15 Things That Only Natural Ectomorphs Understand

| December 18, 2017 by Truth Seeker |

source: https://pixabay.com/en/man-guy-person-standing-wood-dock-2631267/

Being a natural ectomorph fighting gravity comes with frustration that only others in the shadow of ectomorphism can understand. I am one of those guys. I know how it feels to live the life of an ecto dancing with barbells. This post goes to you fellow ecto warriors. You will never lift alone.

1. The Bench Press Hates Ectomorphs

One thing is certain in this life: the creator didn’t blow breath into ectomorphs to create the best bench pressers on earth. Anyway you look at it, ectomorphs are not optimally built to push a heavy barbell, and everything that ectos achieve in the pressing sector happens in spite of their antelope genetics.

The first structural flaw that stops us from developing surreal bench pressing prowess are the thin, girly wrists. When I buy a watch I have to reduce the bracelet to infantile levels for it to fit me. No joke.


Pencil wrists are problematic because when you bench the arms act as pillars transmitting power to the bar. You don’t need an ideal IQ to understand that a thicker pillar provides extra stability and transmits more force than a pencil. Meager wrists simply leak strength and are more likely to cry when compressed by the heavy bar. For that reason, the bench pressing heroes have relatively thick wrists.

The next architectural problem for the benching ectos are the long arms increasing the travel of the bar. There is a reason why men with T-rex structure dominate in bench press competitions – short arms equal more stability and less work.

The final nail in the coffin is the set of narrow shoulders installed on most ectomorphs. Sorry, but that is a problem too. If you have shoulders hitting each other, your base is compromised. It’s much easier to bench with a wide platform underneath.

2. MYTH: Ectomorphs Don’t Get Fat and Enjoy Perpetually Shredded Abs By Default

There is a large group of mentally deficient people calling themselves muscle professors who always present ectomorphs as weird creatures who need at least 5000 calories to prevent personal evaporation. Honestly, ectomorphs can get fat just like everybody else. I am an ectomorph myself and yet reached 24% body fat at one point. My secret? I consumed too much food in order to ”bulk up” and become a ”real man” as advised by the barbell community.

People often advise us to just up the calories because the fragile bone structure of the ectomorph creates the illusion that he is slim even though most ectos are well above 15% body fat. When non-lean ectos initiate food overload, the result is skinny-fatness of the highest order. Consequently, ectomorphs should also follow sensible diets and avoid too much junk food. Sadly, we don’t get a free pass even when it comes to leanness.

Another misconception spread by the hypertrophy experts is that ectomorphs must follow a diet and a training plan designed specifically for hard gainers. Wrong! According to the real world there isn’t a diet for hard gainers, for the fact that easy gainers do not exist. Nobody gains muscle easily. Most people labeled as ”easy gainers” just have better genetics and are bigger by default. Past a certain point, they transform into hard gainers too. Never forget that muscle growth is not a perpetual linear process. Not even roid users gain muscle forever.

3. Ectos Deadlift Bending Barbells, But Dream of the Squat and Bench Every Night

Chain-like arms allow ectomorphs to deadlift brutally heavy barbells while looking incapable of a pull-up. Ironically, most ectos don’t care that much about the deadlift and would gladly trade it for a better squat and bench. This is a classic example of the you-always-want-what-you-cannot-have effect common for homo sapiens.

Ectos don’t appreciate their deadlift gift because it often feels like a consolation prize given to the proletariat. You don’t need a lot of muscle mass to deadlift heavy. Meanwhile, it’s literally impossible to squat and bench big weights without muscular development that stands out. As a result, the deadlift is frequently associated with the term ”wiry strength” a.k.a ”skinny bitch strength”.

4. MYTH: Tall Ectomorphs Have Larger Measurements Than Manlets

Yes, many ectomorphs are relatively tall, but not all of us are. There is no height requirement to classify as an ectomorph. What decides whether you are an ecto or not is the thickness of your bone structure.

