Specific training plans for the three most common body types | Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Best Training Plan For Your Body Type

Do you train hard and see little in the way of muscle gain? How about an endless toil in the gym, struggling to lose fat? The chances are, you’re going about it all wrong. The real way to hit your training goals is adapting your plan to your body type.

Men can generally be classed as one of three body types.

RELATED: take your body to the next level with these training tips from Australia’s fittest man


Ectomorphs: skinny guys that struggle to gain weight. They’re your classic “hard-gainers”.
Endomorphs: large-bodied and generally soft, these bodies gain bulk easily but also store fat along the way.
Mesomorphs: the ones everybody envy because they’re naturally lean and athletic. They can put on muscle comparatively easily and they don’t require huge amounts of maintenance.

So how do you ID which one you are, and how do you train for your body type? We tapped celebrity PT Scott Laidler for some body-specific advice to help you with your gains and losses, respectively.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Ectomorphic bodies

 – Have I got one?

If your shoulders are naturally narrow, your wrists thin and you find it extremely difficult to gain muscle, it’s likely you’re an ectomorph. Ectomorphs tend not to store excess fat, and as a result almost always look very lean, or at the very worst, skinny-fat. “Ectomorph metabolisms are almost too efficient,” says Laidler. “A high amount of calories need to be consumed in order to put on any real size.”

 – How does this affect my training?

For thin men, lifting light isn’t going to cut it. Unless you’re training for long-distance endurance running, you’re going to want some muscle mass. Laidler recommends three heavy, short training sessions per week, leaving plenty of time for muscle recovery.

“Ectos can’t ‘cruise’ like mesomorphs,” Laidler tells us, meaning that thinner guys have to work harder not just to achieve muscle, but to maintain it. Laidler advises some cardio for health benefits, but only one session a week is needed – with no fat to lose, your efforts should be on gaining size and strength.

Up your calorie consumption; shakes are an excellent way to increase your protein and carbohydrate intake efficiently. Eating too little will result in overtraining your body, with too little to replenish your energy stores.

 – Example Session

Laidler advises Ectos to do compound movements with high-rep ranges. Check out this classic weights-room session courtesy of NRL glamour club Brisbane Broncos.

Endomorphic bodies

 – Have I got one?

Are you, for want of a better term, ‘big-boned’? It’s likely you’re an endomorph. The domain of most rugby players, you are naturally bulky but with a body that (much to your annoyance) stores fat very easily. Endomorphs can be very strong, but struggle to carve out any sign of a six-pack due to a propensity for excess flab.

 – How does this affect my training?

“The biggest challenge facing an endomorph is that they find it difficult to lose fat even when exercising,” Laidler tells us. He recommends that endomorphs do cardio three times a week to keep fat at bay on top of a couple of EPOC-spiking weight training sessions. “Your weight training doesn’t have to be total body, but it shouldn’t be isolation.”

Don’t eat carbs after training, instead stick to protein – it’ll encourage your body to chew up fat for fuel. Endomorph diets needs to be carefully controlled, restricting those high G.I. carbs that add to your middle rather than being processed into fuel.

When it comes to weights, high reps are a must and high-intensity interval training is very important. It’s the ideal way to shed unwanted ballast while maintaining strength.

 – Example session

This old-school cardio/weights session will obliterate fat stores.

Mesomorphic bodies

 – Have I got one?

Ah, mesos. We’re not sure what aggravates us more; the perfect specimens of muscle in the gym or the gym newbies still toting a much-coveted V-shape back. Regardless, you’ll know if you’re a meso as your shoulders will be wider than your hips, with little muscle attached. You’ll be able to drop fat and pack on muscle easily when compared to endos and ectos. Mesos are natural athletes.

 – How does this affect my training?

There’s no reason to get complacent because you’ve won the genetic lottery because a poor diet and lack of structured training will hamper mesomorphs as much as anyone else. “Mesomorphs will respond well to many different types of training, from total body to isolation and lighter training,” says Laidler.

Best switch your methods up every now and again to ensure your body steers clear of plateaus. Full-body compound movements like squats, deads and other big lifts exploit your natural strength. In terms of diet, eating moderatelyclean should ensure you stay comfortable, but upping your protein intake will pay off dividends when it comes to muscle growth.

 – Example session

“Mesos respond particularly well to volume training – 10 x 10 reps and so on” Laidler tells us. If you’re sick of feeling naturally gifted, this single-move mind-fuck session from US pain-cave Gym Jones stands as a true challenge of high-rep insanity.

This article originally appeared on Menshealth.co.uk

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