Doug's Mass Building Routine for Ectomorphs

Althought this routine is designed for a person who’s body type is described as Ectomorph; it can be also be used by all body types as a change their current workout.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Intermediate
4
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

The ectomorph is the lucky body type that doesn’t carry much body fat, but are unlucky in that their body burns a lot of calories per day normally. In order to increase body weight, this type of person would need to increase calorie levels in stages until a pound in body weight is being added per week. The ectomorph's diet is crucial to increasing muscle tissue from their training. They should use a calorie level of 20-25 times their bodyweight in pounds as a starting position for calorie level. Example; a 140 lb lifter would use a starting calorie level of between 2800-3500 calories per day.

Meals should be split into 6-8 meals (including weight gainer drinks) per day, split into meals every 2.5 - 3 hours throughout the day. Protein intake should be 25%-30% of total calories; carbohydrates should be approx 50% of total calories; and fats at approx. 20%-25% of total calories. A meal or meal replacement shake should be taken before bed. Simple sugars should be limited or avoided totally.

Eat lower glycemic index foods such as brown rice, whole grain pasta, whole grain breads, yams, oats, sweet potatoes, whole grain foods. Supplement the diet with a good branded multivitamin and mineral. Essential fats should come from the following foods. Olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils (safflower, corn, sunflower, cottonseed oil), fatty cold water fish (salmon, mackerel and herring), flaxseeds, flax oil and walnuts.

Important Training Notes

  • Aerobic activity should be kept to a minimum.
  • Warm up with a cardio session for 5-10 minutes.
  • Stretch the worked muscles at the end of the workout.
  • Cool down when finished training with 5-10 minutes of cardio.
  • Use a repetition timing of 2-1-2 seconds.
  • Keep rest time between sets at 2 minutes.
  • Keep rest time between exercises at 3 minutes.
  • Keep workout time as short as possible.
  • Get at least 8 hours sleep per night.
  • Perform abdominal exercises on Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday.

Weekly Workout Schedule

Monday - Chest and Triceps
Chest
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Bench Press or Smith Machine Bench Press 4 6 to 8
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 6 to 8
Dumbbell Flys 3 10
Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Close Grip Bench Press 4 6 to 8
French Press 2 8 to 10
Tricep Dips 2 8 to 10
Tuesday - Back and Biceps
Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Dumbbell Row 4 6 to 8
Wide Grip Pull Up 4 To Failure **
Cable Reverse Grip Rows 4 8 to 10
Biceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Barbell Curl 4 6 to 8
Alternate Seated Dumbbell Curl 2 8 to 10
Concentration Curl 2 8 to 10
Notes
** Note: Add weight if more than 10 reps can be performed in a set

Wednesday - Rest Day

Thursday - Quads and Hamstrings
Quads
Exercise Sets Reps
Squat 4 8 to 10
45 Degree Leg Press 3 6 to 8
Hack Squat 3 8 to 10
Hamstrings
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3 6 to 8
Leg Curl 3 8 to 10
Friday - Shoulders and Calves
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Dumbbell Press 3 6 to 8
Seated Barbell Press 3 8 to 10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10 to 12
Barbell Shrug 4 8 to 10
Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Calf Raise 3 12 to 15
Seated Calf Raise 3 6 to 8

Saturday and Sunday - Rest Days

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About The Author
Doug is an ex-competitive bodybuilder with over 20 years fitness experience, specifically diet & nutrition, weight management and training techniques.

760 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 04/27/2015 - 04:15
sunny

sir,
My height is 5.5 ft and my weight is 106 lbs. I am going gym from two years and my weight gain is only 10 lbs plz tell me some best excercise routine and dietary plan.

