Ahhhhh. The cry of the ectomorph around the world.
You have tried and tried and tried all those booty building bands, thrusters and hip bridges in the world but alas, your butt is still not the huge or even close to maximal falsely alluded to and promised by the anatomical name of this muscle, Gluteus Maximus.
Never fear- you probably do have the shape in that butt muscle but maybe not the bulk? Oh wait, I hear you, you don’t like weight training and prefer a more thoughtful way to exercise? Ahhhh. Yes sighs the Ectomorph as the other two somatotypes (Endo and Meso) scratch their head. Thoughtful? Aye? Whatever do you mean?
Am I right?
Yet, again, everything you are told to do with your fitness, from what you have found on Google indicates you should be up hitting those weights, building the biggest glutes and even better be doing it in a big, noisy gym. It is all the hype right now after all?
You contemplate trying, bless you, you think hard about it. In fact, you love thinking. If those booty building exercises are related to switching on the glutes and firing up that mind muscle connection, by jingos, you are all in.
That is the key. The long willowy- limbed body of the ECTOMORPH loves to integrate the mind into any movement and responds well when there is a stronger mind-body theme to the exercise at hand.
Well, well, well, well- here we have it again. That point.
WE ARE NOT ALL SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THE SAME COOKIE-CUTTER WORKOUTS AND TRAINING IDENTICALLY AS EVERYBODY ELSE ALL THE TIME.
Once again, we enter the world of tailoring a workout or training schedule based on your Somatotype. You remember that name right, somatotype?
Somatotype. The idea that people are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition. This can be due to genetics, culture and the incubation stage while you were a zygote/embryo status. That cool way to say baby, in the womb.
This is the idea that your body decides what will work best for you, as an individual, in terms of movement and nourishment.
What does your body feel like doing without pre-conceived notions of what you should be doing?
We know from the last piece that there are different somatotypes or generalisations of body structures (Endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph) and ways that they are suggested to train.
Today we deal with the ECTOMORPH. So, if you are longer (leg bones and arm bones) in skeletal structure, finer joints, have generally less tissue (muscle and fat) than your other human counterparts and present a willow-like appearance, this is all about you. You probably read the section about thoughtful exercise and have spent the last 5 minutes pondering this intriguing concept.
Yes- you love to think.
The best training for you is that with a MIND/ BODY connection. You love to free the mind by moving the body and are attracted to forms of movement that will deliver mental nourishment as much as physical. Things like Yoga, Pilates, Barre, Boxing and a concept known as Animal Flow will serve and restore you.
Your body would still respond well to strength training using all primal movement patterns (squat, lunge, push, pull, press, twist and bend). The difference is that a great strength program for you might see you lifting weights that might not be the largest in the room but due to the sheer length of your limbs, will be incredible strength training for your type of body. Think physics and in particular levers. The longer the lever, that is your arm or leg, the heavier the load will be and feel at the end, that is the weight. Higher reps over multiple sets will serve you well. So that reformer class you do with a cable and spring for resistance, that Pump class with multiple repetitions and a lighter weight, that is great resistance training for you. Of course as you get stronger the parameters of what will feel strong for your limbs will change as you change.
It could be that Pump class for now and then progress to a body weight or weighted circuit. As long as there is an element of thoughtfulness and engaging your brain- you are happy. In fact,you are enduring and like repetitive, consistent movement.
OK, okay, so that is STRENGTH Nats Levi, what about CARDIO?
Think coordinating your limbs in dance or gymnastics, boxing or even the mindset required for a triathlon or half-marathon. Engaged. Challenged. Moving.
GAIT (the 8th wonderful primal movement pattern) as with the other somatotypes is still important and will serve you well. Walking or hiking and other gait like movements with a mindful or proprioceptive focus like surfing, boxing and dancing, are all great for you.
You, lost in the movement, learning a new routine to coordinate your body to or going on a long bike ride or hike where you have to plot the course and orientate in nature and is repetitive and enduring- this is IDEAL CARDIO. Perfect for you.
Whatever it is, the key thing is to enjoy it and have it serve body and mind. Steady state can be mixed with something that is shorter, sharp and intense in terms of a workout (think HIIT). Mixing up what is known as AEROBIC activity and HIIT is good for you. You like to do the movement in it’s full capacity and extension though. Perfectionism? No. Just thoughtful in the detail and feel of the movement. You will always choose quality repetitions over quantity, or faster. I mean, what is the point to waste the energy and do it “wrong”?
For you ECTOMORPHS, the support of a team is not necessarily crucial for you. You are getting healthier and fitter but there is also an element of getting out of your head for that moment which is beneficial to your body but not always seen as the prime motivator for exercise. It is YOUR TIME to do something YOUR WAY because YOU simply must. Selfish? It is more about focus, purpose, mind engagement and the right motivation for you to move.
If strength training and moving for the ECTOMORPH are an important focus then RESTING is where the attention might need to be. Give yourself enough time/ days between workouts to allow the body to recover mentally as much as physically. Plan these rest days. If focused and the purpose of the exercise is comprehended by an ECTOMORPH, you may tend to never switch off from training as it makes sense in your brain to follow the plan and achieve your goals.
Well ECTOMORPHS, I hope this has given you something to think about and some ideas about how you might want to mix up your movement to do things that best suit you as an individual. Remember, the key is to love it, have buy in mentally and find something to engage your brain in order to divert your focus from life and restore your energy.
As always, if you need help or have questions, message me on firstname.lastname@example.org. I can point you in the right direction or towards the right person.
The next #NLC challenge and 28 DAY HEALTH CHALLENGE starts whenever you are ready to so hit up natslevi.com to find out more.
With that we have one final piece to come…. the MESOMORPH.