Can Ectomorphs build muscle?

In this article, we will read about how ectomorph body types work and the kind of training and food they can consume.

woman standing on dock

The human body is the most diverse thing. We are all aware of how people come in various shapes and sizes. Therefore, the human body is categorized into three categories. American researcher and physician William Herbest Sheldon was the one who discovered this categorization. This classification was based on the physique or build otherwise called “somatotype”.

The three categories are based on body fat percentage and muscle mass – ‘ectomorphs’, ‘endomorphs’ and ‘mesomorphs’. While mixed body types are the majority, one of the most common figures is the “ectomorphs”. They often exercise a lean or thin frame. Likewise, they also struggle with gaining muscle or fat. This is the result of an extremely fast metabolic performance.

An unhealthy lifestyle, lack of physical exercise, or sedentary living leads to gaining some weight around the gut area. However, the overall physique remains unusually lean. They can even struggle with low appetite and carrying out physically enduring activities. A fit body is not a distant goal for those in this category. Studies even show that almost all professional models are part of this somatotype. 

Building Muscle for Ectomorphs

Woman Doing Stretching Exercise

While it can be hard to gain weight being an ectomorph, it is not an impossible task. As an ectomorph, you will be able to build muscle, strength, and endurance over a period of time following a planned workout regime and having the required nutritional intake.

The first rule to working out is finding workouts you enjoy and can stick to. However, sometimes you need to find exercises and follow things that are best tailored for you. In the case of ectomorphs, strength training and a little cardio are the way to go. Too much cardio could counteract their progress. While strength training enables them to build muscle mass over a period of time. 

However, HIIT and cardio should not be completely neglected. That kind of exercise helps build aerobic capacity over time, thereby improving the overall quality of performance. Therefore, a workout regime that inculcates both strength training and cardio are what an ectomorph needs.


Ideally, the workout regimen alone won’t provide a lot of change. But that in addition to eating a nutritionally balanced diet can bring out exceptional results for an ectomorph. While it is slightly harder to put meat on the body, they can follow a more liberal eating practice. Since their goal is to bulk, consuming high caloric food i.e. junk foods sometimes does not actually affect progress. The exceptionally fast metabolism converts most of it into muscle than lean fat.

In order to gain weight or mass, they need to add 500 calories preferably. Frequent eating betweens, usually every 3-4 hours. Nutrient-dense food, starchy food, and vegetables are the best combinations for this category.

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