William Herbert Sheldon first used the theory of body build types in the 1940s. Sheldon divided body build types based on body shape and other characteristics.
The three types of physical structures are endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic. The kinds of bodily complexion arise from the three germ layers: endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm.
Today, this theory has been modified, and physical education professionals use it to improve performance in sports.
This article describes the characteristics of each type of physical complexion and what it is for to define body somatotypes.
Types of physical complexion
According to Sheldon, the type of texture is mainly influenced by genetic predisposition; this determines the muscular profile. As well as associated with different physical and personality characteristics of each kind of body.
The three types of physical complexion or body types are:
According to Sheldon, an ectomorph is a type of physical complexion that tends to be lean and nervous by nature. A mesomorph is of a muscular, rugged, and sporty style. And an endomorph has a higher percentage of body fat and is calm in personality.
How do I know what kind of physical complexion I am?
The type of physical complexion can be determined based on the height and the bodyweight measured using the Rohrer index (RI).
The RI is calculated as weight in grams multiplied by 100 and divided by height in cubic centimeters (g / cm3). This allows you to assign the textures in 3 groups:
- ectomorph: <12.8 kg / m3
- mesomorph: 12.9-14.6 kg / m3
- endomorph: 14.7 kg / m3
The complete physical texture tests are based on a broader set of characteristics where, for each one, values are assigned to each somatotype ranging from 1 to 7.
So, a person with endomorphic characteristics is assigned the value 7-1-1. While another with only 1-7-1 mesomorphic and 1-1-7 ectomorphic features. This means that there are 343 possible combinations.
This is the most accepted and supports the theory that body types are rarely expressed in pure form.
Another factor in determining the type of texture is the basal metabolic rate. That is, the amount of energy a person spends while resting. To calculate it, there are both calculators and formulas.
The most accurate method to determine the type of physical complexion is with a DNA analysis or metabolic markers.
Current research affirms that the metabolic markers of the different types of physical structure can differ by 7-18%. (6)
A difference in the amount of these molecules translates into changes in the body’s reaction to carbohydrate intake, as well as can lead to different levels of muscle creatine and synthesis of some hormones. This is what is attributed to good genetics.
Ectomorphic Physical Structure – Characteristics
The characteristics of the ectomorphic physical complexion are:
- Low levels of subcutaneous fat
- Narrow shoulders and flat pecs
- Long, thin limbs
- Medium-low muscle strength
A thin body and long limbs characterize ectomorphs. The biggest challenge for an ectomorph is gaining muscle mass. This type of build has a fast metabolism and poor appetite. Your muscles do not contain large stores of muscle glycogen.
Jumping or volleyball sports are ideal for ectomorphs. To gain muscle mass, an ectomorph must go on a bulk diet. The number of calories consumed should be slightly higher than other body somatotypes.
// Recommended: Diet for ectomorphs
Mesomorphic physical structure
The characteristics of the mesomorphic body type are:
- Low levels of body fat and visible muscles
- Median bone circumference
- Broad shoulders and bulky rib cage
- High muscle strength
- More muscle creatine
Mesomorphs are the body somatotype that tends to lead a sporty lifestyle. They play sports and have high levels of muscle creatine. All of these factors allow you to gain muscle mass quickly.
Most professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts are of the mesomorphic physique type. The most significant advantage that mesomorphs have is that your body needs less time to recover after physical activity. A mesomorph can train up to 4 or 5 times a week without a problem.
The downside to this type of physique is that they tend to get bored if they don’t have a challenge or a competition. If this body somatotype does not do sports, it tends to gain overweight.
// Recommended: Diet for mesomorphs – How not to gain overweight?
Endomorph body type – physical characteristics
The physical characteristics of an endomorph are:
- Tendency to accumulate fat
- Short arms and legs
- Wide hip and waist
- Low resistance, a lot of strength and power
The endomorphic type of build is perhaps the most common among people of European origin. Slow metabolism, as well as the constant desire to consume sweet and fatty products, are one of the characteristics of an endomorph.
This physique is ideal for sports such as shot put and all those that require muscular power. Food is where the secret is so that an endomorph does not gain excess weight.
Food for each type of physical complexion
Differences in the diet for each body somatotype can help increase athletic performance. For example, ectomorphs are advised to increase their calorie and carbohydrate intake.
Active mesomorphs in sport must emphasize a higher quantity and quality of protein. And endomorphs are advised to limit their consumption of simple carbohydrates, trans fats, and saturated fats.
With sports supplements, the situation is the same. Taking mass gainers to increase muscle mass is a matter of ectomorphs. Mesomorphs are recommended for the amino acids bcaa. And endomorphs are recommended creatine monohydrates to increase potency.
There are 3 types of physical complexion or body somatotype: ectomorphic, mesomorphic, and endomorphic.
Defining the type of physical complexion helps improve sports performance. The most exact way is with laboratory analysis, although other parameters such as physical characteristics can be studied.
Ectomorphs tend to be thin, mesomorphs tend to have greater muscle mass, and endomorphs tend to gain weight.