Over the years, there have been several different types of categorizing the human body. In Ayurvedic medicine that evolved from five-thousand-year-old Sanskrit teachings, body types and their associated personalities were defined as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. If we go back to our high school/college days you will probably remember a guy by the name of William H. Sheldon. It was Sheldon who introduced his theory of Somotypes back in the 1940s. His basic theory proposed that there are essentially three body types and each body type has a specific personality associated with it. The theories that Sheldon presented have become a central vein running through literature and research for weight loss, exercise, and bodybuilding. The body type system that Sheldon introduced characterized the human body as ectomorphic, mesomorphic, or endomorphic.
Not every human being fits exactly into one of these categories but contains characteristics of each, although one is usually predominant over the others. To determine your body type, you needs to look back at your adolescent years. From there, you can determine which category your body posessed before age and lifestyle transformed you into who you are today.
Image courtesy of Govt. of Western Aust. Dept. of Health
The Ectomorph Body Type
The Ectomorph is a form of opposite of the Endomorph. Physically, they tend to have:
- Narrow shoulders and hips.
- A thin and narrow face, with a high forehead.
- A thin and narrow chest and abdomen.
- Very little body fat.
- Thin legs and arms.
Training for Ectomorphs:
- Use split-training, using 1-2 bodyparts each workout to target muscle groups.
- Train each bodypart once per week.
- Get plenty of rest between workouts; never train if scheduled bodypart is sore from previous workout.
- Change training routine at least monthly.
- Increase training intensity each workout. This may mean more weight, reps, and sets.
- Make the body work hard but briefly
Sets and Repetitions:
- Use heavy, basic power movements that hit the deep muscle fibres.
- Avoid isolation or “finishing” movements.
- Keep reps in the 5 – 10 rep range.
- Do 6 – 8 sets per bodypart
- Watch out for overtraining, (it can slow gains)
- If gains in muscle and strength remain slow, shock your body into growth with such techniques as 10 sets of 10 reps for one exercise per bodypart. Only use this shocking technique once every eight weeks.
- Focus on lifting heavier weights to increase intensity and not by cutting time between sets.
- Rest at least 60 seconds between sets.
- Rest at least 5 minutes between bodyparts.
- Occasionally try forced reps, supersets, tri-sets, and other intensity techniques, but do not rely on them to heavily.
- Longer recuperation periods mean more rest days.
- Because of high metabolic rate, get at least 8hrs sleep each night.
- If possible take a nap during the day.
- Never train when tired or not completely recovered.
- Keep aerobic activities to a minimum, no more than three times per week. Too much aerobics will stall progress.
- Keep cardio conditioning at the lower end of the target heart rate for no more than 20 minutes per session. To compute target heart rate per minute, subtract your age from 220 and multiply by 0.6 and 0.8.
- Good aerobic exercise choices include stationary bike, brisk walking, and treadmill.
- An excellent diet and proper supplementation are crucial.
- Eat 5-7 small meals (Including weight gain drinks) per day every 2.5 – 3 hrs.
- Increase daily protein intake to 1 – 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight
- Protein intake should be 25 – 30% of daily dietary intake; carbohydrates about 50%; fats 20 – 25%.
- Have a protein shake 90 minutes before bedtime.
- Increase daily intake of fibrous carbohydrates whilst limiting the intake of simple sugars.
- Eat slower burning glycemic index foods such as beans, corn, yams, oats, pasta, brown rice, whole grain foods,
- Supplement with a good multivitamin/mineral.
- Keep stress levels low and learn how to relax, using such techniques as visualisation, yoga, and meditation. Stress induced cortisol levels can be detrimental to muscle building.
- Minimise outside activities that use moderate to large amounts of energy.
- Think energy conservation in everything you do.
- Drink at least 2.5 liter’s water every day (80oz)
The Mesomorph Body Type
The mesomorph is somewhere between the round endomorph and the thin ectomorph. Physically, they have the more 'desirable' body, and have:
- Large head, broad shoulders, and narrow waist (wedge-shaped).
- Muscular body, with strong forearms and thighs
- Very little body fat
- Genetically gifted; greatest bodybuilding potential.
- Long torso, full chest, good shoulder to waist ratio.
Training for the Mesomorph:
- Responds well to training that involves heavy, basic movements along with shaping exercises.
- The more varied the exercise program, the greater the results.
- Alternate 3-4 weeks of high intensity training with several weeks of lower intensity workouts to promote growth and strength and prevent burnout.
Sets and Repetitions:
- Use quick, basic movements with heavy weights before hitting muscles with isolation and shaping exercises.
