HomeFitnessGolden Ratio in Bodybuilding - How to Build A Timeless, Aesthetic Physique

Golden Ratio in Bodybuilding – How to Build A Timeless, Aesthetic Physique

The Golden Ratio
The reason 90% of men lift weights is the vanity of the mirror, whether they'll admit it or not.

The best look is not that of a big bulky bodybuilder, but instead a reasonably muscular, lean, proportional physique. This will be found admirable universally.

Arnold Pull Up

The Blueprint Of An Aesthetically Pleasing Physique

So what does an aesthetically sculpted physique look like? I think you'll agree with me that it goes something like this:

  • Broad shoulders
  • Bulging biceps with equally developed triceps
  • A flat, armour plated chest
  • V taper from a small waist up to the broad shoulders
  • Defined abdominal region
  • Well developed legs featuring quad definition with matching hamstrings and bicep-like calves

This physique would also have that hard, dry look which is achieved by a very low level of body fat and minimal water retention.

The physique I've described is an old school physique, that which was quite common in the golden era of bodybuilding - during Arnold's days. It seems today the goal of most gym goers and elite bodybuilders is to pack on as much muscle mass as possible, regardless of whether it is out of proportion or doused in fat.

The photos below depict Steve Reeves - this is the epitome of an aesthetic physique and you'll be pleased to note you can 100% obtain this physique without any steroids or crazy supplements.

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Steve's physique looks perfect, correct?

This is because the golden ratio has been applied - yes, there's a mathematical symmetry underlying his physique. It comes down to measurements and proportions.

Before I delve deeper into the explaination of the golden ratio and how it applies to bodybuilding it's worth noting that if you did or do achieve the same ratio as Steve you will not look the same as him. Everyone has different genetics which determine the fullness of your muscle bellies, shape, length and the insertion points of your muscles. I can guarantee you however it you achieve YOUR golden ratio your physique will resemble that of a greek god.

The Golden Ratio in Bodybuilding

Visually, the golden ratio is as follows:

golden ratio

The golden ratio is numerically expressed as follows:

1:1.618 (1 to 1.618)

The golden ratio is everywhere.

At the atomic level, in the skeletal system of animals, tree branches, the veins of leaves and the human body, of course.

Now, the part you've been waiting for... how can you apply the golden ratio to figure out the ideal size and proportions for your body?

Determining The Numbers You Need To Resemble A God

I can't just tell you your exact numbers, we need to establish some reference points first of all (as you know, each body part is to be proportionate to another... so get your tape measure).

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Record the following measurements:

  • Arm circumference (at the peak of your bicep)
  • Circumference of your non dominant wrist
  • Circumference of your shoulders
  • Circumference of your waist
  • Circumference of your upper thigh
  • Circumference of your knee
  • Circumference of your calves

Now, here's the formula you're going to apply your measurements to:

Your Ideal Arm Size

Your arms when flexed should be 150% bigger than your non dominant wrist circumference.

This is the equivalent to your wrist measurement x 2.5

 Your Ideal Calves Size

Your flexed calves should match the size of your flexed arms.

Calves measurement = arm measurement

 Your Ideal Shoulder Size

Your shoulder circumference should measure 1.618 times larger than your waist.

This is the equivalent to your waist x 1.618.

  Your Ideal Chest Size

Your chest circumference should be 550% larger than the circumference of your non-dominant wrist

This is the equivalent to your wrist measurement x 6.5.

 Your Ideal Leg Size

The circumference of your upper thigh should be 75% bigger than the circumference of your knee.

This is the equivalent to your knee measurement x 1.75.

One Thing To Keep In Mind...

These measurements are most accurate on a relatively lean physique. If you're holding a large portion of fat on your waist your measurements will not be 'ideal' upon calculating them.

I recommend your body fat be no greater than 10% to accurately apply the golden ratio to your body. Check out my guide here if you're looking to lose fat and get into that single digit body fat range.

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If you're lean and ready to start packing on muscle to get that golden physique here's a good starting point.

arnold calves

My Results With The Golden Ratio


My current stats:

Wrist - 6.75"
Arms - 16"
Shoulders - 48"
Chest - 43"
Waist - 31"
Thigh - 23"
Knee - 14"
Calves - 15"

My ideal stats:

Arm size - 16.875" (0.875" short)
Calves - 16.875" (1.875" short)
Shoulders - 50.05" (2.05" short)
Chest - 43.875 (0.75" short)
Thigh - 24.5 (1.5" short)

I will grind away until I get there. 

How Do You Measure Up With The Golden Ratio? Let Me Know! 


Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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