Trying to sculpt your body to look and feel the way you want can seem difficult at times. There are plenty of factors that go into play when it comes to health and fitness. And oftentimes people overlook elements that can help get them to their goals quicker.
One of those elements is doing the right workout for your body type. This might seem like an advanced technique that you have to be a pro to use. But it’s actually a lot more simple and easy to apply than you think.
Even if you don’t have personal training, you leverage your specific build in your workouts. Keep reading for this guide on how to improve your workout by exercising for your body type.
What Are the Different Body Types?
Many people are of the fact that there are specific body types that help to differentiate our physical needs. The three main body types are mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph.
The concept of body type (also referred to as somatotype) was introduced in the 1940s by William H. Sheldon, Ph.D., MD. In one of his books, Sheldon determined that even an individual’s mental characteristics could be determined by their number on the range scale that he developed for each type.
You can typically identify your body by looking at your outward appearance. However, many people are a mixture of more than one which can make identifying confusing. We also often constantly fluctuate between the types throughout life.
Read on to learn about these body types more in-depth and how you can identify your somatotype.
Ectomorph frames are identified by thinner more delicate structures such as small shoulders and flatter chests. They are usually the most narrow and lean out of the three types and also have long limbs. Oftentimes, ectomorphs have very low-fat percentages and tend to show their muscularity, even if it’s not really developed.
Another thing to consider about this body type of that they generally have hyperactive thyroids. This, in turn, causes them to have a faster metabolism and require more calories to gain weight. It can be a hard time for ectomorphs to put on pounds when they’re trying so tailoring a workout program around this factor is key.
The next body type is called mesomorph. Mesomorphs fall in between the two body types. This build tends to have a naturally muscular frame with thicker joints and larger bones. Their shoulders are muscular and it’s common for mesomorph people to have powerful forearms and calves.
Mesomorphs are more on the testosterone and growth hormone dominant side. This body type has a less challenging time putting on muscle mass in the gym as well as losing weight. They have a fairly stable and efficient metabolism.
The mesomorph body type is athletic and can generally maintain an “average” build with proper caloric intake and output balance.
The last of the body types are endomorphs. This body type is categorized by a softer look that is caused by the development of fat layers that cover muscular outlines. They also tend to have wider waistlines and thicker limbs.
Unlike ectomorphs, endomorphs have less active thyroid. This causes their metabolism to be slower and recover the slowest out of the three types. Because of this, endomorphs can experience certain chronic conditions if they are too sedentary including diabetes.
Identifying Your Body Type
Knowing which body type you fall into comes down to a few factors. Firstly, as mentioned before, a lot of times we toddle between somatotypes at different times. Many people are also a mixture of more than one at a time.
For instance, there may be someone who is an ecto-mesomorph. This means that they could naturally have longer limbs and a leaner frame. However, they might be more on the muscular side.
Start by looking at your physical appearance and compare it to the descriptions above. Then, consider how your metabolism generally functions. Genetics plays a huge role in someone’s natural physical composition.
Changing Your Body Type
Just because you were born with a certain body type doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. Different factors can change how your body looks on the outside. For instance, if you stay in a caloric deficit for too long, you’ll start to lose weight which can be fat and muscle mass.
If you started as closer to an endomorph in this example then you may lean out and become closer to an ecto-mesomorph. You can also intentionally change your body type based on the workout program you follow. Focusing on shifting certain attributes of your physique when you’re in the gym can help you transition into another body type.
Breaking your body out of its current state is the first step to changing body composition. Your body will aim for a stable condition or environment which is referred to as homeostasis. This can be disrupted by the effects of exercise which affects components like:
- Blood oxygen levels
- Body temperature
- Hydration levels
- Sugar levels
Workouts like strength training and HIIT interrupt homeostasis and demand a different response from your body. Exercise is a healthy method of doing this and an intentional way of transitioning the body through types.
Keep in mind that body types are a generalized depiction of physical state. Your diet, lifestyle, and fitness training can change the picture. That’s why people invest in personal training and see great results that make them feel (and look) like new people.
Benefits of Working Out for Your Body Type
Before you step foot in the gym for your next blast workout, consider customizing your routine. Working out for your body type can help save time and energy by getting you quicker results. This is because the goals are more targeted and based on your specific needs and natural predispositions.
For instance, let’s say you’re trying to add muscle mass but have a workout program that incorporates a lot of cardio exercises. This will take you in the opposite direction of your goal. Instead, you would follow a strength training plan that focuses more on heavy lifts.
