It is all in the shape
Brian Mackenzie explains the three body types - Endomorph, Mesomorph and Ectomorph.
Our success as an athlete comes from a combination of athletic ability and our body build. There are three components to body build: type, size and composition
There are three extremes of body types.
All athletes are made up of the three extreme body types, so we are all part endomorph, part mesomorph and part ectomorph. Using a score of one to seven we can grade our bodies on each of the extreme body types. For example: two, six, three means: two (low endomorphy); six (high mesomorphy); three (low ectomorphy). In this way we can compare our body type with that of other athletes. This method of body typing is known as somatotyping. Height is not taken into consideration when working out our body type.
Body size refers to the athlete's height and weight. The ideal size for an athlete depends on the sport or event and sometimes the position they play in their sport (consider the various body sizes in a Rugby team). There are standard ideal weight charts based on an individual's height. These tables unfortunately do not help athletes because they do not allow for body composition. Being overweight is not a problem provided it is extra muscle and not fat.
Body composition refers to the athlete's body fat. In most sports the athlete will try to keep his/her levels of body fat to a minimum. In general, the higher the percentage of body fat the poorer the performance.
Reference Man and Women
The concept of a reference man and women was developed in the 1960s by Dr Albert Behnke. The reference standard does not mean that men and women should try to achieve the body composition values, or that reference values actually represent "average". The model provides a useful reference to interpret statistical comparison of athletes involved in physical training programs.
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About the Author
Brian Mackenzie is a British Athletics level 4 performance coach and a coach tutor/assessor. He has been coaching sprint, middle distance and combined event athletes for the past 30+ years and has 45+ years' experience as an endurance athlete.
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: