Ectomorph Training Ideas???

Superdoo

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
804
Location
ND
Hardcore ectomorph here.
I have started training to build strength and my cardio is very limited right now. I have been battling tennis elbow for a few months now and it's making some progress, but I have been limiting my upper body workouts to hangs.
The TE diagnosis took me away from training for a while so I have been working back into daily routines for 3 weeks now.

Here's what they have been consisting of the following body weight movements:
M, W , F - 10 reps of single leg RDL's each leg, 10 reps single leg hip bridge each leg, 15 reps lying leg lifts. 3 rounds of those 3.
T,Th, Sat - 20 to 30 minutes of beginners yoga

The plan is to move past just body weight and start adding weight.
I wanted to incorporate the Yoga in order to gain flexibility with a side benefit of strengthening my core. I haven't been able to touch my toes since I was 4!

I have been staying away from cardio while I try to build strength, hoping to "get around to it" after I build some muscle.

Am I on the right track or am I destined for failure?
 

Ratbeetle

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
1,075
What's your calorie intake like? All the lifting in the world won't help you put on muscle if you're not taking in more than you're expending.

Diet is going to be 90% of your equation, especially if you're new to lifting.

If it was me, focus on a strength based program like 5/3/1 and eat like I was starving.

Edit: Go for big compound movements. Think squat, deadlift, overhead press (if elbow allows). And did I mention, eat...a lot.
 

pattimusprime22

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Sep 3, 2019
Messages
111
I think prioritizing core strength and mobility before working up to serious strength training is a good start. Since your elbow issue is limiting you to lower body only, I'd recommend adding in squats or lunges to add in quad work. Your RDLs and hip bridges are pretty much all glute/hamstring.

As far as being an ectomorph goes, you'll need to add significant calories if you want to gain muscle. Just adding calories without training will put the weight where you don't want it (fat), so your strength training will help send it to the right place (muscle). Obviously it isn't really this black and white, but that is the gist of it.

As a fellow ectomorph, I don't think you're destined to failure. I've slowly gained muscle over 10+ years of strength training and even though I still think of myself as that skinny kid that I started as, few others see me that way. Keep your goals based on you and don't compare yourself to others. And always eat more than you want to.
 
OP
Superdoo

Superdoo

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
804
Location
ND
I should add I'm 36 years old, so I'm well aware this isn't going to be a quick transition!
I'm not saying I'm old, but in the muscle gain department I'm not young.

This all started when I was about to hit 200 lbs. I decided 198 was too high enough for a 6'2" inactive guy with extremely limited strength and a passion for binge drinking.
I cut the alcohol and focused on training to loose weight. I got down to 172 lbs and that's when the tennis elbow hit.
That weight loss was a huge mistake. I was cutting calories not adding them.

Live and learn.
 

Hoodie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
888
Location
Oregon Cascades

This is the solution for ectomorphs.

This book and 5000 calories a day.

Was the tennis elbow brought on by a lot of high volume chins or something? Weight loss in and of itself shouldn't necessarily make you more prone to tendonitis.

Calisthenics for the lower body (even harder variations like pistol squats) generally aren't enough to cause notable increases in muscle mass over any meaningful length of time. Squatting and deadlifting (correctly) while eating at a caloric surplus definitely will.

I'd echo what a poster said above about big compound movements, but as a novice I'd stay away from 5/3/1. It's loading scheme is too conservative for beginners. I've helped four people through the Starting Strength linear progression. Both males took their squat from 135-155x5 to 315+x5 in 12-13 weeks. 5/3/1 would take around a year and half to do that. 5/3/1 works well once all the quick and easy gains are off the table.
 
OP
Superdoo

Superdoo

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
804
Location
ND
Was the tennis elbow brought on by a lot of high volume chins or something? Weight loss in and of itself shouldn't necessarily make you more prone to tendonitis.
I was doing pull-ups and dive bomber push-ups along with getups.
I still can’t say what exactly caused it, but I figured cutting calories wasn’t helping.
This happened before I found an article describing the different body types. After reading that, I was like “well crap, I’ve been going about this all wrong!”
 

mtwarden

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
6,716
Location
Montana
What's your calorie intake like? All the lifting in the world won't help you put on muscle if you're not taking in more than you're expending.

