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Finding the Best Split for an Ectomorph


I would like to be short and quick on my story first : I started to be consistent on my gym routine, and I try to do things seriously since 4 months starting in October (eat well, sleep well, no too much stress, etc…), and I started to have results. But I feel like I could have had better results, I feel like my potential was not the top.

So here is the situation :

I have been doing a 3 day split for 4-5 weeks with a full body and a hypertrophy goal, so only size/volume starting in October 2018 (I used to go 5 times a week thinking the more I lift, the more I will have muscles, shame on me). I have done research, and find out about the body type thesis, even if it’s not confirmed by science, I relate to an ectomorph.

I hardly gain weigh, I can eat whatever I want and not gain (almost) anything. My muscles had grown a bit… (especially the biceps) like, at the end of those 5 weeks, they grown but that looked more like “the beginning” for me. Then I switch from a hypertrophy to a strength program for 2 weeks, so mid/late-November and holly crap I felt like they gain more in the 2 last weeks than in the first 5 one. Even like my friend and family they couldn’t believe how I gain so much in like so little in terms of time… I was chocked since I though strength program wouldn’t “grow/make your muscles bigger” as a hypertrophy program.

Then I thought, “what if it was the mixing of hypertrophy and strength that made them look bigger in no time ?”. So I started to believe that doing both could be better, because after that I only went “full strength” and my progress seams to have decelerate. So I started to think about switching program eveytime I do a training (Mon hyper, wed strength, fri hyper, mon strength, wed hyper, fri strength). And this is where it gets tricky for me and where I need you help.

So I told you earlier I was an ectomorph, so I can’t like spend too much time a week at the gym, and I have to eat a lot. But what if I do a 4 days split with 2 for hyper and 2 for strength (I just think it is more balanced like that), but wouldn’t that be too much ?

I hope I have been clear enough and my English was good, I an French so I might not use the right word at some point, please let me know if it happen,

Happy new year to everyone,

What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

What’s your current height, weight, and general bodyfat? (lean, skinny-fat, etc.)

Are you also artistic, self-conscious, and introverted? Because that’s also what an ectomorph is “supposed to” be. (But yeah, it’s a pointless term with zero real world application).

This is false. Getting stronger while eating enough food will make your body bigger.

The bottomline is that the best split for an “ectomorph” is high frequency supermarket walking with high volume putting-stuff-in-the-cart, supersetted with high intensity meal prep.

Follow any well-designed program that has you lifting 3-5 days a week for 16 weeks, eat 3-4 meals a day 7 days a week, and you’re set.


This. :smile:

Just eat more. You would be surprised at how many people are somatype fluid.


Yep sometimes I’m a meso others times a endo depending on cheesecake intake.


feelings are quite useless. what you feel has no bearing on what is true.

that’s ridiculous. Absolutely NOBODY makes that sort of progress in 2 weeks.

if you’re not gaining weight at a reasonable weight, the key will always be to eat more. period. there are no exceptions to this.

Eating is what determines how much you will weigh, essentially. Lifting weights will determine how that weight looks on you (whether it will be muscle or fat).

As far as training frequency and programming go: anything can work. You can work out 5 days a week and be successful. I have a very small frame (I was 125 lbs when I started lifting), and I went to the gym 5 days per week for years. Now I go more like 3 times per week, but that’s because I have time constraints, not because I wouldn’t benefit from more.

As far as whether you should follow a strength-based program vs a bodybuilding split, that is entirely up to you and what you favor. Whatever program pushes the right buttons for you and helps you push yourself in the gym. Some people who running basic hypertrophy programs don’t grow because they don’t lift with sufficient intensity, they kind of just go through the motions. Then they get on a strength based program, they start pushing harder, and all of a sudden the results come.


Somatotypes are pseudoscience. Do 5/3/1 BBB

Hi Mr. Collucci, thanks for your reply,

A wok home-made meal with rice, beef meet, vegetables and different spices, and liquid cream, two servings, both dinner and lunch. 450 gram of yogurt (vanilla) hour before going to bed, two toast for breakfast (one slice of bread each, one slice of cheese each, one egg each, half an avocado each)

Height is 186 cm (about 6.10ft), weight is about 76 kg (167.5 lb), body fat is around 9% (based on a test that was unfortunately not 100% trustable, might vary), otherwise I consider myself lean.

I wouldn’t consider myself artistic, although sometimes I surprise myself for doing such piece of art on my draw book. I think I am self-conscious, and yes, I also consider myself introverted, I didn’t know it was a common point, thanks for pointing that out.

