What’s An Ectomorph? Are They Even Real?
Is “ectomorph” a real term? Is it an accurate way to describe a naturally skinny person with a tall, narrow build? It’s a controversial word, and over the past ten years, we’ve gotten our share of flack for using it. I understand why. The somatotypes have a dark past.
Is it a useful term? We’re naturally skinny guys with a decade of experience helping thousands of other skinny guys build muscle. Many of us describe ourselves as ectomorphs. It’s a convenient way to refer to our narrower frames and thinner bones. Should we stop describing ourselves that way?
Let’s dig into ectomorph etymology and see if there’s anything worth salvaging here.Read More
The Skinny Guy’s Guide to Building a Hollywood Physique
In this article, I want to talk about realistic physique goals, both in terms of understanding the timeframe that it takes to build muscle, as well as how good you can expect to look by the end of it. Perhaps it’s our audience, being largely made up of skinny guys who actively seek out information, but we tend to see things differently than a lot of other fitness professionals.
Can you look like the sex icon from the latest Hollywood movie? Well, you can’t transform your face, and building muscle won’t automatically make you more charismatic, but can you have physique of Brad Pitt from Fight Club, Christian Bale in American Psycho, Will Smith in I Am Legend, Gerard Butler in 300, or Daniel Craig in James Bond? Yes, you probably can.
None of those actors have great muscle-building genetics. All of them are naturally skinny—so-called ectomorphs. Some of them are naturally lean, yes, but so are many of us. And believe it or not, most of them didn’t even routinely lift weights until a few months before shooting for those films. These aren’t just realistic physiques, these are physiques you can probably build with just a few months of dedicated weight training.
I realize this might sound crazy, but hear me out.Read More
Should Skinny Guys Use Mass Gainers?
Mass gainers, also known as weight gainers, are a common supplement that people use to help them gain weight, build muscle, and bulk up. They’re especially popular among so-called “hardgainers“—skinny guys who are having trouble eating enough calories to gain weight. I’m a naturally skinny guy myself, and over the course of gaining 65 pounds, that was always my biggest issue. As a result, I’ve experimented with my fair share of mass gainer shakes.
So, do mass gainers work? Are they healthy? Do they cause excess fat gain? And, if you’re a skinny guy who’s struggling to gain weight, should you use them?Read More
How to Know if You’re Skinny
How can you know if you’re skinny? There are a couple different ways. One definition for skinny is being underweight, so we can calculate your BMI. Another definition for skinny is having small muscles and lanky limbs, so we can look at your body-part measurements to see if you have smaller muscles than the average man.
That gives us two tests:
- Are you underweight?
- Are your muscles smaller than the average man’s?
In either case, we can then help you bulk up so that you’ve got a healthy bodyweight and muscles that look strong because they are strong.Read More
Should Beginners Lift to Muscle Failure?
As a new lifter trying to gain muscle size, how close to failure should you be lifting? Some argue that beginners should stop shy of failure, leaving a few reps in reserve, a few reps in the tank. There’s some wisdom to that advice. It allows beginners to better practice their technique, and it reduces the risk of injury.
Others argue that beginners should take their sets all the way to muscular failure, ensuring that they’re pushing themselves hard enough to stimulate a maximal amount of muscle growth with every set. But does taking a set all the way to failure actually stimulate more muscle growth? Let’s take a look at the research.
Finally, not every lift is the same. Some suit training to failure better than others. So it’s not as simple as saying that a beginner should always train to failure or always avoid training to failure. It often depends on the specific lift.Read More
Ectomorph Workout Plan: Beginner Weight Training Routine
Skinny guys are often called “ectomorphs.” It’s a slang term referring to our thinner bones, narrower frames, shallower ribcages, or lankier limbs. Does being naturally thinner affect how we should exercise, lift weights, and build muscle?
Many of us ectomorphs also have atypical goals. Most people want to lose weight, we want to gain it. Most people intuitively eat too much food, we eat too little. We’re usually eager to bulk up, and we often have a hard time of it. Some may even worry they’ve got bad muscle-building genetics. Does that change how we should train?
Different workout programs are designed for people with different goals. Some, like CrossFit, are designed to improve our general fitness. Others, like Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5×5, are designed to improve our general strength. Still others, such as bodybuilding, seem entirely centred around helping naturally muscular guys gain even more muscle. What’s the best way to work out if we’re trying to gain muscle size?
So, how should ectomorphs work out?Dive In
A Review of Interesting Muscle-Building Research for Skinny Guys
In this article, let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting research that could help us ectomorphs, hardgainers, and skinny guys bulk up, including studies looking into:
- How important are bicep curls for building bigger arms?
- Does muscle memory really exist?
- How long should we rest between sets?
- Does doing more sets increase muscle growth?
- What happens if we bulk on a ketogenic diet?
- Are high-protein diets healthy?
- Does having casein for bed help with muscle growth?
- Are 5×5 workouts good for building muscle?
- Are 10×10 German Volume Training workouts good for building muscle?
- Are push/pull/legs splits good for building muscle?
- Which lifestyle intervention caused simultaneous muscle growth and fat loss?
All of those answers and more inside.Read More
The Newbie Gains Guide for Skinny Guys
If you’re new to lifting weights, you can build muscle incredibly fast. Lifters call this phenomenon “newbie gains.” During their first year alone, most men can gain over 20 pounds of muscle. Skinny guys can often do even better.
However, although most new lifters build muscle quickly, some “hardgainers” fail to gain any muscle at all. What’s going on here? Why are some guys able to build a lifetime of muscle in a single year, whereas others spend an entire lifetime unable to build a single year’s worth of muscle?
In this article, we’ll explain what newbie gains are, how they cause such rapid rates of muscle growth, how to take advantage of the phenomenon, and how to avoid becoming a “hardgainer.”Read More
The Hardgainer: Why Is It So Hard for Skinny Guys to Gain Weight?
Struggling to bulk up as a naturally skinny “hardgainer” can be confusing. We’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic, surrounded by people who gain weight by accident, and yet no matter what we do, we can’t budge the scale. Why is it so hard for us to gain weight?
We’re naturally skinny. When we first started trying to bulk, we failed to gain any weight, and so we failed to build any muscle. We each gave up several times before finally succeeding. It’s hard to bulk up as a skinny guy, but it’s not impossible.
We also have a number of genetic advantages. We just need to combine a good hypertrophy training program with an abundant bulking diet and a healthy lifestyle. If we can do that, we can often build muscle more quickly and leanly than the average person.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Do hardgainers have faster metabolisms?
- Do skinny guys have smaller stomachs?
- Why is it so hard to gain weight?
- How fast can hardgainers build muscle?
- How can you bulk up?
Is Bulking Healthy? Can We Make it Healthier?
Different people bulk in different ways, and so depending on how we approach it, it can be either good or bad for our general health. However, as a general rule, bulking involves habitual weight training, eating a lot of whole food, eating plenty of protein, getting an abundance of good sleep, and gaining muscle mass, all of which are incredibly healthy.
One of the main reasons that Marco and I are so passionate about helping skinny guys bulk up is because we’re so confident that it can profoundly improve your health, as it did for the two of us.
Still, there are some things to watch out for, as well as some things we can do to make bulking even healthier, so let’s go into more detail about how we can bulk up in a way that’s good for our general health.Read More