Ectomorph Bodybuilders: The Definitive Guide

Did you know that ectomorph bodybuilders can put on almost 40 pounds of muscle in their first year of lifting?

Ectomorph bodybuilders are known as bodybuilders with smaller body frames, ‘hard gainers’, and those that can actually have incredible physiques given hard work.

If you’re one of the ectomorph bodybuilders, stick around, because this is the definitive guide to ectomorph bodybuilding. And we’re going to cover everything including:

  • How To Figure Out If You’re an Ectomorph Bodybuilder
  • Best Ectomorph Workout Plans
  • How to Diet as an Ectomorph Bodybuilder
  • Lifestyle Changes Ectomorph Bodybuilders Need to Make
  • Famous Ectomorph Bodybuilders
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How Do I Know If I am An Ectomorph Bodybuilder?

Ectomorph bodybuilders are usually able to determine if they are an ectomorph pretty easily actually!

If you aren’t sure, a good rule of thumb is to ask your family or friends what they think your body looks like. And trust me, they’ll know if you’re skinny fat or ‘softer’.

Ectomorph bodybuilders usually have these characteristics:

  • Long arms and legs.
  • A very narrow chest.
  • Generally thinner (especially comparatively to endomorphs)
  • “Fast metabolism”/’skinny fat’.
  • Have a ‘vertical rectangle’ body frame. They do not have the “v-line abs” or square body frame.

This is incredibly different than what you may see in a mesomorph or endomorph bodybuilder.

Endomorph bodybuilders will usually be softer and carry more fat (I am an endomorph personally, but all my friends are ectomorphs).

Mesomorph bodybuilders will also typically have a ‘v-line’ from their shoulders to pelvis.

Let’s discuss some problems ectomorph bodybuilders have, but more in-depth.

Having a ‘High Metabolism’, Signature of Ectomorph Bodybuilders

Ectomorph bodybuilders will cry out that they have a ‘high metabolism’- and truthfully, they’re right.

Ectomorph bodybuilders are generally more hyper and energetic, resulting in them burning more calories in a day than others.

This is different from us endomorph bodybuilders who sit down and only get up for another dish of ice-cream.

And this is why generally you’re going to find that ectomorph bodybuilders have skinnier frames than a mesomorph or endomorph.

They can eat the same as everyone else, but their body on average burns more calories, so they gain less.

This is going to be a key point later on in this article! So remember this, as this is one of the ways you’re going to hack being an ectomorph bodybuilder.

AppetiteMax is a great place to look at if you’re looking for a great supplement to put on a healthy weight.

Way Skinnier Than Everyone Else

If you’re one of the hundreds of millions of ectomorph bodybuilders, you’ve probably noticed you may be way skinner thn everyone else.

In fact, this leads to a lot of ectomorph bodybuilders lifting weights in the first place!

They feel too skinny and sometimes even get picked on. (Don’t let that fool you though, ectomorph bodybuilders hit like a cinder block)

This was a huge reason so many of my gym buddies are ectomorphs. They just got sick of the bullying.

So- shouldn’t we do something about bullying in schools and maybe reform the school system?

Probably. I wasn’t personally bullied in school, but man, why do schools never do anything about it?

Anyways- that’s besides the scope of this post.

But some ectomorph bodybuilders use this to their advantage in sports like Wrestling. They are able to sit at lower weight classes easier than some of their buddies.

Ectomorph Workout Plan + PDF

Are you unsure of what to do in the gym as an ectomorph bodybuilder? Here’s a sample ectomorph workout plan, with an ectomorph workout plan PDF at the bottom for ease of use!

Ectomorphs NEED to focus on HEAVY compound lifts. Try to avoid most of that ‘hypertrophy’ stuff.

Ectomorphs respond better to heavy compound lifts. Focusing on higher rep sets are less effective than the reliable 5 sets of 4-5 reps.

I highly recommend Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass for anybody just looking for a simple program to start out. But here’s a great starting program for ectomorph bodybuilders:

Ectomorph Workout Plan, 6 days/week

You will be in the gym 6 days a week on this.

