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Best Martial Arts by Body Type (Pros and Cons Explained)

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They have a low center of gravity and incredible strength in their back and legs, which they use to easily secure takedowns when wrestling, explosively throw opponents during judo, and dominate in the clinch and on the ground when grappling.On the other hand, endomorphs can struggle in striking martial arts because they lack the range to connect to their opponent, and their more agile opponents can pick them apart from the outside.Mesomorphs are also great at wrestling and grappling, both standing and on the ground. Mesomorphs have the perfect mix of balance, agility, and explosiveness for wrestling.

Best Martial Arts by Body Type

Overall, mesomorphs are the most athletic and balanced in regard to their strengths and weaknesses.Lastly, the best martial arts for endomorphs are grappling martial arts such as judo and wrestling. This is because endomorphs have the lowest center of gravity and short, thick limbs, making them very strong.Note: It’s important to clarify that when talking about the best martial arts by body type, we’re referring to how genetic factors can help someone succeed in a given martial art.As hard as ectomorphs train, they find it harder to build muscle and they have thinner bones so their muscle is also thinner and longer.Mesomorphs are best in mixed martial arts because they’re well-rounded and the other body types have glaring weaknesses which mesomorphs can exploit.Ectomorphs are usually the fastest and most agile strikers because they’re not muscle-bound. Having fewer muscles gives them great cardiovascular endurance, as larger muscles require more oxygen.However, ectomorphs with longer limbs can be very effective in ground grappling martial arts such as:

Best Martial Arts for Ectomorph Body Type

This translates into improved striking technique, increased accuracy, distance management, and evasion.

  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Kickboxing
  • Kung fu (wing chun, Shaolin)
  • Boxing (clinching occurs, but not overly)

This is because ectomorphs are longer-limbed, light on their feet, and have better cardiovascular endurance – all helpful tools in the above striking martial arts.Generally, ectomorphs are best at striking martial arts such as karate and kickboxing because they’re often longer-limbed, light on their feet, and have better cardiovascular endurance.This is because ectomorphs have long limbs to control distance and great agility and cardiovascular endurance to strike and evade strikes, but they have a high center of gravity and the least strength which means they should avoid grappling arts.So, ‘what are the best martial arts by body type?’Endomorphs are best at grappling martial arts such as judo and wrestling because they’re big-boned, very strong, and have a lower center of gravity.This makes the mesomorph body type the best for martial arts across the board, but especially in martial arts such as MMA which require multiple arts and skills.Therefore, the strengths and weaknesses of each body type shouldn’t deter anyone from doing the martial art they love or want to do.For example, ectomorphs can easily slide their legs high for triangle choke submissions and easily reach and slide their long thin limbs through for d’arce and anaconda chokes.Mesomorphs have the most athletic body type as they find it easiest to add muscle mass while also keeping their body fat low.On the inside, they can use their physical attributes to clinch and tire their opponent, as well as land hard punches/strikes while negating an opponent’s possible reach advantage.

  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu
  • Sambo

Mesomorphs are best at martial arts requiring a mixture of great athleticism and skills, such as:Their lack of length hinders them from reaching for certain submissions such as the triangle and d’arce choke, but they excel with leg attacks (kneebars, ankle locks, heel hooks), kimuaras, Americanas, and chokes (rear-naked, guillotine) because they can overpower opponents with strength and shorter limbs.Anybody of any body type can get to a very high skill level in any martial art, especially one they enjoy and stay consistent with.Ectomorph fighters are generally taller with longer thinner bones and stringy muscles. They have a narrower body, a thin waist, and not-so-broad shoulders (though the shoulders can be built wider).Overall though, these are generalizations and are mostly applicable to professional competitors and fighters at the elite level where minimal margins make the difference.In this article, we’ll look at the best martial arts by body type by explaining the pros and cons of each body type.What they do have is the best balance of strength, flexibility, athleticism, and length of limbs to reach for and secure submissions.

Best Martial Arts for Mesomorph Body Type

This is because they have a lot of power and it’s much easier to get close to an opponent. This translates into very powerful strikes and explosiveness, which they can use to score knockouts.

