Most people start to look into body types for either athletic or aesthetic reasons. Certain body types are better at certain sports. It doesn’t matter if you believe in body type classification (or somatotypes) as it’s clear that a 6’8 lean individual is more likely to excel at basketball than a 5’6 person with a thick bone structure.
When it comes to hitting the gym, certain characteristics for certain body types will also be more beneficial or well suited to certain exercises and training plans. Regardless of whether you are looking into sporting excellence or progression in the weight room, strength is always going to be an important factor.
Most people consider the mesomorph body type to be the most ideal for sport and weight training in general and while they do have some favorable characteristics in terms of bone size, muscle mass, and muscle fiber makeup, are mesomorphs stronger as well?
Mesomorphs are naturally strong due to having more muscle mass, a dense bone structure, and high proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers (which improve explosiveness), but mesomorphs are not the strongest body type. A trained endomorph is the strongest body type.
Mesomorphs are widely considered to be the best and most ideal body type but when it comes to strength, they are not the outright winners. Some factors mean that mesomorphs are not necessarily the strongest and in this article, we’ll check this out in more detail…
Are Mesomorphs Naturally Strong
Before getting into comparisons, it’s a good starting point to look at the mesomorph body type specifically. Mesomorphs are widely considered to be the best body type and while this is a general view, it’s usually because mesomorphs excel when it comes to sport, exercise, and weight training.
The typical characteristics of mesomorphs include:
- Strong, athletic build
- A high proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers
- Typically have higher levels of muscle mass and lower levels of body fat
- Can gain muscle mass easily due to bone structure, muscle insertion points, and a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers
- Gain strength easily
There are more characteristics but I’ve highlighted the ones more relevant to strength, muscle mass, and athletic performance and as you can see, there are quite a few beneficial characteristics that mesomorphs can boast!
A good distinction to make for any body type is that natural characteristics and base indicators (like strength) have no or a lesser, determinant on potential. Just because someone is not naturally fast, it does not mean they cannot become faster through training.
This is always an important distinction to keep in mind. When it comes to strength, mesomorphs are naturally strong even as untrained individuals but they also have great potential to improve this further through training.
Are Mesomorphs Stronger
When it comes to comparing body types, there’s a general assumption that mesomorphs are stronger. When looking at some of the characteristics from above it’s easy to see why this assumption is made.
Mesomorphs can grow muscle quickly, have a dense bone structure, and can also hold muscle for longer durations. These are all characteristics that would give the initial impression that mesomorphs are stronger.
Ectomorphs have a smaller, thinner frame with less muscle mass while endomorphs do have a wide frame and dense bone structure but also a high level of body fat with a low level of muscle mass.
This would therefore give the impression that mesomorphs are stronger as a general body type but that is not necessarily the case…
Which Body Type Is the Strongest
This question has some surprisingly varied answers. In the past, I’ve covered why ectomorphs are considered to be weak as well as if endomorphs are strong and when looking into the strength profiles of each body type, there are a few specific factors to take into consideration:
- Strength for untrained individuals of each body type
- Strength for trained individuals of each body type
- Changes in physiological makeup as body types change through training (because they do!)
As you can see, there is no straightforward or clear answer when it comes to the strongest body type because the factors above can influence which body type can be considered the “strongest” at different points in time.
An untrained individual means someone who has not engaged in any sort of strength or resistance-based training so their strength levels are what you’d consider to be their baseline strength (or natural strength).
In untrained individuals, mesomorphs and endomorphs are the strongest body types though it’s difficult to decide between the two as to who is the strongest. As mesomorphs tend to quickly excel in athletics or sport, they are arguably the strongest body type when untrained, though heavier endomorphs will have a significant advantage.
When it comes to trained individuals though, ie those that do engage in frequent strength and resistance-based training, an endomorph will excel and at this stage, endomorphs will be the strongest body type. This is usually due to a higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers combined with more overall body weight and muscle mass.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that over time, body types can change, especially through regular exercise and dedicated training. An ectomorph can become an ecto-meso or even a mesomorph while a mesomorph can become a meso-endo or an endomorph. The reverse is also true.
The reason for this is that body types are general characteristics and not an exact science. Through lifestyle choices, body types can easily change, and personally, I only use body types to look at general characteristics that can influence training and dietary choices.
Therefore, in the long-term, no single body type is stronger than another as people will adapt and change.
Why Body Type Grows Muscle the Fastest
When it comes to strength, there is more than just one factor that comes into consideration. Many people, especially the general public or those relatively new to training, make the assumption that bigger muscles equal more strength.
I’m not going to deny that there is a correlation between muscle size and strength because that is definitely the case but something most people fail to take into consideration is the other factors that contribute to strength. One of the main ones is Central Nervous System (CNS) efficiency.
Olympic weightlifters are incredibly strong without having the bodyweight of a powerlifter as an example. Lightweight boxers and MMA fighters are also strong relative to bodyweight but their display and utilization of strength are not necessarily picking up heavy objects and placing them back down.
The CNS recruits muscle fibers, engages your body, releases adrenaline, and has other functions that contribute to strength. Energy stores, particularly muscle glycogen can also influence strength and something that is often ignored is hydration which has a major impact on strength, mainly through dehydration.
Therefore, muscle size is only a factor of strength but it is still an important one. When it comes to the body type that can grow muscle the fastest, it will usually be a mesomorph in most cases.
An endomorph has more potential to grow more muscle due to a larger frame and higher proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers but when it comes to growing muscle the fastest, the mesomorph is usually the body type that can grow muscle the fastest.
When trying to build strength, it’s easy to think that your body type is going to hold you back (or that you can excel if you have a certain body type). If you are a true ectomorph with a very small bone structure and a low level of muscle mass, chances are your relative strength will be lower as a result.
While people might assume that mesomorphs are stronger because of their favorable characteristics, this isn’t necessarily true.
Some Mesomorphs will be stronger when both trained and untrained but in general, endomorphs are the strongest body type.
If you are looking to make changes to your physique by either losing body fat, building muscle or looking to maintain a lean physique then sign up to my weekly newsletter below. Each week I send out actionable tips to help you lose that extra 1lb of fat or build that extra 0.5lb of muscle mass on a weekly basis.
If you sign up now you’ll also receive my 28 day body recomp program completely Free. This ebook will be sent straight to your inbox and will provide an intense 28 day program aimed at helping you lose up to 8lbs of body fat whilst also building 2lb-4lb of lean muscle mass in just 4 weeks.
Don’t worry if you’re not ready for an intense program just yet, my weekly newsletter will give smaller tips that when implemented daily, will stack up over time and see you transform your body with seemingly minimal effort!