Day 1: Arms

  • 5×5 Overhead Press
  • 5×5 Shoulder Dumbbell Press
  • 5×5 Bicep Curl Dumbbells
  • 5×5 Bicep Curl (Bar)
  • 5×5 Tricep Extensions
  • 5×5 Skullcrushers

Day 2: Chest

  • 5×5 Bench Press
  • 5×5 Incline Bench Press
  • 4×5 Cable Flyes
  • 3×5 Pectoral Flyes
  • 5×5 Lat Pulldowns
  • 5×5 Barbell Rows
  • 5×5 Single Dumbbell Back Rows

Day 3: Squat

  • 5×5 Squat
  • 2×5 Deadlift
  • 5×5 Lunges
  • 5×5 Goblet Squat
  • 5×5 Leg Extensions (machine)
  • 5×5 Hamstring Curls (machine)

Day 4: Arms

  • 5×5 Overhead Press
  • 5×5 Shoulder Dumbbell Press
  • 5×5 Bicep Curl Dumbbells
  • 5×5 Bicep Curl (Bar)
  • 5×5 Tricep Extensions
  • 5×5 Skullcrushers

Day 5: Chest

  • 5×5 Bench Press
  • 5×5 Incline Bench Press
  • 4×5 Cable Flyes
  • 3×5 Pectoral Flyes
  • 5×5 Lat Pulldowns
  • 5×5 Barbell Rows
  • 5×5 Single Dumbbell Back Rows

Day 6: Squat

  • 5×5 Squat
  • 5×5 Lunges
  • 5×5 Goblet Squat
  • 5×5 Leg Extensions (machine)
  • 5×5 Hamstring Curls (machine)

The Ectomorph Workout Plan PDF

Here is an ectomorph workout plan PDF!


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Ectomorph Training Tips

Ectomorph bodybuilders can definitely make some changes to their usual routine at the gym and see incredible changes to not only their physique, but performance in the game.

Let’s take a look at some.

Ectomorph Bodybuilders Really NEED To Do Compound Lifts, Avoiding Hypertrophy Exercises

Earlier I mentioned how ectomorph bodybuilders need to focus on compound lifts and avoid hypertrophy exercises. (8-12 rep range)

There’s a big reason for this. Ectomorph bodybuilders are generally ‘skinnier’ and more ‘toned’.

This leads many ectomorph bodybuilders to actually try and focus on this instead of main compound lifts. But this is completely wrong, let me tell you why.

The general frame of ectomorphs is very skinny and almost in a ‘rectangular’ frame. This means focusing on hypertrophy exercises is not going to net you the results you ideally want to see.

Focusing on those heavy compound lifts will put tons of big muscle on, making your overall frame look WAY bigger.

Meanwhile, focusing on hypertrophy isn’t going to expand your frame or make you look ‘bigger’. Sure, it will look nice, but it won’t make you ‘bigger’.

This Isn’t Meant To Discourage Hypertrophy

This isn’t meant to say hypertrophy exercises are useless. In fact, they’re important for developing a good physique.

But many ectomorph bodybuilders focus on only hypertrophy exercises NOT understanding that it’s not going to add the ‘size’ they are looking for in their frame.

It’s the same thing with endomorph bodybuilders. Endomorphs won’t see much from hypertrophy exercises simply because it makes the existing muscle look better. It doesn’t actually make the ectomorph look ‘huge’.

Ectomorphs need to have a majority of their workout plan including compound lifts, not hypertrophy lifts.

Ectomorph Ab Workout

Ectomorphs often think that they will have bad abs- but that’s simply not true.

I’d say that ectomorphs have the best chance to get super shredded and pristine abs that people respect and want.

I mean- just think of it- a ‘skinny fat’ body type means you will naturally be leaner. You will look less fat, and this will allow abs to show more.

Here’s a great ectomorph ab workout to follow, daily, or every other day:

  • 5×5 Ab Machine at Gym
  • 2×25 Russian Twists
  • 3×5 Hanging Leg Raises

And here’s also a great video- if you hate my advice, or just want more work to do!

Famous Ectomorph Bodybuilders

There are tons of famous ectomorph bodybuilders. But there is one in particular that I think EVERYBODY here knows.

Flex Wheeler

Flex wheeler is considered the poster child of bodybuilding. I mean what is there NOT to like about this guy?

Recently, Flex Wheeler underwent some serious surgery, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a HUGE inspiration for every bodybuilder- ectomorph or not.

Flexwheeler one of the famous ectomorph bodybuilders. And Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “he is one of the best bodybuilders I have ever seen”.

So, being an ectomorph isn’t so bad if Arnold himself thinks you’re a beast!

Frank Zane

Frank Zane has won the Mr.Olympia (3x), Mr.Universe (3x), Mr.America, and and the Mr.World bodybuilding awards.

Needless to say, this guy is HUGE. Frank Zane is one of the most famous ectomorph bodybuilders due to his admirable physique.

