The Ectomorph Workout
- 11-19-2008, 11:46 AM
The Ectomorph Workout
* edited by RESOLVE (thanks for your critique, and your valuable input)
This is my follow up article to : Gaining mass in a nutshell (a big nutshell)
Ecto workout tips. So lets talk about your workout. A typical rep range for mass is 8-12 reps. There's pretty much no argument here. Only those with a close to perfect diet can bulk with less reps. You can bulk with less reps, but your diet has to be spot on. 5-6 reps is generally considered a strength program.
4 sets is the going average for mass gains as well. If you'd like to read more about it, here's some links:
Sets and Reps | Gain Muscle Mass - Men's Fitness (6-12 reps, 3-6 sets)
Bodybuilding.com - ISSA - 3 Sets Of 10: Mainstay Or Myth? (6-12 reps, 4-8 sets)
Then, someone on this board (DaveWalton) stumbled across this link, which he generously posted. Spectacular article, please read it :
Bodybuilding.com - James Chan - Hypertrophy Training For The Ectomorph: Program Design & The 10-8-6-15 Program!
Here's the nitty gritty of that post:
If you're ectomorph or a beginner, then follow this workout 3 times per week. For each exercise perform 4 sets with a rep scheme of 10-8-6-15.
* Bench Press
* V-Bar Pulldown
* Lateral Raise
* Dumbbell Curls
* Close-Grip Bench Press
This got me to thinking. I've gained most of my mass doing compound movements, and I did them three times per week as well. There's at least one other member of this board who did this also (Resolve). So here's my thoughts, and my tweaks to the above idea, and what I did to go from 126 lbs to 170 lbs. If 4x10 (four sets of 10 reps) are the way to go for mass, and constant progression is the key to motivation, and recovery is the key to everything, then this would be the ideal workout. Pick one major compound move per body part. That means your major body parts would be :
But wait - there's one exra exercise in this. Here's the reason - the best bicep mass builder, and a very solid upper body workout is chin ups. Pull ups are pretty solid as well. Warning. This workout wil beat you senseless, so go light your first day. Please. You'll recover faster every week, and pretty soon, within a month, you will be doing this three times per week - Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The second thing you'll be wondering, is how in the heck can you do that much volume in a limited time frame? The answer is in supersets. That is where you do two exercises back to back, and then take a 30-60 second break before repeating this again for all four sets. Once done with those four sets, move to the next two exercises. My usual time for this workout is 35 minutes.
On Monday, you'll do 8 reps. Thats a decent mass builder, though a little low. On Wednesday, you'll do 10 reps - solidly in the middle. On Friday, you'll add 5 pounds to every exercise but only do 6 reps. Now 6 reps is hardly the mass builder. But what's the best way to gain mass? CONSTANT PROGRESSION. What's the best motivational tool? Lifting more every week! When you have problems increasing that weight, switch the exercise out for another mass builder. This goes along with Dante, and his DC training principles - switch out what doesn't or no longer works for you. If you can't go up in weights or reps, why are you doing the movement? That point has always echoed in my mind, because it puts words to some of my thoughts. So here's a few exercises per body part that are solid mass builders.
legs - squats, hack squats, leg press, front squats
back - sumo deadlifts, suitcase deadlifts (deads with dumbells), romanian deadlifts
upper back (and biceps) - chins, reverse grip chins, pull ups, wide grip pull ups, bent over rows
chest - bench, incline bench, chest dips (head down, body forward, legs back)
triceps - close grip bench, dips (head up, body straight, legs straight), skullcrushers (while laying on a bench)
delts - military press, upright rows, clean and press, push press
Don't forget to add weight to chins, dips, and pull ups. You could even go up by 2.5 pounds if 5 is too much for you. If your gym doesn't have a weight belt, hold a small dumbell with your feet. Wear a sweater with pockets and stuff a fiver in it. Whatever it takes to progress. If you can't do pullups or chins unassisted, use the assist machine, and drop it by 5 pounds per week. Most gyms have the 5 pound plastic weights you can add to a machine - just ask around for it.
There's a few exercises that are very important in here. They are what we call the "powerlifter three". Those would be squats, bench press, and deadlifts. If you were to ask powerlifters what the next important movement is, most of them would agree it would be the clean and press. Yes, these exercises are "that" important.
Now every time you switch a movement out, you'll obviously loose strength in that exercise. For example, when you switch out close grip bench for dips. You'll progress on dips until you hit that sticking point. When you do, switch to CG bench. When you max CG bench out, you move back to dips. Sure you'll drop down in the weight you used when you last maxed, but you'll blow past your previous sticking point. Guaranteed.
Kabuki, our resident powerlifter, was generous enough to send the following link, if the above is just not your style:
DeFranco's Training - Westside for Skinny Bastards A modified lifting program for "Hardgainers"
* This should condense my ramblings in a more coherent form. This program style gained me roughly 2 pounds of lean body mass per month, for just under two years, so give it a shot. If you're not gaining from this, you need to eat more. Period.
