Cut Out the Excess, Stick with the Core

"I just read your article on Pyramid training and the ectomorph. I am a dad that is 'monitoring' my son's workout program. He would probably be what you would call an ectomorph. 5'8", 120lbs, 16yrs old. He is currently working out twice a week with this routine (Monday and Thursday). Doing 8-6-4-10 (70%, 80%, 90%, 60% of his max):

  1. Smith Machine Bench
  2. Tricep "push down" machine
  3. Machine rows
  4. Lat pulldown machine
  5. Curl machine
  6. Shoulder press machine
  7. Squats (seated with free weights)
  8. Leg extension machine
  9. Leg curl machine
  10. Calf raises on the same squat machine
  11. Situps

"Is there anything he is doing wrong or he needs to change? I appreciate your help."


MyAnswer- Looks fine, but there is one glaring problem with your list of exercises: You have too many of them. 4 sets per exercise with 11 exercises would put you at 44 total sets. Your son would be working out at least 90 minutes to 2 hours. Anything over an hour and 26 sets is overtraining.

Cut some of the exercises out and avoid training redundancy. You've chosen all machine exercises, but if your son started out with free weights, then you'd be able to eliminate this redundancy in training. Cut out the leg extensions and leg curls. If your son performs barbell squats, then his thighs should get enough stimulus.

Get rid of the sit-ups for now, as ab work is pretty traumatic for ectomorphs trying to gain muscle and size. Take out the triceps pushdowns and machine curls, since your son's arms will get enough work from the presses, rows and pulldowns. Your son's program should look like this:

  1. Smith Machine Bench
  2. Machine rows
  3. Lat pulldown machine
  4. Shoulder press machine
  5. Squats (with free weights)
  6. Calf raises on the same squat machine
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