Stretching Part 2 - Working With Your Body Type

“You’ve got your body for life, you might as well learn to get along with it."                      – Sandy Kunskov

Taking care of our bodies requires that we understand that our bodies are different and, therefore, parts of our training regimens must also differ.

            Way back in 1954, William Sheldon wrote The Atlas of Men which documented differences in body types, or somatotypes.  He divided somatotypes into the categories of ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.

            The ectomorph has a long and lithe body with wide hips, the mesomorph has a solid square body with broad shoulders and the endomorph is recognized by its rounded body shape.

            The ectomorph’s muscles, tendons and ligaments tend to be loose.  The ectomorphs are the dancers who can drop down into a split every day without fail.  They may stretch at home but truly do not have to do much to maintain their naturally high levels of flexibility.

            Mesomorphs have an extremely dense muscular system.  Flexibility does not come naturally to them.  These are the dancers who must stretch daily and work extremely hard at achieving and maintaining the necessary flexibility for dancing.

            The endomorph’s muscular structure falls in between that of the loose ectomorph and the dense mesomorph.  These dancers have a natural potential to be flexible and can maintain that flexibility as long as they remember to stretch a few times per week.

            The potential to be flexible is available to everyone.  A body type can never be used as an excuse, but it is important for a dancer to have an understanding of his/her somatotype.  This small bit of knowledge can help a dancer improve his/her flexibility by simply acknowledging natural tendencies and working with them.