Exercise Tips According to Body Shape

In the mid-20th century, psychologist William Sheldon devised the term “somatotype” to describe the three major body types he identified during his studies. Everybody’s body is different and can be identified according to Sheldon’s system of classification. Some people will fall exactly into one of the three somatotypes whilst others will be an amalgamation of the three in varying proportions. By identifying and working out according to your somatotype you will get greater benefit and enjoyment from your training by doing exercises that are specific to your individual requirements.


Naturally athletic with broad shoulders, narrow hips and a fast metabolism, if you are a mesomorph you will find you respond well to most types of exercise especially strength and power training. You are well suited to exercises such as squats, bench press, dead lifts, shoulder presses and the Olympic lifts. Your body will adapt quickly by developing muscle size and strength, so use heavier loads and between six to 10 repetitions. Because your body is strong and robust, you must take care not to over-train by working out too often or too intensely without periodic break. Your fast metabolism means that you are less likely to gain fat but a good diet is important to enhance your health. Include regular cardiovascular exercise to keep your heart and lungs fit and healthy.


Described as hard gainers, ectomorphs are naturally slim, have lighter bone structure, lower levels of body fat and longer limbs. If you are an ectomorph you are well-suited to endurance training and sports such as long distance running and cycling. Because you are naturally slim you will probably find that putting on weight is difficult so eating enough is very important if this is your goal. You should choose exercises according to your body type. Your longer limbs and smaller joints are not very suited to lifting heavy weights. Focus on exercising with medium weights for eight to 15 repetitions and also perform activities such as distance running which you are likely to excel at.


As an endomorphs you are likely to be naturally rounded with a predisposition to store body fat. Your broad shoulders, wider hips and large joints are coupled with a tendency to gain muscle quite easily. Because of your larger physical size, you are best suited to strength and power sports such as rugby, football and field athletics, and are not so well-suited for long distance running. As an endomorph, be aware of your tendency to gain fat easily, and be careful with your diet while making the most of your predisposition to developing muscle strength by engaging in strength training. Your body is well-suited to the development of strength and power and will respond well to heavier weights and six to 10 repetitions. Make sure you also include aerobic activity in your exercise routine to reduce your risk of CHD, obesity and diabetes.

About this Author

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. Also a lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a major contributor for Ultra-FIT magazine and has been involved in fitness for 22 years. Dale has always worked in health and fitness and never intends leaving.