Ways to Determine Body Types

Here are four ways in which to determine body types, or somatotypes.

1. The visual method. The easiest way to determine a body type is to simply take a good look. This, of course, will not serve for strictly scientific purposes, but it will take you a long way when your goal is to make body types a practical tool in your own life. You should be able, with some practice, and having examined a book like Sheldon's Atlas of Men, to estimate the basic components that are endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy to within a point or so.

2. The Atlas of Men method. (Unfortunately, ladies, The Atlas of Women never got published.) Sheldon's Atlas of Men, if you can get your hands on a copy, will give you a more accurate way to determine body types. It provides a chart based on the height over the cube root of weight that will lead you to some possible somatotypes, which you can then check against the pictures of the Atlas.

There are two highly objective methods:

3. Sheldon's final somatotyping method. Here the chest and abdominal areas of the subject are measured on standardized somatotype photos by means of a planimeter. The ratio of the chest area to the abdominal area yields a Trunk Index, which together with maximum height and maximum weight will allow you to look up the somatotype in a table.

To see Sheldon's Tables, go to http://www.mysomatotype.com/howtosomatotype/  You can see Sheldon's male and female somatotype tables.

4. The Dupertuis Structural Profile allows you to create a morphological, or body type fingerprint based on skeletal measurements and height and weight, which are plotted on a chart. This Profile is both useful in itself, and the somatotype can be calculated from it if photos are not possible.