Diet is going to be 90% of your equation, especially if you're new to lifting.

If it was me, focus on a strength based program like 5/3/1 and eat like I was starving.

Edit: Go for big compound movements. Think squat, deadlift, overhead press (if elbow allows). And did I mention, eat...a lot.


5/3/1 has really worked well for me, I'm probably not an ectomorph, but a little on the thinner side due to lots of aerobic stuff.
 

RidgeReaper97

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
124
Location
N. Arizona
Im in the same boat as you and graduated high school at about 115#. 5 years later and I'm now sitting at about 165#. The biggest thing that really helped me put on strength and size was a heavy diet and compound lifts. I was doing lots of curls, bench, leg machines which is fine to start but I suggest building a solid foundation and technique for squats, deadlifts, shoulder and bench press. Get that down and start working towards heavier sets for strength, it will put on size and well balanced "functional strength" still do free weights and supplementary exercises but focus on the main ones especially. Some core work 4-5 times a week and cardio 3 times a week on top of it helps but keep the endurance down IMO. 20-45 min on a stair master/run/rowing/ 3x a week is about what I do along with my hunts/hiking.
 

Hoodie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
888
Location
Oregon Cascades
I was doing pull-ups and dive bomber push-ups along with getups.
I still can’t say what exactly caused it, but I figured cutting calories wasn’t helping.
This happened before I found an article describing the different body types. After reading that, I was like “well crap, I’ve been going about this all wrong!”

Ah. Probably just the chins and dive bombers then as far as the tennis elbow goes. It happening in conjunction with the weight loss was likely just coincidental.

Not sure if you were doing those calisthenics daily, but when you pick back up maybe try restructuring your weekly volume so you have more days of rest, i.e. if you were doing 2 sets of pull ups/dive bombers daily switch to doing 4-5 sets 3x per week. Or even 5-6 sets twice a week.

I´ve had good luck dealing with tendonitis from high pull up volume by cutting frequency down. And with judicious but heavy NSAID use.

A few months of tennis elbow sucks, hope it clears up for you soon.
 

Badseed

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jul 10, 2020
Messages
260
If your goal is to build muscle and strength then it doesn’t sound like tour somatotype will be a hinderance since you said at one point you were 6-2” and 200 pounds. Your body is apparently capable of gaining weight so the first variable you should determine is what your caloric needs are so that you can dial in your diet to properly fuel your body for size and strengths gains initiated from the workouts. There are multiple schools of thought on dietary methods but one that I personally like and have successfully used to gain muscle and strength is to take your bodyweight and multiply it by 15. For example, if you are 172 pounds (172x15)=2,580 calories. This is a starting baseline for your daily caloric needs. Estimate your body fat percentage to determine your lean body weight. Unless you have equipment and tools this is difficult to do but Im sure you can find images online to help you estimate what your body fat percentage is. If you figure you have a 10% body fat then your lean weight is (172 x .9) = 154.8. This is the mass that you are trying to fuel so from that point you can break down the calories into macro nutrition, protein, carbs and fats. Protein is key for muscle building so aim for a minimum of 1gram of protein per pound of lean weight but you may see better gains from 1.25 grams per pound of lean weight. Each gram of protein supplies 4 calories. Then shoot for 250 grams of carbs. Once again each gram of carbs supplies 4 calories. Lastly determine how many calories you are getting from protein and carbs then subtract it from the original caloric need to identify how many calories are remaining. These will be your fats. Each gram of fat has 9 calories. This will help you create a daily guideline for how to breakdown your diet. I am also a hard gainer but you will be amazed with what a consistent protein rich diet can do you for.

If you are recovering from an injury and new to weight training, start light and focus on good form to minimize the chance of another injury. Compound movements are best for stimulating the most muscle involvement. Things like body squats, push ups, pullups and various ab exercises are a good starting point to begin your journey into weight training and having a strong core. There is a lot you can do at home to help build a strong foundation then advance from there. Good luck on your recovery and transformation.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ScottRK

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
138
High rep Push ups, chins, and handstand pushup numbers wore my joints down training at age 48. The starting strength type eating and workout philosophy took me from 190 to 225-230 quick.No cardio. Made gains but recovered a lot better later on 5/3/1 adding “joker” sets or back off sets.
Now trying to lose some wt and add cardio for the mts. PM if you’re interested in that book above.
 

