Your Body Type - Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph?

M&S Writers
Written By: M&S Writers
June 26th, 2006
Updated: May 26th, 2021
7.1M Reads
3 Body Types - Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph
Your body type can influence how you respond to different types of workouts and diet plans. This guide helps you understand your body type (ectomorph, mesomorph or endomorph) and how you can structure your workout and diet for success.

When I first got into the muscle building scene I was overwhelmed by the amount of different training programs, bodybuilding supplements, diets, articles and information there was out there. There were so many conflicting diets and training programs available and I had no idea what I “should” be doing. The result of this was about 6 months in the gym with little gains and almost no motivation to workout anymore.

I was at a complete loss and about to throw in the towel and give up. Then a guy in the gym gave me a magazine and told me to read the article in there about body types. So I did and it opened my eyes up to the reason why I wasn’t making any gains in the gym.

I am a true ectomorph (classic hardgainer) and my bodyweight was 60.2kg (132.5lbs) when I first walked into a gym. I had no idea about body types back then. I assumed (like most beginners do) that the more I worked out the bigger I would get. Thinking that “more was better” I started following a program designed for an elite bodybuilder. This resulted in gains of about 1.7kg in 6 months.

After reading the body type article in that magazine I started to understand more about how my body type worked, my metabolism, and gaining weight. Being an ectomorph I need to focus on calorie intake, long rest periods, and minimum cardio. It was only then I started making some real gains and I’ve never looked back.

So 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.

The Three Body Types: Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph

Image courtesy of Govt. of Western Aust. Dept. of Health

Ectomorph Body Type

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: Ectomorph body type

  • 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.

Recommended workouts for Ectomorphs:

Mesomorph Body Type

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.

Mesomorph body typeTypical traits on a Mesomorph:

  • Athletic
  • Generally hard body
  • 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.

Recommended workouts for Mesomorphs:

Endomorph Body Type

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.

Endomorph body typeTypical traits of an Endomorph:

 

  • Soft and round body
  • Gains muscle and fat very easily
  • Is generally short
  • "Stocky" build
  • Round physique
  • Finds it hard to lose fat
  • Slow metabolism
  • Muscles not so well defined

 

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.

Recommended workouts for Endomorphs:

A Combination of Body Types

These body types aren’t set in stone. In fact, most guys 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.

So which body type are you?

Given the information above you should be able to identify your body type. You may also want to optimize your diet and training to suit your body type.

One final point I want to mention is that no matter what your body type you can build a big, ripped, muscular physique. Even the skinniest of guys can bulk up. Yes, it’s harder but if you’re willing to put in the hard work it can be done. I have about the skinniest natural build possible and at the time of writing this article I have gained about 30kg (66lbs) of lean muscle mass.

466 Comments
John Parker
Posted on: Tue, 05/14/2024 - 07:35

This blog provides a brief yet thorough look at body types and their impact on fitness. The author's personal experience adds credibility, and the practical tips offered can help anyone dealing with the challenges of building muscle and managing weight. It serves as a valuable guide for customizing workout routines and dietary plans to suit individual requirements, ultimately enabling readers to reach their fitness objectives more efficiently.

Tristan
Posted on: Tue, 04/02/2024 - 16:33

Are there any other endomorph recommended workouts besides the other 4 suggested in the above article? Goal is weight loss/fat loss. Just curious. Also do you think a bro split would be good for an endomorph?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 04/04/2024 - 05:44

Hello Tristan, we have plenty of articles here for you to choose from.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-choose-your-next-train...

A pro split can help, but the diet and cardio you do is as vital. If those aren't right, no training program will help.

Abdelsalam
Posted on: Sun, 03/10/2024 - 04:50

first of all thanks for this great information , I work as personal trainer and today I really add some good info, I got the same problem when I can gain weight easy but in the same time I could loses it plus the same with the muscle. so I will work on that because I need to take my fate down to be at 18 /19 %

Danielle
Posted on: Sun, 02/18/2024 - 16:42

My son is exactly between the ectomorph and mesomorph descriptions.
He has big bones and his metabolism is an inferno. He builds muscle but slower and his Definition is not where he should be. He is 6ft with wider shoulders, what advise can I relay for him to see the gains and definition he is looking to achieve?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/22/2024 - 10:26

Hi Danielle, thank you for reading M&S. How old is your son, and do you have any more detailed idea of what he wants to do? Is there a number of pounds he wants to lose to get there, and does he play sports? All of this will help me provide the best answer possible. I don't want to throw a standard, vague response to a kid wanting to maximize his potential.

