs have a signal in there brain that tells them to stop eating, but endomorphs dont?

what would you even like me to say to that?

[quote]SavagedNatiion wrote:
Eat big, go for reps. Without more details I couldn’t give any specialized advice. Being highly ectomorphic myself, I knew being big IS NO EASY FEAT! Those first few years were the hardest, consistency is the name of the game. Just enough vigorous training, plenty of good food, and adequate rest. You have to be a bit neurotic for this sport/hobby of ours. However, I won’t concede to the idea that my body type is a hindering me from being big that’ll simply won’t do. Train a like mad man…[/quote]
very good advice

The “ectomorph” typing is complete BS. These people are just tall and skinnyfat. The skinnyfat belly look will go away after some good consistent training and eating. I think all these specialized low volume only compound ectomorph programs out there only worsen these guys.

[quote]ryan.b_96 wrote:

[quote]lemony2j wrote:

[quote]ryan.b_96 wrote:

[quote]NikH wrote:
I am an “ectomorph” too. But I think it’s just means, like someone said here, that our brain tells us to stop eating, while endomorphs dont have this signal.

While you might not be able to forcefeed yourself during one meal, you can start eating one meal per day more and have a littlebit extra with each meal.

Like if you eat 3 meals “breffy, lunch, dinner” you can drink a glass of skim milk for example after eating, and it will give you 250~Calories more, and then have a sandwich snack at some point 250~ Calories, and you’re already eating 500Calories more per day and gaining weight…[/quote]

lol no.[/quote]

And Ryan, any chance of you posting something useful one of these days?[/quote]

ectomorphs have a signal in there brain that tells them to stop eating, but endomorphs dont?

what would you even like me to say to that?
[/quote]

If you have an endomorph and an ectomorph with the same activity level, and put them in a buffee restaurant the endomorph is likely to eat more before feeling full than the ectomorph. So whats the problem?