If you are a male bodybuilder or enthusiastic gym-goer, you might have always wondered what exactly should my measurements be for me to have the perfect ‘aesthetic’? Whilst this perfect ‘aesthetic’ is all down to individual body types, we have written this article to shed some light on the situation. For information on creating your best body you can visit our article on the best aesthetic workout routine guide.
Certain famous physiques can be a goal and aspiration for some, such as Olympians or boxers for example and within these physiques, you will find sub-5% body fat, defined muscles, and incomparable athleticism.
However, each physique is still widely different, even in the famous sports community. This, therefore, asks the question, so what constitutes perfect?
This article will investigate this question and review the common schools of thought surrounding the ‘perfect’ male body measurement.
The ‘Perfect’ Male Aesthetic
If one looks in the mirror, those looking for a ‘perfect’ physique will often look for a perfectly chiseled jaw, wide and broad shoulder, lats and traps, rounded deltoids, bulky biceps, and triceps, defined abs, a narrow waist with a V-taper and thick, muscular legs.
Sounds like the dream body right? Well, this is because, for a bodybuilder, it usually is.
This means, if you can spot even one of these characteristics, you are heading in the right direction for an aesthetic bodybuilding physique that can win you competitions and help you reach peak physical fitness.
However, even with one of these characteristics, you might find yourself still thinking you are ‘skinny fat’ and are unsure of how to get that fully defined strong figure. It can be a lot harder to gain an aesthetic physique if you are naturally skinny.
The climb to reach those ideal body measurements can be steeper and you might have to put in a lot more hard work like an ectomorph, a hard-gainer, or you might suffer from a small appetite. This means gaining mass becomes challenging.
With so many different body types for men, it’s often common to hear that the ‘athletic’ physique is the most ideal. This would include those categorized in the mesomorph somatotype. This means they are able to minimize fat build-up and gain muscle instead naturally.
The Grecian Ideal
A nineteenth-century bodybuilder from Prussia, Eugen Sandow is highly regarded as the father of bodybuilding.
However, before becoming this inspiration, the figure behind the Mr. Olympia statue, Eugen Sandow explored museums to analyze Greek marble sculptures. Sandow then measured male Greek bodies and depicted his own ‘Grecian Ideal’.
Sandow revolved his workouts around chasing the calculations he had set up and this became the human embodiment of the symmetrical Greek alphas. He shared his findings.
- Arm when flexed: 2.5x bigger than non-dominant wrist
- Calves when flexed: Same size as arms when flexed.
- Shoulders: 1.618x bigger than waist (the Golden Ratio)
- Chest: 6.5x bigger than non-dominant wrist
- Upper leg: 1.75x bigger than the knee
Sandow’s build is aesthetic and though his body fat percentage exceeds today's standard, the difference between the Golden Ratio explored below and the Grecian Ideal is the focus on the full body.
If you compare muscular circumference to joint size in their natural form, you will find the perfect physique has no shortcuts. A normal bulk or cutting season will not do anything and instead, you will have to pack on lean mass.
The Golden Ratio
You might have come across this term once or twice in your life but what exactly does it mean? Well, the Golden Ratio is a formula that describes the Grecian ideal, and is the basis for building a Greek god physique.
The Ancient Greeks were Herculean, think of the movie Hercules, and you’ll get an idea of what aesthetic we are talking about. Often they had a chiseled, symmetrical body and this became a superhuman pinnacle of masculinity.
Now, Discobolus (‘discuss thrower’) is a sculpture of the ideal male body proportions we use today.
The Golden Ratio, also known as the Adonis Index equation compares the shoulder and waist measurement with a simple ratio that is 1:1.618. This means the male shoulder size should be around 1.618 x how wide your waist is.
For example, if your waist measured 27 inches, your shoulders should be 43 inches, if it were 30 inches, your shoulders should be 49 inches, if it were 34 inches, your shoulders should be 55 inches, if your waist were 36 inches, your shoulders should be 58 inches and so on.
Although this is designed to be the Golden Ratio, it does not mean however you are in shape or have an aesthetic physique. Genetic blessings allow some men to develop naturally broad shoulders and thin waists, this means the ratio can either become super easy or near enough impossible to achieve for a lot of men.
Rating your aesthetic look based on this is therefore a long shot to attain perfection as a bodybuilder.
Steve Reeves is known in the bodybuilding world for being the most recognizable face in the 20th Century. He won Mr. Universe in 1950 and became the inspiration behind the legend that is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He is known for being cut and doesn’t allow his body fat to top 8-10%.
Reeves also rose to fame after he calculated his own ‘perfectly symmetrical’ aesthetic physique. Reeves calculations measured:
- Arm: 252% wrist
- Waist: 86% pelvis
- Calf: 192% ankle
- Neck: 78% head
- Thigh: 175% knee
- Chest: 148% pelvis
Reeves insisted that to achieve this perfectly-symmetrical physique, you had to abide by certain height and weight limitations. If you had gained weight, your proportions would be inaccurate and vice versa. At 5’5”, you should weigh 160 pounds and the weight measurements go up in fives to 5’11”, where you should weigh 190 pounds.
When we reach 6.0”, the individual should weigh 200 pounds and the weight measurements go up in tens until we reach 6.5”, which should equal around a 250-pound weight measurement.
Reeves is an example of the aesthetic bodybuilding physique bodybuilders aim to achieve, however, his standards have become outdated in recent years. At 5’10” and weighing 260 pounds, Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler was categorized as 75 pounds overweight by Reeves’ standards. It’s also important to note this ratio was not an exact science and was only one definition of a ‘perfect’ aesthetic.
