T Nation

Train Right for Your Bodytype

Is there any validity to the body type theory ie ectomorph, mesomorph etc. I’m tall and lean. I’m about 6’6 and was wondering are there routines or exercises tat work better for tall people like myself. I enjoy squats, deads and bench, but it seems like those movements just are made for long limbed guys

I know Eric Cressey recommends different amounts of cardio for different body types, but I’ve never heard basing your weight lifting routine on it.

I think it pretty much amounts to some people just need more cardio than others, you have to learn your body to get more specific.

[quote]slimthugger wrote:
Is there any validity to the body type theory ie ectomorph, mesomorph etc. I’m tall and lean. I’m about 6’6 and was wondering are there routines or exercises tat work better for tall people like myself. I enjoy squats, deads and bench, but it seems like those movements just are made for long limbed guys[/quote]

These body types are largely arbitrary when it comes to someone who is not well trained already. The skinny lean kid isn’t necessarily an “ectomorph” if he gains 80lbs of muscle in 3 years and now looks like a running back.

i always thought of those types more as bone structures (size of joints etc) moreso that how much muscle/fat one is holding at the time, although obviously that comes into effect (even if you see someone largely out of shape, often they’ll be small throughout with a huge midsection vs someone who just got fat all over…being in my interpretation someone who was an ecto vs meso)

[quote]slimthugger wrote:
Is there any validity to the body type theory ie ectomorph, mesomorph etc. I’m tall and lean. I’m about 6’6 and was wondering are there routines or exercises tat work better for tall people like myself. I enjoy squats, deads and bench, but it seems like those movements just are made for long limbed guys[/quote]

Welcome to tall lifter land. Most tall guys will use being tall as a cop out, but there is really isn’t any reason you can’t put on a respectable amount of muscle, as long as you train and eat properly.

Eventually you will come to realize(or already have)that you are have a bit of a mechanical disadvantage for some lifts. Check out these articles for some tips to improve form, sticking points, and adding size to problem areas for taller lifters:

[quote]slimthugger wrote:
I enjoy squats, deads and bench, but it seems like those movements just are made for long limbed guys[/quote]

Actually, only the deadlift out of those three lifts is better suited to those with long limbs. Short armed benchers and short legged squatters have superior leverages.

hence the deadlift is the only lift i actually like out of those 3.

but im making gains on the bench, doing sets with the 95s now. not bad for a guy with arms as long as some peoples legs.

im really working on controlling the negative too. for my incline sets on my failure rep after i get it up i still take like 10 seconds to lower it. its good to strengthen up the chest as well as biceps which are a weakness of mine, as im sure most other tall guys.

dont get me started on my legs though. my hamstrings do fine, probaly because when you deadlift they get activated and my deadlifting strength definately carries over to my RDL. …since my RDL and squat are the same.

There is only one thing I ever say to these body type classifications: who gives a shit?

me.

you can take the bravado role and say, nah man all the shits the same. but it isnt, at least not in the start.

maybe when you get to professor x’s size it doesnt matter anymore and your levers are overcompensated by mass. but if you want to get to that point in the first place its probaly a good idea to have an idea on how to go around those obstacles.

from what ive been seeing lately this site seems to have a very dogmatic view of how to train. and if you go against that dogma it is blasphemy. you just cant assume everyone will prosper from the same thing people are different and also the same. id rather listen to what someone with a similar bodytype to me did to get big than someone completely opposite. i dont see how you can avoid the sense in that. if a guy who started out 6 feet 165 pounds got to be 245 pounds id rather listen to what he has to say than a guy who started 5’8 210 pounds, overweight

[quote]Professor X wrote:
slimthugger wrote:
Is there any validity to the body type theory ie ectomorph, mesomorph etc. I’m tall and lean. I’m about 6’6 and was wondering are there routines or exercises tat work better for tall people like myself. I enjoy squats, deads and bench, but it seems like those movements just are made for long limbed guys

These body types are largely arbitrary when it comes to someone who is not well trained already. The skinny lean kid isn’t necessarily an “ectomorph” if he gains 80lbs of muscle in 3 years and now looks like a running back.[/quote]

Truth. People would not categorize me as an “ectomorph” just by looking at me at this point. But I definitely started out skinny.

The body is a constantly evolving and adapting entity, there are just too many variables to take into consideration to be able to place people into nice neat little categories like ecto, meso, and endo.

I placed myself into the ecto category when I was 19. Truth is I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. 5’ll", 145 lbs and I spent two hours a day in the gym. I ate plenty. Actually, I ate more than my sister, dad, and mom COMBINED at the time. Still couldn’t gain weight.

The culprits?

Too much alcohol
Cigarettes
Eating garbage most of the time instead of good food
Spending two hours busting my ass in the gym

My body was too busy trying to repair all that damage, and didn’t have time to grow

I wasn’t an ecto, I was a dumbass.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
I placed myself into the ecto category when I was 19. Truth is I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. 5’ll", 145 lbs and I spent two hours a day in the gym. I ate plenty. Actually, I ate more than my sister, dad, and mom COMBINED at the time. Still couldn’t gain weight.

The culprits?

Too much alcohol
Cigarettes
Eating garbage most of the time instead of good food
Spending two hours busting my ass in the gym

My body was too busy trying to repair all that damage, and didn’t have time to grow

I wasn’t an ecto, I was a dumbass.[/quote]

Lol… i was reading this post and was like mmhmm, mhmm ,mmhmm… omg thats just like me!