Anyone who has tried this, or a variation of this, please post your results for us.
- 11-19-2008, 12:00 PM
For each workout, just pick one movement from each category that Suncloud gives and you're set.
Total body works guys; in the last two years I went from 180lb to 235. My BF has fluctuated in that time dependent on diet, but never so high that my abs have entirely disappeared.
- 11-20-2008, 08:34 AM
good post all great articles thanks for the help
11-20-2008, 09:28 AM
Question on Defrancos workout do you know what it means by his workouts, like the first one MAX EFFORT LIFT- Work up to a max set of 3-5 reps? is it saying do only a few sets that consist of 3-5 reps at heavy weight? and how under A. MAX EFFORT LIFT he has A-E of workouts does that mean take one exercise from each section and then make those 5 exercises your workout for the day? sorry if this is confusing i just dont understand the workout unless it is saying do all of them, and no one would be able to work out for that long.
11-20-2008, 10:37 AM
defranco's workout is pretty successful. basically on the first day, you pick one exercise, do as many warmups as you need, then do one heavy set, which is max effort. 3-5 reps. warmup sets are not working sets. next exercise group, pick one exercise, do those rep/set schemes, etc. the second, third groups of exercises are more reps and sets than the first.
11-20-2008, 11:22 AM
so it kinda sounds similar to dc training?
11-20-2008, 11:35 AM
there's also an extreme stretch involved, which i won't get into.
suffice it to say, unless you know how to push yourself, DC training is impossible to gain from. it also doesn't have enough working sets for a lot of people.
not that it's a bad system, but without serious intensity, its worthless. you've got one set to do your workout. just one. if your intensity is off, you've wasted the day.
i'd never knock DC training, but that's why they say its only for people with 2-3 years lifting experience. if you don't know how to really push yourself, you'll go nowhere.
there's a thread called "everything and anything DC" in the exercise science forum, and some of those posters are still active if you'd like to learn more about it. also intensemuscle.com is their official site.
11-20-2008, 11:42 AM
alright thank you for letting me know
12-13-2008, 12:14 PM
It'd be better if you did squats one day and deadlifts the next time you lifted, IMO. DLs may fall into the "back" category above, but they could just as easily be considered "legs." They really work everything, hard, just as squats do, so to do both in the same workout can be a bit much.
Especially if you're gonna do bent rows in the same workout - geez, that's a lot of loading for your lower back.
Instead of doing the same routine 3xweek, change it up everytime you go in.
One day could be: Squats, bent rows, military press, flatbench, lunges.
Next workout could be: Deadlifts, Chin-ups, Dips, Incline Bench
Final workout could be: Front Squats, Clean and Press, Narrow-Grip Decline, hanging leg raises.
Mixing it up gives the body a wider variety of stimulus, making it harder to adjust and requiring more adaptation. And adaptation = growth, provided you are eating enough, lifting heavy and with good form and get sufficient rest.
welcome to AM, btw.
12-13-2008, 12:21 PM
Those were just examples that I threw out off the top of my head.
If you want to change something up, by all means go for it, but variety is going to be the key - keep your body guessing.
And EAT! If you're an ecto and not gaining, I would almost guarantee that you're not eating enough. Make the most of the fact that you can eat a ton!
12-13-2008, 01:19 PM
Depends entirely on your definition of a lot. And, if you are not gaining weight, it means that you are burning as many or more calories than you are eating. If you were eating enough, there would be some change on the scale, whether it be fat or muscle.
Do you know how many cals a day your getting? And what your macronutrient ratios are (i.e. how much fat, carbs, prot you're getting)? But I digress, this thread is on lifting. If you got nutrition questions, PM me. That way, we can keep this thread on topic!
12-13-2008, 01:45 PM
12-13-2008, 02:01 PM
That's not much. I'd definitely throw in about 40-50g of protein at breakfast and a bunch more fat, fruit and veggies everywhere else.
Several snacks in between meals each with protein, fat and a fruit or veggie also.
Also, I'd ditch the weight gainer before bed - the insulin spike will inhibit GH release. GO with cottage cheese or a time-release protein shake and some peanut butter.
12-13-2008, 02:15 PM
1) your trans fat intake is probably fairly high - chicken / fish burgers if deep fried are high in trans fat which lowers testosterone
2) your breakfast needs more protein - add in 2-3 eggs into that.
3) weight gainer shakes PRE and POST workout - without that energy source to fuel you throughout your workout, you may be lifting less or running out of energy a little quick
4) weight gainer shakes before bed have too many carbs, which will blunt your growth hormone response. this is your bodies second best muscle builder. consider 4 tbsp of peanut butter instead. if an allergy is present, consider soynut butter, or just a good old half pound steak. again, no carbs before bed. cottage cheese is okay.
