How To Train For Your Body Type

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Finding it hard to gain muscle? You might be training for the wrong body type.

A lot of people who start out with bodybuilding just jump right into it. Lift a lot of weights right? The more weight you lift the more muscle you’ll gain… right? Well it’s really not that simple – obviously. Actually, it’s really, really not that simple.

Anyone who knows even a little bit about bodybuilding knows that it takes equal parts training, dieting, and rest (and a lot of posing practice). But even if you understand that much, what kind of diet and training is right for you? There are a lot of options out there, a lot of opinions, and a lot of people who are just plain wrong. How do you know what is worth your time and energy?

A big part of that is to understand what body type you have. There’s always a lot of talk about genetics – and this is a huge part of it. What kind of body did your genes give you? (You can complain to your parents next time you see them).

Generally body types are broken down into three categories: Mesomorph, Ectomorph, and Endomorph. Let’s take a look at each one.

Generation Iron Body Types
Photo courtesy of Govt. of Western Aust. Dept. of Health


Mesomorph is the kind of body type you want to be if you’re a bodybuilder. These guys have a naturally athletic physique, find it relatively easy to lose weight, and are naturally strong. Outside of the bodybuilding world, they are the kind of people you see who say, “I don’t really work out much or do anything at all,” yet somehow look like athletes.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Large bone structure
  • Well defined muscles
  • Rectangular shape
  • Gain muscle easily
  • Gain fat relatively easily
  • Naturally athletic

General Fitness Guidelines

Mesomorphs have the easiest time with weight training. Muscle gains are seen very quickly making it easier to stay motivated when you first start hitting the gym. The only real downside to a mesomorph is that they also have no trouble gaining fat. A mesomorph needs to be extra careful about their calorie intake and make sure to include the correct amount of cardio in their bodybuilding routine. But really, if you’re a mesomorph you have nothing to complain about.


This is where things start to get tough for bodybuilders. Ectomorphs are the skinny guys you know who can never gain weigh. Those people who can eat whatever they want and never gain a pound (until they hit middle age and then start gaining weight in awkward places).

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Small skinny frame
  • Flat chest
  • Small shoulders
  • Fast metabolism/hard to gain weight
  • Hardgainer

General Fitness Guidelines

For bodybuilders, being an ectomorph is the worst. You are the classic hardgainer. You can’t gain weight, burn off your calories way too quickly, and at first it feels nearly impossible to get those big swollen muscles that are so desperately desired. To start, an ectomorph’s workouts should be short, intense, and focus on big muscle groups. You will definitely need to use additional supplements to make up for the mass amount of calories you burn. The one upside? Since there’s very little fat on the body it’s generally easier to keep your muscles lean – as long as you can build up that size first.


While endomorphs are far from ideal, they still have a manageable body type for bodybuilding. Endomorphs usually have soft bodies and gain fat very easily. They are usually shorter and thicker. The plus side is that endomorphs also have generally strong muscles – especially in the upper legs.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Soft and round
  • Slow metabolism/easy to gain weight
  • Also gains muscle easily
  • Stocky
  • Muscles not well defined

General Fitness Guidelines

The great thing about endomorphs is that it’s relatively easy to gain muscle – but it’s also very easy to gain weight. This makes it hard to have lean muscles and definition. The key here is to have a strong focus on cardio along with the intense weight training. Endomorphs have the least need for additional supplements.

Keep the Right Mindset

If you’re not a mesomorph, all is not lost. Just because you might be extremely skinny or easy to gain weight doesn’t mean you can’t get ripped. It just means that it will be harder to achieve it. Now that you know what kind of body type you are, you can start to adjust your training properly. If you have the dedication and work ethic, you’ll find yourself on the path to a jacked bodybuilder in no time.

In time we’ll break down each specific body type with more info on how to maximize your muscle gain to best fit your needs. For know you can sound off in the comments section below to let us know your body type tips. You can also reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter too.

The GI Team is here to provide top news and original content for the new generation. The generation of bodybuilders who are pushing the sport to bigger and better places. Join The Movement. Become a part of Generation Iron!