Ectomorph's Problem: Gaining Mass, Tight Budget and Time: Help!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 1:05 PM GMT
    Hi guys,

    I've been training since the summer of 2009, and yet not much progress seems to be attained. My pecs remained rather thin, my arms and shoulders still small and unsubstantial (granted, after pumps, these change rather dramatically, although that only persisted for a few hours). Initially I trained myself with combinations of calisthenics and improvised weights (including heavy, ~ 20 lbs backpack as a dumbbell substitute) as I wish to be not too reliant on gym equipments, though lately I've been using a pair of 13 lbs dumbbells. I'm an ectomorph, and my wrists are real tiny (I will upload new photos soon enough to my profile).

    Here are the details:

    Current weight and height: 141 lbs, 5' 10"

    Monday: Chest & Biceps
    Tuesday: Triceps, Abs & Shoulders
    Thursday: Chest & Biceps
    Friday: Triceps, Abs & Shoulders.
    Sunday: Cardio (swimming)


    Chest: Push-ups - decline, wide, and/or reverse
    Superset - dumbbell fly (15 reps) and dumbbell press (10 to 5 reps) ~ 5 sets
    Weighted Dips - 5 to 3 reps, 8 sets. Weight weighs about 20 lbs.

    Biceps: Bicep Curl - standing & alternate, 15 reps 3 sets each.
    Hammer Curls - standing & alternate, 15 reps 3 sets each.
    Isolated Bicep Curls -15 reps, closing.

    Triceps - triceps single kickbacks, 25 reps, 3 sets each
    Bench dips (triceps) - 15 reps, 4 each

    Abs:
    Weighted crunches, oblique crunches, pulse ups, bicycle crunches ~ 15 reps 3 sets each

    Shoulders: Shoulder presses - 15 reps 3 sets.
    Dumbbell lateral raises - 20 reps, 4 sets

    Well, I know that this self-designed routine might be really crappy but I did my best to accommodate my academic needs and obligations. So far, I can't fit in the leg exercises. I don't go to the gym; I spend most of my training home due to my restricted time and budget. As for nutrition, I did my best to eat substantial amounts of protein-rich food, six times a day, for most of the time. I've been drinking protein milk and bars as well, especially in training days. It's been months of eating like a pig but only managed to add up 8 pounds. I used to feel truly painful DOMs in those early days and yet these days it's just a minor soreness without the biting burns - or none at all.

    Things to buy in the future:

    - 25 lbs dumbbells; heavy and ultra-heavy resistance bands

    Goal: Ripped, with well-developed pecs, abs and arms. Not too bulky, body type with long yet defined muscles are enough for me.

    Questions:

    1. How am I supposed to modify the workout plan?
    2. Should I reserve each body part once a week, or train each twice a week?
    3. Any ideas for cheap yet clean DYI mass gainers?
    4. Tips on scheduling strategies for a busy university student?

    It's been painfully frustrating to see little gains while realizing that most other people around achieve big biceps and forearms without any weight training at all.

    Thank you so much for the feedback, and any input would be really appreciated.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2010 2:42 PM GMT
    it's not going to work....join a gym, you will not build yourself up with 15lb dumbells and body weight stuff...especially if your an ectomorph. Also realize their is a lot more muscles in your body than your chest and arms

    Once a week, heavy and intense low reps generally for an ecto although don't be afraid to mix it up. Ditch the super-sets until your a little more advanced

    Most mass gainers are cheaper than their food alternative, considering if you shop around you can get a 10lb for 30 bucks in the USA. I also like eggs, bulk fat free milk and the the 20c chicken breasts the supermarket sell at discount before they spoil

    Tips on scheduling...you either have the time to workout or your wasting it at parties, socializing, tv or video games. Hate to break it to you but your undergrad years are when you will have the most free time in your life

  • darkeyedresol...

    Posts: 171

    Apr 29, 2010 3:29 PM GMT
    You really need to add in leg exercises, thats part of your problem. Squats, deadlifts, etc all help push up testosterone levels. You will never get big without using those movements.

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    Apr 29, 2010 5:19 PM GMT
    MsclDrew is right. Your program won't work. Points for effort, but for your goals what you are doing is flat out wrong.

    -the repetition ranges are too high. Probably way too high.
    -your program is devoid of any power exercises.

    Because of your body type you can forget about mass gains without doing a lot of work at repetition ranges lower than what you are doing. And yes, working your legs and back while including more compound exercises will be helpful, if not essential to your goals.

    If your at a university, don't they have fitness facilities available? Look into a gym, then look into a muscle building program. Until you fix these, don't give another thought to mass gainers.
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    Apr 29, 2010 5:56 PM GMT
    As a fellow ectomorph, I know exactly what you're going through. My best advice is what MsclDrew suggests: go for a high weight and low reps. It's been working for me, and I actually enjoy it more than doing high-rep sets. A Men's Health article noted that, when you first begin working out, you can get away with doing less weight, but as you continue, you start needing to do around 80% of your one-rep max to keep seeing gains. The rule of thumb from the article: use a weight high enough that you can do about 8 reps (really, by the time you're doing your third set, it should be around 4-6 reps before you can't do any more). Rather than aim for a specific number of reps per set, try for a total number of reps (like, 25), and do as many sets as you need to to reach it (obviously pushing yourself each set).

    Honestly, I've been around 72 kg for the past five years, but the difference in my physical appearance since pushing the weights up has been surprising. The increase in strength too.

    Hope this helps.
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    Apr 29, 2010 6:09 PM GMT
    Trial and Error is the best thing you can do. The internet is filled with contradictory information and you can probably find tons to support your method... The reps on some do seem a bit high, but there are guys on this site that seem to be doing fine with 15 reps- I just haven't seen any that do 20+-that's just insane. icon_razz.gif
    I've actually been doing the 8 reps things and it hasn't been working for me- so I'm going to switch it up... try and try again- if you're serious anyways.
    Visit http://www.muscleandstrength.com/ for some beginners routines and for more advance ones- they also have a large video archive of various exercises.
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    Apr 29, 2010 8:17 PM GMT
    A1EX saidTrial and Error is the best thing you can do. The internet is filled with contradictory information and you can probably find tons to support your method... The reps on some do seem a bit high, but there are guys on this site that seem to be doing fine with 15 reps- I just haven't seen any that do 20+-that's just insane. icon_razz.gif
    I've actually been doing the 8 reps things and it hasn't been working for me- so I'm going to switch it up... try and try again- if you're serious anyways.
    Visit http://www.muscleandstrength.com/ for some beginners routines and for more advance ones- they also have a large video archive of various exercises.


    A trainer will tell you that high reps if for endurance. To increase muscular strength requires high intensity (id est high weight resistance) and low reps (8-10) with 3 sets.