Training for Your Somatotype: Ectomorph, Endomorph, and Mesomorph

Updated on November 21, 2016

Your Somatotype Is Determined by Your Parents

Your genes are responsible for your basic body shape whether you're tall and slim (ectomorph), naturally muscular (mesomorph) or tend to carry a significant percentage more fat than your peers (endomorph). With specifically targeted training programmes for strength, weight training and cardiovascular exercise you can re-sculpt your body by following these training guidelines for body type.

A Typical Ectomorph Build: Tall and Slim

A tall and slim build, known as an ectomorph.
A tall and slim build, known as an ectomorph. | Source

Training for the Ectomorph Body Type.

Ectomorphs are generally classified as tall and thin. This leads to a predisposition not to gain muscle. Realistically ectomorphs should not expect to gain huge amounts of muscle mass naturally however they can still make gains in their musculature.

By concentrating on basic compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses which stimulate a large number of muscle fibres and lead to increases in body testosterone levels an ectomorph can expect to pack up to an additional 0.5 kg of muscle each month. An ectomorph is looking for their workouts to have an anabolic effect. (Building muscle)

In terms of ectomorph's workouts- the exerciser should consider keeping cardiovascular workouts to a minimum as they can lead to the body releasing cortisol during workouts of over 90 minutes. Cortisol can lead to muscle breakdown- definitely the opposite of what the ectomorph requires which results in catabolic reactions in the athletes muscles.

Training for the Endomorph Body Type

The great thing for endomorphs that want to gain strength and muscle is that they often have great potential for muscular hypertrophy. Despite these gains in musculature the gains can often be hidden under a layer of fat tissue which limits what the exerciser and those around can see.

Therefore training for an endormorph must put a greater concentration on fat burning and cardiovascular exercise training to burn away the layer of fat which is hiding the muscle.

Endomorphs should concentrate on integrating both steady state cardiovascular training and high intensity interval training (HIIT workouts) to really turbo-charge that fat loss as well as considering a calorie controlled diet and lifestyle changes.

Additional fat burning considerations for endomorphs are

  • Keep insulin levels low by avoiding eating shortly before workouts
  • Integrate weight training sessions into your training program as they boost your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours post exercise.
  • Consider workouts like circuit training for a cardiovascular and muscular endurance training hit.
  • Wait up to an hour post exercise before eating to maximise fat burning.

Spot the Endomorph

The endomorph may make gains but they can often be hidden under a layer of adipose tissue
The endomorph may make gains but they can often be hidden under a layer of adipose tissue | Source

A Typical Mesomorph Man?

A typical mesomorph man: well muscled and athletic. Some might also argue that this photo resembles someone of mixed characteristics.
A typical mesomorph man: well muscled and athletic. Some might also argue that this photo resembles someone of mixed characteristics. | Source

Training for the Mesomorph Body Type

Mesomorphs are genetically blessed when it comes to their physique and potential for muscle gains. A well designed weight and strength training program will help to maximise gains in musculature.

To avoid over training a mesomorph should consider periodization of their training year into small training blocks. By varying routines it will lead to less boredom from the same routine and opportunity to ensure against muscular imbalances.

Cardiovascular training should be included in a mesomorph's training program to ensure body fat is kept to a relatively low and manageable level as well as improving muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

What's your Somatotype?

What somatotype do you think most resembles you right now?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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    • profile image

      Abdu Mohammed 

      2 years ago

      it is good works for being supported human beings

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      8 years ago from Arizona

      Interesting explanation. I think a good many of us are a mixture...maybe not. I am slender but not muscular unless I really work out a lot.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 

      8 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Nice Hub, best to you - ECAL


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