I am sorry but isn’t that obvious ? What I wanted to say is : to me, a strength program will make your muscle stronger, and eventually your muscles bigger, BUT not as big as a hypertrophy program. And again to me, a hypertrophy program is meant to make you muscle bigger although they might not be as strong as someone who followed a strength program. So if I am saying nonsense, please feel free to correct me, I posted this in the beginner section for a reason…

If I go home with all that groceries doing walking lunge, would that be good for my legs ? Funny way to say “eat more”

That’s interesting, I red “what might work for some might not work for everybody” and that I have to find my own split/program, what’s your opinion on that ?

Thank you for you reply, I understand according to you I should not focus on my body type, but how come that some people are… not “wide” and still pretty muscular ?

Hi flipcollar, thanks for you reply,

What I meant by that is : as soon as I went on strength instead of hypertrophy, the result have been “more visible” by doing 2 weeks of strength than doing 5 week of hypertrophy. But the result was considering the 7 weeks of effort. I just wanted to know what could happen I mixed up strength and hypertrophy.

I find this really interesting because I can relate to that. So what you’re saying is "doing a strength program would get your muscles as big as hypertrophy " or that “doing hypertrophy is pointless and you should focus on strength instead because you will get bigger and stronger muscles anyway” ?

I don’t know if I am saying right, let me know please, I would appreciate that clarification, I think I am misunderstanding something between strength and hypertrophy. What should I do to get my muscles bigger and stronger ? Basically to me : strength is for volume/size and strength is for strength. Is this right ?

Hi dt79,

thank you for being direct and going straight to the point instead of wanted to know if I am artistic, self-conscious, and introverted.

I now know I should eat more, but what could you tell me on the strength/hypertrophy thing ? To me, strength is to get stronger, hypertrophy is to get bigger muscles, aka to get more volume/size. So am I thinking right or am I being dumb ?


Somatypes are nonsense. That’s what @Chris_Colucci was saying. I was adding to that. Unless you are intending to specialize in the powerlifts, strength vs hypertrophy is just a way for online authors to overcomplicate all this to make beginners think they NEED to follow what they write for success. It’s also a good way to sell different programs.

Just train with intensity on a balanced split and you’ll be fine. Lack of muscle gains is due to lack of intensity, not eating enough to gain or both.


6’10 167 lbs ?

6.1 feet I think he meant, which is a weird way of writing it.


so strength and size go largely hand in hand. There is a high correlation between how big your muscles are and how strong they are. That’s why there are weight classes in strength sports like strongman and powerlifting. Bigger muscles move bigger weights.

The reason people get confused is that, at the top levels, there is some differentiation. The best bodybuilders, even though they are huge, are not the strongest men in the world. And conversely, the strongest men in the world are not always the biggest (although honestly, some are).

For a beginner, most of this is relatively inconsequential. What works for beginners, for gaining size AND strength, is how much intensity and work you put forth, how consistent you are with that effort, how much you eat and how long you do it. The specific program you run with make very little difference, as long as it’s not an absolutely terrible program. If you find a program written by a respected coach, it will be just fine, period. It’s only when you become an advanced lifter that specialization regarding hypertrophy vs strength really makes sense.

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If you want a mix between hypertrophy and strength, you may want to read about “powerbuilding” approach to training. Never tried it though and I don’t really know that much about it, but that may be to your liking.

Being strong is strong. People have this weird idea that if you do not train in the 1-5 rep range that you aren’t training for strength. If you saw someone deadlift 600 for 20, would you not consider that person strong? Get strong at different rep ranges. That’ll make you strong all over and big as well. The stronger your sets of 1-20 get, the stronger and bigger you’ll be. it all just takes a fuckton of time and being consistent.


It was always my understanding that hypertrophy was always a critical part of any strength program, and a strength program should always include some hypertrophy work.

The human body isn’t that complex and at your level, a general program is all you need. As you gain more experience and start identifying weaknesses, that’s when you can customize stuff. But right now, because you’re new to this, you’re likely weak everywhere.

Ectomorphs being artistic, self-conscious, and introverted as as important as a special program they would need. Somatotypes are based in pseudoscience made by a fraud of a psychologist trying to claim that people’s personality traits were related to their body types. You’re not an “ectomorph”, you’re a skinny guy. If you eat too much and store fat, you’re not an “endomorph”, youre just fat.

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I lift in the 3-8 range exclusively and my back looking like a ninja turtle!


Ok thanks I probably should have done the metric conversion to double check. I was getting ready to suggest getting his typhoid tested he he was 6’10

Eat more than you are eating and do a lot of compound lifts.