So I'm an ectomorph male 175cm 70kg and have been going to the gym for almost 2 years.

I haven't seen a real improvement at all.

My main goal is to increase the size of my arms mostly, and the shoulders, but they haven't grow much so the size of them are almost the same, with only 2cm of difference in size.

When I'm doing exercises specifically to gain mass, I can't lift the most or highest value of weight, I have to take down some of it, but then I don't feel tired or it doesn't on the other day so maybe I think I'm missing something or I'm doing something the wrong way.

My routine is focused on mass gain, and although I went from 67kg to 70kg this year that's not a big improvement if I look into the time I have been going to the gym. Maybe I need more stimulation in those muscles and if so what kind of exercises would be good?

  • 1
    You won't have muscles appear out of thin air. If you've only gained 3kg of weight, it means you've only eaten enough to gain 3kg - doesnt matter how you train, those muscles must be made out of something. Could you be more specific and tell us your program, your how much strength you've gained and how much you eat?
    – Raditz_35
    Mar 18, 2019 at 5:33
  • When you say you can't lift the highest value of weight, are you using machines? It would help if we knew what you were doing specifically. I would recommend looking at a beginner lifting routine, such as StrongLifts 5x5 or Starting Strength and running with that for 6 months or so.
    – Dark Hippo
    Mar 18, 2019 at 9:28
  • Im gonna provide some images of my routine and, @Raditz_35 I eat at morning 2 eggs and bread then after the gym I eat a tuna sandwich then before lunch yogurt with some plain cookies and fruit then I have my average lunch that has a good proportion I dont get full with it but just fine then in the afternon I eat peanuts or raisins and sometimes I eat some fries or something since I got hungry and for dinner I get meat with bread and pone,abt strength atm for bench press Im at 20kg each side, and inclined openings with mancuernas I use some of 16kg Mar 18, 2019 at 14:01
  • this is my routine, its new I been using if for about two weeks imgur.com/gallery/fnm2Utk but the previous I had are oriented on mass gain, I do machine and no machine exercises @DarkHippo, I can add some old routine to show you if needed Mar 18, 2019 at 14:03
  • Tried an LCHF diet?
    – NVZ
    Apr 5, 2019 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


Your lack of progress is most likely a combination of two things:

  1. You don't eat enough for a calorie surplus.

To gain muscle you need to feed your body with more calories than you are burning, and enough of that needs to be protein-based. I'd suggest either 40/30/30 split between carbs, protein and fat, or if you want a lower fat diet then try 40/40/20 (remember not all fats are bad though).

  1. Your workout intensity is too low.

There are many things that affect workout quality, but it basically comes down to how much load are you putting on your muscles and for how long. I read somewhere that for muscle growth, the TUT (time under tension) for the muscle needs to be at least 30 seconds per set to really see a benefit.

For example, if you are doing a bench press, each rep should be controlled to take about 2 seconds to lower the weight, and 1-2 seconds to push it up again. This gives you 3-4 seconds TUT per rep. If you do 10 reps per set, that's 30-40 seconds total which is good. If you are rushing your reps and only doing 1 second down and 1 up, the TUT is 20 seconds which isn't enough to stimulate decent muscle growth. If you want to do sets of 8 reps, do each rep slower (e.g. 3 seconds down, 2 up) which gives 5 seconds TUT per rep so still 40 seconds total.

Likewise, the weight itself needs to be sufficient to cause the right neurological signals to stimulate growth. Even if you follow the above TUT guide, if the weight is trivial, your brain will see that you are strong enough to do the exercise without needing more muscle. A basic guide would be to do 3 sets of 12 reps on each exercise, either with the same weight each set, or a pyramid where you increase the weight each set. Either way, the last few reps should be a struggle even to the point where maybe you can't finish all 12 reps on the last set. If you are finishing all 3 sets and feeling you could do more, then the weight is too light.


I'm an ectomorph as well, and I would say diet is probably the bigger factor here. To gain mass and weight, I had to switch to 6 meals a day and force myself to eat even when I wasn't hungry. Doing this for a year, I managed to get my weight from ~79kg up to nearly 90kg of mostly lean muscle mass.

  • What you mean by the 40/30/30? protein/calories/protein? like the amount?.Then I should drop the betwen snacks like the cookies yogurt and so and change them to complete meals? and by meals u mean like full meal with meat,rice potatoes and so?.Im like take care with food or so cause I dont want to get more fat than muscle thats why I havent tried increasing the food in that scale.By what u saying I should always struggle in the last set of reps? I dont always do and I dont really know when to increase the weight, I try to increase it every 3 or 2 weeks but sometimes I cant handle it. Mar 20, 2019 at 20:24
  • 40/30/30 is a ratio of carbs, protein and fat over the course of a day. If you have a smartphone you can use apps like MyFitnessPal to record the food you eat, and in most cases for store-bought items, it knows the macro breakdown so it will keep track for you. You don't have to eat complete meals but what you do eat needs to contain enough protein to fuel muscle growth, and enough carbs+fat to give you energy to train. You might gain some fat, but it's better to have a calorie surplus and gain a bit of fat, than to not eat enough and limit your strength gains. Mar 21, 2019 at 11:33
  • I been using the app for almost a week since u told me and seems like my diet is missing protein the summary says 50/30/20 Carbs/fat/protein so Im missing the most important part!!.I got that 30 fat from the eggs that I almost eat all days for breakfast and the roasted meat I get for dinner and lunch, so do you think its really bad?, also I should decrease those 2 to increase the protein gain, wich food would you recommend to eat that are good for protein gian and affordable to get like in the daily basis I also stil have some protein based suplement so I guess I will return to it Mar 26, 2019 at 18:12
  • Good sources of protein would be chicken, turkey or other white meat, fish, egg whites (nearly all protein), nuts, cottage cheese. If you can't get some of these, a protein supplement powder is fine. Given those stats, I would say your carb intake is too high, so try to swap or reduce the size of carb intake (less potato, rice, bread etc.) and balance it with more protein. Mar 26, 2019 at 18:39

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