Rest Periods on the Ectomorph Program

Q: Hi, James. I’m Mike from Taiwan. I’m a college student majoring in medicine. I’m a standard ectomorph who only weighed 48kg at my freshman year (I am about 172 cm).

Eager to gain muscle mass and be stronger, I started weight training. I have been doing weight training for a year. Now I am 56kg. Yet after I read your article, I am really interesting in trying it.

I struggle at my plateau now, and I want to change to this program. All my training methods are from the net and someone whose body shape is what I want to be. Here are my exercies:


Smith (Inclined) bench press
Dumbbell (Inclined & Declined )bench press
Flys (Upper & Middle)
Cable cross-over (Upper, Middle, and Lower)

I choose three exercises and do about 6 sets of 8-10 reps. Usually I do 3 sets of 6 reps back to back as my maximum. I rest 1-2 minutes between sets. So my workout day is 15-18 sets.


Lat pull down
Seated row machine
One arm dumbbell row

These three workouts are my routine upper back training. As above, 6 sets of 8-10 reps and often 3 sets of 6 reps as max. I rest 1-2 minutes between sets.


Biceps (Dumbbell & barbell )curl
Triceps push down & French presses

Same as above, yet I concentrate on body and thigh muscle groups. I didn’t do ARMS this summer vacation.


Leg press

Because of my knee injury before, I just train for duration at 15-20 reps. I do ABS workout during every workout day. Three times a week and two weeks a cycle. I take about 1.5 to 2 hours during my training.

Apparently, I am over-trained so I am still ectomorph.

I followed the 10-8-6-15 program the previous day. I felt my muscles sensitive to it. Although I rest more compared to what I did and did fewer sets, I felt more tired than before. I think it might be I got used to my previous training. May I ask you some questions?

Bench press
Lateral raise
V-bar pulldown
Dumbbell curls
Close-grip bench press

Should I take all these exercises a time when training, or I can do it separately like two: One big muscle group and one small one? Could you give me advice?

I understand why you said rest for 3 minutes or more. But how to adjust it? EX: Should I rest all my exercises 3 minutes between sets? I really don’t know how to adjust it.

Could you give me some recommendations for how I can improve and do this program? I want to bulk up to 60-65 kg. Mostly muscle and less fat, haha.

BTW, I have my three square meals and two snack meals a day. Having meals outside, I always choose food with lower fat.

Sorry for so many questions and my bad English. If you feel I’m rude, just let me know please. I really look forward to your reply. Thank you so much for your help.

Take care,


My Answer: Mike, I’m not quite sure what it is you’re asking. If you’re asking if you can change the rest periods, then I’ll say no. You were resting 1-2 minutes on your previous program, so I think it’s best that you lengthen your rest periods to 3 minutes for now. The rest periods are specified in the program for a reason:

Squats (3 minutes)
Bench press alternated with V-bar pulldowns (90 seconds)
Lateral raises (2 minutes)
Dumbbell curls alternated with Close-grip bench press (90 seconds)

Three minutes allows your nervous system to fully recuperate and perform the next set. In the long run, you will build more strength. It’s important that you as an ectomorph build more strength, because strength serves a foundation for mass development.

So stick with the 10-8-6-15 program as is. Do not alter it or add exercises or sets. In fact you should stop doing ab work for now, because direct ab work is overtraining your nervous system.

As far as gaining weight, I suggest you take a good hard look at what you’re eating. Three square meals with 2 snacks is good, but make sure you are eating enough protein. If your meals are mostly carbohydrates with very little protein, then you will not gain muscle.


One thought on “Rest Periods on the Ectomorph Program

Add yours

  1. Hi James,
    So my each training day contains these excercises according the program, right?
    Squats (3 minutes)
    Bench press alternated with V-bar pulldowns (90 seconds)
    Lateral raises (2 minutes)
    Dumbbell curls alternated with Close-grip bench press (90 seconds)

    Now I get it! Ill stick to it and check my diet as well.
    Thank you so much James.


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