3 Main Body Types Of Men And How To Tell Them Apart

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Being physically fit is one of the best ways to increase your overall wellbeing. But to get the most out of our fitness routines, we need to fine-tune them to our body types.

Men come in different shapes and sizes – some are muscular, some are heavy, some are short and stocky, others are tall and lean.

Based on their unique physical characteristics, men’s bodies can be divided into three types.

In this article, we will discuss the three main body types of men and their core characteristics. We will also offer tips to help you determine your own body type.

What Are the Different Body Types?

The key to your health and fitness is your purpose. It’s not the how, it’s the why.

–Jon Butcher, Author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Program

Way back in the early 1940s, American psychologist William Sheldon classified people according to three body types: ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph.

Although this classification was based solely on physical features, Sheldon believed that people with the same body type also had some psychological traits in common. While this notion is considered outdated nowadays, Sheldon’s attempt at psychological profiling based on physical features is still interesting to consider from today’s point of view.



According to Sheldon, ectomorphs are lean with thin legs and arms, narrow chest and shoulders, and little-to-no body fat. Also known as cerebrotonic, they have narrow faces and appear very delicate. Ectomorphs have a hard time gaining weight – no matter how much they eat, they remain skinny.

In line with their physical appearance, Sheldon noted that ectomorphs tend to be quiet and fragile. He believed them to be socially anxious and self-conscious and suggested most ectomorphs tend to keep to themselves.

Is this true of ectomorphs today? Not at all. But it’s a fun notion to entertain.


Endomorphs are the polar opposite of ectomorphs. Known as viscerotonic, they are plump and buxom with narrow shoulders, large arms, and skinny wrists. Combined with wide hips and extra fat on their thighs, their bodies have a characteristic pear shape.

They are also the polar opposite of ectomorphs in terms of their behavior. According to Sheldon, endomorphs are fun-loving, even-tempered, and sociable.


Mesomorphs, also known as somatotonic, have muscular bodies with strong arms, strong legs, and very little body fat. They normally have a narrow waist and a large head that matches their broad shoulders.

Psychologically, at least according to Sheldon’s characterization, mesomorphs are somewhat similar to endomorphs. They are adventurous, courageous, and assertive. Always willing to take chances, mesomorphs tend to be very competitive and prefer being dominant in relationships.


What’s a Stocky Body Type?

For today’s men, body types aren’t limited only to the three devised by Sheldon more than 70 years ago.

Some men nowadays are referred to as stocky, which doesn’t fall into any of the three categories. Although this body type is most similar to endomorphic, it’s not exactly synonymous with it.

Stocky men are shorter than average with broad shoulders and hips. They gain muscle easily and have difficulty losing excess fat.

What Is a Medium Build Man?

Like stocky, the term medium build doesn’t correspond with any of the three main body types.

Although it’s very similar to the mesomorph body type, men with medium build bodies are neither short nor tall, neither skinny nor overweight, neither muscular nor delicate.

In a word, men of a medium build fall within the average ranges for both weight and height.


How Can You Tell Your Body Type?

The easiest way to determine your body type is to look at your physical characteristics:

If you’re thin with lean legs and arms and almost no body fat, you’re likely an ectomorph.
If you’re big-boned and have a smooth, round shape with higher levels of body fat, you’re probably an endomorph.
If you’re naturally lean, strong, and muscular with medium-to-large bones, you are a mesomorph.

Another way to determine your body type is to consider your metabolism.

Let’s say you’ve spent a weekend indulging in your favorite junk foods.

  • If you gain weight but have no problem getting rid of it, you are likely a mesomorph.
  • If you gain weight but struggle to lose it, you are likely an endomorph.
  • If you don’t gain any weight, you are likely an ectomorph.

The Final Word

No matter how rigorous your diet or exercise regimen is, you can’t change your body type.

Still, whether you gain weight easily or not at all, you can tweak your routine to get your body into shape. In doing so, it is important to set realistic goals for yourself and work on developing a positive body image.

Learn How To Shape A Crystal-Clear Vision Of Your Greatest Life For 2019 With Lifebook Founders, Jon & Missy Butcher. Sign Up For This FREE Masterclass Below.

What is your body type and how do you keep fit? Let us know in the comments below!

Hanna Havryliv

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