  • MMA (striking, grappling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu)
  • Combat Sambo (striking, grappling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu)
  • Muay Thai (striking, standing grappling)

When in top control on the ground, endomorphs are at their most dangerous. Their concentrated body mass makes them feel much heavier and the opposition often tires trying to escape.The best martial arts by body type typically come down to the length and thickness of limbs, rather than the predisposition to store or not store body fat.In terms of Bjj, endomorphs have both strengths and some weaknesses, so success becomes more individualized.And while ectomorphs can lack power in their strikes compared to the other body types due to having less muscle, it’s made up for with speed, excellent technique, and increased torque provided by their longer limbs.With these genetic traits, ectomorphs have great striking technique, speed, increased accuracy, distance management, and evasion. Essentially, ectomorphs can strike their opponent and avoid being struck.However, success for ectomorphs in grappling martial arts is much more varied.If taken down, mesomorphs have the explosiveness, strength, and flexibility to get up by pushing an opponent’s hips, scrambling, or exploding out.They’re more powerful and have a lower center of gravity than ectomorphs, and are quicker, more agile, and springy than endomorphs.When it comes to striking, on average mesomorphs are only slightly bettered by ectomorphs.However, as previously mentioned, mesomorphs have the least weaknesses and are generally high-level in every martial art – so the list could be extensive.Another reason ectomorphs aren’t best suited to grappling martial arts is that they’re the most injury-prone of the body types.Mesomorphs are best at martial arts such as MMA and Muay Thai because they’re the most well-rounded athletes with the least weaknesses, and these martial arts require practitioners to combine many martial art skills.Ectomorphs have stringy muscles and thin bones, and the slams, crash landings, and attacks to their joints in grappling arts can cause injury and see them out of training or losing fights.Mesomorph fighters are generally average to tall in height (shorter than ectomorphs) with medium-sized limbs. Their limbs are regular-length and they have a medium waist with broad shoulders.Also, their larger limbs and tendency to store more body fat and muscle mass means they’re not as agile with footwork and movement for evasion and setting up strikes.Lastly, endomorphs are the least flexible and athletic, meaning they can struggle with executing striking techniques as well as ectomorphs, such as question mark kicks or spinning wheel kicks, for example.Overall though, these minor differences are mostly noticeable at the elite level or professional combat sports.

Best Martial Arts for Endomorph Body Type

More muscle mass means more calories burned at rest, which ultimately means mesomorphs can eat a lot of food to fuel their muscles and provide them with a lot of energy for training and competing.

  • Wrestling
  • Judo
  • Combat Sambo
  • Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Mesomorphs have more power and explosiveness in their strikes and movement, but they’re slightly slower, less agile, and have a shorter reach than ectomorphs.As mentioned, ectomorphs generally perform best in striking martial arts where standing and ground grappling don’t occur, such as:On one hand, they can be very effective because their long and thinner limbs present them with opportunities to attack submissions shorter-limbed body types can’t reach.The best martial arts for an ectomorph body type are striking martial arts which don’t have any grappling involved.This makes them the most easily controlled on the ground, and their long limbs make them vulnerable to heel hooks, kimuras, and Americana submissions.This means they’re strong in all areas of martial arts and can exploit opponents with other body types. This also means mesomorphs are best suited for success across the majority of martial arts – there aren’t any arts they should avoid.In terms of striking martial arts, success for endomorphs is also more individualized. 

  • Boxing
  • Muay Thai

However, there are differences, so let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each body type and how this determines the best martial arts by body type.Many endomorphs can succeed in striking arts like:In terms of submissions, mesomorphs don’t have the length ectomorphs have or the maximum strength endomorphs have.The best martial arts for endomorphs are grappling martial arts such as:In Muay Thai specifically, endomorphs can find success because standing their ground to block, avoiding retreat, and landing powerful strikes are positively scored in Muay Thai and this plays into the strengths of endomorphs.The best martial arts for mesomorphs are martial arts requiring many skill sets such as MMA. This is because mesomorphs are great athletes and have the least weaknesses of any body type.Aside from striking, as ectomorphs are generally those with a “skinny” and tall physique (compared to those in the same weight class), they lack the low center of gravity and strength mesomorphs and endomorphs have.

The Bottom Line

Are you wondering what the best martial arts by body type are?This is because endomorphs have thick short bones, are very strong, and have a low center of gravity. Endomorphs are generally short to average height and have wide shoulders and waists.They’re also the best at defending takedowns because they can keep their distance well and sprawl explosively.The least significant but worth mentioning, mesomorphs have a high metabolism aided by having a lot of muscle mass.Most ectomorphs have more slow twitch muscle fibers and less fast twitch muscle fibers than the other body types. This means ectomorphs have good endurance but lack the explosiveness needed for grappling.This translates into being out-strengthed in grappling scenarios such as in a clinch or on the ground.On the other hand, with an endomorph opponent in the top position, it can be hard for ectomorphs to explode from the bottom, roll, scramble, or get the feet on the hips to push an opponent away.Endomorphs with a lot of body fat may also struggle with cardiovascular endurance, where they’ll eventually slow down and get picked apart.They’re great at securing takedowns (wrestling), dominating in the clinch (Muay Thai), and controlling opponents on the ground from the top position (Bjj). 

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