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Posted Thu, 03/19/2015 - 18:03
Sim

Hi Steve, your advices really help to understand how to get good results. I've been doing this workout for 2 months now and made great results. i've modified it a bit into 3 days per week:

(All excercises i do 2x10 (without warmup))

monday:
chest (barbell bench press, decline press, incline dumbell press, dumbell flyes, pullover).
Triceps (bench dips, dumbell extension overhead, cable pull downs).
abs

Wednesday:
Back (lat pull down, seated cable row, t-bar pull, one arm dumbell row).
Biceps ( standing barbell curl, preacher curl).
abs

Friday:
Shoulder (military press, lateral raise, front dumbell raise, upright rows, shrugs)
Legs

Im eating a lot and getting great results, i also take protein shakes, bcaas, creatine. Im thinking to move to 3x10 on all excercises, but abit worried that it might be too much. What are your comments on this mate? Thanks, Sim.

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Posted Mon, 02/23/2015 - 17:08
Rick

Hi Steve,

If I did the math right, between time spent exercising and time spent resting, each day of this workout clocks in at around 75 minutes or more (not including ab work). Is this what you intended?

The total assumes: 33m 50s exercising (2-1-2 per rep plus 2 X 10 minutes of cardio); 26m resting (2 min between sets); and 15m between exercises (3m each). That's about 1 hour 15 minutes for each day in the workout (not including abs). Does that sound about right?

Thanks for your help

Rick

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Posted Mon, 01/26/2015 - 19:22
Demetrius

What's a proper warm up technique to do before these exercises?

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Posted Mon, 01/12/2015 - 10:21
Michael

I don't have a Hack squat machine. IS there a substitute?

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Posted Tue, 12/30/2014 - 00:56
Mike

Hi Steve. I cannot do squats and deadlift. Is it possible to incorporate other exercises to pack on muscles. Many programs and advices are made for people with no back pain. However i would need the one without those 2 compound exercises. Thank you

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Posted Mon, 12/29/2014 - 11:42
John Maserati

Not very realistic to eat a meal every 3 hours like don't you people have jobs and or social lives?

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Posted Tue, 06/30/2015 - 23:25
glenn campson

Yes, and i also have 4 children (1 of which in the hospital for a while). All you have to do is spend an hour each morning prepping and packing your food. I have to budget right, yet still feed my body. Excuses are for people who dont get results.

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Posted Wed, 12/17/2014 - 01:14
Zohaib Hassan

Hi Brandon,
My age is 28, my weight is only 53kg, my height is 181cm and i am a male. i want to make my body looks like "HELL yeah that what i want" a perfect male models or fitness models. should i do the same workout as described in this blog or have to do isolate workout ??
i do not have pretty much time left. As we all know after 30 the muscle gaining is weak. i spoil my twenties :(.
Please help me out.

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Posted Mon, 12/15/2014 - 07:12
Niels

I'm starting this programe, but I have a question regarding keeping the aerobic exercise at a minimum. I usually like to end a trip to the gym on the treadmill. 5 min walking, then 9 min interval running (1 min sprint, 2 min run - x3) and cool down for 5-10 minutes. I'm 5'10, 150lb and my primary goal it to gain muscle, but I want to stay in good shape still. Would the running mess with the design of this programe?

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Posted Wed, 11/05/2014 - 14:39
Cisco

what about abs? Don't see any workouts for it on here. Do we work those out on the weekend?

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Posted Tue, 11/04/2014 - 13:27
Paul

When a person is taking creatine going to the gym, if you were to stop training would you not shrink in size because does "creatine" not require you to stay hydrated most of the time because it absorbs the water in your body to make your muscles grow ? I know I shrunk when I was off it! I'm 23 and only 130lbs and have been 9 stone for 4 years it's depressing because I want get bigger than what I am but time hinders my success :(

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Posted Mon, 09/22/2014 - 23:28
Yassin

Hi Steve,
I'm doing your 4-day-maximum-mass-workout split program, and I want you to tell me if it's good to move to this program or not to build my muscles better ?
Thank you

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Posted Tue, 09/16/2014 - 14:51
Raj

Hi Steve,
I am 23, 5'9" and about 146 pounds. I am thin all around but I have some belly fat that I want to get rid of in the process of building muscle. I have started this routine a couple days ago along with running on the treadmill for 10 mins at a speed of 6. I take ON whey protein of one scoop post workout. Am I doing the right thing?

