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Body Measurements and the Ideal Body

Updated on April 22, 2016

Why the IDEAL Body?

Many people are slaves to the tape measure. The ideal body is the ultimate goal, and the tale of the tape is often the factor that defines their progress.

There are 3 main reasons-

  • Society driven image ideals
  • Personal preference and lifestyle specific goals
  • Educated ideals, based on scientific information

The first of these reasons is, by definition, an extremely superficial way of looking at your body, but, is there a single one of us who can honestly say it plays no part in how we evaluate ourselves?

The last two reasons have a far more sound foundation, in that they address the two most important values in life, health and happiness!

If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life

— Marcus Garvey

Be Realistic

It's important to remember that everyone's different. And that's great! The human body is beautifully diverse, and we should embrace our own particular attributes. The naked eye is often the best way to evaluate your physique. This said, body measurements can play an important role in helping us tweak our fitness training.

These measurements are both taken and viewed differently across the sexes. On the whole, men strive for larger muscles and broader chests and shoulders, while women predominantly aim for the slim waistline and curves of the 'hourglass' figure. Let's examine both of these ideals from different perspectives.

There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy

— Nietzsche

Image Related Ideals

For men the adonis physique is highly sought after. A muscular body, with a tight waistline that tapers upwards in a pronounced 'V' shape, to broad shoulders, is for many, the ideal body image. The widely held 'golden ratio' for this is-


That is, a ratio of waist, measured just above the hip bones, to shoulder circumference at the broadest point of 1:1.618. So, for a 34" waist, the ideal shoulder measurement would be 55". For many men, this is simply not genetically viable.

For women the venus physique is the benchmark. With emphasis given to the mid-to-lower torso, the widely held ranges, with regard to waist circumference as a percentage of body height, are-

  • Under 35%- Possibly lacking lean body mass
  • 35-43%- Ideal range
  • Over 43%- Possibly carrying excess body fat

As the female body is far more diverse than that of males, anyone falling outside the ideal range should not panic, but may seek further advice.


Health Related Ideals

Now for the important bit! And it's all about fruit! Apples and pears to be precise. It has been shown that those with an apple shaped physique are at greater risk of developing heart disease. How are these defined?

Put simply-

  • Pears have larger hips than waists
  • Apples have larger waists than hips

If you suspect that you are an apple, don't panic! Discuss this with your respective fitness trainers. While genetics may be an over-riding factor, with proper guidance and some effort, you can learn to make the most of any body shape.

Happy training!!


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    • LAWRTW profile image

      Cassandra Schmigotzki 3 years ago from Indianapolis, IN, USA

      I'm a pear.