Ectomorphs have long lean limbs with a limited amount of muscularity. Whilst this gives them great definition, the ectomorph has a limited capacity for stress. Weight training with a hypercalorific diet will help gain muscle, but it’s best not to overtrain with many sets of many different exercises. Limit your sets to between 3 and 5 sets of one exercise for each body part.
It is easy to over stress and over train the slim ectomorph physique. Try not to remain in the same rep range for longer than 2 weeks or the motor unit will be overworked. Pyramid training allows the trainee to briefly tap into increasingly larger motor units from set to set without overworking them.
The ectomorph must rest longer than normal between sets, between 3 and 5 minutes to allow the nervous system to fully recover between sets, and allow for 100% effort in the following sets. Lifting heavy weights will increase muscle.
High rest periods coupled with lower reps (i.e. 5-7) increase the release of testosterone into your bloodstream.
An ectomorph needs to train briefly, intensely but frequently. An ectomorph cannot handle high volume workouts, so his volume should be spread across the week. Three times a week is ideal.
In order to avoid overtraining, an ectomorph needs to start a training plan slowly and steadily, building up volume gradually. Aim for 3 short sessions altogether the 1st week, then wait a few weeks before increasing the intensity or volume.
Overtraining causes stresses to the body and not only slows down any gains; it can also result in reduced muscle mass and strength. Plus each time you do not succeed it lowers your confidence about being able to gain some decent muscle. Also do not add more sets than necessary for your workout. Doing so will not increase gains. Each progressive set decreases in intensity since you get more fatigued.
If you over complicate things then you’re more likely to make mistakes and try the wrong training methods.
Keep workouts shorter, always under an hour each time to prevent overtraining which is a very important factor. Training over one hour increases the chances of overtraining since it taxes the recovery systems so much and adds unnecessary stress to the body.
20-30 minute workouts are more intensive since more is being done in less time. Shorter, more intense sessions are less likely to wear out joints and cause overtraining.
Changing the exercises is another key point to increase hypertrophy. If you keep the same workout for over 2 months, it is likely your body will adapt to those exercises. In this case you will hit a plateau and all your hard work will be in vain because you won’t be making nearly as much progress as when you initially started.
Continuity is vital. Regular training with scheduled rest days will aid recovery. This body type is the least strong and needs all the help it can get to recover and grow without getting injured.
The ectomorph can attempt a range of exercises as their bodies more suited to intensive weight training since it is anaerobic, requiring limited endurance. However certain types of workouts with little rest such as circuit training will not be beneficial.
Circuit training, whilst very effective at stripping body fat and increasing the cardiovascular system at the same time, involves very little rest and often high reps. For an ectomorph this constitutes overtraining.
Benefits are the ability to perform any exercise compared to an equally progressed endomorph or mesomorph due to a light bodyweight. (pull-ups, dips, push-ups, chin-ups) and are very able to achieve the best definition because of the ease of losing fat, and the natural lean structure.
Ectomorphs may have a disadvantage in gaining muscle mass, yet with the right diet they can put on some muscle.
Even though they may not be able to lift as much as an endomorph or mesomorph, they are still receiving the benefit of working out, which is isolated apart from other body types.
Because of their versatility in workouts, ectomorphs have the widest range of effective workouts.
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