Back in the 1940s, William H. Sheldon introduced the theory that all people basically fit into three main body types. He concluded that three specific personalities were associated with each body type. It has since been noted that maximum training and results in bodybuilding, weight loss and other forms of exercise can be achieved by utilizing the characteristics of each body type.
The three types of bodies into which all humans fit are endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph. Some people fit ideally into these three body formations, but others may show a mix, although one body type is normally predominant. Consider how your body was as a teenager to best determine your body type before it was influenced by lifestyle habits.
Look at the following body type descriptions to determine which category you fall into and how to best train and alter lifestyle habits for maximized bodybuilding results. Let’s look at an exercise workout program for each of them.
Body Type: Endomorph
If you’re an endormorph body type then you are basically round, or have a pear-like shape due to wide hips and narrow shoulders. It is easy for endomorphs to pack on body fat, especially in the thighs and upper arms, due to a slow metabolism. An endomorph has a difficult time losing body fat which covers muscle mass.
As an endomorph, you should participate in workouts more frequently with aerobic exercises playing a big role in your exercise program. Beginner training for endomorphs should consist of whole body workouts that progressively move to split exercise routines. You should change up your training program often and hit abdominals at the start of each workout. Your goal is to increase metabolism while reducing body fat.
Endomorph Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is a key factor in an endomorph weight training program. You should perform low impact aerobics that limit stress on the joints such as elliptical trainer, treadmill, stair stepper, walking, etc. You should perform aerobic exercises for at least 3 days a week between 10 and 20 minutes. Be sure to include a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down session with the remainder performed in the target zone for your heart rate.
Endomorph Weight Training
Endomorphs should perform high intensity exercises with minimal rest periods between sets (60 seconds or less). In order to achieve maximum muscle mass, use supersets, burn outs, continuous tension, iso-tension and descending sets. When you are performing weight training exercises, use moderate weight and higher reps (9-12 for upper body and 12-25 for lower body).
Since endomorphs have naturally lower metabolisms, they need less sleep time. Adjust your sleep schedule to between 7-7.5 hours a night.
A balanced healthy diet is much more important for the endomorph in order to keep metabolism raised and the appetite controlled. Therefore, eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day that are high in protein and non-fat foods. In order to help control overeating, eat slowly to allow your hunger mechanism to kick in (which takes about 20 minutes). Stop eating after one portion and avoid junk food and late night snacks. When you do require a snack, eat healthy low fat foods such as fruits, vegetables, non-fat yogurt, etc. You should also drink a lot of water which helps to maintain a high metabolism, increase calorie consumption and flush toxins from the body.
Body Type: Ectomorph
The ectomorph body type is on the opposite side of the spectrum from the endomorph. If you are an ectomorph, you have a thin, narrow body with thin arms, legs, narrow chest, hips and shoulders. You naturally have a low amount of body fat due to high metabolism and do not gain weight easily.
In order to maximize weight gains, the ectomorph should utilize split training that targets both muscle groups and isolated muscles. To stimulate muscle growth, change your training routine often and focus on intense exercises that include higher amounts of weight with more reps and sets. Your workouts should be intense, but short.
Ectomorph Aerobic Exercise
As an ectomorph, you do not want to perform much aerobic exercise since it will limit weight gain progress. Only complete 1-3 aerobic exercises per week and keep your workout at the lower end of your heart rate. Aerobic sessions should not last longer than 20 minutes.
Ectomorph Weight Training
When weight training, utilize heavier weights at lower reps (5-10) that stimulate growth in the deep muscle fibers of muscle groups. Give your muscles adequate rest between sets (at least 60 seconds) and body part exercises (at least 5 minutes). Occasionally shock your muscles by performing supersets, forced reps and other techniques that are high intensity.
Since ectomorphs have a naturally high metabolism, more sleep is needed for proper recovery. You should sleep for at least 8 hours each night, take occasional naps and include more rest days in your weight training program. Make sure you do not train while still sore or tired. Beware of overtraining.
Because the ectomorph body utilizes nutrients quickly and effectively, a good, nutritional diet and supplementation is essential to maintain body weight and muscle mass. You should eat between 5 and 7 small meals every day that avoid simple sugars, are high in fibrous carbohydrates and contain foods with a slow burning glycemic index such as whole grains, beans, yams, corn, etc. Protein intake should also be high to feed stressed muscles. Protein intake should be increased by 1-1.5 grams for each pound of body weight.
Body Type: Mesomorph
The mesomorth body type contains the characteristics that best supports and responds to bodybuilding. This body type is naturally muscular with a full chest, long torso, narrow waist and broad shoulders.
Because of its inherent muscularity, the mesomorph body type responds well to heavy weight training and definition exercises. Variety of exercise is a key factor in maximizing results with several weeks spent focusing on high intensity workouts followed by the same period of low intensity exercises. A varied workout plan is best for achieving greater strength, growth and definition while avoiding a burnout.
If you are a mesomorph body type, you should keep your cardio workouts to 3 or less times per week at 20-30 minute sessions. You want to perform a 5 minute warm up followed by a 10-20 minute exercise in your target heart range and end with a cool down session of 5 minutes. Wind sprints work very well for mesomorphs who want to achieve both heart conditioning and leg strength.
Mesomorph Weight Training
A mesomorph adapts rapidly to conditioning and therefore needs to be constantly hit with varying high intensity exercises, repetitions, sets, weight amounts and rest periods. Combining slow and moderate exercises that focus on using a full range of motion with weight training exercises that use fast reps produce good results. You want to include training days which focus on light and moderate training as well as heavy lift days. Utilize high intensity exercise techniques by alternating between compound sets, descending reps, partial reps, forced reps and pre-exhaustion lifts. Hitting compound muscle groups with heavy weights followed by targeted isolation and definition exercises at a mid rep range of 8-12 works well. Legs should be hit with both low and high reps. Muscles respond well in mesomorph body types, so beware of overtraining by training too much and too often.
Because mesomorphs can generally handle more weight and more intense workouts, they need more rest to recover adequately. If you fall into this category, be sure to get a full 8-9 hours of sleep and take an extra day off if you are very sore or have low strength, energy or motivation.
Because muscle mass gains are fairly easy, mesomorphs should daily consume at least 1 gram of protein for each pound of body weight. Calorie intake from complex carbs should be around 60% and total fats should be around 15-20%. Be sure to drink plenty of water.