The Mesomorph Somatotype.

Since the whole site is dedicated to the physical realisation of a mesomorph body it makes sense to first detail what exactly a mesomorph is, and that means giving a little bit of background information on the term, and on its use.

Mesomorph is one of the three terms used in the somatotyping of the human body. Somatotyping is simply the process of categorising with reference to body shape, an activity that many physicians, philosophers and psychologists have endeavoured to do for thousands of years. The actual term mesomorph derives from the work of William Sheldon, an American psychologist, and godson of the famous pragmatist philosopher William James.

Sheldon’s work identified three basic body types which he called ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, with each somatotype refering to different body shapes and proportions. Everybody was thought to have a degree of each type and so the method of describing a physique was adopted whereby a score for each somatotype was included. As the scale of measurement was of seven points a perfect ectomorph would be described as 7-1-1, a perfect mesomorph 1,7,1 and a perfect endomorph 1,1,7. The mesomorph physique, which is the subject of this blog, was described as somewhere between the thin and lightly muscled ectomorph and the round and big boned endomorph. The physical description suggests mesomorphs possess large heads, broad shoulders and a narrow waist, a muscular torso with strong limbs, and very little body fat. They are usually assumed to be the most desirable of the body types, and are natural athletes with high metabolisms.

Psychologically they were also thought to have a particular mental profile, however such generalisations are considered spurious these days. However, there may be a modicum of truth in such profiling that is not universal and which may be useful outside of a professional context. So, although it won’t stand up in court, mesomorphs were thought in general to be adventurous, determined, self defining, competitive, and assertive.

Such purely genotypic descriptions of body type, such as Sheldon’s,  are now less well regarded than in the mid twentieth century. The  prevailing notion in the twenty first century is a blend of genetic and environmental description, so that a genetic endowment is coupled with the possibilities available within a certain environmental context. The mesomorph is therefore thought less of as a description of a natural body shape and more of as a description to which all people can aspire. Body shape changes with time, diet and exercise, and so although different physical types do clearly exist it is thought that these reflect lifestyle choices and are therefore phenotypes rather than genetic codes. In this sense the endomorph describes a person who adopts a sedentary lifestyle, the mesomorph one who engages in power sports and activities and the ectomorph as a person who enjoys pursuits such as long distance running, ballet, and the athletic jumping disciplines.

Contemporary somatotyping is usually based on the Heath-Carter Anthropometric measurement system, wherein detailed measurement of skin folds, height, bone breadth, limb circumferences, and weight are scaled and plotted on a somatochart. Such measurement scales are useful for applied biomechanics and sports science and can contribute a great deal to an individually tailored exercise and diet programme. The combination of all the body types enable dieticians and trainers to identify how a person might respond to particular programmes and how they might improve their performance with slight adjustments; all athletes have dominant mesomorph traits but the degree to which they also exhibit endomorphology and ectomorphology can be helpful in determining their specific training needs.
So, with a clear idea of what constitutes male and female mesomorph body shape, it makes sense to consider the best training style for the attainment of this shape. Without doubt, mesomorph respond best to training that involves heavy, quick movements designed to strengthen muscle and add bulk combined with shaping exercises that hone and define muscle. The more variety that can be incorporated into the training programme the better. Changes to the number of sets, reps, the amount of weight lifted, the session duration and the rest period between exercises should be considered in order to achieve the best results. Intensive training for three to four weeks should be followed by one to two weeks of lower intensity exercise. The diet should include one gramme of protein for every pound of weight and the fat intake should not exceed 16 percent for men and 22percent for women.

The rest of the site is dedicated to specific exercises, dietary advice and training articles all geared to the attainment of the mesomorph physique. Look through the site and take from it whatever you feel to be of interest. Incorporate the exercise routines into your fitness programme and cook up the recipes in the mesomorph diet section. Draw inspiration from the articles, and whether you are looking to become a mesomorph female or a mesomorph male, enjoy the process of self discovery whilst becoming stronger, wiser and more confident.

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