Ectomorphs rarely have impressive measurements, for our bones are two thin. A manlet with a robust skeleton will easily acquire larger measurements than an ectomorph.

5. Squatting Sucks

Just like bench pressing, squatting as an ectomorph results in a tormented soul. Many ectomorphs have long limbs making the ecto structure sub-optimal for heavy squatting. Long femurs force the lifter to bend over more to acquire balance. Every extra degree of forward lean increases the involvement of the hips and lower back. When you are an ecto with stilts given by nature, the squat often turns into a glute maximizer instead of a quadriceps constructor. Even if you invest five trucks of effort in squatting, you will still be behind the manlets with short legs and long torsos. The solution? Depends on your goal, but if you want to target specifically the quadriceps, leg pressing, a high-end sin according to the barbell prophets, could help.

6. Building Big Biceps, Hamstrings and Calves = Ectos’ Mission Impossible

Many ectomorphs, me included, showcase subpar biceps, hamstring and calf development because of long tendons and short muscle bellies in the areas. Sadly, or not, lengthy tendons shorten the muscle belly and limit the potential hypertrophy. A long muscle has more fibers a.k.a. growth material. Men with long biceps bellies have fuller and bigger arms by default.

7. Dressing The Giraffe Neck Ain’t Ez

Another problem for many ectomorphs are their naked necks. The longer your neck is, the harder it is to dress it with a trap coat. It takes a lot more effort, and in many instances, it’s literally impossible because not every set of traps can hypertrophy its way to Everest. Poor trap insertions often result in a perpetual pencil neck sentence. Naturally, direct neck training could help too, but in the world of bodybuilding, a place where genetics reign supreme, a structural weakness remains a weakness forever.

8. Looking big in clothes? Maybe next life, bro.

A pure ectomorph that looks big in clothes is as rare as a flying shark. The forces behind ectos’ inability to impress without striptease and angles game are once again the fragile bone structure and narrow shoulders. Ectomoprhs are not designed to play the role of a muscle gangster that fills the room with his massive filaments.

Nevertheless, some ectomorphs create an illusion of grandeur by maximizing their lats and chest development. Developed lats coupled with a small waist make you look a lot bigger than you actually are. A long time ago, I spent a week in a rock climbing gym filled with ectomorphs showcasing very wide lats and shredded abs – an intimidating combination, especially when the chicken legs are masked.

9. Ectomorphs Weigh Less Than Non-ectos of Similar Height

It’s not uncommon at all for an ectomorph to weigh less than a non-ecto of similar height. For example, I am about as tall as my father, but he is far from an ectomorph. He has dinosaur joints and a really hard time living under 200lbs/90kg. Granted, he also has a fat gut, but even without it, he would never reach the lower numbers [150-170lbs] where I have been dwelling all my life except for a few bulking years filled with skinny-fat delusions.

10. Adding Just A Little Bit Of Mass Can Make A Huge Difference

A gram of extra muscle mass on an ectomorph attracts more attention than expensive shoes on the feet of a street beggar. When everything is dark, and misery is king, even the slightest trace of light feels like the whole sun. I guess this acts as another consolation prize for ectomorphs naturally deprived of extraterrestrial muscle building genes. The areas where this effect has the most profound influence are the arms, lats, chest, forearms and quads. Those form the forefront. If you have one of those body parts developed as an ecto, some heads will turn… if the angles are right, of course.

11. Some Say We Don’t Even Exist

Overrated experts say that the body types known as mesomorph, endomorph and ectomorph are a fragment of someone’s imagination. Not really. We exist and so do the other two versions. Yes, there is an element of mixing, and not everyone is a fine example of each body type, but the main points stay strong. When I read the description of an ecto, I immediately knew I was one even though not all points were accurate.

