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SOMATOTYPES. 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.

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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 night.



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

Thin Waist

Wide shoulders


Way to Remember Mesomorph

Mis for Muscles or Mr. Pashley!!

ec t omorph

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?
  • Thin
  • Tall
  • Square Jaw
  • High forehead
  • Pear shaped body
  • Slim hips
  • High muscle mass
  • Narrow shoulders
  • Powerful body mass
way to remember ec t omorph
Way to remember EcTomorph

T is for Thin or Twig-like

en d omorph

Shape of face

Proportion of

Body Fat.

Width of ankles & wrists compared to rest of body

Overall body shape


Way to remember EnDomorph –

D is for Dumpy or Doughnuts

linking somatotype to sports
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

Zola Budd


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.