Morphology: What does it tell us?

We all have unique body builds, known as somatotypes or morphology. There are 3 somatotypes: endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph.


The endomorph morphology corresponds to a thick morphotype with a chubby physique and generally shorter limbs. Endomorphs gain weight easily because their metabolism is slow and they can store fat easily.

JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(6):e183605. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605


By contrast, ectomorphs are the slimmest of the three types, with prominent bony features and low body fat. They are commonly described as skinny or gangly. This morphotype favors rapid fat loss as ectomorphs tend to have a fast metabolism. However, this body type tends to have low muscle mass, making it ideal for endurance sports.

JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(6):e183605. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605


Finally, mesomorphs are muscular. This is the athletic morphotype by excellence, as it responds very quickly to training. Given their strong joints and thick bone structure, they present less risk of injury when lifting heavy loads. With limbs of varying lengths, they are naturally muscular and energetic, but can easily put on weight if they don’t watch their diet. They can therefore modulate their weight more easily, given their ability to have both muscle and fat.

JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(6):e183605. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.3605


Because certain activities are more suited to a particular body type. What’s more, depending on body type, the risk of injury can be increased. For example, the ectomorphic-type body, with its slim physique and long limbs, does not lend itself to heavy weightlifting; the long levers of the limbs put joints and their ligaments at a disadvantage. Mesomorphs, by contrast, are larger and stockier, making their bodies more suited to weightlifting than perhaps running. Although it is not good to overgeneralise, these observations may be useful at times- for example, when frequently injured clients appear to be participating in sports and activities not necessarily suited to their body types.

To find out more or to obtain an intervention plan tailored to your needs, talk to your doctor or make an appointment with our team of kinesiologists via your care pod.

*The information contained in this sheet is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional and is provided for informational purposes only.

Sources: Postural Assessment de Jane Johnson et