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The Skinny Guy’s Guide to Building Size and Power

#2 Train smart

Traditional approaches to training for size don’t work well for ectomorphs. Instead of hitting the gym 5-6 times a week and training a different body part each day, these guys should focus on strength training and perform fewer and shorter intense workouts that emphasize major compound lifts.

1. High intensity, low volume workouts

The goal is to trigger muscle growth as a by-product of strength gains, instead of doing tons of high rep, high volume exercises that have proven to be terribly ineffective for ectomorphs. Even though ectomorphs, with their delicate bone structure and stringy muscles, don’t possess a great deal of strength and power in general, these men can train to be strong and significantly improve their endurance, and this should be their main goal.

As they gain more strength and muscle size, progressive overload should be implemented to ensure sustainable progress. In addition, this style of training diminishes the ectomorph’s natural tendency towards muscle catabolism.

Here’s a sample training split:

Day 1:
Barbell military press, 4 x 8
Bench press, 4 x 8
Arnold dumbbell press, 2 x 5
Incline dumbbell press, 2 x 5

Day 2:
Bent over barbell row, 4 x 8
Barbell shrug, 4 x 8
Wide grip pull up, 2 x failure
Upright barbell row, 2 x 5

Day 3:
Barbell squat, 4 x 8
Deadlift, 2 x 8
Weighted step ups, 3 x 8
Ab wheel rollout to failure

2. Less cardio

In addition, while it’s true that most types of cardio are counterproductive to bulking efforts, performing some steady state cardio exercises such as low intensity jogging and cycling two or three times per week can help you meet your fitness goals and support better health without endangering precious muscle mass.

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3. Rest properly

Don’t forget – muscles grow at rest and not during the actual training session. And since ectomorphs have a naturally higher tendency to burn muscle as fuel, getting enough rest is a crucial part of their bulking process. In addition to the low-volume trainings, ectomorphs need to make sure they get 8 hours of sleep every night, leave at least 24 hours between strenuous workouts and rest longer during their training sets as well – 2-5 minutes of rest will allow their nervous system to recover from the stress of training.


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