Have you ever considered why your body is shaped as it is? Today we would like to help you understand the different morphological groups that exist in individuals. It is important for you to know your somatotype. You will then be able to program your training to suit your silhouette and the goals you wish to achieve.
But, first of all, let’s clarify a few concepts to help you understand what a somatotype is and how it is classified.
One of the characteristics that we can study in individuals is their body shape or somatotype, also called biotype by other schools of thought. Hippocrates and Galen, as precursors of anthropometric studies, were the first to classify individuals according to their morphology as consumptive or thin with a predominance of the longitudinal axis and a tendency to introversion, and as apoplectic or muscular with a predominance of the transversal axis.
Faced with the need to classify an individual’s shape in a scale that could be expressed in a simple numeric value, Sheldon, from the American school, proposed a photoscopic method. He described the variations in human shape, creating the term somatotype which he defined as the quantification of the body’s three primary components making up the individual’s morphology, and expressed in three figures. In accordance with the primary components and depending on which predominates, he classified individuals into: the Endomorph, the Mesomorph, and the Ectomorph.
Each has different characteristics which can help determine the type of training depending on the goal laid down. They are described in the table below:
Other methods for the morphological classification of an individual:
Carter created the Heath-Carter method, still valid as it is the most commonly accepted and used method nowadays. This author defined the somatotype as the numeric description of the individual’s morphological composition when studied. For Carter, an individual’s shape is not exclusively determined by their genetic makeup but is likewise influenced by other exogenous factors modifying the somatotype.
Factors influencing somatotype:
○ Physical activity
○ Environmental factors
○ Socio-cultural background
To conclude, we recommend you identify your somatotype and follow a specific type of training to suit your morphological characteristics, as that way you will be more effective in reaching your goals.