Jessica
Posted on: Sat, 08/05/2023 - 07:00

Are there any articles for women on these body types?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 08/21/2023 - 20:43

A lot of this information would apply to women as well, Jessica, but that is a good idea. I will make the pitch to my editor.

Jason Mitchell
Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2023 - 09:45

Is there any research on how well different body types can keep muscle mass? I know there's research on how different people respond to building muscle, but I haven't seen much on keeping muscle during detraining or throughout life based on body type.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:42

Hi, Jason. Solid question and to the best of my knowledge, no, there isn't. I believe that would be a great study to have, but it would also involve a lot of time and research on several different types of research subjects (people). Hopefully we see something in the future. Also, if I am wrong and someone does know of a study that is out there, let us know.

Jason Mitchell
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 11:16

Ok, thanks for the response.

Bryan
Posted on: Fri, 05/19/2023 - 14:22

I worked out a lot when I was younger and got away from it once I had a family. well now they are grown and Im older and not in the same shape i used to be.

Im 60 and wondering if i can still utilize some of the workout plans you have shown or is there a different plan i should be looking at for someone who is a senior looking to get fit, put on muscle (Again) and lose excess body fat.

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:41

As long as you're healthy overall, feel free to use any plan on this site that you like. Let us know if you like one and have any questions. We're always here to help.

Rebe
Posted on: Thu, 05/18/2023 - 14:25

I just turned 73 and have started a strength training program. Since I don't know a lot about bodybuilding, I hired a personal trainer who is a professional bodybuilder. It's the smartest thing I've done for myself. I appreciate all the great articles and links on the M&S website, but I have to also mention that if you aren't sure about anything that pertains to the health and welfare of your own body, do more than just read articles. Extend your research by finding someone knowledgeable who can give you suggestions, or share personal experiences like a trainer, a physician, a kinesiologist, or whatever. Professional advice is a valuable tool to have in your personal knowledgebase.

Joel
Posted on: Sun, 05/14/2023 - 20:16

I'm a 66 yo ecto. Struggled for most of my life trying to gain weight. I have been lifting weights for 50 years, recently doing progressive resistance, 3 minute rest between sets, 1.5 g of protein per kg is about 100 g (I'm about 68 kg). I have a weight machine in my spare bedroom and do the major muscle exercises 3 days a week. It's extremely discouraging to be stuck at a plateau for months.

At least God gave me a superior brain, but totally skimped on body.

Peace out.

Fee
Posted on: Sun, 02/12/2023 - 14:03

Does body type change as you get older? I was told I was a meso in college. Now, i'm being told i'm an endo.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 02/24/2023 - 08:21

It can. Metabolism can slow down, muscular development can change, and other factors that come with aging can affect your body type - especially if you're not active or training regularly.

Heiley
Posted on: Thu, 11/10/2022 - 07:45

Hello im a lady and would like to begin my work out plan at home what is the best work out plan at home,thank you

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 11/18/2022 - 08:44

Hi, Heiley. Thanks for reading M&S! What is your current goal, and what equipment do you have access to?

Josephine Llait
Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2021 - 23:25

Very nice

Jessie Alferos
Posted on: Sat, 09/04/2021 - 01:18

Very nice

iuxi
Posted on: Sat, 08/14/2021 - 16:17

so i just lost the lotery of body types? that's all? well that sure is depressing and discouraging.

Joe Cool
Posted on: Fri, 01/29/2021 - 16:23

This method of typing bodies is complete bunk that came from an OLD psychology text book and has no place in modern physiology.

Martha
Posted on: Mon, 04/26/2021 - 20:36

Joe, you may want to provide current data in order to get a full sense of your comment.

Filippo
Posted on: Mon, 09/28/2020 - 06:05

I am not sure how I landed here, but I will tell you as Endomorph I find from long time very useful to train 3 times per week depending on mesocycle 1 day full body strength to failure + 2 EDT or other high density technique splits upper body one day lower the second day did a very good job on me. around 30kcal per kg 2gr of pro per body weight no supplements. But any case regards to everybody from China

Avery
Posted on: Wed, 09/23/2020 - 16:30

Grow those muscles!!!

