I remember growing up and realising that some kids were just better at certain sports than others. The long armed lean kids would win the long-distance running events. The shorter armed thicker kids were strong! The kids in between like myself were often quick and looked more athletic.
In the western world we use somatotypes to rate and classify the overall body form based on three components: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph. On slide 2 you can see there are some major discrepancies between body composition of the three (ectomorphs are thinner and leaner, mesomorphs are more muscular and endomorphs carry more bodyfat naturally).
In this study they used 216 pairs of genetic twins made up of children and adolescents with different somatotypes. And, they put them through two factors of physical fitness;
• Muscular strength
• Cardiorespiratory endurance and motor ability
What they found:
1. Ectomorphs had higher motor ability and cardiorespiratory endurance compared to mesomorphs and endomorphs who had lower.
2. Endomorphs and mesomorphs showed higher associations with increased muscular strength and ectomorphs with lower.
These associations are mainly due to genetic background and genetic factors. Therefore, we should now be able to consider what sport is suited best to you based on your somatotype for you or your children.
Endomorphs: It would be highly advantageous to be involved in sports that lift heavy such as rugby, powerlifting and strongman. Don’t try to become a world champion marathon runner, it just won’t happen.
Ectomorphs: It would be highly advantageous to take part in high endurance sporting events. Probably not going to be a world champion Olympic lifter.
Mesomorphs: These guys are somewhat in between. They are usually really good sprinters and can get really strong like endomorphs. Additionally, they can perform in moderate endurance sports and have a wider array of sporting events that will allow them to perform at a high levels.
With all that being said, you can do which ever sport you want to in life if you enjoy it. Don’t let your somatotype tell you can’t do something. However, it’s highly unlikely that a certain somatotype will reach the very top level because of genetic factors.
Article Written by
Level 2 Senior Coach, naturopathy student and transformation expert
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