5) no monounsaturated fat in your diet - this is one of the building blocks of testosterone. again, peanut butter.
6) for your dinner, add some carbs into it.
hopefully that will help put you on the right track.
12-13-2008, 02:27 PM
12-13-2008, 02:33 PM
that's what we're here for
12-13-2008, 03:28 PM
I've been doing 5-6 reps and my size hasn't changed much but my strength is through the roof. Not a bad thing but I want to go for size more. So 8-12 reps should be solid for size?
12-13-2008, 03:36 PM
With Full body routines you burn more calories than a split routine, but if you're eating enough, you can also stimulate more growth because of a larger metabolic and hormonal change with full-body.
However, you do not "obliterate" a body part ever as you will be working it again very soon and it needs to be able to recover by then.
12-13-2008, 03:47 PM
12-13-2008, 04:30 PM
IMO, total body is better. But you'll find plenty of people here on AM who swear by split routines. You can certainly gain muscle either way, but I have had much better success on total-body than on split.
Total body is harder than a split - more taxing on the CNS, has a greater conditioning effect (especially if you implement supersets) and burns more calories as I mentioned above.
However, because anabolism is a primarily systemic phenomenon, I believe it is better to work the entire body as a unit than to separate each part.
In the end you can argue all day for either side, so experiment and find which works better for you. However, remember that if you are not gaining weight, it is your diet's fault - not necessarily your training. If I were you, I'd up my calories and try a total body routine again for 8weeks or so, monitor my progress and then decide.
12-13-2008, 06:32 PM
i'm going back to doing total body again starting monday, using T-Th for "missed muscles" like rear tri's, branches, calves. total body has definitely given me the most gains, and currently my FUNCTIONAL strength has dropped a ton. hopefully ths will take me to 200 lbs, but at this fairly late stage in the game, i have my doubts as to how much more mass it could pack on to me. definitely more for beginners to put on a good foundation.
12-13-2008, 06:34 PM
12-13-2008, 06:55 PM
The only time I've have trouble getting stronger while doing total-body routines is when I was cutting and only eating ~2900cals a day.
I think total body can easily be employed for the more advanced lifter too, though - simply increase the frequency and vary your set/rep scheme every workout.
12-13-2008, 07:13 PM
i'm tweaking the above based on my needs - rear tri's for example are pretty strong, and will loose a bit of that mass if i don't train them directly. that's the only downside of trying this and not being a novice. so my new workout will do total body MWF, then T-Th, the focus will be on calves, rear tri's, branch, hamstrings. that should keep the secondary muscles from atrophy, while increasing on all major lifts
12-13-2008, 08:27 PM
02-28-2009, 01:38 PM
good thread guys! thanks for the good info!!
03-16-2009, 08:04 PM
I dont know how i missed this SC??? Anywho, wonderful write up as usual!
03-16-2009, 08:43 PM
sorry man, this was one of my newer additions. after explaining this so many times, and forgetting something every time i tried to explain it, this was easiest solution
03-21-2009, 02:39 PM
Would it be wise to start implementing this program at the start of my One cycle, or put it off until afterward?
I've been stuck around 175lb for awhile now and trying to eat as much as possible. Diet is getting better, but still needs a little work. It's not so much WHAT I'm eating, but being able to physically consume more calories.
* diet generally consists of 3 solid meals plus 3 shakes per day, but usually have a couple small snacks throughout the day and add in extra cals to my shakes (pb, oats etc). typical breakfast would be 4 whole eggs, protein shake, and cup of oats. Lunch would be 1/2lb lean beef with potatoes and dinner would be 12oz chicken breast with 2 cups pasta
Pm sent to both Resolve/SCloud in case you guys aren't keeping up with the thread
03-22-2009, 10:19 AM
I don't know which "morph" I am!
03-26-2009, 02:20 PM
03-26-2009, 02:21 PM
03-26-2009, 02:40 PM
04-12-2009, 06:46 PM
When doing this full body routine.. should I ramp up the weight during the 4 sets or simply do a warmup set then 3 sets of heaviest weight possible?
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04-12-2009, 07:24 PM
04-12-2009, 08:32 PM
as an ectomorph, i suspect that's our greatest muscle builder, and our greatest tool to build from. consider that GH is used in bodybuilding to maintain/preserve/slightly build muscle while loosing fat - sounds like an ecto frame to me.
04-12-2009, 11:16 PM
04-13-2009, 12:35 AM
04-13-2009, 12:45 PM
I'm going to semi-log in this thread if you guys don't mind in order for you guys to critique things and to provide an example for anyone curious about the methods used for this training.
I'm about 10 days into The One but may as well get started with this new training routine. Todays workout will be 8 reps and used to get a baseline of the weight I need to be using. I'll try to get some "beginning" pics taken tonight, but starting info is 6'0" (barely ) 173lbs.
04-13-2009, 12:49 PM
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