In this article we explain Somatotype, a method of classifying human physique. Optimal workout for an individual depends on their body type and in this article, we will explain, which workout is best suited for your body type.
Human physique has been categorized into three somatotypes: Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph.
Ectomorph: An ectomorph body type is characterized as an individual who is naturally skinny with little muscle development. This individual finds it hard to gain weight
Mesomorph: A mesomorph body type is characterized as an individual who is naturally muscular with an athletic body. This individual can easily gain and lose weight
Endomorph: A endomorph body type is characterized as an individual who has a tendency of retaining fat and has a round body. This individual finds it hard to lose weight
We must keep in mind that something as diverse as human body cannot be limited to just three somatotype. The description provided above is just for extreme cases. Most of us have characteristics of all the three somatotype. A better way of visualizing body types is to draw a triangle with its three ends being the extremes of these somatotypes and all others lying somewhere within it.
All of us respond differently to a particular workout. One of the easiest ways of guessing which workout might be the best for us is to understand which workout is most suited for our somatotype.
For an ectomorph it is really hard to put on weight, which means they do not have to worry about fat gain. On the other hand their muscles have a tendency of remaining small and weak. Considering this, the best approach for them is to choose a workout routine with higher loads and low repetitions (5-8 per set). The rest period between sets should be kept long, (2-3 minutes). The high load provides their body high stimulus for muscle growth while the fat loss aspect is discounted, by keeping the reps low and rest long. It is extremely important for an ectomorph to feed their body adequately to gain muscle. Cardiovascular exercises should be limited to 2-3 short sessions of 20 minutes, with preference given to HIIT rather than steady state cardio.
A mesomorph has won the genetic lottery for building an athletic physique. It is relatively easy for them to gain muscle and lose fat. This however does not mean that they can take it easy. Building a good physique needs hard work and discipline and even a mesomorph cannot get results without it. A mesomorph needs a good balance of muscle gain and fat loss to optimize results. Hence a mesomorph should try out all kinds of workouts with low reps and heavy weights or high reps and light- weights. Similarly for cardiovascular training a combination of HIIT and steady state cardio may be included. 3 sessions of cardio in a week, with two sessions of HIIT and one session of steady state cardio should do. A healthy and balanced diet is important for a mesomorph to maintain their athletic build.
An endomorph has a tendency of retaining body fat. Underneath that fat though, many endomorphs usually have big and strong muscles. For endomorphs hence, the most important thing is to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass. An endomorph therefore needs a workout optimized for fat loss, which as you might know from our previous videos, is the one with high repetitions and little rest between the sets. The cardiovascular training for an endomorph is absolutely critical. An endomorph should perform 3-4 cardio sessions every week and should include both HIIT and steady state cardio. HIIT might be too hard on the joints of an endomorph, hence we recommend starting out slow with 3 days of steady state cardio and one day of HIIT; however as they make progress, they may move towards 2-3 HIIT sessions per week and 1-2 sessions of steady state cardio per week. Watching diet is critical for an endomorph. An endomorph must make sure to be in calorie deficit and consume a balanced diet.
We conclude this article with a word of caution. Although somatotype is a good starting point, we should never restrict our workouts to only those suited for our body type. For instance, even an ectomorph will gain fat during bulking and will need to perform a workout suited for an endomorph afterwards. Best approach as always is to constantly keep changing our workouts based on our progress.