The Guide to Gaining Lean Muscle for Ectomorphs

What is an ectomorph?

The ectomorph is one of the three most common body types (somatotypes), characterized by a “thin frame” and difficulty to gain muscle mass as well as fat. People that belong to this somatotype are usually skinny, lean and have a high metabolic rate.

When exposed to a constant unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle, ectomorphs can actually gain some weight, which will most probably be belly fat, while their arms and legs will stay unusually thin.

Characteristics of the ectomorph body

Studies have shown that when strength training, the ectomorph body produces low levels of myogenin (a member of a large family of proteins related by sequence homology, the helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins. It is essential for the development of functional skeletal muscle.), which limits their capacity to build muscle mass.

In addition to the low muscle mass, the myogenin deficiency limits the energy reserves to the muscles and does not allow the ectomorph to train intensive and hard enough. This means that there is not enough stimulus for the muscles to grow.


The good part about being an ectomorph

As mentioned before, ectomorphs have a really hard time putting some meat on their frame. This opens an opportunity for the ectomorph to eat more liberally, including junk food. Because of the fast metabolism, mos of the weight they put on them will be lean muscle rather than fat.

A fit and shredded body is an easy goal for the ectomorph; The effort they need to put in to create a visible six pack is really small. Most of the professional models belong to this somatotype.

On the other hand, a bodybuilder that has this body type can never be very massive (compare Frank Zane and Dorian Yates for example).

Training errors that ectomorphs make

– Too much cardio – if you are an ecto,  you need to forget about long cardio sessions – ectomorphs are already skinny and lean enough, that too much cardio will only make things worse.

– Too many weight lifting sessions. Two to three weight lifting sessions a week are just enough for an ecto to make some progress. A bit more than this, and they will start losing weight again, by not allowing the muscles to recuperate.

Not sleeping enough

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