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Volume Training for Ectomorphs/Hardgainers


Hey everyone, this is my first post in a while. I have been doing a simple 5x5 routine for the last year and a half and decided that i want to change things up. I experienced good strength gains through this routine however i only gained about 5 lbs of lean body mass.

My question is if high volume training will give me greater gains, i am a ectomorph and a extreme hard gainer (put on maybe 15-20 lbs from grade 9 to 10, currently 175). I have done 2 weeks of GVT about 7 months ago and got crazy sore and stopped the program ( i know...total bitch). I am planning on starting GVT again next week and sticking through it until i start school again in september. If any hardgainer could give me their info on volume training that they went through and how their gains went that would be great, any other advice would be highly appreciated.

Height - 6'1
Weight - 175


I advise you read through Professor X's A Request Thread and Cephalic_Carnage's How do you train thread. Lots of great info in there. Regardless if you're ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph or animorph or all the above morph. Every person is different and training like the bigger guys and tweaking it to suit you is always and will always remain the best method of learning and training.


What's your diet like?


If you have only gained a small amount of weight, that's because you're not eating enough.


I agree with w00tage. Also I'm pretty sure ectos aren't so good with volume... I may be wrong.


First and foremost for a hardgainer and/or ectomorph is eating lots of meat. It will simply increase your gains so much. And I don't mean skinless fatless chicken breast. Beef, bison, buffalo, dark meat turkey, snake, kangaroo, fish, lamb with all that yummy fat. Calories are your friend.

Second is eating as much as you can day in and day out. Week after week. Consistency in eating high quantities of high quality food is as important as your consistency in the gym. You are very slim at 175 and 6'1".

Third an ectomorph/hardgainer must do everything they can to maximize testosterone and recovery. You can do this by eating more fat, specifically saturated fat and monounsaturated fat. Make sure you are getting enough zinc and sleep. Olive oil and avocado are good sources of monounsaturated fat. Whole eggs are good. No egg whites.

Fourth, you may find the supplement Alpha Male very helpful. I find it helps my muscle mass gains, improves my appetite, keeps my testosterone levels high, increases my recovery and keeps me leaner.
In terms of a program, as a hardgainer/ectomorph you will need to change the stimulus every three months.

Most important, regardless of the program is it gives you results i.e. you are getting stronger and your body composition is improving. You can do more volume as an ectomorph/hardgainer but you must use it intelligently. Pay attention to your energy, drive, motivation, performance and recovery. If you are using higher volume workouts keep the volume to compound exercises i.e. pull ups, dips, deadlift, squat, overhead shoulder press, rows, not 6 sets of bicep curls.

Example workout:
A1. DB overhead Shoulder press 8 reps
B1. DB Row 8 reps
A2. DB overhead Shoulder press 6 reps
B2. DB Row 6 reps
A3. DB overhead Shoulder press 4 reps
B3. DB Row 4 reps
C1. Barbell overhead Shoulder press 12 reps
D1. Cable Row 12 reps
C2. Barbell overhead Shoulder press 8 reps
D2. Cable Row 8 reps
C3. Barbell overhead Shoulder press 3 reps
D3. Cable Row 3 reps
Increase the weight from A1 to A2. Increase weight from A2 to A3 etc. Record your workouts and focus on getting stronger and lifting more weight at those rep scheme. You do not need to lift to complete muscle failure every set.
Gaining muscle is an art and a science. Put your attention to it and you will get results.


Great recommendation a few post's back. Listen to prof X and C_C, or any other big guys. and EAT. I thought I knew a lot, and I learned that not only did I not know shit, but I didn't eat nearly enough and on a consistent enough basis. Once I did that, I've gained 17 pounds just the last 7 weeks. All I changed was how much I eat.

Workout hard, don't worry about the specifics, and make sure you are eating enough. If you didn't gain weight in 2 weeks, add more to your diet. This is a great place to get info, and there is a lot of people willing to help.

Also when adding in calories, as an ecto you may need to jack the calories 1000 or even more every day. Just a few hundred didn't make the diff for me. Keep pushing


My calories have increased to 3500 in the last few days. Originally i was eating about 2500 calories, training MMA, and this is what i blame for the lack in mass increase. I would love to tell you exactly what i eat every day, expect for that i do not eat the same foods everyday. I've tried going on specific diets, only to find them boring.

However, this doesn't mean i eat whatever, everything i eat is home cooked, made from scratch. I bought a gainer shake with about 1000 calories, 18g fat and a samll amount of sugar. I am supplementing with all the vitamins and minerals, as well as EFAs. My protein comes from eggs, red meat, lean beef, and lots of milk. I eat vegatables and fruits with every meal, and try to keep the sugar intake as low as possible because my family has a history of diabetes.


Well, you are taking a step in the right direction. 2500 calories is simply not going to get it done for gaining. I personally think that the whole discussion of A vs. B training program is largely overrated. As long as you are training hard, eating and recovering properly and making progress in the gym, you will make gains, period.
As a side note, just make sure you are actually getting 3500 calories. A lot of people tend to overestimate their calorie count when bulking.


man, i'm 6'1, i eat 3500 as maintenance. when i decided to bulk up i was aiming for 4k-4.5k kcal. gained 5kg in the first month, almost no fat. whole milk is your friend.



half a gallon, more than 1000kcals, if you can handle it the milk is your best friend


Ditch the weight gainer and make your own. Try 1 cup milk, 4 tblsp heavy cream, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 scoop whey, 1 frozen banana, 2-3 tblsp nesquick, ice and blend. Tastes great and is easily over 800 cal's. Drink 2-3 of those a day plus eat 3-4 times, and then see what happens.


something i wasnt thinking of, i have started drinking wayy more milk then regularly, ive downed half a gallon jug just now (spreadout throughoutthe day obviously lol), those gallon jugs at the grocery store are going to become very convenient.


Tried you shake today and i can say that it tasted pretty great haha, didnt have the nesquick but i added some of my own things to make up for it. Thanks for the suggestion, definitely will continue making this.


Happy growing :wink:


Glad you liked the shake. Right now, the hard part might be just feeling hungry enough to eat often enough. I added one of these mid morning, and then even if I wasn't hungry I still ate lunch. Soon I was hungry and ready to eat at lunch too. I also added one of these after dinner as well. At first getting in more calories feels like force feeding, but your hunger will adapt (provided you're pushing hard enough in the gym). Hope you tear it up!


Lol, thats definitely what I'm feeling right now, feeling bloated all of the time, but workouts are feeling better then every, for sure have more energy. Thanks for the support.


Even adding 2-3 scoops of protein in that 2L of milk will increase calories without making you feel bloated.