Derek Mullen
Posted on: Sun, 07/05/2020 - 12:43

So my biggest problem is I’m a 6’5” Meso who gains weight like an Endo.

I always see articles on body types all over the place. And everyone mentions that most people are a blend. But no one ever describes how to train for a blend more efficiently.

Any info or recommendations?

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Yoshi
Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:22

Hey Derek

While understanding your body type is good to help set goals and expectations, your ultimate progress will be a direct result of your diet and training intensity. Since not everyone has the same goals, there aren't exact training suggestions for specific body types.

That being said, set your goals and expectations based on your current body type. Once you know what you're working towards you can choose a program to help you get there. We have tons of different programs for you to choose from here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workout-routines

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Dan
Posted on: Thu, 09/17/2020 - 15:32

I hear ya man! 6'6" here definite ecto/meso I have a good frame but hard to gain as well. I limit my HIIT for sure, try to keep my heart rate down as my metab is super high.

Avery
Posted on: Wed, 09/23/2020 - 16:31

Grow your 6'5 muscles man!!!

ZeX450
Posted on: Sun, 06/28/2020 - 14:53

I'm 181 cm, 57 kg and currently 27 years old. I have a typical ectomorph body type. My fingers are also quite long. Finished high school with 180 cm and 50 kg. Did a lot of exercise with dumbbells (4-10 kg), kettlebells (12-24 kg), squads (35-55 kg) and bench (25-50 kg), with a specific diet for gaining weight and muscles with a lot of proteins (usually eat 2700-3500 calories daily, 4-5 meals). I just became stronger with only 7 kg of gained muscle mass. I have a very fast basal metabolism. Even though my BMI was never over 17.3, I was never unhealthy and never felt so either. Medical testing always showed normal results, normal blood pressure (115-130 / 70-90). The skinniest I ever was, was 177 cm and 44 kg in 2nd grade of high school (17 years old), but not anorexic in any way. The heaviest I ever was, was 181 cm and 58 kg not long ago.
But the most interesting part of all this is, that when I usually eat more, I stay at the same weight or even lose a few pounds (0,5-1,5 kg), and when I eat less, I gain a few poudns.

Joni
Posted on: Sun, 04/23/2023 - 11:04

Hey man, your diet sounds great but you might want to try a strength program that focuses on progressive overload such as SL 5x5. Those weights are very light and will not promote growth if you aren't increasing them on a weekly basis.

Don't focus too hard on bmi, metabolism, and body types. If you lift heavy and eat enough you'll put on weight.

Robert
Posted on: Sun, 04/12/2020 - 09:57

Great article. Might u have any endomorph body type workouts u can do at home with just barbells, dumbbells and bodyweight? All the recommended ones need cables/machines. Could I just do all exercises that don't need to be done at a gym or will that be too short of a workout program? I have a stationary bike too, is that enough for cardio? This is the greatest site by the way! Thx and take care

dwayne jhonson
Posted on: Mon, 02/10/2020 - 11:18

i think this artical can really help some of yall gain muscle alot easier make sure if ur an endomorph no cardio

Keenan
Posted on: Wed, 04/01/2020 - 18:55

Is this actually THE Dwayne Johnson

arya
Posted on: Sat, 06/05/2021 - 08:37

Why would THE ROCK spell his name wrong. Look carefully, its johnson not "jhonson" XD.

Blake
Posted on: Wed, 02/05/2020 - 03:32

I've been trying to figure out what body type i am. I'm 20 I'm somewhere between 5'6 and 5'7 and I weight about 135lbs I don't think I'm thin enough to be a ectomorph I have a regular amount of body fat but I also don't think I'm big enough to be considered a mesomorph.

Elayzha Thomas
Posted on: Mon, 08/05/2019 - 10:56

ehh i don’t really know which one i am, it kinda sounds like i’m meso/endo but i don’t know. i’m 5’8 1/2, i weigh 145 (i’ve been this weight since middle school and i only go up to 150), i’m 17, and i dance so i have a dancers body (like people can tell lol). i just want to know what’s best for me, so i can get in shape by my 18th and for senior prom!

