When starting a weightlifting routine, it can be beneficial to know which body type (or somatype) you are.
Determining whether you’re an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph can help you figure out which kind of training routine will be most effective for you.
Your body type is dependent on your genetics, so there’s little you can do to change it. You should focus on using the strengths and weaknesses you have to your advantage.
Out of the three body types, ectomorphs are thought to be at the greatest disadvantage when starting a weightlifting routine. Ectomorphs have long limbs, a short torso, narrow shoulders, and narrow hips.
They naturally tend to have little fat and not a whole lot of muscle mass, and it’s difficult for them to gain either. Their body shape is not considered ideal to undergo the stresses involved in lifting weights.
If you’re an ectomorph, the good news is that you probably have a high metabolism, so you won’t gain a lot of fat if you eat more in order to bulk up. The bad news is that you may also have difficulty putting on muscle, so it can be hard to progress with a weightlifting routine.
When beginning a routine, it’s best to start slowly. Doing long, high-intensity workouts right away can lead to over-training, which will be counterproductive to your goals of gaining strength and putting on muscle mass.
Ectomorphs generally need less recovery time between workouts, however. Try sticking to 3-4 short workouts of around 30 minutes every week. Although it may take time to see results, having a little bit of patience will help you gain muscle mass in the long run.
Endomorphs are the opposites of ectomorphs in many ways. They have shorter arms and legs with a torso that’s long in comparison. Generally, they also have wider shoulders and hips.
Although they may have more body fat than an ectomorph, they put on muscle and increase their strength more easily.
Their body shape also has advantages when lifting weights. A person with shorter legs will have an easier time finding a point of balance when doing exercises that require bending over, like squats. They’ll have more leverage when using their arms to lift weights.
The downside of being an endomorph is that it’s easy to put on body fat. Endomorphs need to pay special attention to their diet to ensure that they can gain lean muscle without becoming overweight.
The good news is that the more muscle you have, the higher your base metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn fat more easily.
Compared to ectomorphs, endomorphs can engage in more high-intensity training even when starting a workout routine because they naturally carry more muscle mass.
However, it’s still important to listen to your body and increase the amount of weight you’re lifting accordingly. If burning off fat is of concern to you, then try doing 15 – 25 minutes of cardio right after a strength training session.
The mesomorph classification applies to people who have wide shoulders, narrow waists, and more proportionate limbs. Their compact, muscular physiques are generally considered ideal for engaging in many athletic pursuits, from weightlifting to endurance running. Like endomorphs, mesomorphs usually have an easy time putting on muscle, but they have a much easier time of staying lean.
Gaining muscle is easy for a mesomorph, so when starting a weightlifting program, they have a range of options in terms of how they approach it. Their muscular physiques mean that it will be okay for them to engage in high-intensity training routines.
They should have a shorter recovery time, which means they can workout frequently and can spend shorter times resting between sets. A mesomorph should see significant gains in strength early on in a weightlifting program.
Although mesomorphs don’t put on fat as easily as endomorphs, they also don’t keep it off as easily as ectomorphs. So they may not need to engage in as much cardio as endomorphs in order to stay lean, but they should still be conscious of their diet if they want to put on lean muscle mass.
A Mixed Body Type
Using advice based on body type may be fairly straightforward if you have the traditional characteristics of an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph. However, some people have a mixture of characteristics from two or even three of the categories.
For example, a person could have a upper body characteristics of an ectomorph with lower body characteristics of an endomorph. You may need to modify the type of advice you use based on your personal body type.
Regardless of your characteristics, it’s important to find a weightlifting routine that you’ll be able to stick to over the long term. Don’t let your “bad” genetics deter you from your goals in the gym. With patience and hard work, everyone can gain strength and achieve their ideal physique.