- Keep reps in the 8-12 rep range. For most bodyparts.
- Use a rep combination as low as six and as high as 25 for quads, hamstrings, and calves.
- Because of natural genetic advantage, watch out for overtraining under the mistaken notion that more training will make growth faster.
- Constantly keep the body off guard by varying the training intensity with exercises, sets, reps, weights, and rest.
- Be sure to regularly include light, moderate, and heavy training days.
- Use a combination of slow moderately paced (with full range of motion) and fast reps.
- Regularly alternate intensity techniques into the workouts: partial reps, forced reps, forced reps, descending sets, compound sets, and pre-exhaustion.
- Without proper rest, the natural advantage you enjoy will never be fully exploited.
- Get 7.5 – 9hrs of sleep every night.
- Never train a body part that has not fully recovered.
- Take an extra day of rest away from the gym if your motivation, energy, or strength level is lacking.
- To maximise muscle gains, do no more than three cardio workouts per week for 20-30 minutes (5 minute warm up, 15-20 minutes in your target heart range, five minute cool down.
- Keep the heart working in the middle of the target heart range?
- Recommended activities: stair climber, treadmill, brisk walking, or stationary bike.
- Limit running to no more than two miles three times a week, even with no other aerobic activities.
- Some mesomorph’s reply on wind sprints to condition and build the legs while aerobically conditioning the heart.
- Keep protein intake to at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
- Keep the carbohydrate intake moderately high, about 60% of total calories; choose vegetables, brown rice, low fat beans, lentils and pasta and whole grains.
- Limit fats; stay lean with a diet containing 15-20% total fats.
- Eat a variety of lean proteins such as skinless chicken, turkey, egg whites, lean beef, and fish.
- Don’t try to do too much to fast; that would make you susceptible to injuries, over training or burnout.
- Slow down and listen to your body. Gains will continue year after year if you’re patient and follow guidelines given.
- Be patient but persistent.
- Drink at least 2.5 litres (80 ounces) of water daily.
The Endomorph Body Type
The Endomorph is physically quite ‘round’, and is typified as the ‘barrel of fun’ person. They tend to have:
- Wide hips and narrow shoulders, which makes them rather pear-shaped.
- Quite a lot of fat spread across the body, including upper arms and thighs.
- They have quite slim ankles and wrists, which only serves to accentuate the fatter other parts.
- Wide bone structure.
- Slower metabolism.
- Weight gain is easy, though fat loss is difficult.
- Tends to store fat, which hides muscle gains.
Training for the Endomorph:
- Needs more frequent workouts, especially aerobic conditioning.
- Develop a pool of 3-5 effective exercises for each bodypart and from those select 2-3 exercises for each bodypart.
- Train abdominals at the beginning of your workout.
- Do whole body workouts for the first months of training; later try a split type of routine.
- Training goal is to speed up the metabolism, minimise bodyfat.
- Change the training program every second or third workout.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment in your training; frequently try something new and different.
Sets and Reps:
- Each workout must be high intensity, sacrifice poundage’s for minimal rest between sets.
- Do no more than eight sets per body part.
- Use moderate poundage’s. Avoid training with heavy weights and low reps.
- Keep your rep range in the 9-12 range for upper body and 12-25 rep range for legs and calves.
- Keep intensity high and rest between sets to a minimum – no more than 60 seconds.
- Use high-intensity training principles such as burns, iso-tension, continuous tension, supersets, tri-sets, and giant sets principles to help bring out maximum muscle shape and definition.
- Descending sets (where you drop the resistance after you’ve reached muscle failure) also add intensity; use this approach on the last set for a bodypart exercise.
- Train more frequently, but rest at least 48 hours between workouts for same body part.
- With slower metabolism you won’t need as much sleep. Try to get 7.5 hours of sleep per night.
- Aerobic conditioning is a key component to looking good.
- Use low or non-impact aerobics such as brisk walking, stationary cycle, and treadmill or stair climber to avoid stress to joints.
- Do a cardio workout a minimum of three ties per week, preferably five for 20 minutes in the target heart rate zone, with a five minute warm up and five minute cool down.
- Keep fat intake low.
- Eat a variety of lean protein in moderation
- Consume dairy products that are nonfat.
- Avoid late night snacking; if you must, have healthy, low fat foods on hand.
- Eating smaller, frequent meals keeps the blood sugar level and metabolism up, and controls the appetite
- Count your daily calories.
- Skip the second helpings; eat slowly.
- Walk away from each meal feeling slightly hungry.
- Eliminate drinking soft drinks and alcohol.
