How Many Reps Should an Ectomorph Do?

man lifting dumbbells

If you walk into most gyms today, you’ll notice something very strange. You’ll notice that the gym will always be split into two categories. There are people that train using heavy weights with low repetition and others that do the complete opposite, they use light weights with high repetitions. So this contrast can cause some confusion especially if you’re a beginner. So as an Ectomorph, you’re probably asking yourself: “How many reps should an ectomorph do?

The ideal repetition range for Ectomorphs is 6 to 8 repetitions using a heavy amount of weight that’s enough to force you to stay in that same range. Lifting light weights for Ectomorphs is not efficient because it will only increase your muscle endurance but won’t have an effect on building muscle mass. It will also consume a lot more energy because of the rapid metabolism that Ectomorphs tend to have.

Focusing on a workout routine that’s consisted of compound movements like squats and deadlifts using heavier weights has a lot of benefits for the Ectomorph body type.

The Advantages Of Low Reps For Ectomorphs

Nothing comes close to that awful feeling you get when you train for months on end but can’t seem to notice any progress when it comes to building muscles. When you’re first starting out, it’s natural to see some fast results (We call them beginner gains). But as you start to progress, things start to slow down or you hit a plateau. Transitioning to heavier weights and lower repetitions is, in my opinion, the ultimate solution to this problem. To put this into perspective, let’s say you benchpress about 100 lbs for 12 reps but can’t seem to get any higher than that. The solution is to add enough weight to your bench press in order to reduce your reps to 6-8. This tiny variation in rep range will have a significant change towards seeing progress, especially as an Ectomorph.

Here are the advantages of low reps:

Low Reps Can Increase Muscle Mass For Ectomorphs

man flexing his right bicep

We all know that Ectomorphs tend to have a rapid metabolism that’s constantly burning calories even during basic activities. And in the majority of Ectomorph workout plans that you’ll see on the internet, they recommend training sessions that last for about 45 minutes. Because training more than that is not efficient for Ectomorphs as it will only consume more energy without much gain. And how do you get the most out of that 45 minutes session? The most efficient way is to do compound movements while lifting heavy weights with lower repetitions. This will actually increase your muscle mass instead of just building muscle endurance with high repetitions.

Here is a more in-depth article talking about if Ectomorphs should lift heavy or not.

Lowers Reps Increases Muscle Tension

Male gymnast doing dumbbell bicep curls

The tension that’s generated from intense workouts is usually the main factor that increases muscle growth. That burn effect you feel after your training sessions is usually due to a substance called lactic acid. This substance is made during workouts when your body and muscles don’t find enough oxygen to complete their physical process. So this lactic acid is converted into energy. This substance can interfere with muscle tension which in turn could decrease your growth. In contrary to higher reps, Low reps allow muscle tension without building too much lactic acid, so they’re ideal for building strength and developing muscle mass as an Ectomorph.

Low Reps Improves Recovery

tired guy in the gym

Doing a lot of reps as an Ectomorph can cause your body to drop in strength from your starting level. For example, if you deadlift 100 lbs but can’t manage to do it again the next day then your body hasn’t recovered enough. And it will usually take days before you can lift 100 lbs again. This method of training is not efficient. A 20 reps bench press can leave you sore for days and unable to do any more chest exercises, yet 5 reps of a heavier weight will have the same effect, if not better, and you won’t be sore so you’ll be more efficient when it comes to training. You can generate the same amount of tension using low reps and still increase your muscle growth. Your body takes less time to recover.

Here is an article talking about if Ectomorphs can recover faster

Low Reps Can Make You Focus More

Close shot of dumbbells in front a man in lotus pose on asphalt road

Most people, including me, will be more efficient during a shorter amount of time. This is also true during your training sessions. When you lift for lower reps, it’s much easier to concentrate on the exercise at hand and basically do it better. The higher the reps, the less likely you’re going to perform the exercise at maximum efficiency.

Low Reps Are a Small Pieces Of The Puzzle

guy stretching muscles

At the end of the day, in order to train efficiently, just go with a rep range that you feel comfortable with. But as an Ectomorph, I highly recommend following the rep range mentioned in this article. But if you ever decide to try out high reps, just make sure to not overdo it (>30 reps). Most beginners can get away with a moderate rep range such as 6 to 15 reps which can be adjusted over time. Going beyond 30 reps will only focus on muscle endurance which you want to avoid as an Ectomorph. Splitting those 30 reps into 3 intervals is much more efficient. But in my opinion, doing a single heavy rep is much better than 20 or 25, or 30 reps. 

Ultimately, use whatever rep range works for you. But don’t focus too much on this factor and forget about the more important ones like a good workout plan that’s adapted to your body type, a good ectomorph diet, or getting enough sleep.

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