12. Bro, I Won’t Break, But Thanks For Asking

I had to transport packages filled with new furniture. The delivery guy, a muscular man with big arms and a central nervous system conditioned to sustain hours of odd objects lifting, almost cringed when he saw me. He didn’t trust me with the big packages and allowed me to transport only a light mattress with comfortable handles. Little did he now, that at the time I had a three plate deadlift and a semi-decent weighted pull-up. I was definitely capable of helping him with the heavier stuff too, but his prejudice prevented him from identifying my power. Well, that had a good side too – I saved some strength for my future workout.

I’ve been in similar situations in the gym too. One time, I was squatting 100kg/220lbs for 10×3 when a muscle professor asked me: ”Are you squatting this?” I nodded. ”You serious? It will break you,” he said and started laughing out loud. Ironically, it was my last set already.

As an ecto, you get used to people doubting your physical abilities because you simply don’t look like a guy who lifts a lot. Hardly a surprise since this life is ruled by illusions, emotions and deceptions. Don’t worry, you will get acclimated to it. Keep your strength hidden and use it as an invisible dagger that the security officers thinking you need special treatment cannot see.

13. Just lift heavy, bro. You will un-ecto yourself in no time.

Mainstream media spread the following myth – ectomorphs will transform if they limit the volume and raise the intensity. Wrong, actually. Even heavy weights don’t have the power to ”cure” ectomorphism.

Also, contrary to popular belief, ectomorphs do not disappear into the nothingness if the volume is on the higher side. We adapt to it just like everybody else. We don’t have special ecto fibers that refuse to operate when the work demand increases.

The main ectomorphic traits are mainly a result of bone structure, which training cannot fix. There isn’t a special rep range or intensity level that will somehow reconfigure your ecto hardware and let it update to version Big Poppa. If a routine builds muscle for the other body types, it should work for ectomorphs too. We are all humans after all.

14. Most Ectos Are Torso Dominant

You will rarely see a classic ectomorph with very impressive legs and arms. Filling your limbs with muscle is a hard quest when they are extra loooong. Ectos do much better in the torso department. Many ectomorphs have decently hypertrophied chests and lats. The explanation is simple – the structure of the ectomorph makes him torso dominant.

15. MYTH: Ectomorphs Are Very Feminine and Make Perfect Beta-Males

Many wrongfully assume that all ectomorphs are super sensitive white knights one step away from becoming high-end beta-males ready to provide for just any woman. All I can say to those people is – you wish.


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36 comments

    1. joe santus

      Ankle and wrist circumferences relative to height, are the consideration… for a 5’10” guy, wrists under 6.5″ and ankles under 8.25″ make him “small boned” so an ectomorph (unless he happens to be born with longer-than-average muscle lengths everywhere). At 5’10”, a guy needs at least 6.75″ wrists and 9.25″ ankles to have any sort of skeletal foundation for looking overall aesthetically proportionate.

      I’m 5’8″, with 6.625″ wrists and 7.875″ ankles, and with short muscle bellies everywhere, especially in my limbs, so am an ectomorph.

  1. Harry ramone

    Proud member of Team ectomorph right here ! ✌🏻 Beeing 158 lbs at 6 ft 3 .. i actually like my „cigarette“ like physique 🙂
    <3 u man !!

  2. Anthony

    So so so so so phucking true.

    Squats and bench ALWAYS sucks…
    Biceps, calves, hamstrings AND rear delts don’t even exist…
    Torso dominant….

    M A N N N N !!

  3. Donne the Conquerer

    #15 is so true, and addresses the faulty premise of people wrongfully associating muscularity with masculinity (and by comical contrast, many of the biggest well known bodybuilders act like total divas and primadonnas, the furthest from a confident alpha male).

    Case in point: Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood (though he’s on the bigger side of the ectomorph/mesomorph scale), etc. are all examples, among many others, of pure alpha-males in real life and the movies. So much for categorizing.

    FYI: I’m and endomorph and can say this: While an ectomorph can get fat also, I have to believe, based on years of observation, that this condition is much more prone and pronounced to endomorphs than ectos…and we can’t hide extra fat and look slim like you guys can. (Maybe it’s the possibility that ectos are usually born with less fat cells, I’m not sure.)

