Your Body Type - Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?

Body type influences how you respond to diet and training. Understand your body type in order to plan your muscle building training and diet program.

It’s important to be able to identify and understand your body type. Different body types require different training methods and diet plans. So listed below are the 3 male body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, along with their characteristics.


An ectomorph is a typical skinny guy. Ecto’s have a light build with small joints and lean muscle. Usually ectomorph’s have long thin limbs with stringy muscles. Shoulders tend to be thin with little width.

Typical traits of an ectomorph:

  • Small “delicate” frame and bone structure
  • Classic “hardgainer”
  • Flat chest
  • Small shoulders
  • Thin
  • Lean muscle mass
  • Finds it hard to gain weight
  • Fast metabolism

Ectomorphs find it very hard to gain weight. They have a fast metabolism which burns up calories very quickly. Ecto’s need a huge amount of calories in order to gain weight. Workouts should be short and intense focusing on big muscle groups. Supplements are definitely recommended. Ectomorphs should eat before bed to prevent muscle catabolism during the night. Generally, ectomorphs can lose fat very easily which makes cutting back to lean muscle easier for them.


A mesomorph has a large bone structure, large muscles and a naturally athletic physique. Mesomorphs are the best body type for bodybuilding. They find it quite easy to gain and lose weight. They are naturally strong which is the perfect platform for building muscle.

Typical traits on a Mesomorph:

  • Athletic
  • Hard body with well defined muscles
  • Rectangular shaped body
  • Strong
  • Gains muscle easily
  • Gains fat more easily than ectomorphs

The mesomorph body type responds the best to weight training. Gains are usually seen very quickly, especially for beginners. The downside to mesomorphs is they gain fat more easily than ectomorphs. This means they must watch their calorie intake. Usually a combination of weight training and cardio works best for mesomorphs.


The endomorph body type is solid and generally soft. Endomorphs gain fat very easily. Endo’s are usually of a shorter build with thick arms and legs. Muscles are strong, especially the upper legs. Endomorphs find they are naturally strong in leg exercises like the squat.

Typical traits of an Endomorph:

  • Soft and round body
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Is generally short and “stocky”
  • Round physique
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Slow metabolism

When it comes to training endomorphs find it very easy to gain weight. Unfortunately, a large portion of this weight is fat not muscle. To keep fat gain to a minimum, endomorphs must always train cardio as well as weights. Usually supplements may not be needed as long as the person has a high protein intake in their diet.

A combination of body types.

These body types aren’t set in stone. In fact, most people have a combination of two body types. These combinations are either ectomorph/mesomorph or mesomorph/endomorph. It is not uncommon to find a pure mesomorph that gains weight like an endomorph for example.



These are the measurements you need to calculate the simple body type in MuscleMax

It should be noted that the simple body typing method is extremely vague and should only be used to give an overall idea of your body type.

For best results use the advanced method.

Fingers wrapped around wrist

Wrap the fingers of one hand around the wrist of the other to see if they touch, don’t touch or overlap.

Wrist Circumference

Measure around the wrist just next to the the bone.


These are the measurements you need to calculate the intermediate body type in MuscleMax

It should be noted that the intermediate body typing method is quite vague and should only be used to give an idea of your body type.

For best results use the advanced method.


Measure around the chest across the nipples.


Measure around the waist just above the pelvic bone.


Measure around the hips just around the pelvic bone.

Hand width to ankle width comparison

Place hand, with fingers together and thumb held away, over the ankle such that the fingers are pointing towards the sole of the foot, with the knuckles adjacent to the ankle bone.

Check visually to see if the ankle can be seen behind the fingers.

Elbow width to finger length comparison

Hold one arm out horizontally in front of you and bend the elbow so that the forearm is vertical and the palm of the hand is facing towards you.

Place the fingers of the other hand horizontally underneath the elbow and check visually to see if the fingers are longer than the elbow is wide.


These are the measurements you need to calculate the advanced body type in MuscleMax

The advanced body typing method uses the Heath Carter method, which can be relied upon to give accurate body type figures, as long as accurate measurements are taken.


Raise a fold of skin and subcutaneous tissue firmly between thumb and forefinger of the left hand and away from the underlying muscle at the marked site.

Apply the edge of the plates on the caliper branches 1 cm below the fingers of the left hand and allow them to exert their full pressure before reading at 2 sec the thickness of the fold.

Take all skinfolds on the right side of the body.

The subject stands relaxed, except for the calf skinfold, which is taken with the subject seated.

For best results take skinfold measurements in millimetres.

Triceps skinfold

With the subject's arm hanging loosely in the anatomical position, raise a fold at the back of the arm at a level halfway on a line connecting the acromion and the olecranon processes.

Subscapular skinfold

Raise the subscapular skinfold on a line from the inferior angle of the scapula in a direction that is obliquely downwards and laterally at 45 degrees.

Supraspinale skinfold

Raise the fold 5-7 cm (depending on the size of the subject) above the anterior superior iliac spine on a line to the anterior axillary border and on a diagonal line going downwards and medially at 45 degrees. (This skinfold was formerly called suprailiac, or anterior suprailiac. The name has been changed to distinguish it from other skinfolds called "suprailiac", but taken at different locations.)

Medial calf skinfold

Raise a vertical skinfold on the medial side of the leg, at the level of the maximum girth of the calf.

The subject should place their foot on a chair or box so that the knee is at approximately 90 degrees.

A vertical pinch parallel to the long axis of the leg.

Biepicondylar breadth of the humerus

The width between the medial and lateral epicondyles of the humerus, with the shoulder and elbow flexed to 90 degrees. Apply the caliper at an angle approximately bisecting the angle of the elbow. Place firm pressure on the crossbars in order to compress the subcutaneous tissue.

Biepicondylar breadth of the femur

Seat the subject with knee bent at a right angle.

Measure the greatest distance between the lateral and medial epicondyles of the femur with firm pressure on the crossbars in order to compress the subcutaneous tissue.

Upper arm girth

The subject flexes the shoulder to 90 degrees and the elbow to 45 degrees, clenches the hand, and maximally contracts the elbow flexors and extensors. Take the measurement at the greatest girth of the arm.

Calf girth

The subject stands with feet slightly apart. Place the tape around the calf and measure the maximum circumference.

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