- Participate in a variety of fun aerobic activities to keep the metabolism revved, such as hiking, walking, biking, swimming, racket sports and martial arts.
- Plan on participating in some aerobic activity daily. Make time for rest and relaxation.
- Drink water and lots of it, at least 2.5 liters (80 oz) daily.
When you know which type you are (or which mixture) and diet and exercise correctly for that type, you will make much better progress.
While some women may think that Kate Moss is the ideal, from a fitness view point she really isn't. And many women who tend to be endomorphic will save themselves much suffering by not striving to change themselves into Ectomorphs; it's not going to happen. Conversely a true ectomorph who wishes to be a Sumo wrestler would also be in for a big disappointment.
Your goal should be to look as close as possible to (or stay looking like) a mesomorph. With the correct exercise and diet this can be attainable, and while you may be a bit upset that you have to work hard to look good while the true mesomorph looks that way naturally, at least you will still be fit and look good. And even the mesomorph will find as he/she gets older that some exercise and diet is needed if they want to continue to look good and be fit.
Good article. Just got back into bodybuilding/powerlifting at 46, the first time in nearly a decade, although I got the bug in my teens and have been blessed with decent genetics and muscle memory that comes through every time. Nevertheless, I feel like and Endomess at this point, a work in progress, indefinitely...
Hey article is good and is understandable. but i want the exact height, weight and body size for each body types. Like the range of height, weight and body size for types of body
Through most of the body type articles I read, I would say this is a good read!
In depth information with details what and how.
Thank you very much!
People use these body types as a crutch to justify being skinny or fat this way they do not have to examine their eating or workout habits. There is no real science behind these classifications, just visual observations published in the 1950s. Stop kidding yourself and take your nutrition and fitness habits seriously and you will achieve your goals in physique, performance, and mental improvements.
This. There's no serious research that supports this "body type" trend.
It really makes me angry when sites publish nutrition hullaballoo all over the place. NO ONE except intense athletes and patients with in a hospital for severe injuries needs 1 to 1.5 g of protein per pound of body fat. Sure you can eat more for the calories or to follow a special diet. but to build muscle it's over the usefulness threshold, your body just wastes it. The article then says hey, keep your protein at this percent (like 30% or 20%) of your total calories. And when you calculate it out? It doesnt match. This is all made up BS.
The nutrition recommendations in this article are unsound and even contradict themselves.
hi I'm abhishek of age 21, im endomorph i have knock knees i want them to make in good shape (normal shape), plz suggest me how do i make my knock knees normal
Hey,thanks for the article but i really cannot find out if i am mesomorph or ectomorph :(
I guess all of the dislikes on peoples comments are from the "meso-douches"....
My body type is ectomorph .I looks thin . i dont like this . I want to gain fat can u help me out to gain fat.I am 23 years old
actual somatotyping is quackery. the terms here are misused and the background to the theory is presented falsely
the terms originated as a way of trying to draw parallels between mentality types and body types, e.g. "the shy and skinny nerd", "the jolly fat man" and "the unintelligent muscle-head". based on the body type, one was supposedly able to predict the mentality of the person. this crap is obviously not based on any real science. nowadays, fitness writers like to spam the terms all over the place, because it sounds scientific.
it's obvious that people are predisposed to having certain bodytypes, but its a lot more complicated than what is suggested here.
Good to learn these things
information of body type is good.
This sucks, now i know why i always look wide no matter much wieight I lose.
I got a flat stomach and a preety good back and chest but they never tone up, now I know why.
hi, Im Jian, a lady. My weight in kilos is 97 kgs and Im 5 feet 2 inches in height. I want to have a diet, and an exercise routine asking from you.. what must I do to flatten my bulgy tummy and look sexy? My waistline is 38 inches and i wanna trim it down to 25? how can i do that? Please send me videos and articles about losing weight, quickly and fast... thank u God bless
Hey, i'm zain. Height is 5'9" and weight is 80 kg. I'm a bit confused about my body. Initially it seemed that I was a mesomorph but after a thorough look at multiple articles including this one, I seem to have a mixture of all three body types. I really want to start lifting, I am super motivated but I have no clue where to begin. I've been doing my research but i'm confused at the very least. Someone help me please.
Hi, I'm Carly. I just am a bit confused about my body. I'm skinny in every body part except my hips. I have a rather large butt and it makes me have a bit bigger hips. But my stomach is skinny, my legs, my arms, my face, etc. I'm a ballet dancer and do sports through school. So I was wondering what am I?
I'm 13 years old 5'6 and u weigh 197 and I am more of the last person scale! I want to lose weight desperately please help!
