Bodybuilders seek to increase muscle mass without adding fat mass.

Bodybuilders & Body Types

by Rick Nadell

Bodybuilders have a very specific goal when they weight train. Unlike athletes, they do not wish to improve speed, power or explosiveness; instead bodybuilders seek to increase muscle mass while reducing fat mass. If you are someone who is interested in bodybuilding, knowing what body type you have will allow you to properly tailor your training and diet to achieve your goal effectively.


Ectomorphs are the classic "hardgainer" types. Typically, ectomorphs are tall and lean with long legs and arms -- your classic basketball player build. As a general rule ectomorphs are best served training with heavy weight for moderate repetitions (for example, 85 percent of your max for sets of five reps). Additionally, ectomorphs should be constantly eating calorie-dense foods (for instance, beans and nuts) to allow for muscle growth and ensure they are getting the most out of every food they ingest.


Endomorphs are the exact opposite of ectomorphs; they pack on weight every easily but struggle to lose it. Generally, endomorphs are stocky and appear to be soft, yet are fairly strong. If you are an endomorph, then your goal should be to improve your metabolism; try using supersets, compound sets or even circuits with shorts rest periods (for instance, 60 seconds). As far as a diet is concerned, endomorphs should eat small meals every two to three hours and focus on lean proteins and foods that are not very calorie dense, for example lettuce and peppers.


Mesomorphs have the perfect mix of the other two body types: They have the fat-loss capabilities of the ectomorph and the muscle-gaining abilities of the endomorph. These people generally appear very athletic and are lean and muscular. A mesomorph's training should be the classic three sets of 10 repetitions per exercise with about 90 seconds rest between sets. If you are a mesomorph you can put on muscle quickly but may also lose it quickly; it's important that you are constantly nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods that promote muscle growth.

Your Body Type

Knowing which body type you have is important so you can specialize your training to achieve the best results. However, not everyone fits into one specific category. In fact, most people have the characteristics of at least two of these body types. Therefore, it is important to experiment with your training and diet and watch how your body responds. Regardless of your body type, it is possible to achieve the physique you want; it will just take time, effort and little trial and error.

About the Author

Rick Nadell received his Masters in kinesiology from the University of Rhode Island and my Bachelors in physical education from Bridgewater State University. He currently serves as an assistant strength coach at Athlete’s Equation in Cumberland, R.I. as well as runs his own website,

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