What are some different body types? (2023)

Bodies come in different shapes and sizes, influenced by a person’s frame and composition. This is part of what makes every human unique.

Some bodies are curvier, some have broad shoulders, and some have more musculature.

People usually have a defined body type after puberty, but this can change based on activity level, dietary habits, and other major lifestyle and hormonal changes.

This article focuses on common body shapes, common body types, what determines body shape, and ways a person can improve their body image.

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A person’s body type depends on the distribution of muscle mass and fat. Some people are long and lean, while others are curvier.

Likewise, some people find it challenging to gain weight, whereas others have difficulty losing weight.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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In the 1940s, psychologist William H. Sheldon introduced the concept of different body types, or somatotypes.

While many people tend to think that this type of classification only refers to males, it can also describe the female body. This classifies the body based on how lean a person is or how easy it is for their body to store fat.

Per this classification, there are three different body types:

  • Ectomorph: This is when the body is lean and slender and tends to have less body fat and muscle. People with this body type can often find it challenging to gain weight in the form of muscle or fat. Fashion models are an example of this body type.
  • Endomorph: This is when the body has more stored fat, lots of muscle, and gains weight easily. People with this body type are not always overweight. Football lineman and Marilyn Monroe are examples of this body type.
  • Mesomorph: This is when the body is athletic and strong. People with this body type are neither overweight nor underweight. Swimmers and volleyball players are examples of this body type.

Females tend to have more fat mass. They also tend to be curvier due to a combination of larger breasts, wider hips, larger buttocks, and bigger thighs.

While every body is unique, there are several broad categories for the female body shape. An older 2004 article notes that this historically stems from the fashion industry.

Common shapes include:

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  • Pear or triangle: People with this body shape have narrower shoulders than their hips. A person tends to distribute most of their weight in the buttocks, lower hips, and thighs.
  • Inverted triangle: This is when the lower half of the body is smaller than the top, with shoulders wider than the hips. People with this body shape tend to gain weight in the upper body and stomach areas. They also tend to have larger chests and narrow hips.
  • Rectangle: This is when there is no major definition at the waistline and hips. People with this body shape have similar hip and shoulder width, and the body tends to be in equal proportions.
  • Hourglass: This is when both the top and bottom halves of the body are equally broad. People with this body shape tend to have a smaller waist than the chest and hips.
  • Oval or apple: This is when the top and bottom halves of the body are narrow. People with this body shape tend to carry weight in the chest and stomach areas and have slender legs.

Many factors determine a person’s body shape. These include:

  • genetics
  • sex
  • age
  • diet
  • activity level

Changes in activity level and diet may affect a person’s body shape. For example, if someone is an ectomorph and wants to gain some weight, while they will have to put in some extra effort, they can do it successfully with a proper diet and exercise routine.

While some people may find it helpful to identify their body shape, others may find little benefit. The appearance of a person’s body can change with exercise and diet. Additionally, a person’s body type may not be an indicator of their overall health.

Exercise

A person who seems to have an ectomorph body type may believe that they will not experience as many benefits from working out as a type that may find it easier to gain muscle, such as endomorphs.

However, people with all body types will notice improvements in strength, flexibility, and weight if they follow an exercise routine to reach their goals.

Metabolic obesity

Some people may assume that certain body types are less likely to develop conditions due to overweight or obesity. However, this is not necessarily true.

Research shows that a person who has an apparently healthy, or moderate, weight can have metabolic obesity, which can lead to an increase in the risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

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Low amounts of physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and not following a healthy, balanced diet are all risk factors of having metabolic obesity. While some genetic factors also exist, experts have not investigated this link fully.

People should not assume that they are at a lower risk of developing conditions associated with obesity due to their particular body shape.

Disordered eating

A person who displays characteristics of one body shape but wants to look like another may develop poor body image issues or body dysmorphia. In some cases, a person may develop disordered eating patterns.

A 2019 study investigated the effects of social media on females in college aged 18–25 years. A majority of the study participants had a healthy body mass index (BMI). However, even participants with a healthy BMI viewed their bodies as overweight compared to those of social media influencers.

The researchers suggest that people who see a “thin ideal” on social media may be at a higher risk of developing disordered eating patterns in an effort to achieve this ideal.

Eating disorders can severely affect the quality of life of people living with these conditions and those close to them. Early intervention and treatment greatly improve the likelihood of recovery.

Anyone who suspects that they or a loved one has an eating disorder can contact the National Eating Disorder Association for advice and support via:

  • phone or text at 800-931-2237
  • online chat, by going to this link

These services are only open during specific hours. Someone in crisis can text “NEDA” to 741741 at any time to get support from a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line.

Alternatively, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) run a Disaster Distress Helpline that people can contact on 800-985-5990 for 24-7 support.

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Many other resources are available, including:

Sometimes, people do not feel comfortable with their body shape.