Nate, you might "grow into your body". Give it time, but also try to eat healthier foods - more fruits and vegetables and less fast food; and try to spend more time playing outside like shooting hoops or riding bikes than playing XBox if you can.
Thanks for the great article. Helped me quite a bit in the past and now. I'm a little confused though.
Presently, I've been working out for a year and have cut down body fat and increased in muscle mass. Currently, I have the body of a mesomorph. But before I started training I had skinny and flabby arms, fairly tall (5'10), but a lot of body fat on my core (back, chest, abs). Although my body now fits into the mesomorph category I'm confused about why I seemed to fit more into the other two body types before I started working out? Any ideas?
Working out for: 1 year
what about the SKINNY FAT people like me??????
Well indeed a very informative and beneficial article. I may start as i feel i am the mesomorph type. Well there is no doubt that i do not have extra fat but certainly i am not a muscular macho man. I have been doing very mild exercises a long time back but i need to push myself to stay fit and take the right type of diet.
Hi i am 5.5, 65kg & 29yrs .I am well build muscular & defied.I did b.buildingfrom 13 yrs.The only prob. is the lower part of my body is not at par ..I work extreme hard ,supplements,medicines, roids..but nothing ..I am not able to gain weight.Plz hlp..
hey, I am a 19 yr old male, I'm 6"2 and weigh about 175, I used to be in sports when I was in highschool but over the past yr and a half I have stopped working out and have not been in any club sports, and have lost a lot of weight since HS, and I can't say my diet is all that great anymore, and this article was really helpful, but I am still confused as to what my body type is. I recently regained some of my desire to go to gym, and would appreciate and knowledge on how I could get bigger and stronger again. P.s i m pretty sure I'm a mesomorph, considering I have a long torso, broad shoulders, some body fat, but a muscular stomach, somewhat narrow waist,and somewhat of a strong forearm and quad muscles but I'm also a little of an exomorph, I have a lacking chest and used to have small arms. Thank u for ur time
I was about the same as you. I started going to the gym about an average of 6 days a week. I lift heavy on nearly every set I do (Ask someone to spot you and use free weights). By doing that I have gained a lot of strength, size, and cut my Body fat down. Example, chest press with dumbbells 100lbs 10 reps, squats 335lb 10 reps, Deadlift 405 10 reps, Curls straight bar 125 10 reps. I now weigh 155 with 9-10% body fat and used to weigh 125 with about 20%. I am only 5'6" so I look pretty good without a shirt on. My goal is to keep my body fat the same and bulk up close to 165. I was there about a year ago but broke my ankle. So, had to start over again. Also, I do not run ever, but I do play basketball after lifting 3 times a week, as well as jump rope 3 times a week for about 20 mins. If you do the jump rope, try and cross your arms on each jump as well as jump on one foot. This will take time getting used to but will help keep your heart rate up.
hey there, im a 22 male 5"4 and about 126…..i feel like part endomorph and part ectomorph. im very slender from chest up, and have slender calves, but then i have chunky thighs and a small pouch with love handles added in. i want to physically improve myself overall. i have a sit down job almost 7days a week and i only eat about 1400 calories on a good day. i eat healthy and slightly unhealthy. can you please suggest the best ways to gain lean muscle mass with good detail as i know next to nothing about proper working out. thanks
Hi My name is Anna. i am 17 years old... i am tall for a girl ( 5'8) and to me am very big..... i think i need to lose weight because i am 176>>> the thing is i dont know how.... i already dont eat candy, sweet or junk food... their just not my thing. I am very active and i do like sport but am also extremely lazy.... when i do eat i eat alot..... my family think i dont need to loss any weight because am tall and because most of it is on my chest>>>>>>> what do u think i should do ?
My biggest recommendation is to limit portion sizes. When eating a meal, eat only a fist-sized portion for your protein, veggies and side dish.
It also helps to eat less white sugar, while flour, and to not drink any calories outside of milk.
try for fat free salads before meals which will help u in reduced consuming of regular food .
try for a power workouts n cardio .
