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The characteristic shape and physical appearance of an individual, disregarding size. There are several methods of somatotyping. The most commonly used is based on Sheldon's somatotype classification in which there are three types; endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. Typically individuals are rated on a scale of 1 to 7 for each type, according to the degree of dominance. The descriptive sequence of numbers refers to components in the following order; endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. Thus, 1–7–1 indicates extreme mesomorphy Successful athletes of particular sports tend to share the same somatotype; for example, discus-throwers, shot-putters, and hammer-throwers tend to have a somatotype of about 3–6–3, while middle-and long-distance runners tend to have a somatotype of about 2.5–4–4. However, somatotypes of individual elite athletes sometimes deviate from the average somatotype of their group, indicating that although a certain somatotype may contribute to success in specific activities, it is by no means essential. Skill attainment depends on many factors and a disadvantageous somatotype may be overcome by emphasis on other factors.


Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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