T Nation

Ectomorphs & Kettlebells


#1

Interested in people's thoughts on kettlebells and hypertrophy, particularly people who don't gain easily. I would consider myself a classic ectomorph: 6"3, 160 lbs, really struggle to gain mass, really struggle to retain it. Am aware of the (seemingly) prevailing wisdom that people such as myself stick pretty religiously to the compounds (squats, deadlifts, pullups etc) but I like to mix things up as much as I can in order to keep training interesting. Had some recent experience with kettlebells, which seem to have exploded in popularity here in the UK, and really enjoyed the dynamic nature of this training and would like to add them to my training 'arsenal'.However I'm concerned that they may not give me any benefits in terms of mass , which to be honest has to be at the centre of my programme.

Researched kettlebells and hypertrophy on the net and found a number of videos on Youtube with people suggesting you can get bigger with kettlebells. However, most of these guys I would class as mesomorphic i.e. they are going to see some degree of added muscle with most training with an element of resistance.
Does anyone here have any strong views/ experience as to whether kettlebells will put mass on an ecto or not? (I'd like to build a programme around clean-squat-presses, turkish get-ups and KB deadlifts)


#2

If you want to get big, DON’T play with kettleballs. Just don’t.


#3

[quote]Tan81 wrote:
I would consider myself a classic ectomorph[/quote]
I would consider you a tall, skinny guy. Period. Ecto-meso-endo nonsense really is nonsense.

[quote]really struggle to gain mass, really struggle to retain it.

I like to mix things up as much as I can in order to keep training interesting.[/quote]
Just to lay it out plain and simple for you, the second point is causing the first point. I understand wanting to have fun in training, but a very common cause of non-progress is “playing” instead of “working.” The good thing is, effective training isn’t an either/or situation. Results are fun, grinding out a hard rep is fun (on some level), doing unique exercises for uniqueness-sake is a different kind of fun.

Also, you’re not eating enough. You’re going to say you are definitely eating enough or you’re going to say it’s hard to eat enough, but the fact is, you’re not eating enough - seven days a week, 30 days a month, 6 to 12 months in a row - to build or maintain size. What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

Do you think the program be built around those exercises, even if/though they’re not the most efficient at building size? Or should they possibly be incorporated as part of a well-designed and more efficient program that focuses on building strength and size with barbell exercises?


#4

Chris, as is usually the case, is correct. Kettlebells are not the best place to go for mass, and you are probably not eating enough.

I say this as someone who has worked primarily with kettlebells for years. I started as a skinny guy (6’1" and 150 pounds) and slowly added strength and mass. No none on T-Nation would be impressed with what I have accomplished in either area, but I am a lot stronger than I was and I have put on 30 pounds of muscle (over quite a few years). I’m currently looking to add a few more pounds at the moment.

So you could add some size. It won’t be fast, and like Chris says, you are not eating enough. That was my problem, too. I’m still figuring that part out.

But over the years, I was never random in my training. I always followed a proven program. Like Chris says, randomness and variety will not help you achieve your goals. If you like kettlebell moves and workouts, and you have moderate aspirations for gaining muscle (I’d say 20 to 30 pounds) and you are not in a hurry, then it will totally work. If that doesn’t fit with what you want, go for the barbell. Or mix the two. Kettlebells are awesome for clean and presses, swings, get ups, snatches, and learning to squat, and you can pair those with barbell squats or deadlifts for a nice program.


#5

has anyone mentioned that you’re not eating enough? Because you’re not.

We were all “ectomorphs” once, then we learned what to eat, and how much.


#6

[quote]dt79 wrote:
If you want to get big, DON’T play with kettleballs. Just don’t.[/quote]

Bro, you’ve clearly never seen those videos of Dorian Yates doing Turkish Get Ups, or Ronnie doing one handed kettlebell snatches!


#7

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
If you want to get big, DON’T play with kettleballs. Just don’t.[/quote]

Bro, you’ve clearly never seen those videos of Dorian Yates doing Turkish Get Ups, or Ronnie doing one handed kettlebell snatches![/quote]

But…but… they’re on roids! They’re also endo-mesomorphs… on roids!


#8

Thanks for the responses. I think I will revise my initial plan and prioritise the barbells/dumbbells with a favourite kettlebell exercise tacked on the end as a ‘treat’. Oh, and I’ll be sure to eat too!!


#9

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
If you want to get big, DON’T play with kettleballs. Just don’t.[/quote]

Bro, you’ve clearly never seen those videos of Dorian Yates doing Turkish Get Ups, or Ronnie doing one handed kettlebell snatches![/quote]

But…but… they’re on roids! They’re also endo-mesomorphs… on roids! [/quote]

that’s where you’re wrong, fool!


#10

The barbell is the most efficient tool for building muscle and strength, but kettlebells certainly work. The basic principles matter more than the implement used. Eat a lot, use compound movements, train with appropriate volume and intensity and allow for recovery. I think the intensity point is most important with kettlebells: it’s easy to fall into the trap of going too light. Go heavy, press, row, squat and swing and you will build muscle.

Also I hate this whole ectomorph/mesomorph/endomorph thing. No offence to you OP, but that classification has to die.


#11

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]Yogi wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
If you want to get big, DON’T play with kettleballs. Just don’t.[/quote]

Bro, you’ve clearly never seen those videos of Dorian Yates doing Turkish Get Ups, or Ronnie doing one handed kettlebell snatches![/quote]

But…but… they’re on roids! They’re also endo-mesomorphs… on roids! [/quote]

that’s where you’re wrong, fool!

[/quote]

Oh yeah? Look what kettlebells did to him! Now he has Palumboism! You dumb dumbs thought it was the bloody GH and peanuts?


#12

[quote]Tan81 wrote:
Thanks for the responses. I think I will revise my initial plan and prioritise the barbells/dumbbells with a favourite kettlebell exercise tacked on the end as a ‘treat’. Oh, and I’ll be sure to eat too!![/quote]

Eating is more important than anything else. How about this. You don’t get your ‘treat’ unless you meet your caloric requirements for the previous day.


#13

I’m an ectomorph and I weigh 206lbs at 5’11".