Have you ever noticed that your body shape is quite different from that of your best friend, sister, or coworker? Have you been wondering why some people have that hourglass figure, while others are more pear-like in appearance? Well, this is because every man and woman is born with a specific body type and body shape. Depending upon your genetics, as well as your exercise routine and diet, your body shape may be quite different from those around you. Not everyone likes the body type or shape that they are born with, but there are ways to make the most of what you have. Here are some tips on how to identify your body type and shape as well as how to sculpt it with the best possible exercises.
What is Body Type?
Everybody is born with a different body type. This is why every man and woman has a different body shape, and develops different levels of body fat and muscle mass. Your body type is completely determined by genetics. You will probably share the same body type as one of your parents, or your sister or brother. Because body type is a genetic trait, it is usually very difficult or impossible to change body types.
The Three Body Types
There are three different body type classifications:
- Endomorphs: Endomorphs tend to have bigger bones that the other body types. These men and women usually have round faces with larger thighs and hips. Endomorphs have arms and legs that tend to be short and tapering, giving them a stocky appearance. Most endomorphs have comparatively small hands and feet and a high waist. Additionally, endomorphs have higher levels of body fat than the other body types, but they can also build muscle and lean mass easily. Weight loss is most difficult for the endomorph body type.
- Mesomorphs: Mesomorphs are usually described as having an athletic build. They often have an hourglass or ruler shape, and gain muscle mass easily. The majority of mesomorphs have broad shoulders and a narrow waist. They have a fast metabolism and can lose weight more easily than endomorphs.
- Ectomorphs: Ectomorphs have a thin, linear appearance. Most ectomorphs look like rulers, with narrow waists, hips, and shoulders. Ectomorphs can lose weight easily and tend to have low levels of body fat. However, they also have a harder time gaining lean muscle mass.
Few people actually fall distinctly into one category. Instead, it is much more likely that you will be a combination of the body types. Common combinations include ecto-mesomorph and endo-mesomorph.
What is Body Shape?
In addition to your body type, you will also find that you have a distinct body shape. Your body shape is based upon the size of your physical features and the overall balance of your body. Men and women tend to have different body shapes. Men are often described as having a rectangular shape or a cone shape. Women are typically described as having hourglass, pear, apple, or ruler body shapes.
Determining Your Body Shape
Before you can perform the right exercises for your body, you need to determine which type of body shape you have.
- Hourglass: Women with an hourglass shape are often envied by all of their friends. This is because hourglasses have well-proportioned upper and lower bodies, with a distinctively narrow waist. However, if you are an hourglass, you may find that you tend to gain weight all over your body, particularly in your hips and chest area. Hourglasses tend to be endomorphs or mesomorphs.
- Pear: Pear-shaped women tend to have larger lower bodies and smaller upper bodies. If you are a pear, you will find that your hips are slightly wider than your shoulders and that you tend to gain weight below your waist. Pears usually have small chests and flat stomachs. Most pears are mesomorphs.
- Apple: Apples are generally bigger on the top half of their bodies than on the bottom half. They commonly have slim hips and a large chest and stomach. Apples tend to gain weight above the waist or along the backside. The majority of apples are mesomorphs or endomorphs.
- Ruler: Women with a ruler shape tend to be waif-like and slim. Rulers have no large differences between the size of their hips, waists, and shoulders. Rulers tend to put on weight in their stomach and backside, while maintaining slender arms and legs. Most rulers are ectomorphs.
Making the Most of Your Shape
Though you may not be 100% satisfied with your body type or shape, there are ways that you can help to make the most of your body’s characteristics. Here are some exercises that you can perform to will aid in toning your body, whatever your shape.
If you are an Hourglass’
If you are have an hourglass figure, then you should be focusing on both cardio and resistance exercises. Cardio will assist in keeping your weight in check, while resistance exercises will help to maintain balance between your upper and lower body. Vary your repetitions and keep your resistance weights light so as not to build too much muscle mass. Here are some great exercises that you may want to try:
- slow jogging
- stationary biking (with light resistance)
- jumping jacks
- bicep curls, shoulder presses, and squats
If you are a Pear’
If you are a pear you will want to focus on exercises that will balance out the top half of your body with the bottom half of your body. You will also want to try to thin down your lower half. To achieve this, focus on aerobic activities that work out your lower body, and resistance exercises that will build your upper body. Use light weights and perform high repetitions of exercises. Some great activities include:
- cycling (with low resistance)
- elliptical training
- jumping rope
- leg lifts and dips
- push ups, chin ups, and shoulder presses
If you are an Apple’
If you are an apple, you will want to focus on aerobic training in order to slim down and lose body fat. By working on the lower half of your body, you can help balance out your chest and shoulders. Look to perform exercises that are low-resistance and involve low repetitions, such as:
- walking on an incline
- leg squats, leg presses, and deadlifts
If you are a Ruler’
If you are a ruler, you will be able to perform pretty much any activity you want to. Perform cardio activities to help you lose weight in problem areas, such as the buttocks and stomach. You will especially want to build muscle mass through resistance exercise. To ensure that you build a symmetrical body shape, all of the muscle groups should be emphasized and routinely given a workout. Focus on:
- step classes
- walking or jogging on an incline
- bench presses and shoulder presses