Bodybuilding Basics – Hard Gainers Overtaining Rules

March 23, 2014 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug


If you are an ectomorph by nature and you happen to workout to build muscle, then you won’t need to tell me that you have struggled to build a sufficient amount of muscle on your skinny frame, I already know… I started of that way.

You’ve probably felt very envious against all of those short guys who simply sneeze and put on muscle (Bastards!). And at that point you probably tried to work harder than your short guy mesomorph counterparts. But working harder is not always the best solution. You will probably increase the amount of days that you workout. But doing so may lead to overtraining, which in turn may lead to injury and a decrease in muscle growth, which is what you don’t want.

There are many challenges that us ectomorph body types will face during our weightlifting workouts, but to solve them all in one article would just bore you. So to begin, we’ll focus on how to deal with overtraining.

Don’t follow the leader

This is what I told you a couple of weeks back and the same rule applies here. You will meet many individuals who have built themselves an amazing body… good on them. But they have found a workout routine that works for THEM. You need to find a workout routine that works for YOU and your ectomporph body type. A workout routine that takes advantage of an over trained body or even overcomes those dreaded weightlifting plateaus. (A workout routine I may just plan out for you). So follow your own needs and no one else’s.

Let your muscles recover

It’s very easy to become a gym addict, and it is a very nice to watch your muscles get ‘pumped’ while you workout. But eliminate that short-term vision already. Your muscles will not build while you are ripping them apart, no matter how ‘pumped’ you look at the time. It might seem like a ‘no brainer’, but structure your workout days like,

Mon, Wed, Fri

And not like

Mon, Tues, Thurs

Always leaving a day in-between allowing your muscles to recover and grow properly. Unfortunately, some people still do not follow this simple rule. Don’t let that be you.

Train with less time

It amazes me how many people get this wrong. If you have an ectomorph body type, or are working out to build muscle, then you need to be training with less time in your workouts with an increased intensity. That is:

  • Less than 60 minutes
  • 45 minutes (35 minutes intense)


If you train for more than 45 minutes, then the response rate of your anabolic hormones will drop. This will cause you to lose energy and you’ll start burning muscle instead of building it, because your body will be looking for those energy stores and there will be nothing there.

Working out with a high intensity and shorter periods will also give you better gains, help your muscles recover much quicker and stop you from over training.

Know when to stop

I’ve faced this scenario many times. It’s actually a lot harder to do when you are ‘in the zone’ as you simply don’t want to stop and are dedicated to building your muscles up. But the fact is, there will be a point when your body will feel knackered, and it won’t be like a weightlifting plateau either. It’s that tiredness you feel when your body is simply telling you to STOP! If you don’t want to listen to the warning signs… that’s fine. Just know that doing so could literally kill you, as at this point, you would have surpassed the point of overtraining.

So do yourself a favour and STOP!


Take a whole week off from training (I’ve done this before). This will allow your body to fully recover and more importantly… allow your muscles to GROW.

  • Do sub failure training. What you do here is minus 2-3 repetitions of every exercise that you do. Do this for 2-3 weeks and then go back to normal training.
  • As I stated earlier, there are many more answers for how you can overcome the challenges that a hard gainer faces, but stay tuned in and I will try to solve and answer as many as I can.

Are you struggling to build muscle as a hard gainer?

Have you tried any of the above methods?

Let me know in the comments.

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