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Posted Sun, 09/14/2014 - 16:05
james cabin

What you suggest I substitute for the alternating dumbbell curls, the dumbbell lateral raise and dumbbell shoulder press, I have a curling bar and a barbell, but no dumbbells.

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Posted Tue, 08/05/2014 - 01:39
nray

Do you have to do all the exercise on those days or just choose one exercise?

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Posted Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:44
george453

For the sets, should you use a pyramid style or just lift the same amount for each set?

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Posted Wed, 07/30/2014 - 00:14
Richard

Hey Steve. In making this workout, what determined the amount of sets and reps you choose?

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Posted Wed, 07/23/2014 - 05:12
Mike

Hi Steve, I've bee following this workout for approx. 1 month and have gained about 10lbs. I'm 5'8" was 130 lbs now 140lbs. I gained that 10 pounds within the first 2 weeks and stopped at 140lbs. I started to use Serious Mass weight gainer along with my daily nutrition these past 2 work outs but i still havent gained. is it time for me to change this workout to another one, if so can you recommend one. Also, someone at the gym told me to get on a pyramid type (start higher reps lower weights and end with low reps high weigh) workout. what do you think?

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Posted Fri, 06/13/2014 - 18:36
Jason

I'm 6 foot 1 around 190 pounds. I have a skinny build but i want to rip up and get just a tad bigger. I have a great appetite as well. What are some suggestions to help me out?

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Posted Sat, 06/07/2014 - 17:22
MAR

Interesting article and comments!
I'd like to know if there is any harm in an ectomorph working out early morning on an empty stomach...

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Posted Fri, 06/06/2014 - 00:51
Alon

Hey, I was wondering, is there any way for me to gain muscle from home? I have literally no equipment or access to a gym. Can exercises using my own body help gain muscle?

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Posted Thu, 05/29/2014 - 12:16
Jeffrey

hi, I don't have every machine for the legs
what can we remplace for 45 Degree Leg Press and Hack Squat ?

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Posted Thu, 05/22/2014 - 09:06
Robbert

Hi Steve,

First of all I would like to thank you for this great workout schedule. I have been using it now for almost 5 weeks and I'm already getting a lot of results. I have not been paying much attention to my diet yet but in these 5 weeks I've already gained about 9 pounds of lean muscle. The results are also already visible and I'm currently lifting a lot more than in the first week. So thanks for that!

I have a few questions tho. I've been reading that you should change your schedule after about 2 months, what is your opinion on this? And should i change everything or keep the important exercises like bench press, squat, deadlifts etc? Also, I noticed that some exercises like the dips and closed grip bench press for triceps and the pullups for your back are much heavier than all the other exercises in the schedule, I have replaced them for now, should I get these back into my schedule? And my last question is, after all my workout days my muscles are sore for a few days except for my back, I have tried increasing the weights but than (i think) my form isn't very good anymore. Is there another approach I should take?

Thanks again for this awesome workout schedule!

Cheers, Robbert

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Posted Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:55
sam

Steve youre awesome for helping us all out!!!

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Posted Tue, 04/29/2014 - 02:28
Sumeet Gaikwad

Hey i m Sumeet.And i am already following the above program but still i cant got as much mass that i require

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Posted Fri, 04/25/2014 - 17:49
benjamin

so where are the abs?

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Posted Thu, 04/10/2014 - 16:05
Rituraj

hey steve .. i am 18 ..my height is 5'11 and i weigh 56 kg .. how much time will it take me to hit my goal of crossing 64 kgs ..

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Posted Tue, 04/08/2014 - 06:02
adam

can beginners do this or is thr another programme for beginners

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Posted Tue, 03/18/2014 - 12:09
Jack

Hey so I'm completely 100% new to the whole gym/workout thing I've started this week and I'd like to start properly, can anyone (and I know this sounds childish) give me like a shopping list of essential foods for a weekly shop? (Side note I'm not using shakes YET so I'd like my diet to be set up well)

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Posted Tue, 03/18/2014 - 03:51
Josh

Do older guys with lots of muscles get babes just as easy as older guys with lots of money?