For example, a very curvy person may wish for a more rectangular-shaped body, while someone with a rectangular-shaped body may want to have more curves.

It is common for some people to feel pressure around the concept of the “ideal body” shape or type, but ultimately there is no ideal body shape — health is the most important factor.

The National Eating Disorders Association outlines some thought patterns a person can consider for a more positive body image:

  • Appreciate what the body can do.
  • Remember that beauty is not skin deep.
  • Be around positive people.
  • Shut down negative self-talk.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that inspires confidence.
  • Be critical of social media images.

It is important for people to consider that all bodies are beautiful and unique but are only a part of what defines a person. How individuals treat others and behave are also important aspects.

If a person suffers from poor body image issues or body dysmorphia, they should seek support from a medical professional.

Summary

(Video) If you look like this, this is your body type: KIBBE 101

All bodies are special and unique. One aspect of what makes them unique is their shape and how they carry weight and muscle.

There are many different body shapes and many different body types. Sometimes, people do not feel comfortable with their body shape. If a person has concerns about their body, they should consult a doctor.

FAQs

What are the main 3 body types? ›

People are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition. Most people are unique combinations of the three body types: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.

What are the different types of body styles? ›

The five main body type shapes are rectangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, pear and apple.

How do I tell my body type? ›

To determine your body shape, start by looking at your midsection and determining if it is the largest part of your body. If it is, and you have slimmer legs and hips, you have an apple shape. Alternatively, if your midsection and bust are smaller and your hips are wide, you are likely pear-shaped.

Which body type is best for female? ›

One of the most desired body shapes is an hourglass one. It looks the most balanced of all, and if you have this body shape, then it means your hips and bust measurements are equal in size, and you have a waist that is well-defined and narrower than your bust and hips.

Can Endomorphs be skinny? ›

I received A LOT of questions asking me whether it is possible to achieve a lean body and slim down your legs as an endomorph female. The short answer is- yes, definitely! But, in order to do so, you need to exercise and eat right for your own body type.

Which body shape is rare? ›

What is the rarest body type? The hourglass body shape is the rarest body shape as it requires equal bust/shoulder and hip proportions with a dramatically smaller waist size.

What is the fattest body type? ›

Endomorph You tend to have more body fat than the other body types in this framework. Catudal says that women who are endomorphs may be described as curvaceous, while men may be called stocky. You tend to carry weight in your belly, hips, and thighs.

What body is more attractive? ›

Felix's team took a survey for the most attractive body parts of men and women and here's what they found: Men cited women's faces as being their most attractive attribute by 46%. In second place, women's butts came in at 18% followed by hair at 11%. Legs, breasts, eyes, and others composed the remaining 26%.

What is the best body shape? ›

Based on various studies, the ideal body shape is the hourglass type body shape. The amount of these qualities vary between culture and race, but as long as you hold an hourglass shape, then you have an ideal body shape. An hourglass shape has the following qualities: Shoulders smaller than the hips.

What is the best body type? ›

Mesomorph: This body type is generally considered the ideal body type. Individuals usually look lighter and have a more rectangular bone structure, longer limbs, thinner bones and a flatter ribcage. A mesomorph has a natural tendency to stay fit and achieve muscle mass very easily.

What is the least common body shape? ›

Hourglass silhouettes are coveted in beauty magazines and pop culture, but it's actually the least common body shape. Women with shoulders and hips that are about the same size have an hourglass figure if they also have a small, defined waist.

What body shape is 34 30 36? ›

Ruler Body Shape (Rectangle/ Banana Shape)

Tend to put on weight in stomach and bottom, while maintaining slender arms and legs. E.g. 34-30-35, 36-33-37, 40-36-42.

What is the most attractive weight for a girl? ›

These studies have found that a low waist to hip ratio (WHR) of approximately 0.7 [9] and a low Body Mass Index (BMI; weight scaled for height) of approximately 18–19 kg/m2 [10] are perceived as most attractive in female bodies, while a low waist to chest ratio (WCR) of approximately 0.7, and relatively high BMI ( ...

What does curvy body look like? ›

Basically, curvy body type measurements are larger than skinny ones. They include a bigger ratio between the hips, waist or chest. There are no specific measurements that define a curvy body type, as all female bodies are unique.

What does a fat endomorph look like? ›

People with an endomorph body type usually have soft, round bodies with a wide waist and large bones, joints, and hips, regardless of their height. This article covers what an endomorph diet is, including which foods to eat and which to avoid.

What does an endomorph woman look like? ›

Endomorphs have softer bodies with curves. They have a wide waist and hips and large bones, though they may or may not be overweight. Their weight is often in their hips, thighs, and lower abdomen. Endomorphs often have lots of body fat and muscle and tend to gain weight easily.

What does a mesomorph body look like? ›

According to Sheldon, people with a mesomorph body type tend to have a medium frame. They may develop muscles easily and have more muscle than fat on their bodies. Mesomorphs are typically strong and solid, not overweight or underweight. Their bodies may be described as rectangular in shape with an upright posture.

