Every one of us is put together a little bit differently. Variances in body types, size, shape, muscularity, and torso/limb length allow the sport of bodybuilding to enjoy a wide range of physiques on the bodybuilding stage. Shorter fans tend to root for the little guys like Lee Priest or David Henry, who barely top 5 foot tall, yet pack a ton of muscle. Taller guys (over 6 foot) tend to root for the taller bodybuilders, rooting for the athlete that is also facing their same dilemma of filling out a long narrow frame. Just as we tend to emulate and admire the athletes that look like us, we actually have to train like them as well. Bodybuilders of differing body types, or somatypes, have to train differently in order to find the most success. Here are a few thoughts on each body type - find which one you are, and train accordingly.
The Ectomorphic body is highly resistant to change. Tall and skinny, with little muscle or body fat, this is the classic "swimmer's physique". In terms of training, the ectomorph tends to prefer higher repetition training, in the 10 to 15 range. In order to shock the body intro growth, employ a rep scheme in the 5 to 8 range. This will recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers which are typically ignored by trainers of this body type. Ectomorphs should limit cardio. Small, frequent feedings help the ectomorph maintain enough calories for muscle growth. Ectomorphs don't need to worry about consuming too much fat - but they often miss out on adequate proteins. Supplements such as creatine and when can help maintain some size, but most Ectomorphs don't respond all that well to supplements. Most new bodybuilders are Ectomorphs (skinny kids trying to add muscle). As a result of this enthusiasm, overtraining is a worry for those with the Ectomorphic body type.
This is the classic bodybuilding physique - lean with great muscle shape. Most types of training work for this body type, with seldom-used higher-repetition training (10 to 14 reps) being the most effective from time to time. Mesomorphs gain muscle easily and tend to hold off fat, so a standard bodybuilding diet with moderate cardio (3 sessions of 20 minutes per week) should be more than adequate. Mesomorphs rarely overtrain.
This body type tends to gain fat easily, but muscle slowly. The good news is that once this person diets down, he tends to have a great deal of muscle available that the Ectomorph could only dream off! Training should be higher-repetition range, and cardio should be frequent (4 sessions of 30 minutes per week, even in the off-season!) Endomorphs need to be extremely careful not to consume too many fats or carbs. Overtraining isn't a worry at all for endomorphs.
Read more about the training and diet protocols employed by the bodybuilders whose body type is most like your own. They have good understandings of the special tips and tricks that help a physique such as theirs grow. Learn from their years of experience!