Hi Anna. I decided to reply to you mostly because of how similar our body types seem to be. I'm about your height (5'7"), and when I was 17 years old, I weighed considerably more than you do now. I'm older now, but I still have problems with weight, which I've since begun to address. I'll be completely honest, as many doctors as I've been to, the all tell me the same thing "You need to lose weight" and give me the same rehearsed drivel of eat more fruit and vegetables. But, as you probably know, it's not that simple
While you are slightly overweight, keep in mind it's not that bad. I'm still over 200 pounds. However, a lot of it is also in my chest, however, I am also very muscular for a woman. I would consider having a professional BMI done with calipers to assess total body fat percentage. Also, one suggestion I can make as far as exercise goes is do something that's fun and challenging, like a class. One of my personal favorites is martial arts, particularly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's all more about core balance and strategy than brute strength, yet is one of the most physically demanding martial arts out there, second only to kick boxing/muay thai. It also involves less hopping around on your feet since it's essentially wrestling. BUT, that's just me lol. If you want to go for something more like that, then do so. The point is to get into something that's more of a group effort than just you alone. It will be a LOT easier to stick with it if you're doing it with friends. You've essentially covered all the other bases, you just need to find something you like well enough to WANT to do every day.
Hope this helps!
Hey I like this article but from what I read most people are a combination of both 2 body types. For instance, i am in the middle between a meso and an endo. I do not have narrow shoulders, they are broad and i have a good build that just tends to hold more fat around the midsection esp. This also hides muscle gains. I'm 5'10 206lbs but don't look extremely overweight bc I have a bigger bone structure mixed with muscle and fat. What should i do in this case?
I would probably recommend a 2-3 month cut to shed a few extra pounds while training hard using a muscle building workout. After that I would do a clean bulk. These articles can help with diet structure:
thank you for this article, it really helped me as i am a student studying PE and i used this to help me with my PE-THEORY coursework!
thank you :)
this article is very useful to know about theom this, every person have three bodies
magnetic body &
thank u jc.smpanneerselvam
Hello, my name is Anais H Garro, I'm 24 and I feel very ugly and overweighted,I always eating sweets and craving for more, and its very hard to lose weight on the opposite, I keep gaining weight. I need help I look round and gross and even when I exercise, it doesn't help plus my digestion is very slow and I always feel tired and heavy. Please help
You want to focus on two things to maximize results:
1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.
2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:
Hello Anais. I am currently far along in my studies of both psychology and dietetics. After reading your post i immediately began typing this response, adamant to help you with your crushing problems.
Firstly i believe that you are feeling heavy and tired not only because you are "round" but also because you seem to have depression. I don't want you to worry,cry break down and give up on life, depression is something almost everybody has its not your fault or even something you need to blame on anybody or anything. I even suffer from depression, and trust me without anti-depressants life can be a terrible nightmare, everything goes wrong your life feels so difficult, you always feel tired and heavy no matter how much you sleep, you eat all the time especially junk food and frankly you're just sick of everything, you wish you could die just so that you could sleep sometimes.
Now secondly as for how frightfully "ugly" you are, some of this is depression related but most of this is all on your opinion of your self, which takes years to change, and wont change even when you're as thin as a stick and you look like kimora lee simmons with boobs as big as bowling balls and teeth as white as fence posts. the best solution is to realism that some of us are pretty and some of us are nice smart and decent human beings i for one am damn happy that i am do ugly.
and finally as for our little Pythagorean problem the fastest way to loose weight is to have one meat free meal every day for a week ...only one meal then after that you eat as much food as you can fit on a side plate with out piling it up.Please do not eat meat as long as you stay vegetarian you will stay thin i promise you.
in conclusion please see a psychologist and get some anti-depressants, you aren't fat and you aren't ugly unless you say you are so stop saying you are, and finally avoid meat it will kill you. you're worth it.
Do you know what the difference bw a dietitian and a "certified" nutritionist is? Oh just about you know, 4 to 6 YEARS of schooling. Of course proper nutrition is the key to preventing lots of problems and diet can help alleviate and reverse some problems, but you can't eat your way out of every disease.
Could it be that she is suffering from depression because she isn't getting enough iron, protein, and B vitamins? Eating the right kinds of protein ( egg whites, fish, white meat, lean beef,) in moderation along with good carbs ( green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, etc, ) and fats can alleviate the depression by supplying her with the proper nutrients the body needs to function properly. It certaintly got me back on track and even people who are labeled as having a chemical imbalances in the brain can eventually be restored to health when given the proper nutrients in the right combination. She should at least try to examine and correct what is missing in her diet before popping prescription drugs as you are suggesting. A CERTIFIED nutrionist can help with this.
Hello Anais. The first thing you need to do is envision what you will look like when you lose all your weight, becuase I know this may sound corny, but you really can do whatever you set your mind to. What I did to lose my weight is I cut out all soda, and took in very little fat. I would then workout, and after that I would jog a mile, walk a mile, then a high protein low fat dinner after all that. I did this every day. Don't get down on yourself if you don't see results right away. It doesn't happen over night, give it time. I hope I helped, and I hope you feel better
thanks a lot for this article :) really benefit me