- There are three main categories of body shape, known as somatotypes
- Ectomorphs are delicate with narrow frames, like Paris Hilton
- Mesomorphs are more muscly with a thin waist, like Madonna
- Endomorphs are feminine and more curvy, like Kate Winslet
You may know your weight, clothes size and height, but do you know your body type?
According to scientists, we all fit into three main categories – known as somatotypes – which are based on the distribution of our fat and muscle.
Ectomorphs are delicate with a narrow frame, mesomorphs are more muscly on the torso and shoulders with a thin waist and endomorphs are feminine and more curvy.
Ectomorphs are delicate with a narrow frame (left), mesomorphs are more muscly on the torso and shoulders with a thin waist (centre) and endomorphs are feminine and more curvy (right)
Aside from identifying shape, our somatotype can also have profound implications on the type of exercise that suits our bodies. Speaking to MailOnline, leading physiotherapist Sammy Margo, explained: ‘Most of us are a bit of a mix of somatotypes but what we find is that each body type is suited to specific sports.’
The three categories were first identified by psychologist Dr. William Sheldon in the 1940s, who believed the categories gave an insight into the human disposition.
Although his psychological theories have since been disproven, his categories have stood the test of time and been used by sports scientists ever since. Read on to discover your body’s identity – and what exercise best suits your frame.
Ectomorphs typically have slender, narrow frames. Think Twiggy, Paris Hilton (pictured at New York Fashion Week last year, left, and in Broadway, right) or Courtney Cox. The body shape can also be identified by narrow shoulders, hips and chest, with very little fat or muscle
Fashion models and basketball players are often ectomorphs, as well as actress Keira Knightley (pictured at a theatre opening on Broadway in October last year)
Ectomorphs typically have slender, narrow frames. Think Twiggy, Keira Knightley, Paris Hilton or Courtney Cox.
In fact, fashion models and basketball players generally fit this category.
The body shape can also be identified by narrow shoulders, hips and chest, with very little fat or muscle.
Long arms and legs and a thin face and high forehead are also associated with this category.
According to Sammy, who previously worked with the England football team during the World Cup, a lightweight frame can give a great advantage in sports that need speed.
‘Slim and lightweight, you will be better at distant sports, which need endurance such as long distance running, football (in some positions), triathlon and walking.’
Ectomorphs are also suited to sports like gymnastics.
Mesomorphs like Madonna, pictured in New York in 2012, have a muscular physique and might commonly be referred to as athletic
Mesomorphs, like Michelle Obama – pictured exercising in the Whire House gardens in April last year – have slightly wider torsos and shoulders but a narrower waist and hips
Mesomorphs have a muscular physique and might commonly be referred to as athletic. They might have slightly wider torsos and shoulders but a narrower waist and hips.
Michelle Obama and Madonna would both fit into this category.
Like ectomorphs, mesomorphs also have very little body fat, with strong, muscly limbs.
Because they gain muscle and strength easily, they are generally a sporty bunch.
‘Being muscular with low body fat means mesomorphs will do well in sports needing power and strength such as 100m sprints or cycling,’ explained Sammy.
Mesomorphs also tend to be good at yoga and pilates that rely on strength.
Endomorphs have a more feminine curvy figure, along the lines of Kate Winslet – pictured at a London screening in February this year, left, and at the Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, right
Endomorphs like Jennifer Hudson, pictured at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards in Manhattan last year, are referred to as pear-shaped with wide hips but narrow shoulders
All time famous endomorph, Marilyn Munro
Endomorphs have a more feminine curvy figure, along the lines Christina Hendricks, Marilyn Monroe, Kate Winslet and Jennifer Hudson.
This body type, which is commonly referred to as pear-shaped, has a larger frame and a higher percentage of body fat – with wide hips.
But shoulders tend to be narrow as do the ankles and wrists.
As well as having curvier bodies, they also often have a rounded head.
‘Heavier and carrying more body fat, this shape will do better at sports needing power and body weight such as weight lifting,’ added Sammy.
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