Understanding somatotypes

Posted: December 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

Everybody is different because of our race, gender, age, religion etc. Likewise with our bodies. The term somatotype is used in the system of classification of human physical types developed by U.S. psychologist W.H. Sheldon.


In Sheldon’s system, human beings can be classified as to body build in terms of three extreme body types:

A somatotype number of three digits is determined for an individual classified by the system, with the first digit referring to endomorphy, the second to mesomorphy, and the third to ectomorphy; each digit is on a scale of one to seven. Hence the extreme endomorph has the somatotype 711, the extreme mesomorph 171, and the extreme ectomorph 117. So just to get an idea of how you rank, have a look at the diagram below.















Here’s a look at the somatotyping of people you might know:















So what are the benefits of each somatotype?


  • Size benefits sports such as rugby where bulk is useful, provided it can be moved powerfully
  • Tend to have large lung capacity which can make them suited to sports such as rowing
  • They can increase muscle mass much more easily than ectomorphs
  • Sports that require endomorphs would include sumo wrestling, short put, javelin and hammer throw.


  • Respond well to cardiovascular and resistance training
  • Can sustain low body fat levels
  • All muscle groups can be used to derive positive training adoption
  • Dependent on the sports’ needs they can easily gain or loose weight
  • Sports that require mesomorphs would include bodybuilding, weightlifting, sprinting, boxing and rugby.


  • Light frame makes them suited for aerobic activity like gymnastics
  • Smaller body surface area also enhances their suitability for endurance activity
  • Their body is better at thermo regulation, important in endurance based sports
  • Sports that require ectomorphs would include long distance running, high jump, gymnastics and horse racing (jockey)


Are we able to change our somatotype?

It is a case of nature versus nurture. Although we cannot change what nature has given us, we can nurture ourselves through diet and training to resemble another somatotype. For example, an endomorph may resemble an ectomorph once he has achieved fat loss through diet and training. Another example would be that an ectomorph may resemble a mesomorph once he has increased his muscle mass. Looks like I’m an endomorphic  mesomorphic ectomorph (253). What is  your somatotype and do you find that the descriptions above are applicable to you?

  1. John Danzer says:

    I have a new blog about somatotype and personal training


    Or you can just go to google at “somatotype” “personal training”

    Looking for affiliates who might be interested in referring somatotype customers.

  2. me says:

    iam endormoph and i hate it

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