Ever wondered why a training routine that appears to be followed by a celebrity doesn’t seem to be working for you? Or what may work wonders for your friends figure has no effect on your shape whatsoever? This is because we all have different body types and need to account for this when planning a workout or nutritional plan.
To begin, identify what somatotype (body type) you are, untrained. This means what your body would look like without any training.
Ectomorphs are naturally thin with a small bone structure, meaning small wrists, narrow shoulder width and thin muscles. This makes it difficult to put on weight, both fat and muscle.
Endomorphs are softer and curvy, naturally hefty with a round shape and thick joint. It is easy to put on weight, both fat and muscle.
Mesomorphs have a naturally athletic physique with an upright posture and broad shoulders, small waist, T shape or a rectangular shape with thick skin. They can even have good definition and muscularity without lifting weights or doing much exercise.
It’s possible to be a combination of the above somatotypes. It is rare to find a person who is at a total extremity. The term phenotype is defined as “The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences.”
This scale uses three digits, each of which describes how prominent a certain body type is. For instance, a pure endomorph (hefty build) would be a 7-1-1. A pure mesomorph (athletic build) would be a 1-7-1. A pure ectomorph (thin build) would be a 1-1-7. A totally average person would be a 4-4-4 and would have a little of each body type.
There is a clear visible physical distinction between the three phenotypes, but what is not visible and often ignored is the biochemical and metabolic differences between the three phenotypes.
Each phenotype has its advantages and disadvantages with regards to training and these need to be respected in order to achieve a goal or a change in body shape.
An ectomorph will find bodyweight exercises easy with practice such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, chin-ups due to having a lighter weight than a meso or endo. Ectos are also able to achieve the best definition because of the ease of losing fat, and the natural lean structure.
Ectomorphs may have a disadvantage in gaining muscle mass, but find it easy to stay lean and are better suited to lower intensities. Losing fat can be more difficult as they have less to lose and will inevitably lose a small amount of muscle which they have less of. Endos will find losing fat easier as they can afford to lose some muscle, as with mesomorphs.
Endomorphs have the most limited range of effective workouts and may be unable to do some effective exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, and chin-ups due to being heavier.
However endos are able to solely focus on strength gains at first since they are naturally big and can often put on size quickly, shortening the time needed for muscular gains. Endos trying to lose weight can do a variety of exercises.
Mesomorphs advantages are broad shoulders, small waist, thick skin, hard body, strong posture and the readiness to gain muscle and lose body fat and can push their bodies very hard.
Training to your body type will work on your strengths, improve weaknesses and help you achieve your goal without overtraining or injuring your body with wasted hours doing the wrong kind of workouts.
Image reproduced from menshealth.com
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