    From that perspective, as one gets older, and being big is no longer a physical priority in the gym, I can likewise say that there are days when many of us on the endo side envy the ectos for at least looking like they have an easier time staying leaner and in shape.

  4. Klitschko

    Not really an ectomorph myself but do have some long ass arms due to which benching is a burden, only with a light weight i feel the chest working, consequently lagging chest. Any advice truth seeker for better chest development?

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      The best chest exercises for healthy people are: bench press, weighted dips, ring push-ups, weighted push-ups (not in order of importance).

  5. Rick

    Great article! Would there be better alternatives for progressive overload for ectomorphs other than the bench press? Dips would be the best substitute but I get sternum pain. Would that be a structural flaw or bad form? Thanks again!

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      Sternum pain is common with dips. I had it too from weighted dips. But the fact the ectos are not the best benchers does not mean that the exercise is not beneficial for them. You don’t have to stop doing it because you are an ecto.

  6. Gareth

    i was very ectomorph looking up until my early 20’s when i found the gym, 6.5 wrists at 5ft 9
    once i started gaining weight i knew i had the best of both,

    an ectomorph engine (a week of restrictted carbs and i will shed the vast majority of fat on my stomach) and decent muscle ability my arms sit at 16.5 with no direct training legs 25″ at 15% bf i got very broad looking shoulder very easy, getting to intermediate levels on squat and deadlift all happend very quicky , ive been training 8 months , very unhappy with my calves tho haha

  7. Nick

    Hey Truthseeker, thank you fir the work you put in! Im currently searching for a new upper back exercise, since i feel only lats in pendlay rows. Would you rather recommand snatch grip rack pull or slightly upright tbar row?

  8. Dejan

    My wrist is 18cm (7″) @ 186cm (6’1″) and 95-99kg (~15-17%BF). I also have hard time developing arms, but at least my squat (141kg) is almost the same as deadlift (150kg). For me, deadlift is harder than squating. I started lifting at 21 with only 63kg and built myself to 82kg (4-5y). Then I didn’t lift till I was 41yo and 105kg. I can say at 43.5, that strength that I had 20 years ago, comes back in less then 6 months of lifting. Diet is harder part when you are over 40 and eating lots of carbs is not that good for maintaining less than 14% BF. It helps with your lifts, but not with BF. You are also correct, that PullUps are hard for ectomorphs. Since my squat is OK, would you recommend for me to use your Bro routine (from the book) and just maintain squat, to get bigger arms and diet down to 10-12%?

  9. Joos Liftsteen

    It’s these reasons, and the extent that they apply to all untrained individuals of any body type why everyone should begin with a body weight progression that instills proper movement patterns, work up through the dumbells adjusting weight, reps, and time each week until one is ready for the bar. That is, apply the basic principles of progression to the learning and coordination phase.

    Learn proper back extension, gain awareness of your hamstring, develop diaphragmatic breathing and hollow body.

    Focus on the movements for squat, RDL, plank, pushup, scapular retraction, lunge, over head press, and curls. It’s a matter of learning to move through time and space while holding your breath properly.

    Introduce the bar with a MWF 3 exercise 5×5 for four weeks, begin with a MWF 4 exercise 5×5 for the next four.

    Take a week rest

    Return with a deload and begin MWF 4 exercise 3×10 for 8 weeks that ends with your 3×10 working sets ideally above where you had finished 5×5.

    Take a week rest and return with 6 to 8 week 4 exercise 3×5 routine that starts just under where your 3×10 finished. Adding 5lbs per week until you plateau on the 3×5 for your main lifts. And if after 6 to 8 weeks you haven’t stopped getting strong, take a week off, and choose the next program you’d like to try, or return to 5×5 and focus on a new routine of exercises.

    This will take you through 6 to 8 months of training and leave you considerably stronger and more coordinated than you are now no matter what your body type is.

