In this video Jeff Masterson, creator of the Weight Gain Blueprint Program, reveals 3 important tips for working out to gain muscle mass if you’re an ectomorph (skinny guy.)

If you would classify yourself as a “hardgainer” or “ectomorph” (otherwise known as a skinny guy), it’s vital that you put together a specific ectomorph workout that is going to get you the results you’re looking for.

By far, the single biggest reason why most skinny guys never see the results they’re looking for is simply because they don’t have the right workout plan in place for their body.

[adrotate group=”1″]There is a huge difference between what it takes an average male to build muscle and what it takes you, the skinny guy. The minute you get this through your head and stop looking at all the newsstand magazine workouts is the minute you finally start moving in the right direction to success.

Until then, you’re just going to continue to spin your wheels in the gym and you may in fact get even thinner than you are now.

By understanding what must be in place in a proper ectomorph workout however, you can finally begin to get the body that you’re dreaming of.

Let’s give you the low-down on a proper ectomorph workout.

Low Volume

For most guys, the general approach to building muscle goes something along the lines of “the more, the better.” They think if they do one exercise for biceps, two will be better. If they perform three sets of squats, six will yield faster results.

But for you, the skinny guy, volume is your enemy. Due to your natural body type and your ultra-fast metabolic rate, the more volume you do, the more time you’re going to need to recover. It would literally take you a week or longer to recover from the typical bodybuilding workout you find in most muscle building magazines.

So your goal for your workouts is to significantly cut the volume. Basically, get in, go hard, get out. That should be your mantra. Lower volume means performing 4-6 exercises per workout, and doing 3-4 sets per exercise.

That’s it. As hard as it may be to believe that this will actually build muscle faster than a high-volume workout. Trust me, for your body type this is what will yield superior results.

High Intensity

ectomorph workoutNow with this reduced volume, you really want to keep the intensity up. This is also one of the keys to your success. If you go into the gym and perform 5 exercises where you put in a mediocre effort, you won’t see any progress.

You really need to push yourself. This is part of that ‘get in, go hard’ mantra. If the ‘go hard’ is missing, you might maintain your muscle, but you won’t build more muscle.

High intensity for you means lifting as heavy of a weight as possible. You’ll want to keep the rep ranges on the lower end of the scale, close to 5-8 reps per set and make sure that you’re lifting a weight that will have you fully fatigued by the time you reach your last rep.

If you aren’t, then it’s time to increase the weight for your very next set. Just remember that increased weight should never mean you sacrifice on proper form. Do that and you’ll just wind up injured and then you really won’t be growing.

Form is a must and once that’s in check, load on as much weight as possible while staying within the 5-8 rep range.

Smart Exercise Selection

Moving along, the next element of success when putting together an ectomorph workout is exercise selection. You often see muscular guys in the gym doing all their ‘pump’ work. This includes moves such as bicep curls, hammer curls, barbell curls, tricep press downs, tricep kickbacks, lateral raises, and so on. Basically, movements that draw a high amount of blood into small muscles which makes them look larger.

Remember, while this may look amazing while they’re in the gym, it doesn’t last.

Instead, since you do have your limited recovery ability, you need to perform exercises that really count. That means doing movements that work as many muscle groups at once as possible. This is what will ensure that you’re able to hit every single muscle group in the body effectively and still maintain that 4-6 exercises per session range.

Smart choices include squats, deadlifts, the leg press, step-ups, lunges, bench press, incline bench press, push-ups, shoulder press, bent over rows, horizontal rows, and pull-ups.

Choose your exercises from this list only and you’ll start packing on more muscle mass pretty fast.

Let’s Talk About Cardio


Finally, the last element that must be discussed with regards to building yourself an effective ectomorph workout is cardio training. Many guys often think that cardio should be added to their workout because it’ll help them stay leaner as they go about the process.

There are two main things for you to consider here.

First, do you need to worry about staying lean? I’m 99% confident you don’t. In fact, if you take a good look at yourself in the mirror right now, you’ll find that you’re almost already too lean. A burger may actually do you some good.

Ectomorphs by nature don’t put on weight very easily – fat or muscle. So staying lean shouldn’t be your main concern. At least not right now.

Second, even if fat gain was an issue, this is much better controlled through your diet than through cardio training. Guys who are doing cardio during a bulking phase should really re-evaluate their approach. Exercise in general is going to tax recovery reserves and if their muscles are broken down from the gym, what’s that cardio doing to them?

It certainly isn’t allowing them to build themselves back up stronger.

So the same thing goes for you. If you’re in the gym performing cardio, you’re not only decreasing your recovery rate (which is already lower than normal), but you’re also burning up precious calories that could have gone towards building muscle mass.

You can do one or two 20-minute sessions per week just to keep your heart healthy but keep this to a brisk walk only. Nothing more intense as it will simply work against you.

So there you have the must-know tips for designing an ectomorph workout. If you make sure that you get these in place then you can finally start seeing the progress from your workouts in the build of a more muscular body.

Dan Merrell, CPT

I'm a certified personal trainer from Scottsdale, Arizona. My area of focus is helping skinny guys gain weight and build muscle fast. I've worked with hundreds of skinny guys and helped them transform their bodies. Read all of my articles on and you can follow in their footsteps.

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