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Posted Sun, 03/09/2014 - 06:04
Maxwell Song

I had two questions actually. The first one is, I've heard that you need to change your routine up every 4-8 weeks in case your gains get stagnant, do you have different sets of routines and if there is do i alternate routines? Second is if I am not able to have a spotter are there machines or alternatives to doing bench presses and anything related to the barbells? Thank you for all the help, your routine seems to really be helping me.

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Posted Sat, 03/01/2014 - 02:15
Anonymous

Hello Doug and Steve,

I’m a 21 yr old male ectomorph who has been fairly slim all my life. My height is currently 6’2’’ and my weight is 145 lbs. I have a super fast metabolism and not the best diet going for myself and I have been eating inconsistently due to the stresses of college and classes etc. sometimes skipping meals which is awful I know so now I want to make a CHANGE. During stress/imbalanced moments like at school/anywhere I seek out/research foods that can decrease my stress, anxiety, and improve concentration. I’m always seeking for self improvement. Throughout my research for a better, healthier, more balanced life I came across the Okinawan and Paleo diets which both have fascinated me as they have been proven to increase longevity. One key aspect the Okinawan diet and recent research preaches for longer lifespan is caloric restriction. I know this can be detrimental for those of us whom wish to put on weight or increase muscle mass with fast metabolism so my question for you is what healthy foods or teachings can I take away from these two diets which can contribute towards my weight gain/muscle gain goals over time and which should I avoid or disregard? As far as what I’ve recently researched, excess calories does to some extent increase the amount of free radicals in our bodies which speeds up the aging process. I want to have a long and healthy life but at the same time I don’t wish to stay slim forever want a LEAN, SCULPTED defined muscular body with strong bones. I have blood type O which I know has a higher risk for osteoperosis and strength/weight training I know helps improve the density of bones thus decreasing the chances of bone loss/such diseases.. Anyways, I’m talking too much literally writing a bibliography here but please stay with me here. Lol To put it shortly, is there anyway one can have a long life up to 100 and still have a high calorie diet which is primarily derived from healthy food choices such as veggies, some fruits, and for protein chicken/fish? Which foods in particular are best for weight gain and optimal health and longevity? More specifically I’m aiming for foods with low acidity levels & high nutrient density that can help maintain/balance ph for high alkalinity state for the body to work more efficiently and have less toxins thus slowing down the aging process. I’m a bit overwhelmed with the information I’ve compiled from my readings/research and just want a second opinion. If you can read into the the few diets I’ve provided, and my non-acidic diet make food recommendations accordingly for hard gainers I’d really appreciate it. Sorry for throwing so much at you at once btw but your advice is much appreciated. If there is also any particular workouts you recommend I can do in combination with 1-2 days of martial arts/karate per week (I know it’s cardio and bad for weight again) so that I can still gain muscle & not stay so thin. I need to do the karate though cause it improves my concentration, discipline, and stress levels. Also how many days a week do you think I should start working out and how can I work my way up?

Thanks for your time for reading this long message. I’d greatly appreciate it if you could respond and help me out here.

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Posted Sun, 02/16/2014 - 05:38
Tomi

What about wrist curls? Are they needed?

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Posted Wed, 02/12/2014 - 03:53
john artem atienza

I find this great, but can i do 2days exercise on chest?
I jst cant resist of doing nothing on my rest days..

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2014 - 17:04
Ryan

Started this routine 5 weeks ago and have seen considerable strength gains. I had plateaued in both weight gains and strength gains with my previous routine..this plan kick-started my body back into daily fatigue and a great feeling leaving the gym. I modified the routine a little to fit my own desires, but regardless this workout is great and the 10 set blast workout is really fun once you get the hang of it! Definitely gunna continue to add in days like this going forward. Great program.

