The somatotype is basically the shape of the body human and the type of physique . The term somatotype is used in the classification system of physical forms that humans have. This system was developed by the American psychologist WH Sheldon . In the Sheldon system, human beings can be classified in terms of body constitution in terms of three extreme body types: endomorphic or round fat type ; mesomorphic or muscular type ; and ectomorph, or thin, linear type. A three-digit somatotype number is determined for an individual classified by the system, the first digit refers to endomorphy, the second to mesomorphy and the third to ectomorphy; Each digit is on a scale from 1 to 7.


What is the somatotype?

The somatotype is a system designed to classify body type and is used to estimate the shape of the body and its composition. It is used primarily by athletes and helps in physical fitness assessments taking into account age and gender.

  • What is the somatotype for
  • History
  • Somatotype types
  • Somatotype calculation
  • Importance

What is the somatotype for

The somatotype basically serves to achieve a quantification of the shape and composition of the human body at a certain time, providing a quantitative summary of the physical aspect as a whole, combining the three aspects of the physical part in the primary components that are:  fat , muscle and linearity .


It serves to be able to compare the different competitive levels that athletes and the population in general may have , detects possible sports talents through its analysis. It helps characterize the changes that occur at the physical level during growth, aging and training .

It helps to make comparisons on the shape of men and women, it is an ideal tool to analyze body image and to be able to analyze the effects produced by diets.


The term was created by a psychologist and physician better known by the name of William Herbert Sheldon . Sheldon was born in 1898 in Rhode Island , and came from a highly educated family, he obtained his bachelor’s degree from Brown University , his master’s degree from the University of Colorado, and his doctorate in 1925. He also served as an officer in the Medical Corps in World War II. World . Beginning in 1938, he taught at Harvard University , before moving to Columbia University in 1947.

The somatotype system was heavily influenced by her studies and exposure to anthropometry and the belief that body type could be used as part of a holistic and integrated system of physical , mental, and spiritual health .

In 1940 W. Sheldon created a technique using the photographic method , a method that would later be modified with the anthropometric method by Parnell in 1954, after a while other authors tried to find solutions to some of the limitations of the method followed the study and in 1963 and 1967, Heat and Carter made modifications from tables and equations that were very difficult to carry out.

Somatotype types

Although this classification is still used today, it is important to mention that we all have well-defined characteristics or traits and we will probably have some characteristics of a different type in our body. The types of somatotype that exist are the following:

  • Mesomorphic bodies : its musculoskeletal structure is quite solid, its torso long and its chest well developed. They are generally strong , muscular, and athletic people . They gain muscle easily and it is the best ideal somatic for bodybuilding and almost any sport that involves strength and muscle, in addition, they have excellent posture and at the same time they can gain fat more easily than others.
  • Endomorphic bodies : endomorphic people tend to accumulate fat , their hips are generally rounded, their faces are round, and they have very little muscle. Endomorphic individuals have a tendency to gain weight and be obese because they store fat easily. They are generally above the average weight of the population so their efforts are focused on losing fat .
  • Ectomorphic bodies : this type of individual is generally very thin with long limbs , and their bone structure is also thin. They are usually under the weight that is considered “normal” and have great difficulty gaining weight . Their metabolism is too fast and for this reason they take very little use of the food they eat.

Somatotype calculation

Athletes or people who want to know their somatotype are classified into three degrees of manifestation of endomorphy , mesomorphy and ectomorphy . In this way it is calculated:

  • Low : 0.5 to 2.5
  • Moderate : 3 to 5.5
  • Height : from 5.5 to 7
  • Very high : 7.5


For athletes or people who want to lose weight it is very important to know the somatotype because in this way they can adapt their workouts and thus achieve the desired results . These characteristics condition our diet and our training, helping us to be more efficient .

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