Best Compound Exercises For Ectomorphs [Train Effeciently]

In the fitness world, there are two main ways of doing resistance training. You can either focus on isolation movements or compound movements. Compound exercises focus on hitting multiple muscle groups at the same time while isolation exercises just like in its name tend to focus only on one muscle group. If you’re an Ectomorph and still not sure which type of training is best for you, then I highly recommend starting off with the best compound exercises for Ectomorphs, then slowly progressing towards mixing between them and isolation training, just like I mentioned on my Ectomorph workout plan.

The main benefit of doing compound exercises is that they’re the most efficient for Ectomorphs. That’s because they tend to maximize muscle growth while spending the least amount of time and energy. The best compound movements for Ectomorphs can vary from squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups, and so on.

In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of compound movements for Ectomorphs, as well as the best compound exercises that you can do to maximize your muscle gain.

Benefits Of Compound Movements For Ectomorphs

best compound exercises for ectomorphs: man doing squats

Compound movements are exercises that train and strengthen multiple muscle groups at the same time. And they present several benefits:

They Are More Efficient

Compound movements are one of the best exercises that you can do as an Ectomorph simply because of their efficiency. If you barely find enough time to train, then they’re your best bet. That’s because you can stimulate muscle growth using them while investing the least amount of time. And if you read some of my past articles, then you know that I always recommend Ectomorphs to never spend more than 45 minutes in their gym session and to never train more than 3 times a week. That’s because of their fast metabolism that’s constantly burning calories. So spending any more time than that will only cause you to lose energy that should be used to recover. And the most efficient way to train during those 45 minutes is by using full-body workouts that focus on compound movements.

Read more: Can Ectomorphs Work Out 5 Days a Week.

They Give You The Ability To Lift Heavy Weights

As an Ectomorphs, besides having to train for about 45 minutes max and 3 times a week, I also recommend them to always aim for heavier weights, as well as to use low to moderate rep ranges. That’s because if you don’t train heavy and instead use light weights for more reps, you’ll just end up burning more calories than necessary which can harm your muscle growth. And this is where compound movements come into play, they will allow you to lift more weights. by using multiple muscle groups and thus, be more efficient.

Read more: Should Ectomorphs Lift Heavy, How Many Reps Should An Ectomorph Do.

They Increase Testosterone Levels

Since these types of movements require you to stimulate multiple muscle groups at the same time, you’ll force your body to release more growth hormones and mainly testosterone. These hormones are crucial when it comes to muscle recovery and building more muscle mass. And releasing them on your body should be one of your main focuses. And compound movements make it easy for you.

Read more: Do Ectomorphs Have Low Testosterone.

They Balance Your Muscles

It’s true that isolation movements are great if you want to focus on strengthening one muscle part, but that comes with the price of not balancing out your muscle groups. This means that some muscles will be way more overtrained than others which can result in injury. With compound movements, you don’t have to ever worry about that since you’re targeting multiple muscle groups which will automatically be put into equal work.

The Best Compound Exercises For Ectomorphs

Now that you know the many benefits of compound movements for Ectomorphs, I bet you’re thriving to learn all about the best exercises that you can do in order to maximize your muscle growth potential.


ectomorph compound exercise: bench press

This is a must for every Ectomorph. Everybody dreams about having a big strong chest and benchpresses are your best way to achieve that. And it’s one of the best compound exercises that target the chest, delts, and tricep muscles. They also increase upper-body strength and improve bone health. 

And since the chest is a pretty large muscle, I highly recommend implementing different variations during your workouts instead of just opting for the basic flat benchpress. Try altering between the inclined and the declined one, and also between using dumbbells and barbells in order to always surprise your body and grow even more.


ectomorph compound exercise: deadlifts

I know what you’re thinking, this is one of the hardest and most challenging exercises out there since you’re putting your back muscles under so much stress, but the reward that you get from doing them is just too good to let pass. However, with regular practice, you’ll start to develop the proper technique and it will become so much easier to perform them. They’re extremely efficient and can target some muscles that can’t be targeted easily using other exercises which can make you a lot stronger. When you’re starting out, I highly recommend using an empty barbell and practicing on your form since it’s the most important factor that can determine whether or not you’ll benefit from this exercise. This compound movement works the hamstrings, lower back, glutes, and most importantly, the core.


ectomorph compound exercise: squats

Talking about compound movements without mentioning squats is like a sin. This exercise is a must for every Ectomorph looking to get bigger legs. And it’s probably the exercise where you’ll be able to lift the most weight. And just like deadlifts, squats are also challenging but rewarding and require a good form in order to maximize muscle growth. If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend doing the basic form of squats without any barbell, and slowly working your way towards lifting heavier weights. Since lifting heavily from the get-go will certainly cause injuries, especially for squats. This compound movement focuses mainly on quads, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and core.


ectomorph compound exercise: dips

Just like the bench press, dips are an excellent exercise that works the upper body. They’re not as hard as the other movements, but can definitely be challenging if you’re just starting out. But as soon as you get the hang of them, you should implement them in the majority of your training session since they have the potential to build a lot of your muscles. And depending on how you position yourself, they can either mainly focus on the chest or the triceps. They also work the delts and the core.


illustration of a man doing pull ups

The thing that I love the most about pull-ups is that there are tons of variations that you can do and that can work on a multitude of muscle groups. The most basic and well-known form of this exercise is the chin-up. But as soon as you’re able to do them perfectly, you’ll have the ability to try the other–more difficult–variations and implement a mix of them during your workout session. They’re the ultimate exercise to build your back strength and maximize your muscle growth. They work mainly the lats, delts, traps, biceps, and core.

Here is a table recapitulating the compound movements mentioned on this article, as well as what they work.

Compound exerciseWhat does it work?
BenchpressChest – delts – triceps
DeadliftHamstrings – lower back – the core
SquatQuads – Lower back – glutes – hamstrings – core
DipsChest – triceps- core
Pull-UpLats – delts – traps – biceps- core


Compound movements are an ideal way to train more efficiently and more effectively, especially for Ectomorphs. Implementing them in your workout routine should be one of your top priorities since they’ll do the most work using the least amount of energy and time. But it’s important to follow a workout plan that’s adapted to your body type in order to maximize muscle growth. And in case you don’t have access to the gym, then follow my Ectomorph home workout plan.

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