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An athletic physique is not only the result of training, but also a gift from genetics. For example, the mesomorph is naturally athletic. The ectomorph, due to its natural thinness, is distinguished by a relief press, and the endomorph is usually successful in strength sports.

How to determine your body type – do you belong to sports mesomorphs, or to easily gaining excess weight endomorphs? Below in the material you will find a summary table of male body types with recommendations for choosing a training and nutrition strategy.

What is body type?

Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph

Body types are a classification of the most common types of human figures with division into ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. The theory of somatotypes was developed by William Sheldon in the 1940s and was based on an analysis of the anthropological parameters of male students¹.

An ectomorph is a tall person prone to thinness, a  mesomorph  is distinguished by an athletic physique, and an endomorph is prone to weight gain. Separately, Sheldon noted that in a “pure” form, these types of physique do not occur – the average person is a combination of different types.

The differences between each type of physique are expressed in the characteristics of the metabolism. Ultimately, the endomorph has a slow metabolism, the mesomorph is characterized by an increased level of testosterone (which helps to gain muscle), and the ectomorph is characterized by a high level of cortisol.

How to determine your body type?

One of the key characteristics of body type is bone and wrist thickness. The girth of the wrist remains unchanged regardless of the amount of fat or muscle mass in the body. Usually the classic ectomorph has thin bones, the mesomorph is medium, the endomorph is wide.

In male ectomorphs, the girth of the wrist (measurements are taken along the bone just above the location of the wristwatch) is less than 17 cm, in mesomorphs – 17-20 cm, in endomorphs – more than 20 cm.In the table below, you will find other physical characteristics, and See also the pros and cons of each body type.

// Summary table for defining different body types:

  • Ectomorph – wrist less than 17 cm; narrow shoulders and a flat chest, thin and long limbs, thinness and a minimum of subcutaneous fat. The advantage of the ectomorphic body type is the ability to quickly pump up the abs, as well as the absence of the need to follow a diet. The downside is the difficulty with gaining mass and the increased level of cortisol.
  • Mesomorph – wrist from 17 to 20 cm; broad shoulders and a developed rib cage, medium to large bone, low fat with visible muscles. The advantages of a mesomorphic body type are high testosterone levels (in men) and an innate love for sports. The disadvantages of mesomorph are the tendency to increase cholesterol levels and problems with blood vessels.
  • Endomorph – wrist more than 20 cm; large bone and massive limbs, short arms and legs, wide waist and hips, excess fat deposition. The advantage of the endomorphic body type is considered to be a powerful bone structure, which makes it possible to achieve great results in sports. The downside is the tendency to be overweight and the risk of developing diabetes mellitus when eating fast carbohydrates.

Mesomorph – characteristics

Mesomorph training program

Mesomorph is a sports body type with a penchant for active sports. Mesomorphs are characterized by increased testosterone levels and a fast metabolism along with a good appetite – all this allows them to quickly gain muscle. Most professional athletes are mesomorphs.

The advantage of this type of physique is that the mesomorph’s body needs less time to recover. Mesomorphs can train not three times a week, as is recommended for ectomorphs and endomorphs, but four to five times.

// Body type “mesomorph”:

  • athletic physique
  • low fat with visible muscles
  • medium or large bone
  • broad shoulders and a developed chest
  • fast metabolism
  • good strength indicators

How to pump up a mesomorph?

The athletic physique does not manifest itself – to gain the first kilograms of muscle mass, the mesomorph will take months of hard physical training and proper high-calorie nutrition. At the same time, the best training strategy for pumping the body will be to perform a basic weight training program.

After the body weight reaches 70-75 kg (with a standard height of 180 cm), the mesomorph should switch to a bodybuilding split of 3 workouts per week. For each muscle group, 2-3 exercises are performed in 4 sets of 8-12 repetitions. The choice of exercise depends on the goals for working out the lagging muscles.

Endomorph – characteristics


Endomorph is a body type that is prone to gaining mass. Among Europeans, endomorph is one of the most common. Differs in slowed metabolism against the background of high endurance. The combination of these factors gives good strength indicators, but provokes the growth of subcutaneous fat.

The key to building an athletic body for endomorphs lies in constant adherence to a diet – they must monitor the glycemic index of carbohydrates consumed, as well as regularly engage in cardio and other fat burning workouts. Endomorphs lose weight the fastest when doing circuit training .

// Body type “endomorph”:

  • large bone and massive limbs
  • high level of physical strength
  • short arms and legs, wide waist and hips
  • slow metabolism
  • tendency to gain fat