WHAT IS SOMATOTYPING?
The Technique Of Somatotyping Is Used To Appraise Body Shape
Somatotyping Is A System Of Classifying Body Types In Terms Of
Three Categories: Endomorphy, Mesomorphy And Ectomorphy
Three Somatotypes, Named After The
Three Germ Layers Of Embryonic
The Endoderm(develops Into The Digestive
The Mesoderm ,
(Becomes Muscle, Heart And Blood Vessels),
And The Ectoderm (Forms The Skin
And Nervous System).
"SOMATOTYPES" AND THEIR SUPPOSED
ASSOCIATED PHYSICAL TRAITS
• Long and thin muscles/limbs and low fat storage
• medium bones, solid torso, low fat levels,
wide shoulders with a narrow waist; usually referred
to as “muscular”
• increased fat storage, a wide waist and a large bone
structure, usually referred to as “fat”
MOST COMMONLY MEASURED USING THE HEATHCARTER MEASUREMENT SYSTEM
THREE WAYS OF OBTAINING THE SOMATOTYPE
• Body composition refers to the relative proportion of
lean body mass (LBM) and body fat mass (BFM) within
• LBM can further be subdivided into:
muscle mass, body water, and bone mass.
• These two approaches are commonly referred to as a
two-compartment model (LBM and BFM) or a fourcompartment model (BFM, muscle mass, body water
and bone mass) for assessing body composition.
The composition of a human body may be considered
from different perspectives.
The human anatomy model divides the body into
the following systems:
• adipose tissue (body fat)
• the others (inner organs, etc.)
The chemical model consists of:
minerals (Ca, P, Mg, Cl, Fe, Cu, etc.)
Skin fold thickness
THE ANTHROPOMETRIC SOMATOTYPE
Equipment for anthropometry:
• stadiometer or height scale and headboard
• weighing scale
• small sliding caliper
• a flexible steel or fiberglass tape measure
• a skinfold caliper
TEN ANTHROPOMETRIC DIMENSIONS NEEDED TO
CALCULATE THE ANTHROPOMETRIC SOMATOTYPE
• Stretch stature
• Body mass
• Four skinfolds (triceps, subscapular,
supraspinale, medial calf)
• Two bone breadths (biepicondylar humerus
• Two limb girths (arm flexed and tensed, calf).
FACTORS THAT MAY INFLUENCE BODY
RACE AND ETHNIC
• Many studies have documented an increase in
body weight and percent body fat with
• For the majority of people, LBM decreases
with age and body fat increases with age, even
if body weight does not change.
• Women have a higher percentage of body fat than do
• For individuals 25 to 54 years
thicknesses ranged from 11 to 15 mm for men and
19 to 30 mm for women depending on height and
• ranges for subscapular skinfold thicknesses were 13
to 18 mm for men and 12 to 29 mm for women.
RACE AND ETHNIC GROUP
• Differences in body composition based on the
• Studies conducted by Vogel and Friedl, and
separately by Harman and Frykman suggested that
excess weight diminishes running performance and
that, conversely, lower body weight is associated
with relatively better running performance.
• Harman and Frykman
individuals do well with tasks of muscular strength
TRADITIONAL VS. NEW METHODS
Total body water
Total body potassium
Urinary creatinine excretion
Anthropometry: Bone measures , Skinfolds, Arm
Neutron activation analysis
• Total body calcium
• Total body nitrogen
• Total plasma creatinine
• Endogenous urinary 3-methylhistidine excretion
• Electrical conductance:
Total body electrical conductivity (TOBEC).
• Computerized tomography
• Subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness
• Infrared interactance
• Magnetic resonance imaging
Simple measurements or indices:
• skinfold thickness
• Body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight/
• Waist circumference (WC)
BIOELECTRIC IMPEDANCE ANALYSIS
• The principle on which BIA is based is that lean tissue
conducts electricity better than does fat tissue.
• Electrodes are placed on the arms and legs, and a
low-level current is run through the individual.
• Impedance resistance to the flow of electricity is
measured, and the percent body fat is calculated by
TWO-COMPONENT TECHNIQUES AND
DUAL ENERGY X RAY ABSORPTIOMETRY:
• measure bone mineral mass
• calculated from the differential absorption of
x rays of two different energies
• quick and acceptable for children down to about 4
years, and can also be used in small infants.
• Typically used to diagnose and follow osteoporosis
• Could be used to measure regional (limb) lean mass
• Disadvantage: radiation exposure
• The density of the body is measured by weighing the
body in air and under water, with correction made
for residual air in the lungs.
• acceptable two-component technique.
• Could provide longitudinal data on both lean and fat
mass since its accuracy is less likely to be affected by
changes in fatness.
• Does not provide regional data.
SOMATOTYPE AND SPORTS
• Triathletes are more muscular than runners but with less leg
development than cyclists and less upper body development
• Low body weight improves the power-to-weight ratio.
• Short legs boost balance and stability, allowing players to
• They also can prevent back injuries.
• Speed and aerobic endurance are musts.
• Long arms and legs act as levers, allowing swimmers to
produce greater force in the water.
• Big hands and feet propel the swimmer faster.
• Low body fat levels conserve energy because the runner
carries less weight.
• Muscles will ideally be slow twitch (or fatigue resistant),
• All over muscle and lower body fat levels give sprinters their
• Muscles must be fast twitch(they contract quickly).
• Height does not matter, so long as stride length is efficient.
• For mid court players, powerful legs enable leaps to intercept
high passes and sprint speed to chase the ball.
• End court players are usually with long arms for shooting and
• Short legs lower the weight lifters centre of gravity (CoG),
• Short arms reduce the arc through which the weight must be
• Long limbs in relation to the body boost the gymnasts powerto-ratio.
• Low body fat results in better muscle definition.
• Broad shoulders and narrow hips promote maximum upper
Body Composition and Physical Performance, Marriott, Bernadette
• The Heath-carter Anthropometric Somatotype, J.E.L. Carter
• Measuring body composition, C K Wells, M S Fewtrell, Arch Dis
• Methods for the assessment of human body composition:
traditional and new, Henry C Lukaski, Am J Clin Nutrition
• Body organization and composition.