Measurements for the Perfect Physique!

Ideal Measurements for a Bodybuilding Physique

The sport of bodybuilding is all about the pursuit of building a Lean Muscular Physique.

The ultimate goal is to develop your body with the right balance of muscle size, shape, definition, symmetry, and proportion.

But what is the so called “Ideal Bodybuilding Physique” ?

Unfortunately there isn’t one set answer to this question because there are many varying opinions on what is considered ideal body proportions. And these opinions are constantly evolving.

The sport of bodybuilding has changed dramatically over the past 100+ years.
Just look at the pictures below to see what I mean…

old-classic-modern-bodybuilders
Note:
If you think modern bodybuilders wear skimpy posing trunks, just look at what Eugene Sandow wore back in the day… Good thing no one had a leaf blower LOL


What Type Of Bodybuilding Physique Would You Prefer?

Everyone is going to have their personal preference for the type of physique they admire. However, there seems to be a growing trend among fitness enthusiasts for the classic old school bodybuilder look. Which is basically a smaller muscular build compared to the Freaky Huge Bodybuilders that we see in the pro ranks today.

While a Mr. Olympia Mass Monster like Jay Cutler is certainly very impressive. It’s not the type of body that the average gym goer would like have. Most of the guys that I coach would prefer to have a muscular build similar to what the old school bodybuilders had.

This trend is evident with the growing popularity of “Men’s Physique” competition. For a lot of bodybuilding shows the Physique Division is now getting more competitor entries than the Bodybuilding Division. And when you look at today’s Top Physique Competitors, they actually do resemble the same type of look that many of the old school bodybuilders had.


The Classic Old School Bodybuilder Look…

Steve Reeves
Steve-Reeves

Reg Park
Reg-Park

Vince Gironda
vince_gironda.011

Frank Zane
frank-zane


What Are The Body Measurements For The Ideal Muscular Physique?

Many bodybuilding historians regard Steve Reeves as being one of the most symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing bodybuilders of all time. His build was more along the lines of what a modern day Physique Competitor looks like.

Reeves was one of the early proponents of training for balance and proportion, rather than simply trying to get big at all costs. He was always striving for perfection in this regard and came close to achieving his own personal ideal physique.

steve-reeves-measurements

It’s interesting to note that Steve Reeves neck, arms, and calves all measured the same circumference. Having these 3 body parts all measure the same was one of his criteria for ideal body proportions.

In his book “Building the Classic Physique: The Natural Way”
Steve Reeves outlined his formula for the ideal body proportions as follows…

Muscle To Bone Ratios:
– Arm size = 252% of wrist size
– Calf size = 192% of ankle size
– Neck Size = 79% of head size
– Chest Size = 148% of hips size
– Waist size = 86% of hips size
– Thigh size = 175% of knee size

Height To Weight Ratio For Building A Classic Physique:
Steve Reeves also believed that ones height represented the limit to which they could pack on mass. His main philosophy proposed keeping your body weight within acceptable limits to prevent distorting your natural symmetry.

Height:
5’5″
5’6″
5’7″
5’8″
5’9″
5’10”
5’11”
6’0″
6’1″
6’2″
6’3″
6’4″
6’5″
Weight:
160 lbs.
165 lbs.
170 lbs.
175 lbs.
180 lbs.
190 lbs.
195 lbs.
200 lbs.
210 lbs.
220 lbs.
230 lbs.
240 lbs.
250 lbs.

*Note:
These numbers would represent ripped contest weight. Not off-season bulked up weight.


How Do You Compare To The Classic Bodybuilders?

Right now you can have some fun and break out the tape measure and calculator and see how your measurements compare. Now while these so called “ideal measurements” can give you some direction with your fitness goals, don’t take them too seriously or get discouraged by them.

Remember that these numbers are subjective and simply based on someone else’s opinion of what an ideal physique should be, but take them with a grain of salt. We all have our own unique body types, strengths, and weaknesses. No body is perfect, and even Steve Reeves in his prime didn’t match up to all these “ideal measurements”.

But you can still use this information to your advantage and have fun with it. These ratios can be used as a general guideline to help plan out your training goals so you can bring up your weaknesses and create a more balanced muscular physique.


Would You Like Some Help With Building The Ideal Muscular Physique?

If you would like some help with building the ideal classic bodybuilding physique, than I recommend that you download a copy of my Free e-Book:


3-keys-image
The 3 Keys To Building Muscle – PDF

In this 51 page PDF download you’ll get insider tips & tricks about Bodybuilding Training, Nutrition, and Mindset that top level Bodybuilders & Physique Competitors use to quickly fill out their frames with Rock Solid Muscle Mass!

Click Here to Download Your Copy for Free!




About The Author

leehayward

Lee Hayward is a competitive bodybuilder and muscle building coach who has been online helping people build muscle, lose bodyfat, and get in shape since 1999. Lee was selected as one of the Top Fitness Trainers Online through YouTube's Next Trainer Program and his work has been featured in several international magazines such as: FLEX, Muscle Insider, Muscle Mag International, Testosterone, Ironmag, and Forbes.

14 Comments

  • This topic is always up for debate but i like how you gave a great article on what the ideal measurements for a bodybuilding physique. For me, building your muscles depends on your purpose of doing it. So whether you are competing or just going for a great looking body, one should take a read of this article to help them be guided on their goals.

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  • I’m a big fan of old school aesthetic bodies like Steve Reeves and boy does Vince Gironda have an amazing body too on that pic!

