The 3 Body Types Explained: Ectomorph, Mesomorph And Endomorph
Humans typically fall into one of three body types, or somatotypes: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
MAN IN THE MIRROR: WHICH SOMATOTYPE ARE YOU?
The ectomorph can be easily spotted in any weight room. They are often below the average weight for their height and have a skinny appearance. An ectomorphic somatotyps is naturally thin with skinny limbs with stringy muscles. Think of a person whose body type resembles that of an endurance athlete. These are the people whose body is thyroid dominant—meaning they have a fast metabolism and a higher carbohydrate tolerance.
- Small frame and bone structure
- Long and stringy muscles
- Flat chest
- Thin shoulders with little width
- Difficult to gain weight
- Difficulty building muscle
- Fast metabolism
- Low body fat
- Narrow frame (“pencil frame”)
Usually ectomorphs find it very difficult to gain weight because of their fast metabolisms. Ectomorphs can usually lose body fat easily with small changes to diet though, making it extra difficult to hold on to valuable lean muscle mass.
The mesomorphic body is naturally muscular. The people with an athletic frame find it easier to build muscle because they tend to be testosterone and growth-hormone dominant—meaning they tend to hold on to lean muscle although they gain fat more easily than ectomorphs. The mesomorph is somewhat in between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, display qualities from both.
- Naturally muscular
- Symmetrical build
- Well-defined muscles
- Rectangular-shaped physique (V-shape)
- Broad shoulders and relatively narrow waist
- Proportional limbs (as slim as ectomorphs nor as big as endomorphs)
- Easy to gain muscle
- Easier to gain body fat than ectomorphs
- Strong bone structure
The mesomorph body type is a great platform for a bodybuilder or physique competitor. Mesomorphs naturally have large muscle that can easily be built upon.
A endomorphic somatotype is naturally broad and thick. The endomorphic body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. The main characteristic are being insulin dominant, having a slow metabolic rate, and low carbohydrate tolerance. Their body structure is one of a wider waist and larger bone structure. They are heavily muscled yet carry extra body fat around the midsection.
- Soft round body
- Shorter “stocky” build
- Large amount of fat accumulation
- Round physique
- Thick arms and legs
- Difficult to lose body fat
- Low muscle definition due to adipose tissue
- Slow metabolism
Because of the endomorph’s low carbohydrate tolerance and insulin dominant characteristics, they often find it very difficult to lose body fat, especially in the central region (abdominal and lower back).
You may be reading this and notice that your personal body type does not accurately reflect any of these body types. That is likely because most people fall under a combination of two types. Some examples include Endo-Mesomorphs or Ecto-Endomorphs.
For instance the diagram below shows a pure ectomorph on the left leading up to a pure mesomorph on the right. The combinations exist in between the two body types.