Many people say he has one of the best physiques bodybuilding has EVER seen.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong is one of the most famous ectomorphs. While he isn’t really a ‘bodybuilder’, he is a SUPER athlete.

He is a professional biker and has an incredible physique.

While it’s not the ‘huge muscular BIG RICH PIANA ENERGY’ most of us are looking for- he’s proof that no matter your goals, ectomorphs can get the job done!

Ectomorph Bodybuilders Diet Plan

Every body type has an ideal diet that works for it.

For instance, in my post Endomorph Bodybuilders: Definitive Guide, I recommended endomorphs reduce carbohydrate intake. However, for ectomorphs, it is the complete opposite!

Ectomorph bodybuilders have the same thing, they need to reduce certain macros in their diet as it optimizes their gains.

Carbohydrates Are an Ectomorph Bodybuilder’s Best Friend

When you’re an ectomorph bodybuilder looking for food to eat, you better be laying down some carbs on that plate.

Sure, everybody and their mother is on some ‘I hate carbs’ train right now. And truthfully, carbs aren’t ideal for most people. I am an endomorph bodybuilder and I have been a huge fan of the keto diet.

However, ectomorphs NEED carbohydrates. Are you an ectomorph? How many times have you told people, ‘I have a fast metabolism!’. Too many times, right?

Carbohydrates have tons of calories and energy available for your body.

And you’re going to have to hack this in order to put on a ton of size.

Complex Carbohydrates Are The KEY For Ectomorph Bodybuilders

Complex carbohydrates are the KEY to success for ectomorph bodybuilders.

This can be easy and a ‘complex’ (haha) change to your lifestyle.

Firstly, you can make simple changes like buying whole-grain bread at the grocery store instead of white bread. And you might find that you like the whole grain bread a lot more in taste- and it will make you more full.

You can also do simple things like buying Whole Grain cheez-its or whole grain goldfish crackers instead of the normal versions.

But this can get tough as well. You want to avoid potato chips and other bad things. Vegetables are an excellent source of complex carbs, by the way, and they’re super good for you.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite complex carbohydrates, but any complex carbs work.:

  • Vegetables like Broccoli, broccoli, or broccoli. Also broccoli. (broccoli is REALLY good for you!! Seriously!!)
  • Fruits like bananas, apples.
  • Whole-grain kinds of pasta.
  • Berries
  • Yams (Rich Piana certified favorite)

Ectomorph Bodybuilders NEED To Have 6-7 Meals a Day

The fact of the matter is, you GOTTA eat.

As Rich Piana would scream at you, if you aren’t gaining weight, you’re not eating or training enough.

You’re probably training hard enough, just not eating enough!

Ectomorph bodybuilders NEED to have 6-7 meals a day. You have to eat a ton of calories, and often.

Many ectomorphs do suffer from the ‘I feel full’ trap and don’t need for a long time. You NEED to be shoveling food like there is a gun to your head if you don’t get it down to your stomach.

The Key Is To Always Be Eating

Watching a YouTube video or watching TV? You better be eating.

Going out to eat? Yep, you’re getting ice-cream too.

Going to bed? Did you eat before you went to sleep?

Waking up? Where’s breakfast?

Heading to work? Hope you packed a BIG lunch.

Always be eating. Yes, it will be super tough at first. But, your body will get used to it. And if you want to seriously put on muscle and size, you’ll have to do this.

I recommend buying a Nuwave Air Fryer, that way you can cook more food round the clock that tastes super good.

Fries, mozzarella sticks, etc. Sure, it’s not always the healthiest. But you gotta get after it!

You Can Be One Of The Millions Who Have Made an Ectomorph Transformation

You can make an incredible ectomorph transformation like Frank Zane or Flex Wheeler. But let’s take a look at some other famous ectomorph transformations!

Ectomorph Transformation by How To Beast

How To Beast has made an incredible video on how to make an incredible ectomorph transformation. I highly recommend you check this video out!

Ryan Kao – Ectomorph Transformation

Ryan Kao is a famous YouTuber with nearly 120K subscribers. And he made an INCREDIBLE video about his ectomorph transformation.

If you want a cool video that makes you want to go to the gym now, do it. Sure, he isn’t 400LBS of pure muscle, but he definitely has made significant progress.

Andre Patris – HUGE Ectomorph Transformation

If you had to choose an ectomorph transformation, look no further than Andre Paris.

