IMPORTANCE OF AGE:
The preferred starting age for determining somatotype is when a person has stopped growing. For most people that would be around 20. After the age of 20 a person doesn’t add a significant amount of height. Remember, that when you’re dealing with living systems there are exceptions. The somatotype assessment charts begin at age 20 with each successive decade increasing the confidence level in an assessment. If you are over 12 and under 20 the best you will be able to do is determine your Trunk Index which will give you an idea of the degree of difference between endomorphy and mesomorphy. This will establish some outer limits of minimum and maximum levels of endomorphy and mesomorphy. You may get some clues by looking at your relatives and quizzing them on what they remember about their growth patterns. Pay special attention when family members compare you to a relative saying something like “you’re just like Grandpa”.
HEIGHT: Height is an important part of identifying your somatotype. Even though it’s something you have probably been measuring all your life you still need to follow some guidelines, especially if you are measuring someone else.
1. Subject should be barefoot.
2. Floor should be flat.
3. Don’t fill your lungs completely with air. Just take a quick breath inhaling and exhaling. Don’t empty lungs completely when exhaling.
4. Don’t raise shoulders or try to stretch your height. Save that for your Yoga class.
5. If a person is a member of a gym or health club they probably have a combination weight scale and height measurer which is professionally known as a stadiometer. That’s the best way to go.
6. Make sure the movable head plate is flat on the top of the skull and not lifted by a cushion of hair.
7. Keep chin in a horizontal position. Don’t lift or lower the chin.
8. If a person is over 50 they may have lost some height. If the person knows what their height was when they were younger then use that figure.
9. Record height to the nearest half inch.
WEIGHT: This is the measurement with the most variability. Just about, everyone gains weight, as they grow older. A person’s weight at 20 may not be the most accurate indicator of what their future weight may be. In determining somatotype, one’s rate of weight gain is an important consideration. If you are over 40 you have a few reference points that can define the curve of your weight path. If you are only 18 or 20 there is going to be some guesswork involved. A common pattern is for people to weigh a lot when they were 20 but then after 30 their weight decreases somewhat. Others may have been very skinny at 20 but then rapidly added close to a hundred pounds over the next couple decades. You may have to dig into your genetic background. I don’t mean that you have to obtain a map of your genome. Once again, take a close look at your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you resemble a relative it would be good to talk to them. Find out what their weight was when they were around 20 years old and each decade after that. Take a look at your family albums. Look at pictures of your relatives when they were your age and compare that to their current weight. This information will help you discover your somatotype earlier in life rather than later.
To the best of a persons memory record their maximum weight at the age of 20, 30 , 40 and 50. When you get ready to use the charts there will be more information provided to aid in the correct assessment.
After you have height and weight measurements you should be ready to move on to the Trunk Index measurements.