Your body shape is based on the size of your physical features and their relation to each other on your body, while your body type determines your body’s ability to gain fat and muscle. In addition, certain exercise types are more effective if you’re a particular body shape or body type.
In most cases, you’ll fall into one of four female body shape categories, or you’ll be a combination of more than one:
The 5 main body shapeare;
- Pear: A sexy bottom and a petite upper body
- Apple: Beautifully bigger on your top half than your bottom
- Ruler: Straight up and down
- Hourglass: A well-proportioned top and bottom body with a narrow waist
Apple shape: These women have broad(er) shoulders compared to their (narrower) hips.Apple shaped women tend to have slim legs/thighs, while the abdomen and chest look out of proportion compared to the rest of the body. Fat is mainly distributed in the abdomen, chest, and face.
Ruler shape: the waist measurement is less than 9 inches smaller than the hips or bust measurement. Body fat is distributed predominantly in the abdomen, buttocks, chest, and face. This overall fat distribution creates the typical ruler (straight) shape.
Pear shape: The hip measurement is greater than the bust measurement. The distribution of fat varies, with fat tending to deposit first in the buttocks, hips, and thighs. As body fat percentage increases, an increasing proportion of body fat is distributed around the waist and upper abdomen. The women of this body type tend to have a (relatively) larger rear, robust thighs, and a small(er) bosom.
Hourglass shape: The hip and bust are almost of equal size with a narrow waist. Body fat distribution tends to be around both the upper body and lower body. This body type enlarges the arms, chest, hips, and rear before other parts, such as the waist and upper abdomen.
The human physique can be divided into 3 main body types, based on propensity for fat gain, muscle gain and frame size. While much is made of body shape, body type actually allows you to form a weight loss plan based on how your body responds to exercise and diet. In other words, it makes losing weight easier
Ectomorphs tend to have fragile, delicately built bodies and find it difficult to gain weight or add muscle. Supermodels, ballerinas and basketball players most commonly fall into this group.
- Small joints/ boned
- Long arms and legs
- Linear physique – “ruler body shape”
- Small shoulders
- Lightly muscled
- Small chest and buttocks
- Low body fat (without exercising or following low calorie diets)
- Can eat anything they like without weight gain
- Fast and efficient metabolism
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Difficulty in gaining muscle mass
Although ectomorphs tend to be highly regarded, one must remember that they have problems of their own. Ectomorphs tend to lack shape because of their low muscle mass. Female ectomorphs are likely to be flat chested and may complain of looking boyish, wishing they had more womanly curves. Male ectomorphs struggle to increase their muscle mass and may look wiry. As you see, they too, have to work hard to achieve their goals. As ectomorphs lack muscle mass, thus they need to keep their weight lower than endomorphs or mesomorphs. Furthermore, some ectomorph want and struggle to gain weight – muscle and some fat.
~Being a female ectomorph is currently in vogue. Ectomorphs, tend to lack both muscle and fat. However, it is not impossible to overcome your lack of muscle mass. It requires a serious focus on mass building through diet and weight training. The good news is that you have a naturally low body fat percentage. Thus, with even little gains in muscle you are able to boast excellent muscle definition. Female ectomorphs may want to gain mass to add shape.
Mesomorphs could be thought of as the “genetically gifted”. They are characterized by an athletic, strong, compact and naturally lean body. They have excellent posture. Often, their shoulders are wider than their hips and women tend to have an hourglass figure. Mesomorphs are natural born athletes and tend to be lean and muscular without trying. They generally are described as being of “medium” build. The world’s leading tennis players, figure skaters and bodybuilders fall into this group.
- Naturally lean
- Naturally muscular
- Naturally strong
- Medium size joints/ bones
- Wider at the shoulders than the hips – i.e. chest dominates over abdominal area
- Broad/ square shoulders
- Female mesomorph: defined hourglass figure
- Male mesomorph: V or rectangular shape
- Efficient metabolism
- Gaining muscle is almost effortless
- Losing fat is almost effortless
- Responds quickly to exercise
It is a great advantage to have mesomorphic qualities, as one has great foundations on which to build. Mesomorphs don’t have to worry too much about what they eat and they can gain muscle mass and lose weight fairly quickly with relatively easily. This combination allows the mesomorph to achieve fantastic definition of the body. However, as easily as you lose fat, you gain fat also. Janet Jackson is a good example of someone who has struggled with fluctuating weight, but when determined is able to lose weight relatively quickly and look incredibly defined and boast amazing abs.
~Female mesomorphs, that includes women who feel they have become too bulky, should do light-to-moderate weight training, no more than 3 times a week for muscle shaping and sculpting. This will help enhance tone and not increase size. Do 2 to 3 sets of 12 – 15 repetitions using light to moderate weights for each major muscle group. Try circuit training, which encourages strength and stamina, but without building bulk. Be careful when choosing thigh exercisesin a bid to slim down thighs.
Endomorphs have a soft, curvy and round physique and display the opposite characteristics from ectomorphs. They have a sluggish metabolism, gain weight easily and have to work hard to lose body fat. Endomorphs often have a larger frame and tend to have wider hips than shoulders, creating a pear-shaped physique. Some of the sexiest and most beautiful singers and actresses are endomorphs. Similarly, many of the actors and action heroes on the silver screen are endomorphs.
- Smooth, round body
- Medium/ large joints/ bones
- Small shoulders
- Short limbs
- High levels of body fat (may be overweight)
- Body fat tends to settle in lower regions of body, mainly lower abdomen, butt, hips, and thighs (rather than being distributed evenly throughout body)
- Pear-shaped physique
- Can gain muscle easily, but tends to be underdeveloped
- Difficult to keep lost body fat off
- Lose weight slowly
- Have to work hard to lose weight
- Slow metabolic rate
- Attacks of tiredness/ fatigue
- Fall asleep easily
There is no way round this issue. Endomorphs will have a harder time losing weight. But lets be clear. No one is saying that endomorphs CAN’T lose weight, but that they will have to work harder to lose the weight. Endomorphs do not have to be overweight. They simply require more determination than perhaps a mesomorph would, to achieve the same goal. Endomorphs have to train hard and must eat healthily most of the time. Endomorphs gain fat quickly when eating the wrong types of foods because their metabolism can be unforgiving.
The good news is that endomorph women are often thought of as voluptuous and sensual because they go in at the waist, have large rounded breasts and have womanly curves in all the right places. In shape the female endomorph is unrivaled – toned and fit whilst being soft, sensuous and alluring.
~Endomorphs have a higher body fat percentage. Thus, as an endomorph your primary focus should be on cardiovascular exercise and fat burning. Endomorphs should either start weight training immediately or wait until you have reached a weight with which you are more happy.
Hi Fitness Instructor