I mean this guy is just too huge to even explain. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won an IFBB title soon.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ectomorph Bodybuilders

There’s ton of questions about ectomorph bodybuilders- so here’s my best attempt to answer them!

Are Ectomorphs Attractive

Are ectomorphs attractive? Yes, of course.

Truthfully, most people are attractive as long as you do basic hygiene. If you’re an ectomorph that works out, you’re going to be in the top 1% in no time.

Should an Ectomorph Workout Everyday

You may be asking, should an ectomorph workout everyday?

The idea is that you should aim to workout 5 days a week, and rest 2. That is the best layout for gaining muscle.

Everybody type definitely receives a boost when working out 5-6 days a week. But, I always recommend 1-2 rest days.

Remember, muscle grows when you’re out of the gym, not when you’re in it.

Best Tricep Exercises For Ectomorphs

If you’re looking for the best tricep exercises for ectomorphs, look no further.

Truthfully, you’re going to want to hit some super heavy sets on this. But the additonal hypertrophy set is nice too.

Here’s what I recommend:

  • 5×5 Tricep Rope Extensions
  • 2×8 Tricep Rope Extensions
  • 5×5 Dips
  • 2×8 Dips
  • 5×5 Skullcrushers

That should really get your triceps crushed. And- looking amazing in no time.

Ectomorph Intermittent Fasting?

Ectomorph intermittent fasting is in general a bad idea. Ectomorphs need to ideally be eating multiple meals a day to try and gain a ton of weight.

Ectomorphs biggest weakness is their high metabolism, so this needs to be mitigated by eating more throughout the day. Doing intermittent fasting can work if you eat enough during that 8-hour workout.

But generally, try to avoid it, especially if you’re having a hard time putting on mass.

Lifestyle Changes Ectomorph Bodybuilders Must Make

If you’re an ecotmorph bodybuilders- you’re going to have to change up your life a bit.

However, these changes won’t be too extreme.

Ectomorph Bodybuilders NEED To be Eating ALL The Time.

I already brought this up. But I need to hammer it again. You need to be eating all the time!

The problem is most ectomorph bodybuilders often feel too full throughout the day, resulting in them not eating enough!

You can fix this through many ways.

Eating Dirty

I don’t mean- you know… I mean ectomorph bodybuilders need to eat dirtier foods like ice cream and chips at times.

Here’s what I recommend: When you stop at Culver’s, McDonald’s, dairy queen, etcetera- buy ice cream.

I recommend my signature at places like Culvers or Dairy Queen. Chocolate Custard with Cookie Dough, absolutely delicious.

Try to work your way up in sizes. At first, you may not be able to handle the regular size- but you’ll get used to it.

Eat your fries and chips- because ultimately you’ll need those calories.

Sure, the best way to do it is by eating clean and enough- but respectfully, many people won’t be able to do this. Especially not in their first few days of bodybuilding.

When I started, I was the same way. I suffered from anorexia and had a hard time eating. I went out and bought Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake and Dilly Bars to try and help gain weight.

Sure, it’s not the cleanest. But, sometimes you gotta get dirty to get the job done.

Other Hacks To Gain Weight

Many bodybuilders are going to tell you to eat a ton of sauce and oil, and they’re right.

And by oil, I don’t mean like frying oil. I mean like healthy olive oil that you add to food that you’re cooking.

Many will recommend dousing things like chicken or vegetables in 4-5 tbsps of olive oil, it will add a TON of calories and you won’t have a hard time eating it.

Also, sauce up. When you’re at McDonald’s or like a Burger King, get their side sauces and dip everything in it. Fries, chicken nuggets, etc.

Just keep dipping, those sauces can add quite a few hundred calories, and sometimes you need it for some of their food options…

Ectomorph Bodybuilders Need To Go Super Hard in The Gym

While I said that endomorphs need to go hard, it pales in comparison to ectomorph bodybuilders.

The fact is, ectomorph bodybuilders will be continuously tested in the gym. Doing incredibly difficult 5×5 heavy compound lifts will leave any ectomorph tired, day after day.

But you have to keep trying! And keep working hard. Plus, it takes a lot of time in the gym and muscle to even get some of the results showing.

Ectomorphs are almost playing a game from behind in terms of weight-lifting. And they need to work incredibly hard to get ahead.


If you’re one of the millions of ectomorph bodybuilders, don’t fear!

You can one day be on the stage of Mt.Olympia. Never think because you’re an ectomorph you can’t get it done. Because trust me, you can. Good luck out there!

And P.S – If you’re looking for a good program, try Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass!

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