A Somatotype is another name for Body build or
Physique. It describes how thin, fat or muscular
you are. Different Somatotypes suit different
activities for a variety of reasons.
By the end of today’s lesson you should know what
the three extreme Somatotypes are, be able to
describe each one and understand how a
combination of body types helps athletes to
become elite performers in their chosen activities.
These are the three ‘extreme’ Somatotypes. Let us look in
greater detail at each of them, starting with a picture of Mr.
Pashley in his trunks by the side of the Pool on a dark
The first type of Somatotype we are going to
examine is the MESOMORPH.
Look at the picture and comment on shape
of head, overall body shape, proportion of
fat & muscle, shoulders and waist.
Characteristics of a Mesomorph
Large square head V or wedge shaped body
Very little fat High proportion of muscle
Wide shoulders Thin Waist
Way to Remember Mesomorph
M is for Muscles or Mr. Pashley!!
Paula Radcliffe is a good example of an
Ectomorph body type.
Here are a list of words – some of them
accurately describe what an Ectomorph’s
body would look like – others are there to
put you off. Can you decide which are
appropriate and which aren’t?
• Square Jaw
• High forehead
• Pear shaped body
• Slim hips
• High muscle mass
• Narrow shoulders
• Powerful body mass
Way to remember EcTomorph
T is for Thin or Twig-like
Shape of face
Width of ankles
compared to rest
Overall of body
Way to remember EnDomorph –
D is for Dumpy or Doughnuts
Linking Somatotype to Sports
• It is important to recognise that extreme
Somatotypes are rarely good performers.
• Most top class Games players need
POWER, SPEED & STRENGTH in
varying degrees and are therefore a
combination of Body types.
• A tall but powerful frame is therefore said
to be a MESO-ECTOMORPH.
• A wide, strong & heavy frame is therefore
said to be a MESO-ENDOMORPH.
Let’s see if you can identify some Sporty Somatotypes
A clip or a picture of a person playing a Sport will be shown.
Your task is to write down the Sport and say which
Somatotype is best suited to that activity and WHY !
First Activity: Long Distance Running
Answer to which Somatotype suits
Long Distance Running
• The best Somatotype for Long Distance Running is a
Meso-Ectomorph who is fairly short & light. Note that
they will be significantly more Ectomorph than
Mesomorph. Why is this do you think?
Carrying excess weight in the form of muscle is a drain on
Endurance levels and will fatigue the athlete faster. Little body fat
is a definite advantage too and we would expect Long Distance
runners to have very low levels of fat due to the amount of training
they do over a typical week.
Next Activity: Rugby
Look at the clip and say which body type is best suited to Rugby.
Look out especially for the crunching tackles and their body shape!
Answer to which Body Type is best suited to Rugby
Some (but not all) positions in Rugby require bulk and power to
increase their chances of making or breaking tackles. Therefore the
best Somatotype for this situation is a MESO-ENDOMORPH.
Discuss the qualities and Somatotype needed to be an effective Winger in Rugby.
Watch this clip of a Winger scoring a try to give you some ideas.
If you are a Winger in Rugby, your job is more reliant on Speed rather
than tackling ability. You need to be aware that sometimes
different positions IN THE SAME GAME require different body
types to be effective.
Use the Somatotype Grid to Match the Sport to the Activity
Name of Sport Best fit Reason / Other