Ectomorph Diet & Workout Guide

By Team Cellucor

Do you eat, eat and eat, but it never goes anywhere?

Why can't you seem to put on muscle fast enough?

If this sounds like you, then your body type is most likely an 'ectomorph'.

Hallmarks of this physique are long thin limbs, narrow shoulders, fast metabolism, low body fat, and narrow hips and glutes. Very different than your naturally larger endomorph or mesomorph with a symmetrical physique.

While others may envy your lightning-fast metabolism and slender frame, you may view your ectomorph 'blessing' as a curse!

If you’ve failed every attempt to put on lean muscle, it’s time to try a different line of attack using a training and nutrition plan that is suited to your unique body shape. 

How to Train if You're an Ectomorph

The foundation of ectomorph training should aim to improve testosterone (your muscle building hormone) production, as this is likely to help you maximize your gains made from each and every workout.

To do this, research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found using compound multi-jointed exercises (such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses) in a workout that lasts no more than 55 minutes is the best strategy for maximizing testosterone and muscle building.

In the below workout, you'll do 3-5 workouts a week, repeating sessions for the body part you want the most growth.

Rest 2-4 minutes between sets to give yourself enough recovery time.

Oh, and avoid any kind of cardio. After all, calories are extremely precious commodities for hard gainers and you can't afford to burn excess via cardio.

Sample Ectomorph Workout Plan

Day 1: Chest/Triceps

Incline barbell presses: 5x5 reps

Incline smith machine presses: 4x8-10 reps

Incline cable flyes: 4x10-12 reps

Fly machine: 4x8-10 reps

Low cable flyes: 4x15 reps

Skull crushers: 4x8-10 reps

Tricep rope extensions: 4x10-12 reps

Reverse-grip bench presses: 4x6-8 reps

Day 2: Back/Biceps

Lat pulldowns: 4x8-10 reps

Seated cable rows: 4x8-10 reps

Hammer strength row machines: 4x10-12 reps

Pulldowns w/ v-bar attachment: 4x10-12 reps

DB rows: 4x12-15 reps

Barbell curls:4x6-8 reps

Wide grip cable curls: 4x8-10 reps

Preacher curls: 4x8-10 reps

Spider curls: 4x10-12 reps

Day 3: Shoulders

Seated smith machine presses: 4x8-10 reps

Arnold presses: 4x12-15 reps

Seated DB lateral raises: 4x12-15 reps

Cable lateral raises: 4x12-15 reps

Wide grip upright rows: 3x10 reps

Rear delt machine flyes: 4x12-15 reps

Face pulls: 4x12-15 reps

Day 4: Legs

Barbell back squats: 5x6-8 reps

Leg presses: 4x8-10 reps

Hamstring curls: 4x10-12 reps

RDL's on Smith machine: 4x8-10 reps

Calf raises: 4x15-20 reps

Kettlebell swings: 4x20 reps

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Legs

Barbell back squats: 5x6-8 reps

Leg presses: 4x8-10 reps

Hamstring curls: 4x10-12 reps

RDL's on smith machine: 4x8-10 reps

Calf raises: 4x15-20 reps

Kettle bell swings: 4x20 reps

Supplements for an Ectomorph Body Type

These supplements will help you add lean size to your ectomorph frame.

Gainer Supplement

When it comes to lean gains, the name of the game is calorie intake.

But fueling up with crappy food isn't the answer.

You want to fuel up with clean sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The problem though is there is only so much food you can eat in a day.

Gainer supplements can help you hit your macronutrient numbers in an efficient (and tasty) way. Just remember: always look at labels to ensure you're getting the highest quality ingredients in your gainer.

Creatine Monohydrate

This supplement has a proven pedigree of more muscle, strength, and endurance, making the perfect partner for the ectomorph. 

Creatine monohydrate is a well-studied, foundational muscle-building ingredient that supports energy production to enhance muscular power, endurance and growth through replenishing the body's ATP levels. It's extremely useful for strength-building workouts like you'll be focusing on!


Pre-workouts are often used for energy and focus. But with the variety available, you can find one that emphasizes lean muscle growth with ingredients for power, strength, and pumps.

If you don't already understand pre-workouts, check out this helpful guide!

C4 iD Series Comparison Chart

Ectomorph Nutrition

The majority of meals listed below are meant to elicit gains. However, we encourage you to use a calorie calculator to determine your exact portions and macronutrient breakdown. Also, feel free to swap certain foods based on your preferences.

Sample Ectomorph Meal Plan

Meal One: Smoothie with oats, bran cereal, milk, egg whites, almond butter, natural peanut butter, natural honey, whey protein

Meal Two: Grilled chicken, whole-wheat pasta, side of almonds

Meal Three: Spinach leaves, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives, raisins, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken.

Meal Four, Pre-Workout: Mixed fruit smoothie, wheat bread, sliced turkey, spinach, tomato

Meal Five, Post-Workout: Mass gainer, natural peanut butter

Meal Six: Steak, brown rice, almonds

Meal Seven: Natural peanut butter, Greek yogurt, beef jerky, milk, serving of casein

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