At what age do girls get curvy? ›

Puberty usually starts when you're between 9 and 13 years old. But it can start earlier or later. Thanks to hormones like estrogen, you'll notice changes like your breasts starting to grow and new curves forming on your body. You might notice that you start to get taller, and eventually you'll get your period.

What body shape has big thighs? ›

The Pear {a.k.a. The Triangle}

Curvy hips, thick thighs, and a full rear are the key characteristics of the pear-shaped individual. Many pear shapes also have a small bust/chest, narrow shoulders {compared to the hips}, and a defined waist.

What is a zero figure body? ›

The concept of zero figure body is quite popular in Bollywood. Size zero is referred to the size where the size of the bust is 32 inches, the size of the waist is 24 inches and the size of the hips is 32 inches.

What body weight is attractive? ›

(27) found that the most frequently selected ideal body had a BMI of 19.79, closely followed by an underweight ideal of 18.26. Ahern et al. (28) found that a BMI of 20 was considered the most attractive, while Swami et al. (29), and MacNeill and Best (30), found that an underweight body was most frequently selected.

Which body type is hard to lose weight? ›

People with an endomorph body type may gain weight easier and take longer to lose it because they tend to have a slow metabolism, low muscle mass, and high amounts of body fat.

Which body type loses weight faster? ›

Easier to lose weight.

Mesomorphs may be prone to weight gain, but they also tend to lose weight easier than people with other body types. If you're a mesomorph and you find that your jeans are a little too snug, you may lose weight easily by making healthy changes to your diet and exercise regimens.

What is the least attractive part of the body? ›

Feet are considered the least attractive part of the body

It's not a surprise a survey found it to be considered the least attractive part of the body... Footsies might be all fun and games at the dinner table, but bare toes might be a deal-breaker in the bedroom.

What is the warmest part of the female body? ›

Different parts of our body have different temperatures, with the rectum being the warmest (37℃), followed by the ears, urine and the mouth. The armpit (35.9℃) is the coldest part of our body that is usually measured.

What is a strawberry body shape? ›

Next up on our guide is the Strawberry, also known as Inverted Triangle. How do you know if you have a strawberry body shape? You tend to have broader shoulders, a fuller bust and narrow hips. As a rule of thumb, your shoulder or bust measurement should be 5% bigger than your hip measurement, or more.

What causes an hourglass figure? ›

Hourglass syndrome (HS) is a term that refers to habitual stomach gripping or sucking in of the abdominal muscles. There are various potential causes of HS. Examples include abdominal pain, poor posture, and body-image concerns that may cause pressure to achieve the appearance of a smaller waist.

What size is an hourglass figure? ›

Many believe an hourglass body shape translates to bust-waist-hip measurements of approximately 36-24-36 inches, respectively. The truth is, though, an hourglass-shaped body simply describes roughly equal bust and hip measurements with a significantly narrower waist.

What is the most common female body type? ›

One of the most common shapes of the female body is the hourglass. It is characterized by hip and bust measurements being of equal size, with a narrower waist measurement. Your shoulders are slightly round, and your legs are in proportion with your upper body.

Can you change your body type? ›

You can't change the body type you were born with, but you can boost your body for the better with the right set of exercises.

What are the 5 female body types? ›

The five principal body classification shapes are rectangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, pear, and apple. To help you figure out a female body shape, you can check in front of a mirror without clothes or just your undergarments.

Are some body types not meant to be skinny? ›

Bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, and not all of them fall into the “skinny” category or even the “curvy” category. From naturally thin to muscular to soft and round, no two bodies are designed the exact same way.

What is a top hourglass figure? ›

Hourglass shape can be of two kinds- top hourglass or bottom hourglass. Top hourglass is when everything fits as per the characteristics, except that the bust is slightly bigger than the hips. And the bottom hourglass is exactly the other way round, that your hips are slightly wider than your bust.

Are Endomorphs strong? ›

Endomorphs are already naturally strong. While their centers of mass – their mid-sections – dominate their appearance, within that center of mass may be a large amount of hidden power, strength, coordination and rhythm. As runners, endomorphs tend to have wide and flat feet. They strike the ground heavy and hard.

Am I an endomorph or mesomorph? ›

Endomorphs are rounded, with lots of muscle and body fat, a stockier structure, and a slower metabolism. (Think of football linemen.) Mesomorphs are athletic and muscular, capable of gaining weight or losing weight easily thanks to their efficient metabolisms.

What is the most common model body type? ›

The Straight Body Shape

This body type is popularly known as the supermodel body. It is also called a rectangular or ruler body. Since it does not have a well-defined waistline, the body tends to look straight.

What is the most preferred body type? ›

Based on various studies, the ideal body shape is the hourglass type body shape. The amount of these qualities vary between culture and race, but as long as you hold an hourglass shape, then you have an ideal body shape.

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