Perfect Male Body Measurements – Based On Science

Vitruvian Man

The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

Why is it that women find broad shoulders on men attractive?

Because broad shoulders imply strength, valor, and virility.


It is human nature to perceive attractiveness based on the traits we most desire in a mate.

Turns out that there is actually a science behind the perfect male body measurements.

Discover how to develop your ideal physique.

The Divine Proportion

Phi (Φ = 1.618…)  is the number referred to as the divine proportion.

It is also referred to as the Golden Ratio or Golden Mean1.

Like pi (pi=3.14…), phi is an irrational number, i.e. it goes on forever.

Two quantities are said to be in divine proportion if their sum divided by the larger quantity is equal to the larger quantity divided by the smaller quantity.

In written form it looks like this:Formula for Phi

People have known about phi a long time. In fact, architects and sculptors have been incorporating it into their work since the BC era2.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man is a drawing based on the Golden Ratio.

It is also no coincidence that phi occurs throughout nature3.

There is a certain significance to this number and it should be of no surprise that it also plays a part in determining what body proportions we find most attractive.

*Women can check out how the golden ratio ties into the perfect female body

Phi In The Human Body

If you take the length of your arm (from forearm to tip of the hand) and divide it by the length of your forearm, you will get a number very close to 1.618. Phi occurs in other parts of the body as well like the feet, face, and torso4.

It is common practice for plastic surgeons to try and bring the proportions of the face closer to phi5.


The golden ratio is an exemplification of symmetry.

As humans we are programmed to seek, adore, and create symmetry.

There are two ways to alter your body’s proportions (four if you count surgery and the use of shady substances) in order to bring them closer to this ideal:

  • Diet – Having a diet that is in a caloric deficit, yet complete in terms of required vitamins and minerals.
  • Exercise – Workouts are focused on increasing the width of your upper body.

Sculptors in ancient Greece were renown for their work in the representation of the perfect male body.

Eugen Sandow, though you may not have heard of him, is a strong man from the 1800s considered the father of modern bodybuilding.

Sandow actually set out to measure ancient Greek sculptures and developed a formula for the perfect physique called “The Grecian Ideal”.

Sandow went on to build his proportions to match the dimensions of his Grecian Ideal6.

Pictured below are Eugen Sandow and a Greek sculpture from the Classical Era called Doryphoros

Perfect Male Body Shape

Eugene Sandow vs Ancient Greek Sculpture

Doryphoros was put together by the renown Greek sculptor Polykleitos as an exemplification of what he considered:

the perfectly harmonious and balanced proportions of the human body in the sculpted form7.

How To Get The Perfect Male Body

Step 1. Ask yourself why.

The first question you should ask yourself before setting out on any endeavour is:

“Why do I want to achieve this goal?”

In this case your goal is to build your ideal body.

Is it because you want a boost in self-esteem?

Is it because you want to become more attractive to the opposite sex?

Is it because you want respect from the people that called you chubby?

Why do you want this?

When your “why” is strong enough, you will always take right action towards your goals.

When your “why” is not strong enough, you will find excuses for not taking right action.

Step 2. Set SMART goals to increase the probability of success.

SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, results focused, and time bound.


A general goal is “I want to get in shape.”

A specific goal is “I will get a gym membership and workout 4 times a week.”


The measurable side of things will come down to things like:

  • How many inches do I want to add to my shoulders?
  • How many inches do I want to drop in my waist?


Don’t set out to try and drop 30 pounds of fat in one month. This is simply not attainable and you will become demotivated.

Instead, set goals that you can see yourself achieving in the near future.

For example:

Lose 1 pound a week.

Results Focused

Don’t just rely on the mirror for results.

Keep track of your progress by taking before/after pictures, weighing yourself, and measuring your waist once a week.

Time Bound 

In how long do you intend on achieving your goal? Keep a deadline.

I find 12-weeks to be a good time frame for body transformation.

Step 3. Figure Out a Plan. 

You have a why strong enough and a clear vision of what you want to achieve.

Next up is figuring out how to make that vision a reality.

Answer questions like:

  • What exercises will your workouts include?
  • What will your meal plan look like?

Step 4. Execute. 

This will be a matter of following through with your plan day in and day out, whether you feel like it or not.

The Perfect Male Body Workout

Getting closer to your ideal measurements will entail two critical factors:

  • Increasing the width of your upper body.
  • Decreasing the width of your waist.

These two measurements serve as the foundation of the perfect male physique.

Adding inches to your shoulders will come down to your workout plan.

Decreasing your waist will largely come down to your diet and cardio.

One you determine what your ideal measurements are you will have a clear understanding as to what body parts you should focus on.

You can also check out the Adonis Golden Ratio program.


  1. Hom, Elaine. “What is the Golden Ratio?
  2. Knott, Ron. “Fibonacci Numbers and Nature.” University of Surrey.
  3. Livio, Mario. “The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World’s Most Astonishing Number.” New York: Broadway Books
  4. Meisner, Gary. “Facial Analysis and the Beauty
  5. Meisner, Gary. “The Human Body and the Golden Ratio.”
  6. Pednaud, J. “Eugen Sandow – Father of Bodybuilding.”
  7. Tobin, Richard. “The Canon of Polykleitos.” American Journal of Archaeology.


