Knowing the different somatotypes will allow us to follow a certain type of diet and know the type of suitable training and the time needed to dedicate to rest. The bone structure, the build and the accumulation of fat, together with other characteristics, allow us to identify which somatotype we belong to.
What are somatotypes?
Psychologist William Herbert Sheldon studied the forms of the human body and associated them with various types of characters.
He classified three single somatotypes: ectomorphic, endomorphic and mesomorphic. Knowing the somatotype to which you belong allows you to identify the correct diet to follow, the type of training and the recovery time of each individual.
Body constitution and genetics
The type of body constitution depends on genetics. The volume of the human body is defined according to the type of muscle fiber (also dependent on genetics). These fibers are divided into fibers with slow contraction (or red fibers of type I) and fibers with rapid contraction (or white fibers of type II). Both are responsible for muscle growth through exercise.
The human muscle has a great ability to adapt to the needs and stimuli to which it is subjected. Constant training can increase the muscles, on the contrary, those who do not practice physical activity end up atrophy of the muscles.
Not everything, however, depends on heredity and, despite the genetics, it is possible to “shape” one’s own body to obtain the desired shapes. Everything will be determined by the ability to “build” the muscles, the processes of fat accumulation, the strengthening of muscle tissues and the structure of the body.
There are no pure somatotypes
No one belongs to a “pure” somatotype, we are the result of a combination of different factors: sex, age, growth, environmental and socio-cultural factors, race and also the type of physical routine we practice.
Somatotypes, which category do we belong to?
To define the body type, the circumference of the wrist can be measured. A simple way is to put your thumb and forefinger around your wrist. If they touch easily, you are an ectomorph. If it is difficult for you to do so, you are mesomorphic and if it can be done, you are an endomorph.
- In ectomorphic people, the chest, the waist, and the pelvis have the same width.
- Mesomorphic people have a narrow waist and chest and hips of equal size.
- In endomorphic people, life is wider than the hips and chest.
The endomorphic somatotype
Endomorphic people have a tendency to obesity. Food intake makes them fat easily, they are flaccid and have rounded shapes. A characteristic of this category is the accumulation of fat in the abdomen by men and in the hips by women. You need to control your diet and avoid high energy foods.
Muscles are weak, as is blood circulation. At rest they have slow heartbeats, puberty is delayed and they have low blood pressure. They are prone to a sedentary lifestyle and generally have a cheerful nature, are friendly, outgoing and optimistic.
In these people, the secretion of insulin, the process that allows glucose to enter cells and provide energy, is very high. They can reach morbid obesity.
The mesomorphic somatotype
It has a robust build and is endowed with muscular strength and reflexes. They are not very flexible, but they can train vigorously due to the high levels of adrenaline.
They generally have short limbs and strong bones. The chest is broad and the shoulders are wider than the hips. They excel in weight lifting and soccer, endurance sports, rowing or men’s gymnastics. They prefer active life and their insulin response allows them to make the most of the calories they eat.
The ectomorphic somatotype
They have long limbs and weak blood circulation. They are slower to increase strength during workouts and when they stop exercising they lose strength and muscle mass, however, even with little physical activity, they have the ability to stretch muscles.
They are tall, thin and fragile and they excel in sports like cycling, swimming, athletics. They can define muscles easily but have difficulty developing muscle mass. In proportion, they have less fat than mesomorphs and endomorphs.
Their metabolism is very fast, they have a very high thermal expenditure at rest and consume a lot of energy during digestion (thermogenic expenditure). They are the ones who eat what they want and don’t put on weight.
The athlete’s somatotype
Athletes are usually mesomorphic, although, depending on the discipline, this somatotype may vary. Who practices more aerobic exercises is generally ectomorphic. Those who practice contact sports are generally mesomorphic.