    I don’t like big stomachs in nowadays bodybuilding.

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  • Tanya Steele

    Reply Reply

    From one female perspective, I prefer the classic body building physique for both men and women. My opinion is the freakishly huge muscles are a total turnoff and I regard it as looking like deformed monsters. It’s painful to look at. I have never heard a woman comment that she wanted to be with someone who looks exceedingly muscular so I assume that this is done solely to impress other men.

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  • Tim

    Reply Reply

    Anthony has it right.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  • Riaz

    Reply Reply

    I would highly recommend you check out the muscle measure meant chart for men by Dennis B Weis. His one is more accurate and appropriate. His justification of the details is more well explained. He has 2 types of ideal measurements 1. For serious bodybuilder so 2. For average people who want to be in good shape.
    Besides that, he has many other charts that determine an ideal nutrition for calorie intake, 1 rep max, workout training guideline (based on individual preferences), and many more. Everything is given for free, in one webpage…

    Please visit http://www.dennisbweis.com, and click’strength and measurement charts’
    I found it very informative and Dennis weis, was very way ahead of his time..

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  • Flex Moore

    Reply Reply

    Lee, I personally prefer the Classic Physiques like Frank Zane, Vince Gironda, Robby Robinson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Feriggno, Serge Nubret, Dave Draper, and etc. Those are the physiques that I love and going for to obtain. I’m finally at the point or close to the point in which I obtain a physique similar to these types of physiques! They created a division in the NPC called Classic Physique! I feel I’m ready to compete and going for my first show in May! What better way to do so with the new Classic Physique Division of the NPC! This is perfect for me because this the type of physique I’m going for, striving for, and absolutely love! Classic Physiques define bodybuilding as an art and not just being a freakishly huge mass monster packing on as much muscle mass as possible! Anthony said it pretty well in his comment and fully agree! So the Classic Physique ftw!

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  • Steve Reese is amazing and Vince Gironda too… wow so cool!

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  • Robert Steiner

    Reply Reply

    Good article indeed.
    However there are some points I disagree with.
    I started bodybuilding in 1988 at age of 14. I strongly believe that the Golden Era of Bodybuilding was still there until it was over in about 1991. Anyway, I started competing in 1994, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
    From my experience and observation, yes, today’s modern bodybuilding (since 1991) as a general became a crap!!
    -I disagree that physique of Jay Cutler is impressive. It never was! Same as Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates and many more disproportional freaks!
    -I disagree that classic bodybuilders like Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Vince Gironda, Larry Scott and many others looked like today Men’s Physique Divisions’ competitors. They’ve certainly been more muscular and proportioned (and didn’t hide their thighs). To me Men’s Physique is not bodybuilding at all, it’s a beach fashion for men who want to please girls! THE REAL DIVISION that is close to OLD GOOD CLASSIC BODYBUILDING OF GOLDEN ERA is MEN’S CLASSIC PHYSIQUE introduced by NPC in 2016! I regret that it wasn’t introduced about 20 years ago. There was already great need for it!
    -I also disagree that only average “gym rats” want to look like classic bodybuilders from 60s, 70s, 80s. Many competitive bodybuilders (including myself) hate the way modern bodybuilding is today and think more and more about competing in REAL (old-good-like) Bodybuilding -MEN’S CLASSIC PHYSIQUE Division, present in bodybuilding federations of many countries today.

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  • Robert Steiner

    Reply Reply

    Also, the photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the middle between photos of: Eugen Sandow and Jay Cutler doesn’t come from 1970. It comes from 1975
    Mr Olympia contest in Pretoria, South Africa where Arnold won his 6th consecutive title.

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  • Robert Steiner

    Reply Reply

    Tanya Steele,

    I can assure you that freakishly muscular physiques presented in today’s modern bodybuilding absolutely don’t impress normal, down-to-earth, mature-thinking MEN and serious bodybuilders (including myself). I personally wish bodybuilding has stayed the way it was back in 70s or 80s.
    These disproportional (and often “pregnant”) mass monsters impress mostly spoiled, grown on XBOX and PlayStation guys born in 1992 and after.
    And not necessarily gays, if you mean that.
    I’m fed up with stupid female stereotype that all bodybuilders are gays.

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  • The Eugene Sandow physique has the best balance to my tastes. He has the most credibility because there is a beautiful eloquence in his mastery of language in his writings, a classic style that only the finest 18th and 19th century authors can achieve. Look up some of his disquisitions on his advice on healthy living and observe the sheer lyricism and beauty of how he composes every sentence and the tight structure of his paragraphs. He does not refer to sports or pop culture songs, but rather to the higher forms of culture that were esteemed during the turn of that century. This is consistent with the balance he offered.

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  • Robert Steiner

    Reply Reply

    Anders,

    Not: Steve Reese, but: Steve Reeves.
    Kyle Reese was a warrior from the future that came to year 1984
    to protect Sarah Connor targeted for extermination
    by the cyborg model: CSM 101 also sent from the future,
    starred by Arnold Schwarzenegger. :)))

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  • Robert Steiner

    Reply Reply

    But YES. I agree: Steve Reeves, Vince Gironda, Reg Park and many other REAL bodybuilders were BY FAR BETTER,HEALTHIER then today’s so called “bodybuilders”. As I mentioned earlier:
    BODYBUILDING IS DEAD SINCE 1992 !!!

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  • Sam

    Reply Reply

    Hey Lee, great article,
    When steroids came to be known, people went berserk over them and started injecting the stuff. A true strongman is a thing of the past.

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