  1. says

    Fascinating stuff. I do remember seeing the Golden Ratio applied to that famous Da Vinci sketch of a man with his hands and legs outstretched.
    If it is a higher power thing then this higher power has no interest in me Lol, as I’m definitely above that 12% margin you mention!

    • Adam says

      Yup, the Vitruvian man. That is actually the featured image of the post.
      You might not be where you want to be right now, but you sure as hell can get there if you want it bad enough!

  2. Nate says

    What a brilliant article! I hadn’t even heard of phi. Really interesting how numbers and nature tend to interact. I think I’ve got a bit of work to do for the perfect male body measurements.

    My arms are 2 times (35cm compared to 17cm wrist) so need to get them a bit bigger. Calves are 38cm so they are much closer.

    Waist is 92cm and chest 121cm – so that’s 1.315 – phi would be 148cm – got some real work to do there! But I’ve had a waist as low as 82cm recently – so if I can get it back down there then I’d only need to get shoulder circumference to 132cm – do you think that’s doable?

    Chest is 104cm – would need it to be 110cm to be 6.5 times the wrist – I’ve definitely had a larger chest in the past so I think that one shouldn’t be too hard.

    My knee is 40cm and my thigh is 58cm – this seems off – you say the thigh should be three fourths of the knee. My thigh is almost 1.5 times my knee. Do I have small knees? Never thought I had big thighs.

    Sorry all the measurements are in cms for all those that use inches (there are seem easy converters online!)

    I have no idea what my body fat is – Is there a way to measure that?

    Thanks again for the post – this gives me something to aim towards in my workouts.

    • Adam says

      You have taken note of what your current measurements are and now have something to strive towards!
      You can find various body fat calculators online, but from my experience they are not accurate at all. The best way to find out your body fat percentage is by visiting a general physician. They usually have a tool that sends an electric current throughout your body to determine the composition.

      So glad that you learned something new from my post!

      • Nate says

        Thanks Adam!

        I’ve been meaning to visit the doctor for a general check-up so when I do I’ll ask about that body fat test.


  3. says

    Very interesting! I was expecting to read about muscle building tips, not number, but I actually thought the phi thing was really cool!

    • Adam says

      Once you know what parts of your body you have to alter in size then you can decide on which exercises to perform to reach your goals. Phi gives people the proportions to aim for based on cold hard science!

  4. Daniella says

    Hi Adam

    Is this article also for women?
    I really enjoy reading your article , very informative, and now I am going to use these helpful advice for my husband . I think he needs a real shape on the stomach area
    Thank you

    • Adam says

      Hey Daniella,

      Phi also applies to the female physique but in different proportions, i.e. for women we find hourglass figures more attractive. The measurements listed in this article are only for men, I hope they help your husband get in shape!

  5. Darwin says

    Wow this is some great information! I’ve always wondered about the ratios the i need to look okay, not to say I’m anywhere there haha! But this helps a lot. Thanks!

  6. says

    Hey great post. Wow I am a bit off on these proportions but thankfully I got away with it as I am happily married and all I need to worry about is maintaining good health. So I guess I am lucky. It is amazing the way our minds still think like our hunter gatherer forefathers

    • Adam says

      Our brains have evolved to look for what will be the best way to spread your genes. That is really what our bodies are after to survive and reproduce. A lot of our instinct is based upon what our ancestors brain evolved from.

  7. Ryan says

    I’m sorry if I’m being dense, but are you saying that if my waist is 100 inches around, my shoulders should be about 161 inches around?

    • Adam says

      Hey Ryan,

      The waist is one measurement that cannot be altered other than with fat gain.
      Your shoulder width should be around 1.618x your lean condition waist.
      When I say lean condition, that would mean at a body fat at or under 10 percent.

      But in the hypothetical scenario that your waist is 100 inches and your body fat is somehow 10 percent, then yes your shoulders should be about 161 inches.

      Hope that offered some clarification.
      – Adam

      • Ryan says

        How might the ratio change if one is above their lean condition? Because realistically, the majority of people are around 20-30% body fat. Also, I thought body fat below 10% was considered dangerously low for the human body?

        • Nate says

          From what I’ve heard the healthy range of body fat for men is between 8% and 20% – so 10% is perfectly healthy (I think for women this would be too low, by memory). 20% to 30% is in the unhealthy range. Just because a lot of people are in that range these days doesn’t make it healthy.

          The ratio shouldn’t change. In order to make that ratio more realistic first you should drop your waist size by reducing your body fat percentage to at least below 20%.

          And you don’t have to hit those ratios dead on – the point is that the closer to those ratios you can get the more attractive you appear, to the majority of people anyway.

          That’s my two cents anyway – happy to be corrected

          • Adam says

            Nate’s got it spot on.

            For a visual representation of how the body looks by varying body fat levels in both women and men check this picture out.

            Technically, you could have a huge gut while still maintaining the Golden Ratio if you had extremely wide shoulders to make up for it. At the end of the day, though, you still have a huge gut.

            So yea, the point is to strive for shoulders to be 1.618x the waist at a relatively low body fat percentage.

  8. jim says

    shows most roided out B.Ber’s are way out of whack as to what visually looks good.

    Get your body fat <11%

    Lift heavy weights…should get close to the ration in time.

    90% is waist 30-34" (height dependent)

    Broad shoulders and upper back.

    Toned legs, core and arms.

    Presto…..Babe magnet unless you look like John Merick.

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