Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Somatotype and Sport

Somatotyping is a fascinating system that classifies body types into three categories: endomorphy, mesomorphy, and ectomorphy. This classification can provide valuable insights into how different body types excel in various sports and athletic activities.

Measuring Somatotype

The most commonly used method to measure somatotype is the Heath-Carter measurement system. This system calculates ratings for endomorphy, mesomorphy, and ectomorphy based on anthropometrical measurements and, at times, standardized photos (photoscopic method).

In this system, individuals are classified on a scale from 1 to 7 in each of the three categories. However, it is rare to have high scores in all three categories. The combination of these ratings forms a somatotype number, with the endomorphy score appearing first, followed by mesomorphy and ectomorphy (e.g., 1-5-2). These scores can also be represented in a shield diagram or somatograph, which illustrates the somatotype on a two-dimensional scale.


An ectomorphic individual (e.g., 117) is typically tall and thin, with a narrow body, thin arms and legs, minimal body fat, and wiry muscles. Long-distance runners and basketball players are excellent examples of ectomorphs in the sporting world. Ectomorphs generally excel in endurance, flexibility, and agility. The ectomorphy rating is calculated based on measurements of height, weight, and height/weight ratio.


A mesomorphic person (e.g., 171) is characterized by a robust physique, broad muscular chest and shoulders, well-developed arms and legs, and minimal body fat. Weightlifters and shot putters are classic examples of mesomorphs in sports. Mesomorphs are known for their strength, endurance, power, and agility. The mesomorphy rating is determined by measurements of height, humerus and femur breadths, and bicep and calf girths. These girths are adjusted for body fat using the skinfold measure.

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An endomorphic individual (e.g., 711) tends to be stocky, with a round body shape, short thick neck, short arms and legs, and a propensity to store body fat. It is uncommon to find athletes in this category, as they typically fall into the mesomorphic or ectomorphic categories. Endomorphs generally perform poorly in physical fitness tests and are often considered less adept in sports. However, it is possible for someone classified as an endomorph to modify their rating through diet and exercise to become more mesomorphic. The endomorphy rating is solely based on the sum of three skinfold measurements (triceps, subscapular, supraspinale), which are then corrected for height. Therefore, the higher the skinfold measurements, the higher the endomorphy score.


Q: Can somatotype influence an individual’s athletic performance?
A: While somatotype provides insight into body composition and physical characteristics, it is important to remember that numerous factors contribute to athletic performance. Somatotype is just one piece of the puzzle. Factors such as training, skill, mindset, and nutrition play crucial roles as well.

Q: Can an individual’s somatotype change over time?
A: Yes, somatotype can change to some extent with diet and exercise. While genetic predispositions may influence body type, lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on body composition and overall physique.


Understanding somatotype can offer valuable insights into how different body types perform in sports and athletic endeavors. However, it is essential to remember that individual differences and a holistic approach to training and performance are key to success.

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For more information on somatotype and other related topics, visit Auralpressure.