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Br J Sports Med. 2005 Dec;39(12):954-9.

Effects of dominant somatotype on aerobic capacity trainability.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie de la Nutrition, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis, El Manar 1060, Tunis, Tunisia.



This study examined the association between dominant somatotype and the effect on aerobic capacity variables of individualised aerobic interval training.


Forty one white North African subjects (age 21.4+/-1.3 years; Vo2max = 52.8+/-5.7 ml kg(-1) min(-1)) performed three exercise tests 1 week apart (i) an incremental test on a cycle ergometer to determine Vo2max and Vo2 at the second ventilatory threshold (VT2); (ii) a VAM-EVAL track test to determine maximal aerobic speed (vVo2max); and (iii) an exhaustive constant velocity test to determine time limit performed at 100% vVo2max (tlim100). Subjects were divided into four somatometric groups: endomorphs-mesomorphs (Endo-meso; n = 9), mesomorphs (Meso; n = 11), mesomorphs-ectomorphs (Meso-ecto; n = 12), and ectomorphs (Ecto; n = 9). Subjects followed a 12 week training program (two sessions/week). Each endurance training session consisted of the maximal number of successive fractions for each subject. Each fraction consisted of one period of exercise at 100% of vVo2max and one of active recovery at 60% of vVo2max. The duration of each period was equal to half the individual tlim100 duration (153.6+/-39.7 s). After the training program, all subjects were re-evaluated for comparison with pre-test results.


Pre- and post-training data were grouped by dominant somatotype. Two way ANOVA revealed significant somatotype-aerobic training interaction effects (p<0.001) for improvements in vVo2max, Vo2max expressed classically and according to allometric scaling, and Vo2 at VT2. There were significant differences among groups post-training: the Meso-ecto and the Meso groups showed the greatest improvements in aerobic capacity.


The significant somatotype-aerobic training interaction suggests different trainability with intermittent and individualised aerobic training according to somatotype.

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