The Ideal Body Measurements

This is a guest post by Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS 

venutoI’m often asked what my body measurements are and/or what are the ideal measurements for a bodybuilder or a classical muscular male physique. Believe it or not, there are actually many formulas for determining the “ideal body proportions.” On the other hand, you might want to take them with a grain of salt…

QUESTION: Tom, there is one thing that I really would like to know – your measurements. You have a physique that (in my opinion) is ideal and your photos are a real inspiration to me. I am able to move up in weight gradually with my workouts, so I know I am building muscle, but I never have a measurement to shoot for – e.g. biceps, chest, waist, hips, etc. Also, it seems like certain ratios (for example, chest to waist ratio, and maybe there are others?), would be helpful also. My thinking is that if my waist and hips are “growing” faster than my chest, then that might be an indicator that I am gaining fat where it likes to show up first (hips and waist). The measurements I have of myself are: chest, waist, hips, biceps, forearms, thighs, calves. Thank you. 



Larry “The Legend” Scott

larry scott bodybuilder, old school muscle buildingFor years, the "The Legend" Larry Scott ruled supreme over bodybuilding.

He dominated every aspect of the sport. The first Mr. Olympia in history, the first multiple winner of the title and the first Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. Olympia winner was unstoppable and untouchable.

From early on in his career until this day, Larry Scott is a personality in bodybuilding people still seek information from and about.

Larry was born in 1938 and raised in Idaho. Not new to fans of Larry's is the fact he lives in Utah.

The first magazine photos of Larry appeared in a publication called "Tomorrow's Man." Of course he was featured and dominated not only the covers but also the contents of all bodybuilding magazines of the 1960's.



Chet Yorton: The Natural Father of Bodybuilding

chetBorn in 1940, Chet Yorton is nicknamed "The Father of Natural Bodybuilding" and has proven to be one of the most influential characters in the sport of bodybuilding.

Yorton stumbled upon bodybuilding quite accidentally because of serious injuries he sustained in an auto accident.

After multiple surgeries and several months of being stuck in a wheelchair, Yorton discovered a set of dumbbells in the hospital and consulted his doctor about incorporating them into part of his recovery process.

Lifting the weights helped Yorton to recover to the point where he decided to continue bodybuilding training afterwards.



Chuck Sipes: The Epitome Of Old School Bodybuilding

muscle building, classic bodybuilders

Chuck Sipes was born on August 22, 1932 in Sterling, Illinois. He is widely regarded as on of the greatest bodybuilders of his time.

Early in his life, he moved with his family to Modesto, California. During high school, he was rejected for the school's football team for being underweight. Spurred by this rejection, he back lifting weight to build mass, under the tutelage of his neighbor Chuck Coker.

Bodybuilding Career

During the course of his long bodybuilding career, Chuck Sipes won an impressive number of prestigious titles. The AAU Mr. North California Content in 1958 was his first foray into competitive bodybuilding shows. He easily bested the field and took the first place. During the same year he also participated in a number of AAU contests, finishing 3rd AAU Junior Mr. America Contest, 9th in AAU Mr. America and 2nd in the AAU Mr. Pacific Coast.



John McCallum: Beginner and Intermediate Mass Gaining Program

There’s a young man down the street from me who trains with weights. He’s been at it for about three years now but you’d never know to look at him. He’s got no build at all. My grandmother’s been dead for twelve years and she probably still look better that he does.

hardgainerThese are the words that first drew me into the world of John McCallum – and what a world to be drawn in to. He was a bit of a mysterious figure in the strength world but wrote a series of compelling articles for “Strength and Health” in the Sixties and early Seventies that fuelled a generation of young bodybuilders and strength enthusiasts and defined the modern day strength article.



Dave Draper: The Blond Bomber

DaveDraper-FLX-ArtZeller-947It is nigh impossible to write articles on classic bodybuilders without mentioning the name, Dave Draper. Known as the Blond Bomber, Draper looked every bit the prototypical California bodybuilder of the Sixties even though he heralded from Secaucus, New Jersey.

Born in 1942, he began his weight training at the tender age of 10 and was well practiced and obsessed by the age of 12. In his book Iron On My Mind, Draper later described this experience: “The motive was survival, muscle and might and self against self prompted by wishful thinking and a kid’s hope and dream – a daring image of a well-muscled Dave-man bopping about in my morsel-sized mind.”




Reg Park: The Titan From Yorkshire

regclassic bodybuilders, muscle buildingA true product of the harsh Yorkshire environment, in the years of the depression, Reg Park was born in Leeds in 1928. A stark environment such as pre-war Northern England of the 1930’s served to shape Reg Park into one of bodybuilding’s strongest competitors of the 50’s and through to the early 70’s. The straightforward and pragmatic mindset of the typical Yorkshireman served to implement a simple yet effective training schedule that not only served to produce his Herculean physique, but has remained a bedrock of strength training today.

A natural athlete as a schoolboy, Reg dreamed of being a footballer through his school years and devoted this time to playing the “beautiful” game. At 16, Reg was introduced to bodybuilding by a local strength enthusiast, David Cohen. Training at a mutual friend’s house, Reg started to develop his renowned physique from the simplest of training equipment – barbells, dumbbells and a chinning bar.



John Grimek: Monarch of Muscledom

John GrimekJohn Grimek was probably the greatest bodybuilder of the 30’s and 40’s – and beyond! He was the only bodybuilder to the AAU Mr. America title twice in 1940 and 1941. So complete were his victories that the organization changed the entry rules excluding previous winners.

There is some confusion about the exact date when John Carrol Grimek was born. Some documents say that he was born on June the 17th 1910, but some of the documents say that he was born of June the 18th 1911. Some even claim that he was born on June the 17th 1909. Who knows? What we do know is that a legend was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey at that time.



Bill Pearl: The World’s Best Built Man

muscle building, classic bodybuildersI often think of Bill Pearl as the best bodybuilder never to win a Mr. Olympia title. “Well,” I hear you say, “He was too old in ’65 to win the title”.

And my reply will always be, “Well he was young enough to win the NABBA Professional Mr. Universe in ’71 at age 41, beating Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane, and Chris Dickerson (both past and future Mr. Olympias). In addition there is a strong rumour that the ‘71 Mr. Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenegger was pulled from the competition after a conversation between Pearl’s mentor Leo Stern and Joe Weider because Stern thought Pearl looked good enough to beat Weider’s protégé”.

The fact of the matter was that Pearl was never part of the Weider empire, so he would never have stood a chance in that event. And to be fair it probably didn’t concern him too much.



Steve Reeves: Hercules Unchained

SteveReevesSteve Reeves was born in Glasgow, Montana, on January 21, 1926. By the age of ten, Reeves and his mother had moved to Oakland, California. As he entered his teenage years the future Mr. Universe had become deeply immersed in bodybuilding magazines and bodybuilders became his heroes. In particular, the muscular John Grimek was his source of inspiration. Steve Reeves fate as a champion bodybuilder was assured.

Reeves became an avid trainer, training in a home garage gym. Eventually however, he outgrew the garage and joined Ed Yarick’s gym in Oakland. Yarick , a bodybuilder himself, tutored Steve on a regime of full body workouts three times a week and packed a mighty forty pounds of muscle onto his frame. By 1944 Reeves weighed a mighty 203lbs and stood at a height of 6’ 1”.