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Posted Fri, 01/31/2014 - 21:13
Nick

I'm just finished week 4 of this routine, and I like it a lot. The only problem that's starting to show itself is my ability to hold onto the bar itself. my target muscle groups are not getting a good workout, because my hands cannot hold onto the bars for the length of the set. This mostly applies to the standing barbell workouts like the deadlift, row, shrug, etc. Do you have any tips on how i can overcome this without moving backwards with the weights?

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2014 - 17:18
Connor

I have a few questions ... How long should i do this program for? After i change, could it be to any mass building program?

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Posted Fri, 01/24/2014 - 16:37
Tyler Grinie

Hey Steve, I just started working out a week ago. I'm currently 134 lbs at 5 11. Skinny But have very broad shoulders and everyone at the gym is always saying I'm very ripped for my size so some confusion sets in for what body type I am. Been trying to consume 3000+ calories a day but find it hard to eat after 2200. Would this plan benefit me and any recommendations for more calorie intake?

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2014 - 19:20
Josh

For those of you who are trying to gain muscle mass fast. I found squats, deadlift, and bench press 5 sets of 5 worked really well for me. Do this three times a week for 12 weeks and I promise you wont be disappointed. Also eat a lot of high carbs fat and protein since your body is gonna need the energy to do these lifts.

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 16:00
ron

About the abs workout, can i use this, https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/29-ab-workout-to-increase-ab-...
Slip this abs on monday and thursday workout?
Overtraining? Or should i do it on wed and sat?

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Posted Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:30
Kay

What about weight in each set?
Should i increse it gradually ?

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Posted Thu, 01/09/2014 - 20:41
james

when you suggest ie 100grams of rice or chicken ect is that 100g of uncooked or cooked rice?

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Posted Thu, 12/26/2013 - 14:15
Jacob

Howdy. Two things: I don't have the toys necessary for 45 Degree Leg Press and the Hack Squats; what do you think I should do instead? What about leg extensions?

Also, would you recommend this routine for younger lifters? I'm only sixteen.

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Posted Wed, 12/25/2013 - 04:37
HIMANSHU

i am a skinny guy which workout plan is good for me

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Posted Tue, 12/24/2013 - 00:45
Shahbaz

Hey STEVE
I'm not able to figure out that how long an ectomorph should follow this or any ectomorph routine ? Whether for 3 months or 6 months ? And after that , what to do ? Should i go for an intermediate regime or stick to the same ectomorph routines ? Please help me out . . . . . Thanks .

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Posted Mon, 12/23/2013 - 19:02
Brian

Looks like typical bodybuilder routine to me. I do not believe any ectomorph will have success with this.
These workouts only tire the selected muscle group. Isolation is useless for ectos. Must focus on Heavy compound only. Unless you have the mass to work with I believe isolation is a waste of time and energy. Chin ups and heavy rows build big biceps, not silly curls. So many body builders out there all buff and can't even do 15 chin ups, never mind three or four sets. Triceps and shoulders get overworked in this program too. 11 sets of chest plus eight sets of tricep. Muscles are so tired that the intensity is not high enough to stimulate growth. Why these routines are suggested I'll never know. To the struggling ectos out there, get yourself on a 5x5 program three times a week. Ora solid barbell strength training program. No silly cables and machines and even keep the dumbells at a minimum. And eat. Eat a lot. Every three hours or so. Have a few beers. But whatever you do, stay away from these silly split programs. Good luck.

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Posted Sun, 06/14/2015 - 07:56
Jeff

No you're wrong Brian. You don't lift

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Posted Sun, 12/22/2013 - 10:02
Kashif

I'm an ectomorph and my workout plan is (Monday Chest, Tuesday Triceps, Wednesday Back, Thursday Biceps, Friday Shoulders, Saturday Legs and abs). what do have to say about it.....????

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Posted Fri, 12/20/2013 - 13:52
jimo

Corn oil? I haven't heard anyone recommend that food for quite some time. Not on my list of good fats. Nor is cottonseed oil (tons of herbicides on that). This guy loses credibility whoever he is.