    >Strength > Success > Confidence > Strength >

  10. peter

    you sound close and close to HIT , Mike Mentzer is right : if you can’t change genetics, why you spend too much time in gym ? you can’t build muscle if not on gear. just ego lifting and dopamine short crush

    1. joe santus

      Even those few with superb genetics don’t need to spend “too much time” in a gym. They may be able to benefit from higher volume (more sets per bodypart) and higher frequency (more workout days per week) than those with average and below-average genetics, but ultimately, they must train “just enough but not too much” to progress.

      By the way…HIT is not what Mike Mentzer originally taught.

      HIT, taught by Art Jones and Ellington Darden, consists of one workset per muscle…each set done to positive and ideally negative failure…full-body workouts… three workouts per week. For example, a free-weight HIT program might be:
      one set of squats to absolute failure, one set of pull-ups ditto, one set of dips ditto, one set of overhead presses ditto, one set of deadlifts ditto, done in the same workout, a workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

      Mentzer’s “Heavy Duty” originally taught two to five worksets per bodypart…each set done to failure…split routines…two or less workouts per bodypart per week. (Mr Olympia winner Dorian Yates used a form of Heavy Duty training).

  11. Dan

    Dude,
    Write another book.
    I’ve read all of yours and love them.
    It doesn’t even need to be fitness related.
    I have a ton of free time at my job and need to read something.

    1. Truth Seeker Post author

      I am writing a book that will contain only routines right now.

      After that I may do something like a new A Hater’s Synthesis. Time will show what will happen.

      Thank you for the support.

  12. Jacl

    Hopefully I speak for most of your readership:

    Merry Christmas Truthseeker!

    We feel like we know you, brah. Thanks for your sincere content. It’s humorous, thought provoking and real. Hope to have you around for a long time.

  13. twp

    As ecto the only time I didn’t suck at making muscle was my first three months of training. Next few years it was like 5 lbs muscle per year, until I stopped seeing any gains after few years of training. So 15 inch arms forever, nothing can make them bigger, unless I gain extra fat which I don’t want. And after all these years of training I realized for ectos it’s not even worth to train more than 3-4 times a week. It doesn’t even matter what style and method of training you do (cali, cross fit, bro splits, olympic stuff and so on), because you will end up with same amount of mass. Some methods can yeld a little bit faster results, but in the end your maximum muscle mass is predetermined. Only thing that matter is to meet your nutrition needs.

    And yea the most fun thing from ecto perspective is how other guys underestimate my strength. There was this 200 lbs guy in the gym, a lot of muscle but not really that strong except his bench press(ofc, what else..) who started to spam me that he noticed I rest a lot between sets and need to train harder. After his lecture he decided to start his workout with pull-ups and he was barely able to do 8 half reps. I followed him with some half reps for warp-up too. I talked to him some bullshit, about that I am new to fitness and I don’t really know what I am doing, just hanging around lifting stuff for fun, while loading my 160 lbs self with 60 lbs on my belt. I done 10 full ROM pull-ups and he was fucking speechless. Actually he stopped talking to me that day and avoided me. wtf ? Talk about big sensitive guys with fragile egos lol…

  14. hgffdd

    Is this blog serious? You are a “natty police” lanklet that believes in ectomorph body type and thinks squatting 100kg for 3 reps is a lot? What a joke.

  15. swabbie

    I am endomorph but I don’t have bulky legs and arms – they are longer, similar to ectomorphs
    And yes, I have long femures and squats sucks for me – tried numerous times with all kinds of form and weight, and I always had knee and lowerback pain after squating, even with bodyweight squats
    If you are in a same story like, my friendly advice is to stay away from squats if you want any good to your knees and lowerback
    There are more than enough alternatives – leg press, lunges, leg extensions and curls, bulgarian split squats, stepups etc
    If it’s of any consolidation – endo types like me are cursed in terms that they always look somekind of chubby and fat, ecto guys are kind reverse of that, they always look skinny, slim and non-fat haha

  16. Rafael

    Well, steroids are the way to go for us then, and that’s is not even an option if you really want to build a reasonably respectable physique, very sad.

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