Then i read the ecto/dumbass part…omg thats JUST like me!

I can shed some light here. I’m 6’3 and currently hovering around 250lbs @15% Bf. I started training at around 185 and about 20% BF. I was the typical skinny fat tall dude. My arms measured about 12 inches cold and mushy, lol.

I can tell you that the training is the same for people of all heights. Your leverages will cause you to naturally be stronger in some lifts then others. Squats for me are a workout. Best i did was 315 for 9 ass to the floor and that’s with working as ass off. Deadlifts came easy, i could move 405 for 8 without really concentrating on being good at them. Flat bench is hard for me, i could never bench 315 for any reps, even when i could move 225 for 20. But my chest is bigger then most peoples. It looks like i can bench alot more then i can, lol. I know guys with chests a fraction of my size who move 405 cold for 6-8 reps. Amazing.

The biggest difference with being tall in training is the amount of time it will take to make our frame look muscular. Simple as that. 10lbs of muscle will just dissapear on us while it fill out a short dude.

I have also found that poundages don’t necessarily equate to muscle size for me. When i was only 215lbs i could do incline flyes with 95lbs DB for 4-6 good reps. But my chest was smaller then it is now when i train it light because of a shoulder injury. I find that my muscles respond better to a variety of pulling and pushing angels then just dead weight. In effect my body seems to prefer muscle confusion type of training to just always going heavy.

Being tall i also discovered my CNS fatigues easily and takes a while to recover. Also due to the leverages our joints take on more pressure moving the same weight as someone with shorter limbs. So going lighter with the muscle confusion system is better all around for me.

The best movements for me are the following:

  1. Deadlifts.
  2. Pullups and all their varieties. They work my hard to hit arms, back and interestingly CHEST. I get a chest pump from pullups.
  3. Dips / decline bench.
  4. Pushups.

Again after years of training i can say that strength did not equal muscle size for me. I think it’s a fallacy that strength equals muscle size.

Look at world strongest man contests. Those are some of the strongest humans alive. Some look like Body Builders, some look like muscled fat powerlifters and some look like they don’t even workout. Indeed some were just plain lanky and tall. So in order to gain muscle, there isn’t a set in stone rule. FOr some the road of big weights will be the ticket, for others light weights and high reps, for others medium weights and a variety of pulling pushing angles.

Top Bodybuilders whos training i took notice of in my education:

Vince Taylor - trained with medium weights. 40lb DB for arms.

Shawn Ray - also trained relatively light.

Ronnie Coleman - super heavy

Kevin Levrone - super heavy

Paul Dillet - very light mostly cables and machines.

Arnold Schwarzenegger - despite his claims i always saw him move moderate weights in his workouts.

Frank Zane - light to moderate

Franco Columobo - Very Heavy.

Serge Nubre - always light sometimes moderate, and to this man i spoke in person.

Lou Ferrigno - always heavy.

Each man developed a great body. Only thing they all had in common was intensity of workout. Some could generate their intensity through weights, some through never letting their muscles adapt to a movement, hence “muscle confusion” type of training with less weight.

Train harder. Find less reasons to account for poor progress. Do deadlifts. Be strong(er).

As a tall guy, I’ve always like deadlifts because they came a lot more naturally, but you still have to do everything. Since squats (or leg presses) seem to be the hardest to improve for a tall person, I think they’re the most important to work on.

Most of the time if you hammer a weakness you will see progress. At least that’s how I try to look at it.

You can not make yourself taller, but you can make yourself bigger, so you have an opportunity many people don’t.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
there are just too many variables to take into consideration to be able to place people into nice neat little categories like ecto, meso, and endo.[/quote]

QFT

people like too play the victim. They also enjoy being lazy, so will use any excuse they can grab on too.

If everyone had great leverages in squats and bench don’t you think it would make Body Building/Power Lifting/Olympic Lifting/Hell weekend warrior weightlifting boring as fuck?

The only way you can train right for your bodytype is through experimentation. The classical ecto, endo, meso argument is not valid for most people since most are a mixture of 2, or even all 3 bodytypes.

Some people respond better to extremely heavy weight, while others repond better to moderate weight and higher reps.My advice to you is to just train, focusing on the compound movements, while taking in adequate calories and nutrients and you will gain muscle.

[quote]BlackSabbath wrote:
slimthugger wrote:
I enjoy squats, deads and bench, but it seems like those movements just are made for long limbed guys

Actually, only the deadlift out of those three lifts is better suited to those with long limbs. Short armed benchers and short legged squatters have superior leverages.[/quote]

Yeah, I was gonna’ say…

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
I placed myself into the ecto category when I was 19. Truth is I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. 5’ll", 145 lbs and I spent two hours a day in the gym.

I ate plenty. Actually, I ate more than my sister, dad, and mom COMBINED at the time. Still couldn’t gain weight.

The culprits?

Too much alcohol
Cigarettes
Eating garbage most of the time instead of good food
Spending two hours busting my ass in the gym

My body was too busy trying to repair all that damage, and didn’t have time to grow

I wasn’t an ecto, I was a dumbass.[/quote]

Excellent post, Jay!

Anyone in the same boat could just replace the items under “The Culprits”. I sure have had mine.