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Mon, 08/05/2019 - 15:19

Hi Elayzha,

Somatotypes have actually been disproven since the writing of this article - because as you said, a lot of people show characteristics of multiple body types.

You can't go wrong with adopting a balanced weight training program - we have several great ones on our website. Simply pick one that interests you, aligns with your goals, and you feel you can be consistent with. If you do that, you'll def be in shape by prom.

Hope this helps!

Bloop
Posted on: Thu, 05/02/2019 - 18:57

I know that you shouldn't take this to heart, but am I both a mesomorph and an endomorph? I have a combination female body types of a pear and a spoon, have a medium frame, can gain or lose any type of weight easily but carry a bit of extra fat. I have about a 25%-29% body fat, but my shoulders and hips are almost the same size. I weight about 10 stone, 140lbs and have a height of about 155-157 cm (5'1"-5'2") I am a 19 year old female. I do believe I probably will know once my body stops fully developing @ 22.

Stefan
Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2019 - 08:47

Just to correct you all, you're BORN either an endo, ecto, or mesomorph. It's not something you can change.

I'm also an ectomorph by the way.

Didi
Posted on: Mon, 02/03/2020 - 00:08

So I was tiny my whole life never over 115 until my 3rd child. Small frame average height and could never mAke big gains. Now I am twice my old weight and am struggling to loose. How do I classify myself for my plan since I was born small and now I’m have a lot of fat tissue.

Syed Taaha
Posted on: Tue, 04/16/2019 - 15:54

I'm a 6"3 tall 16 yr old skinny teen.Could anyone suggest me exercises without weights in which I can build muscles and become stronger

jimmy
Posted on: Sun, 04/28/2019 - 14:14

its a good age to start.
start with push-up, pull-up, dips and squats
u an divide it on upper and lower body days work out.
u will see difference in a month

Gordy
Posted on: Tue, 05/21/2019 - 05:41

Strength requires you to pull or push heavy objects. A good choice would be to get your diet right, 1g of protein per kg of body weight as a minimum. Then get your novice training right. Give 'Starting Strength' a search online. It is a simple start to getting stronger but does require weights. However I guarantee you will be bigger and stronger within a 6 month period of following the program.

Takiyah
Posted on: Wed, 06/19/2019 - 16:08

There are hundreds of exercises you can do without weights. It’s about the intensity at which you work with proper rest periods that will determine your results. Time under tension and volume are the easiest intensity factors to control if you are new to training. Here is a list of exercises to get you started: Pushups (multiple variations), pull-ups/Chin-ups, Med-ball Front Squats, Squat jumps, Single Leg med-ball Deadlifts, Bulgarian Split Squats, Bulgarian Split Squat jumps, Bodyweight Row’s, physio-ball hamstring curls, Bench hip bucks (feet on bench), Hip thrusts (single leg); handstand holds. TRX body weight bicep curls, Lateral lunges, windshield Wiper abs, v-ups, Forward ball or a wheel roll outs, TRX knee tucks, pikes and mountain climbers. This list is assuming you have zero injuries. Always consult a doctor before starting any exercise routine. This comment is for informational purposes only. I assume zero responsibility for how this info is applied. Use this list at your own risk. Best of luck on your journey!

4/20
Posted on: Sun, 06/30/2019 - 09:28

eat fatty fish, beef, and eggs. focus on major muscles...like the chest, upper legs, upper/lower back.
Short, intense workouts w/ 70-95% max weight. Limit long/med cardio...do some sprints...focus on DIET/FOOD 1st...eat BEFORE bed.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of good fats, protein, other minerals (chia, hemp, walnuts)

Good luck brother

4/20
Posted on: Sun, 06/30/2019 - 09:28

eat fatty fish, beef, and eggs. focus on major muscles...like the chest, upper legs, upper/lower back.
Short, intense workouts w/ 70-95% max weight. Limit long/med cardio...do some sprints...focus on DIET/FOOD 1st...eat BEFORE bed.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of good fats, protein, other minerals (chia, hemp, walnuts)

Good luck brother

Filip
Posted on: Sun, 12/30/2018 - 15:05

180 cm 100 kg 13 yo endomorph here. Im definetly an endo as I build muscle very quicly, and im kinda overweight, but most of that 100kg are from muscles and a thick skeleton. I can for example lift my 70kg mom with eas for a good minute while walking around.