Learning Your Body Type

Learning Your Body Type

Anyone who has spent time at a beach, swimming pool, or gym locker room can attest to the fact that human beings are born with a variety of different body type and characteristics. Some are taller or shorter, lighter or darker, wider or narrower in the shoulders, longer and shorter in the leg; they have higher or lower natural levels of endurance, differing types of muscle cells, more or fewer muscle and fat cells.

One popular method of categorizing all these various body types recognizes three fundamentally different physical types, called somatotypes:

- The Ectomorph Body Type: characterized by a short upper body, long arms and legs, long and narrow feet and hands, and very little fat storage; narrowness in the chest and shoulders, with generally long, thin muscles

- The Mesomorph Body Type: large chest, long torso, solid muscle structure and great strength

- The Endomorph Body Type: soft musculature, round face, short neck, wide hips, and heavy fat storage.

Of course, no one is entirely one type but rather a combination of all three types. This system of classification recognizes a total of eighty-eight subcategories, which are arrived at by examining the level of dominance of each basic category on a scale of 1 to 7. For example, someone whose body type characteristics were scored as ectomorphic (2), mesomorphic (6), and endomorphic (5) would be an endo-mesomorph, basically a well-muscled jock type but inclined to carry a lot of fat.

Although the fundamentals of bodybuilding training apply to all the somatotypes (body types), individuals with different body types often respond very differently to training, and what works for one body type may not necessarily work for another. Any body type can be developed by proper training and nutrition, but individuals with different body types will find it necessary to initially approach their training with different objectives, even though they may share the same long-term goals.

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