Each body type can do all exercises and still see results. However, there are ways to optimize training based on your unique makeup. Overrall, exercising for your body type allows you to fine tune your fitness workouts in accordance to goals.
How to Workout For Your Body Type
Now you know the benefits of working out for you body and how to identify your somatotype. Next, you can learn how to actually exercise for your body type. Keep in mind that you may not be a pure version of one body type so considering mixing training techniques for optimal results.
Training for Ectomorphs
Ectomorphs tend to lack muscle tone and tend to have issues with postural defects. One of the focuses of training for this body type is to increase overall muscle tone─ especially in the back and abdomen. The main goals here is to maximize training that promotes hypertrophy.
Hypertrophy refers to the increase in muscle growth and size that is a result of training. Three main components of hypertrophy focused training are: muscle tension, muscle stress and muscle damage. Muscles are rebuilt by the body repairing damaged fibers by fusing them together─ which increases size.
This is important to understand for all body types but especially ectomorphs. This is because this particular body type might lean heavily on incorporating muscle growth in a fitness program to begin to fill out their slender frame. Here are some ways to go about hypertrophy training:
- Incorporate plenty of free weights, isolation exercises and some compound movements
- Focus on rep ranges from 10-15 for three to six sets
- Keep a steady and slower pace while lifting
- Take longer rest breaks (around 2-4 minutes)
Another key factor for ectomorphs to consider is keeping long sessions of low intensity cardio to a minimal. Steady state cardiovascular activity like jogging on the treadmill is good for decreasing fat overall. However, if you on the thinner side, this could start to eat away at muscle for energy.
Stick to experimenting with one to two sessions of cardio for around 30 to 45 minutes per week. You can also incorporate HIIT (high intensity interval training) for cardiovascular health. HIIT is a more effective way of preserving and building lean muscle mass even with high calorie burn.
Ectomorphs should also consider adding a good mixture of hypertrophy training and strength training into their routine. The strength training will help to support lifting efforts of the hypertrophy training. They will thus be focusing on growing muscle mass and increasing strength evenly.
Training for Mesomorphs
Mesomorphs often thrive from being active. And this is great for their body type since their metabolism is most stable and efficient out of the three. Mesopmorphs are most “ideal” for athletic activity and bodybuilding.
A balanced training regimen is best for mesomorphs. Their bodies may react quicker to training thus they’ll see results faster than the other body types. Here are some workout tips for mesomorphs:
- Incorporate mixtures of training including strength training, bodyweight training and powerlifting
- Engage in sports for exercise like swimming, boxing or soccer
- Focus on weightlifting reps ranges of around 8-12 for three to four sets
- Use a variety of workout forms
As far as cardio for the mesomorph, a balance between low intensity and HIIT will be beneficial. Be sure to get enough protein intake during meals.
Training for Endomorphs
Endomorphs tend to have higher levels of fat storage and may put on weight quicker than the other two types. This doesn’t mean that they still can’t build sculted bodies.
One of the key factors in a workout for an endomorph is to perform low impact aerobic exercises. This might include walking, rowing, cycling or swimming. There should also be a good mixture of anaeoric activities to promote cardio burn and increase heart rate. Activities like this include sprints or HIIT.
Here are a few beneficial guidelines for an endomorph workout:
- Perform higher reps between 12-25 for three to four sets
- Speed up lifting tempo in a safe and consistent way
- Avoid heavier weights (until you’ve reached any weight loss goals)
- Focus more on compounds then add in a balance of isolation movements
Endomorphs may find the best results with focusing on burning fat and keeping up with steady muscle growth. Endomorphs who may struggle with weight gain may also benefit from incorporating functional fitness into their regimen. These types of exercises focus on movements that mimic everyday activities which can help the individual with routine tasks daily.
Seeking Personal Training at the Gym
You might feel like you need extra support learning about your body type and starting a workout routine that’s designed for it. In this case, hiring a personal trainer could be the help you need.
Personal trainers understand how the body works and how different types may react to various methods of training. This gives them the upper hand to create a tailored program for you to get the best results. They’ll also be able to identify when your body composition is changing and can tweak your fitness plan as needed.
Learn to Workout for Your Specific Body Type
Being on a fitness journey can feel discouraging if you aren’t seeing the results from your actions. One of the ways you can change that is by considering your body type when you exercise.
Identify your body type based on the descriptions in this article and see how you can incorporate these tips into your current routine. You can also seek personal training to help propel you towards your goals faster.
If you’re on a health journey and would like some extra support, check out a gym that has what you need. Stop by a Regymen location for a free workout today!