How to Train for Your Body Type

Are you tall and slender? Short and curvy? Or somewhere in between? No matter what type of build you were born with, we have a training program that's right for you.

Women Working Out
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Mesomorph: The muscular maiden

So far, I've suggested that mesomorphs have an advantage, but that doesn't mean they have it easy. A woman with this body type still has to work for that great physique, albeit not to the degree that the other two body types would for a similar look. A training split of 3-5 days, moderate reps and a variety of compound and single-joint exercises should do the trick.

"I'm a true meso, although I'd say that isn't typical of all fitness competitors," explains Lovena. "I work out four days a week with a 3-4-day split, but I change it up all the time." For best results, mesomorphs should do high reps for legs (15-20) and 8-12 for the other body parts, and do up to four days of cardio, varying the intensity each time, she states.

One problem that some naturally muscular women face is a lack of direction in their workouts. Seemingly, whatever they do brings about some sort of change; however, the need for a well-thought-out program is vital. "You have to look at your body and see where you want to put the curves," says Lovena. "You have to stress your body properly to create positive change." Know how you want your body to look and work out with that in mind.

"What works for me today coincides with my goal to have a body that's healthy, full of energy and strong, yet flexible," notes Minna. "I don't keep track of numbers but rather go by how my body feels. This isn't to say that I don't have consistency. Yet my body awareness is so sharp that I work with mind-muscle unison rather than look at how many sets and reps I did of an exercise last week."

Training guidelines for mesomorphs

  • Start with a 5-10-minute warmup and light stretching of muscle groups to be worked that day.
  • Do three sets of all exercises.
  • Complete 8-12 reps for each set.
  • Alternate light and heavy days, choosing a weight that allows you to complete reps toward the higher end of the prescribed rep range on lighter days, and choosing a heavier weight that allows you to complete reps toward the lower end of the prescribed rep range on heavier days.
  • Choose weights heavy enough to reach near-failure within the prescribed rep range.
  • Rest according to the intensity at which you're training that day, taking a little longer for larger muscle groups like legs and back.
  • Experiment with different splits to see what works best for you. Also, change exercises frequently, but it's always a good idea to choose a multijoint movement as the first 1-2 exercises for a given body part (when possible) over a single-joint movement.
  • Change your routine when results start to slow. Change other variables more frequently.
  • Consider taking rest days between workouts if you can add cardio to the end of your training days. Allow your muscles to recover fully before training that body part again.
  • Do 30 minutes of cardio 3-4 times per week at a moderate intensity (65%-75% of your maximal heart rate) to stay lean and improve heart health.

    Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a health condition.

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