Biotypology: Ectomorphy, Mesomorphy, and Endomorphy

Biotypology, a once-popular branch of medicine, is an intriguing field that focuses on the classification and study of body types and their correlation with certain morphological characteristics. Although it is considered obsolete today, its concepts and theories still hold some interest, and provide an interesting perspective on body constitution and its implications.

Understanding Biotypology

Biotypology is rooted in the idea that identifying a person's constitutional type is a crucial step in determining their specific needs and objectives, particularly in the context of developing training programs. This field has seen numerous classifications and theories, some of which are still discussed and revised today.

However, it should be noted that biotypology has not been validated through scientific experimentation and is largely considered non-academic today. Some of its concepts, such as the emphasis on muscular development based on proportions, are still considered shareable, but others are questionable and do not allow for a clear categorization of subjects.

Sheldon's Somatotypes: Ectomorphs, Mesomorphs, and Endomorphs

One of the most popular biotypological classifications in the past is Sheldon's somatotypes. This classification system, developed around 1940, categorizes human biotypology into three physical scales: ectomorphy, mesomorphy, and endomorphy.



  • Long, thin muscles and limbs.
  • Low fat storage; difficult to gain weight.
  • Fast metabolism.
  • Thin, slightly muscular build.

Notable Examples:

  1. Athletes: Many successful marathon runners and endurance athletes exhibit ectomorphic characteristics. Their slender, lightweight frames are advantageous for long-distance running.
  2. Celebrities: Actors like Keanu Reeves and Edward Norton, as well as musicians like Taylor Swift, known for their lean and tall physique, are often cited as examples of ectomorphs in popular culture.



  • Medium-sized bones.
  • Solid torso, low levels of body fat.
  • Broad shoulders, narrow waist.
  • Natural propensity for muscle development.

Notable Examples:

  1. Athletes: Mesomorphs are common in sports where strength, speed, and power are key. Many top sprinters, swimmers, and gymnasts, like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, demonstrate mesomorphic traits.
  2. Celebrities: Hollywood stars like Chris Hemsworth or Jennifer Lawrence, known for their ability to quickly get into shape for roles, often display mesomorphic characteristics.



  • Increased fat storage.
  • Wide waist, larger bone structure.
  • Slower metabolism.
  • Predisposition to gain both muscle and fat.

Notable Examples:

  1. Athletes: Endomorphs are often seen in sports where body mass is an advantage, such as rugby or powerlifting. Athletes in these categories tend to have more muscular and fuller figures typical of endomorphs.
  2. Celebrities: Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey or Seth Rogen, who have fuller figures and rounder body shapes, are often categorized as endomorphs.

Hippocrates' Biotypes

Hippocrates' biotypes represent an early attempt to categorize human constitutions based on physical and metabolic characteristics.

  1. Cerebral or Nervous: Predominant nervous system influence. Lean, wiry body; quick, active mind. High metabolism; intellectual, analytical traits.
  2. Bilious: Influenced by liver and gallbladder. Robust, firm physique. Strong metabolism; leadership qualities, potential for temperamental behavior.
  3. Muscle Blood: Emphasizes muscular strength, developed circulatory system. Strong, hearty, physically active. Supports muscle growth, physical endurance; energetic, courageous.
  4. Lymphatic: Rounded body shape; accumulates fluids and fat. Relaxed demeanor. Slower metabolism; calm, stable, patient; potential for sluggishness and fluid-related health issues.

Galèno's Biotype

Galèno's theory is based on the ancient Greek concept of four humors: phlegm, blood, yellow bile, and black bile. These humors were believed to be bodily fluids that influenced both physical and mental health.

Four Temperaments Derived:

  1. Lymphatic (Phlegmatic): Associated with phlegm. Characterized by a relaxed, peaceful, and quiet personality.
  2. Sanguine: Linked to blood. Describes a person who is sociable, outgoing, and active.
  3. Bilious (Choleric): Connected to yellow bile. Represents a passionate, ambitious, and energetic temperament.
  4. Astrabiliare (Melancholic): Related to black bile. Indicates a thoughtful, introspective, and often melancholic disposition.

This theory, while outdated in terms of medical science, had a profound impact on psychology and the arts, influencing personality theory and character development in literature.

Sigaud's Biotypes

Developed by the French morphologist Louis-Victor Marcé Sigaud, he classified bodies based on their shape and postural characteristics, with a particular focus on the relationship between physical constitution and personality traits.

Sigaud's Classification:

  1. Respiratory Type: Characterized by a well-developed chest and associated with vivacity and sociability.
  2. Digestive Type: Marked by a prominent abdomen, indicating a predisposition towards calmness and reflection.
  3. Muscular Type: Defined by muscular development, linked to willpower and physical strength.
  4. Cerebral Type: Identified by a prominent head and face, associated with intellectual and mental capacities.

Android and Gynoid Classification

Introduced in the mid-1940s by Jean Vague it focuses on body fat distribution as a health risk indicator.

Two Main Types:

  1. Android (Apple-shaped): Fat distribution is primarily around the abdomen and upper body. Associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.
  2. Gynoid (Pear-shaped): Fat accumulates around the hips and thighs. Considered to be less risky in terms of metabolic diseases but may be associated with issues such as osteoporosis.

This classification is particularly significant in modern medicine for understanding obesity-related health risks.

Training According to Biotypes

The different biotypes can have implications for training. For instance, android subjects, who easily accumulate and burn fat, are advised to train during cortisol peaks, with sessions not exceeding 50-60 minutes. On the other hand, gynoid subjects, who accumulate fat easily but burn it with difficulty, should train during their best metabolic peaks, with high volume and medium-low intensity workouts.


While biotypology is no longer a recognized field in modern medicine, its theories and classifications provide a fascinating glimpse into how our body constitution can impact our physical characteristics and abilities. However, it's essential to remember that these classifications are not absolute and that individual variations are vast and complex. Therefore, these theories should be used as a guide rather than a definitive categorization of body types.

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