Measurements Based on Height
Hulk Hogan measured extremely tall and 6’7”. He also weighed over 300 pounds with 24” guns. Modern-day bodybuilding legend, Jeff Nippard only measured 5’5” and was 158 pounds yet his arms size was unknown. This proves that build matters a lot more than height.
Greg O’Gallagher used the Golden Ratio to some of his calculations and thus determined the ideal body measurements by height. These were:
- Waist: 45-47% of the height
- Shoulders: 1.618 x waist
- Arms: Same measurements as the neck (14-19” circumference is the average male neck measurement)
- Chest: 10-12” bigger than the waist
An example of how this would work for someone who was 5’5” is that their waist would measure 29.9”, their shoulders would be 48.38”, their arms would measure 14-19” and their chest would measure 40.9”.
For someone who was 6.5” however, their waist would measure 35.4”, their shoulders would be 57.3”, their arms would be the same as above and their chest would be 46.4”.
This comparison draws the simplest connection between all body measurements over any of the other male body standards we have gone through in this article. The waist for example depends on the height, the shoulders depending on the waist, and this continues.
The Shape of a Perfect Male Body
It is widely believed that the perfect body shape for a woman is the famous ‘hourglass’ figure, but what is the male equivalent?
Although like with women’s body shapes, society is adapting to being more accepting of body positivity and natural curves, there are still slightly outdated body aesthetics for both women and men to strive to achieve.
The perfect male body shape has a lot to do with the “v shape”.
The “v shape” simply means a body with wide, broad shoulders, that tapers down to a slim waist. Your chest and shoulders should ideally be about 1.6 x wider than your waist. Research has shown that the “v shape” usually measures something along these lines.
If a man is 6-feet tall, they should weigh 187 pounds, have a 41-inch sized chest and a 33-inch sized waist.
Although these measurements make it almost impossible for men to achieve, there is an actual body shape bodybuilders also aim for and this body shape is the trapezoid.
We know this sounds a little more complicated than the hourglass, but picturing a trapezoid on the top of your torso can actually help. Picture the widest part against your shoulders and the narrowest part at your waist. This will look something like
- Broad and rounded deltoids
- Thick arms
- A narrow waist (but not too thin- we are trying to avoid the “inverted triangle” territory)
- A gradual taper from shoulders to hips.
The ideal trapezoid shape and other classifications don’t take into account what the lower body should look like. But do not use this as an excuse to skip leg day. For aesthetic perfection, any professional bodybuilder will tell you legs should not be a body part that gets left behind.
Body Sizes and Ratios
How body parts measure against other body parts creates ratios that bodybuilders often go by. Below we are going to go through a few as when you add the ratios together, you should be on your way to building the ‘perfect’ physique.
Chest to Waist Ratio
An ideal chest-to waist ratio is known to be about 1.4, slightly less than the 1.6 shoulder-to waist ratio. This fits with the “v shape” that is characterized by an aesthetic physique.
Chest to Height Ratio
A good chest-to-height ratio can be described as the width of your whole chest being about 60-68% of your overall height. This characterization falls in line with typical aesthetic body measurements.
Arm to Waist Ratio
An arm-to waist ratio that bodybuilders aim for is that the circumference of your upper arm when flexed is 46-53% of the measurement of your waist. For example, if your waist measures 30”, you would want your arms to measure from 14-19”.
Shoulder to Waist Ratio
The width of your shoulders should be as near as 1.618x to your waist. This is what most bodybuilders describe as a good shoulder to waist ratio. This is referred to as the Golden Ratio which we went through earlier in this article.
The ideal male chest size doesn’t exist as a defined measurement, but more of its own ratio. However, this ratio has been debated among many different fitness figures and in the bodybuilding community. For example. Gregory O’Gallagher, who is Kinobody famous, recommends your chest being around 60-68% of your height whereas Michael Matthews, suggests it should be 6.5x larger than the circumference of your wrist.
The ‘perfect’ waist size in bodybuilding should be between 45%-47% of an individual’s shoulder width.
When you are looking for the ideal male leg size for bodybuilders, you need to consider both your thighs and calves. Your thighs should be about 25% smaller than the measurements of your waist. Your calves should be 2.5 x larger than your non-dominant wrist bone.
Ideal Male Bodybuilding Measurements for the ‘Perfect’ Aesthetic
As we have gone through this article, we have considered several standards of what is considered an ideal male body measurement and how it is achieved to reach the perfect aesthetic.
What you consider perfect, however, depends on what theory and whose opinion you value the most. Nearly all the calculations we have considered infuse the Golden Ratio, yet the Reeves’ Ratio is often used most commonly in the bodybuilding world.
Steve Reeves is famous for his size, symmetry, and his proportions and this makes him aspirational for bodybuilders all over the globe. To remind ourselves of these measurements, they should look like:
- Arm: 252% wrist
- Waist: 86% pelvis
- Calf: 192% ankle
- Neck: 78% head
- Thigh: 175% knee
- Chest: 148% pelvis
We hope by reading this article, you have gathered enough information about what is considered the ideal male body measurements for ‘perfect’ aesthetics.
Whose calculations you use will be personal to you as a bodybuilder but bear in mind that everybody is different and certain body types will not fit into these calculations, even if they are at a low body fat percentage, have built up muscle, and are at peak physical health and fitness.
Therefore, although having these measurements can be used as guidance, they are not the only measurements you should aim for whilst entering the world of bodybuilding. Remember to focus on what feels and looks good on your body type and flex those muscles far and wide!
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