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Body Type Workouts >> What You Need to Know!


Perhaps you’ve heard about the three different body types, also known as the somatotypes, but did you know that it is also important to work out according to your body type?

Your body type is predominantly genetic, but that doesn’t mean you are limited to a certain level of fitness. While it might be unlikely to get that hourglass figure if you are predispositioned to have more of a straight and narrow physique type, there are ways you can train in order to make the most out of your body type and have a healthy fitness level that feels great! 


Since not all body types are the same, you may not find yourself identifying with one specific body type, and that’s totally normal! Still, this post should give you some guidance on how to train and eat to reach your own individual goals.

What are the 3 body types?

The idea of body types generalizes the shape and composition of the human body, and divides the characteristics into three common categories, known as the three somatotypes.  The three body types are Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph. You can get a good idea of what these body types look like and where they are prone to build more muscle and store more fat from the image below.

The History Behind The Somatotype Theory

The idea of the three body types was first introduced in the 1940s by Willian Sheldon, a University of Houston professor. After studying hundreds of people’s physiques, he found three extremes of body types – underweight, athletic, and overweight.(1) 

It may seem simple, but his theory was that human physiques fell into one of three categories and that it was impossible for anyone to change or alter their somatotype since it was determined by their skeletal structure.(2) 

Female body types

Modern Research On The Somatotype Theory

Over the years, there have been many studies performed to test Sheldon’s theory. One study looked at kayakers, basketball players, and football players and observed the athlete’s body type patterns in relation to the sport they played and level of performance.(3) 

They found that the high-achieving athletes in each sport had a common body type; high-achieving kayakers fell under the endomorphic body type, the basketball players aligned with the mesomorphic body type, and the football players fell under the ectomorphic body type.(4)

The results of this study concluded that a common somatotype was present in each of the high-achieving athletes in their chosen sport.(5)

On the contrary, there have been other studies that argue that the human physique can’t simply fall into three categories and that there must be either more body types or combinations of the ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph body types where someone shows two primary characteristics of two different body types.(6)  

How To Work Out According To The Body Types

Not everybody is going to fit exactly into a single category of body type, but you might notice that there is one type that is more predominant. Let’s break it down a bit further and talk about each body type in more detail as well as how you should approach your fitness training and balanced diet according to your type in order to maximize results.

Male body types


The Ectomorph is naturally very thin, has narrow hips and shoulders, very low body fat and very thin arms and legs. The Ectomorph might say things like, “No matter how much I eat, I cannot seem to gain weight.” Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is looking to lose weight, as fitness training is also about being healthy. So here are some great tips for fitness training and a balanced diet for the Ectomorphs. 

Ectomorph Workout:

Strength training for the Ectomorph:

  • Train with heavy weights and lots of rest in between sets (2-3 minutes) as well as in between exercises (5 minutes).
  • Only train 1-2 body parts per training day to avoid too much caloric expenditure.
  • Aim for 5-10 reps and 6-8 sets of each exercise.
  • Take plenty of rest in between workouts and never train a muscle group that is sore. And if you’re feeling really sore, try out foam rolling for recovery.

Check out this low-intensity strength training workout on our adidas Training app

Cardio training for the Ectomorph:

  • Very minimal cardio.
  • Moderate and low-intensity bike rides and brisk walks (think of them more as relaxing cardio activities to reduce stress).
  • lower-intensity, total-body workouts like Pilates, dance, and yoga 

Check out this low-intensity cardio training workout on our adidas Training app

Ectomorph Diet and Nutrition:  

  • Opt for well-balanced meals, making sure not to skip meals or trade for snacking.(7) 
  • Diet of moderate proteins, lower fats, and higher carbohydrates. 
  • Starchy carbohydrates like rice, oats, quinoa, and potatoes are a healthier choice.
  • A balanced diet could include oatmeal, fruits, veggies, nuts, lean meats, quinoa. 
  • Avoid highly processed carbohydrates like chips and candy. 


The Mesomorph body types are able to put on muscle easily, often having strong legs, broad shoulders, and a narrower waist. Generally, they also have very low body fat and are considered to not be overweight or underweight

Mesomorph Workout:

Strength training for the Mesomorph:

  • The more varied the training, the better the results.
  • Light, moderate, and heavy weight training as well as bodyweight training with the adidas Training app.
  • Basic exercises (squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, chest press, shoulder press, etc.) with heavy weights, followed by isolation exercises with moderate/light weights.
  • Aim for 8-12 reps for most exercises. When it comes to leg training, you can incorporate really heavy weights with around 6 reps and really light or no weights at around 25-30 reps for 3-5 sets.
  • Adding in other strength training activities that you think are fun can add variety to your fitness routine, like this Lower Body Lean With Band resistance band workout.

Check out this strength training workout on our adidas Training app

Cardio training for the Mesomorph:

  • 3 days per week of cardio for 15-30 minutes.
  • Get motivated with a fun and rhythmic with our HIIT workout on our adidas Training app. 

Check out this cardio training workout on our adidas Training app

Mesomorph Diet and Nutrition:

  • Well-balanced and equal distribution of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. 
  • Dinner idea could be grilled chicken breast, baked sweet potato, and roasted veggies.  


The Endomorph body type is more round and pear-shaped and tend to store more body fat throughout the entire body, especially in the legs and arms. Typically, it’s much harder for the Endomorph to put on muscle and much easier to gain weight. However, as mentioned before, health and fitness is possible for all body types despite your genetics. Reaching your goals might take more discipline and time but becoming more fit and healthy is worth the effort of making better choices.

Endomorph Workout:

Strength training for the Endomorph:

  • Total-body workouts with compound movements to burn the most calories. This can be a mix of bodyweight training with the adidas Training app as well as moderate weight lifting.
  • Avoid heavy weight lifting with low reps.
  • Aim for 8-12 reps and 3-5 sets for upper body and 12-20 reps for lower body.
  • After reaching initial weight loss goals, it is okay to start to isolate muscles you want to shape a bit more.

Check out this strength training workout on our adidas Training app

Cardio training for the Endomorph:

Check out this cardio training workout on our adidas Training app

Endomorph Diet and Nutrition:

  • Diet for endomorphs is higher proteins and lower carbohydrates. 
  • Consume food like quinoa, zucchini noodles, hummus, lean meats, and veggies. 

With so much information out there, it can be quite overwhelming to find the right body type workout that best suits your needs. Knowing your fitness body type is a great starting point to help lead you in the right direction. And remember, long-lasting results, regardless of your body type, take time and consistency. So keep it up and make the necessary adjustments as you continue on your fitness journey! 


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