These Are The Best Types Of Exercise For Your Body Type

Unsplash/Justyn Warner

Have you ever heard someone say, “I just don’t have a runner’s body” or, “Pushups are a struggle no matter how strong I am”? So have we, and it turns out there is a fair amount of scientific truth behind these statements that can easily be mistaken for excuses.

Your body type plays a major role in determining which types of physical fitness come naturally (and not so naturally) to you. Different body compositions are comprised of different combinations of muscle fiber types, propensities to build muscle, tendencies to retain storage fat and beyond. You can certainly challenge these aspects of human physiology and work harder to do the activities you like most, but it’s still worth knowing where your genetic talents truly lie, as well as which movements will help your body attain its optimal fitness level.

So with that said, here are the best types of exercise for each of the three dominant body types. (And remember, you are probably a combination of two categories as opposed to a strict adherer to one set of guidelines.)

Unsplash/Marion Michele

If you’re predominantly an endomorph

You’re naturally a little shorter and a little softer. While you have strong lower body muscles (score), you also store fat super easily, which makes staying trim and toned a true pain in the ass. But that doesn’t mean you should run for that treadmill just yet. Moderate-intensity cardio with intervals a few times a week is your best bet to see total body fat reduction, thanks to its ability to spike your heart rate and activate those calorie-burning muscles simultaneously. And speaking of muscles, keep them strong and toned with a few days of high-rep moves with either smaller free weights or your bodyweight. Marrying that aerobic heart rate zone with muscle endurance is key for endomorphs.

If you’re predominantly an ectomorph

You’re the string bean of the bunch. While you probably love the fact that you don’t store fat very easily, your difficulty gaining muscle really pisses you off. Your ability to convert carbs to energy is magnificent, making your body naturally at home on any cardio machine or on a long-distance run. (Yay, cardio!) But when it comes to strength training, you need to focus on fewer reps of heavier lifts that require the use of several muscle groups at once. And strength train around three days a week to see any kind of real muscle gains. If you overtrain, your body won’t recover in a timely fashion, and if you skip strength training entirely, well, that string bean look is there to stay.

If you’re predominantly a mesomorph

Ah, the natural athlete! Lucky you, holding on to the muscle and ditching the fat. But you have to train the right way to enjoy those body shape benefits from day to day. Mesomorphs also run the risk of getting bulkier than they want to as they work to increase their overall strength. High-intensity interval training is your BFF. It involves all the fat-burning, muscle-strengthing moves like plyometrics and interval sprints will serve your body well, and because these workouts are typically timed very intentionally, you can focus on giving the workout your full effort and then be done with it. Just make sure you give your muscles enough recovery time throughout the week.