Mike Islander

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
1,948
Location
Lowcountry, SC
Hardcore ectomorph here.
I have started training to build strength and my cardio is very limited right now. I have been battling tennis elbow for a few months now and it's making some progress, but I have been limiting my upper body workouts to hangs.
The TE diagnosis took me away from training for a while so I have been working back into daily routines for 3 weeks now.

Here's what they have been consisting of the following body weight movements:
M, W , F - 10 reps of single leg RDL's each leg, 10 reps single leg hip bridge each leg, 15 reps lying leg lifts. 3 rounds of those 3.
T,Th, Sat - 20 to 30 minutes of beginners yoga

The plan is to move past just body weight and start adding weight.
I wanted to incorporate the Yoga in order to gain flexibility with a side benefit of strengthening my core. I haven't been able to touch my toes since I was 4!

I have been staying away from cardio while I try to build strength, hoping to "get around to it" after I build some muscle.

Am I on the right track or am I destined for failure?
Cardio is the starting point. You can do it every day. As easy as a 10 minute bike ride, which grows naturally as you get fitter.
 
OP
Superdoo

Superdoo

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Feb 21, 2020
Messages
804
Location
ND
Cardio is the starting point. You can do it every day. As easy as a 10 minute bike ride, which grows naturally as you get fitter.
If I push myself with cardio my body time will burn muscle.
I’ll end up being able to hike unloaded with ease and be miserable with 35 lbs.
I get cardio benefits from lifting. Once I’m able to build strength I can add some cardio, but for now it would be counterproductive.
 

LostArra

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
2,853
Location
Oklahoma
If I push myself with cardio my body time will burn muscle.
I’ll end up being able to hike unloaded with ease and be miserable with 35 lbs.
I get cardio benefits from lifting. Once I’m able to build strength I can add some cardio, but for now it would be counterproductive.
Good thinking. Building strength thru weight training is a long term journey. Getting into cardio shape can be done on a shorter time frame. Guys who train cardio all year do it because they enjoy it and that's valid but a 12 month intense cardio program isn't necessary for you to get bigger and stronger.


And before you go off into the weeds on accessory core exercises: no one who properly trains squats and deadlift has a "weak core". Keep it simple.
 

*zap*

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 20, 2018
Messages
4,950
Location
N/E Kansas
low intensity steady state aerobic capacity training is a very good foundation or base line training for other training and can be done very regularly with no problems 12 months a year. It will make your whole life easier.
 

mtwarden

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Messages
6,716
Location
Montana
I'd argue that aerobic conditioning is not a short term endeavor, just the opposite.

Building a base is measured in years, not weeks. As @*zap* points out, aerobic conditioning is mostly accomplished through low intensity training, and better when that low intensity training is of higher volume.

There isn't a ton of sprinting in big game hunting, but there is lots (lots) of long days on your feet. To optimize that scenario, you need lots of time on your feet- weeks aren't going to do it.
 

Hoodie

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 6, 2020
Messages
888
Location
Oregon Cascades
I agree that true aerobic base building is essentially about total mileage/volume, but a ton of low intensity steady state work is how you become an ectomorph, not how you stop being one.

If I were making a recommendation to a guy who wanted to put on functional weight and still be able to ruck, it would be something along the lines of heavy basic barbell lifts twice per week with two conditioning sessions. The first would be a long-ish duration low intensity steady state effort. The other conditioning session would be interval work.

If someone was extremely limited on time, I´d cut the aerobic work before the strength training. In a relatively untrained person, strength training will provide some degree of conditioning. The reverse isn´t true.
 

Mike Islander

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
1,948
Location
Lowcountry, SC
If I push myself with cardio my body time will burn muscle.
I’ll end up being able to hike unloaded with ease and be miserable with 35 lbs.
I get cardio benefits from lifting. Once I’m able to build strength I can add some cardio, but for now it would be counterproductive.

A 10.minute bike ride is not pushing yourself with cardio. Your stated method is a great way to stay a winded ectomoph who can carry 100 pounds 200 yards. Why ask for advice and then ignore it?
 
Top