Building muscle is great, but building balanced, proportional muscle is better. It's the difference between haphazardly lifting and eating and strategically earning your aesthetics. And for most of us, it's not going to happen by accident.
Old-school bodybuilders like Frank Zane, Lee Labrada, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Serge Nubret are all examples of men who managed to combine aesthetics with size to compete at the highest level. New-school stars like Steve Cook, Sadik Hadzovic, and Brandon Hendrickson are bringing the V-taper tradition to a new generation. And if you're forever 'mirin Zyzz, well, you know how important balance can be.
This calculator will give your natural muscle-building potential for each muscle group, based on a classic, timeless measurement of the "perfect" male body.
These measurements indicate your natural muscle-building potential. Depending on where you are now, it can take years or even decades of consistent lifting and eating right to get there. Here are your next steps!
1. Pick a Muscle-Building Workout Plan
Following a well-designed lifting program is the best way to add muscle size and proportion. These popular BodyFit programs can help you build muscle from head to toe, or target specific areas that you'd like to bring up.
2. Calculate Your Macros
If you want to reach your muscular potential, how you eat will play a major part in your success! The Bodybuilding.com Macronutrient Calculator will give you a daily target for not only protein, but also carbohydrates, dietary fats, and calories.
3. Learn About the Best Supplements for Gaining Muscle
Supplements can help you accelerate your lean-mass-building results once you have your protein intake and training nailed down. Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., shares her recommendations in the article, "8 Proven Supplements for Muscle Growth and Strength."
4. Join a Fitness Community
For over 10 years, members of BodySpace have been helping each other build their best bodies. Join the world's strongest fitness community!
How do I measure my muscles?
You may think it's as simple as "get a pump and pull out the measuring tape," but getting an accurate measurement requires a bit more intentionality than that:
- Refrain From Exercise Before Measuring. The idea behind body-part measurement is to ensure that all groups are assessed in their natural state to get an accurate result.
- Don't Flex. Measure body parts in their relaxed state. Flexing will produce an inconsistent result between body parts.
- Measure Both Sides. To accurately assess symmetry, both sides of the body need to be measured. If one muscle group is "off," it is worth prioritizing in your training.
- Track Your Measurements. Want to know how much you've grown? Track your physique measurements and progress in BodySpace.
What is the Grecian Ideal of bodybuilding?
The ancient Greeks had specific ideas regarding how the perfect male physique should look: a small and muscular waist, tapered back, wide shoulders, and detailed, but not overwhelmingly huge, muscles. The size of each muscle related to the next in what is known as the "Golden Ratio."
The great Eugene Sandow—the man the Mr. Olympia statuette is based on—achieved a perfectly proportioned physique that was very close to these measurements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This calculator is based on Sandow's measurements, which were:
- Height: 5-foot-9
- Weight: 185-195 lbs.
- Arms: 18
- Calves: 18
- Neck: 18
- Thighs: 27
- Chest: 48
- Waist: 30
- Hips: 42
Sandow's example has continued to inspire professional and amateur bodybuilders ever since, including the classic movie star Steve Reeves, who was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's original inspirations as a bodybuilder.
You can learn more about Sandow in the video and article, "The History of the Squat."
Get Systematic About Your Results
Once you know the priorities to build your training around, it's time to take the same kind of strategic approach to the rest of your training and nutrition. These popular calculators can help you dial in your plan!
- Calorie Calculator: How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day?
- 1RM Calculator: Calculate Your Max Weight for Lifts
- Protein Calculator: Calculate How Much Protein You Need to Eat Each Day
- Body Type Calculator: How to Eat and Train for Your Body