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Ectomorphs face the opposite set of challenges as primarily-endomorphic individuals. Most ectomorphs have developed bodies with highly active metabolisms and “lanky” bone structures, making it hard for them to put on mass and keep it on. For this reason, exercise techniques for hypertrophy and maximal strength should be prioritized, with a greatly-reduced focus on cardiorespiratory training to reduce overall energy utilization.

Body Type Desciption

  • More narrow shoulders and hips in respect to height.

  • Relatively smaller muscles in respect to bone length.

  • Naturally fast metabolism makes it difficult for many to gain mass.

  • Potentially indicative of disordered eating (e.g., anorexia, bulimia) when BMI is ≤17.


  • Maximize muscle gain using lower-intensity hypertrophy and maximal strength resistance training with longer rest periods.

  • When paired with a consistently-positive energy balance, this type of lifting will preferentially help ectomorphs build up their body mass.

  • To accompany the mass gain-focused resistance training, ectomorphic bodies should eat a mass gain-focused diet.


* Ectomorphs tend to burn through energy sources faster than most, so ample calories will be needed.

*In some cases, it may be prudent to recommend that ectomorphic clients even incorporate “mass gainer” nutritional shakes into their diets.

  • Consume a high-protein diet with balanced carbs and fats that maintains a positive energy balance.


  • 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram body weight of daily protein has been shown to be optimal for muscle growth, with some individuals requiring up to 2.2.

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