For the American psychologist, William Herbet Sheldon (1898-1977), each individual possesses unique genetic traits. In this sense, according to the psychologist, it is important to know its morphological type and act in life based on this typology. One of these types is that of ectomorphs , who are thin by nature and find it very difficult to develop their muscles .


What is it to be an ectomorph?

It is a type of morphology that designates a slender person whose muscle mass is not very developed . People with this type of morphology are naturally thin and seem to be able to eat any type of food without gaining weight. The downside is that they have less muscle strength since they have difficulty gaining muscles.

  • Definition of ectomorph
  • features
  • Ectomorphic men
  • Ectomorphic women
  • Diet
  • Training
  • Advantages of being an ectomorph
  • Disadvantages

Definition of ectomorph

The ectomorph is a morphological typology proposed by the psychologist William Herbet Sheldon that includes fragile, tall individuals with underdeveloped muscles and a predominance of ectodermal development. The ectomorph can eat without accumulating fat or weight .


This type of body adapts well to endurance sports , but if you want to work your muscles, it is important to follow a specific diet and training.


  • Rather nervous and agitated temperament with a predisposition to lose weight and a very fast metabolism. This being the case, he has great difficulty gaining weight and building muscle mass.
  • The ectomorph does not have a good genetic predisposition for sports disciplines that require prolonged muscular strength and endurance.
  • Ability to eat all foods due to its fast metabolism .
  • Natural thinness, long, skinny muscles and limbs.
  • Lower natural strength level due to the fact that muscle mass is burned very easily when adopting a hypocaloric regimen.
  • High energy levels with a tendency to hyperactivity . He moves frequently in all directions or does a lot of sports.
  • According to Sheldon, this morphology is associated with a great development of the cerebral system and of the nerves.
  • Likewise, Sheldon considers that ectomorphs are more emotional and can be shy, undaunted and generally predisposed to art.
  • In terms of physical appearance, ectomorphs usually have a rectangular trunk, a triangular face, a thin bone mass with very thin fists and ankles, and fragile joints.

Ectomorphic men

Ectomorphic males are usually tall but thin, presenting a delicate or fragile appearance at times due to their thin bones and underdeveloped musculature. Some famous ectomorphic men are Bruce Lee, Edward Norton, and Brad Pitt.

Ectomorphic women

Ectomorphic women are characterized by small breasts and narrow hips. They also have small shoulders and long limbs. Even when they are old, like men, they still sport slender figures . Some famous ectomorphic women are Taylor Swift, Jane Fonda, and Cameron Diaz.


The ectomorph must pay attention to eating large amounts of food in order to compensate for the significant caloric losses induced by the body itself, which is characterized by being very energetic.

On the other hand, a good way to eat more is to ration your food into several servings. Indeed, as the body burns calories very quickly, it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to eat. In addition, according to certain studies, dividing meals into several servings throughout the day is a very effective technique to eat more.

Likewise, the ectomorph may try to eat faster since generally when it eats more slowly, the level of satiety is reached more quickly. In fact, according to several studies, when you eat more slowly, the urge to snack between meals is reduced. In the case of the ectomorph, it is not the desired effect.

Another measure that ectomorphs can take into account to gain weight is to take food in liquid form . This is a strategy that will allow you to eat a lot more. In this sense, the ectomorph can try to drink drinks such as protein shakes and smoothies. In this way, the body can be tricked into consuming a greater number of calories.

In the same vein, it should be noted that ectomorphs need to eat foods higher in carbohydrates and with a significant contribution in calories . Nutritional supplements are essential to increase the chances of having a healthy muscle mass.


As the ectomorphic person expends a lot of energy due to their fast metabolism, they must follow a specific training method according to their morphological typology if they want to increase their muscles.

Unlike some people who can train almost every day of the week, for ectomorphs it is recommended to train 3 times a week with a rest day in between between training sessions. This is because ectomorphs are exposed to excessive training. For this reason, it is best that your training frequency is not high.

As for muscle training, short workouts are preferred , from about 45 minutes to a maximum of 1 hour. That is, what is advisable are intense workouts in which short repetitions will be done with a rather long time between series of about 2 minutes at least. Likewise, polyarticular exercises are recommended, that is, exercises that allow working several muscles.

On the other hand, cardiovascular training will be done very rarely . It could be done for example once a week to train the cardiovascular system and eliminate toxins and lactic acid.

Advantages of being an ectomorph

  • The fat loss will be very easy for nature.
  • Thanks to fine bone characteristics, each kilo of muscle will have a more sporty and aesthetic appearance without looking fat.
  • The ectomorph can eat a lot without worrying about weight gain.
  • Great flexibility.
  • With a diet according to its metabolism , the ectomorph can increase its sports performance.
  • As they age, their metabolism slows down and the person is finally able to regulate their body’s functions better.


  • Ectomorphs have difficulty gaining muscle mass due to their rapid metabolism.
  • In severe cases, this morphological typology can be translated by extreme thinness, which can border the limits of cachexia,
  • This typology can affect the feeling of virility in men and sensuality in women.
  • Fragile joints.
  • A body more adapted to basic training.
  • Sensitivity to overtraining.

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