What Is Considered The Perfect Male Body? (The Adonis Index)


Many of us are obsessed trying to build a body with extremely large and swollen muscles. You know the kind of body that modern bodybuilders like Phil Heath and Kai Greene have.

Even though this level of development can be impressive and certainly look freakish, is this really the body that most people truly want and actually believe look good, especially girls?

Well, I decided to find out what most people believe is the best looking male physique. Here’s what I found:

What is considered the perfect male body? According to research and surveys the perfect male physique has decent muscularity, is well-defined (lean), and have great symmetrical proportions. The correct proportions are believed to be more attractive than the overall size or height of the male. It’s the proportions that makes the difference!

The most attractive male body seems to be the dense, hard and angular looking natural physique with broad thick shoulders and upper back, square masculine chest, rock hard arms, slim waist and athletic legs.

In this post we’ll look at two things called The Golden Ratio and The Adonis Index Ratio, why these ratios matters for aesthetics, and finally we’ll look at where you currently are and what you should do to build the perfect male physique.

Let’s go.

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Too Much Size is Negative


Impressive and freaky, but far from considered the perfect male body.

When looking at the existing research on what the perfect male body looks like, it’s not the overall size of the male that matters, it’s the proportions between the shoulders and the waist. One of the paper even states:

“For males, the most important proportions are that between the shoulders and waist. A near-universal sexually attractive feature of a man is a V-shaped torso: a relatively small waist offset with broad shoulders.”

For instance, guys that are to big and bulky, seems to turn off women according to this study. Another study also show that most guys actually overestimate the amount of muscle they think women will be attracted to.

In fact, if you rely on your beliefs you will end up overestimating the size you think you would be by almost 30 pounds! In other words, if most women think you will look great at 180 pounds, you will most likely take for granted that you need to be 210 pounds! At which point most women will probably just think you look too freaky.

Most men are comparing themselves to other men, just like women compare themselves to other women. Just as women want to be smaller and thinner than other women, guys always want to be bigger and stronger than other guys.

But this reasoning is flawed, because you can’t just continue to get bigger and bigger, it’s physiologically impossible, and it’s also the mindset that could potentially leads to drug abuse. In fact, there is a fine line between having the right amount of muscle, and too much muscle.

Actually, research has shown that sheer size is almost never an indicator of financial or social success. In fact, people tend to view bodybuilders as overweight, and because of that it can hurt your chances when it comes to career and financial success.

The bottom line here is that the ideal size of the male physique is somewhere between decently muscular to the natural genetic limit. This is what Greg from Kinobody refers to as the three stages of development; Warrior, Greek god and Superhero.


What Does The Perfect Male Body Look Like?

So, sheer size is not considered the perfect male body.

But, what is then?

Well, a certain shoulder-to-waist ratio has a lot to do with it:

In multiple research papers, women from all cultures repeatedly choose a shoulder-to-waist ratio of 1:1.6 as being the most attractive. This is where your shoulders are 1.6 times bigger than your waist.

In fact, ratios that exceeded this number (such as the ratio a bodybuilder might achieve with steroids), and a ratio that fell significantly below this number (think a thin distance runner, or someone who is overweight with a large waist) as less attractive.

This is the most attractive male physique:


Why did nearly all women believe the 1:1.6 ratio to be the most attractive numbers? Why wasn’t 1:1.7 or 1:1.4 the most attractive?

Well, it turns out that 1:1.6 is a very special ratio known as The Golden Ratio.

The Golden Ratio

1:1.618 is an ancient mathematical principle that governs many natural laws. Laws such as the shape and proportion of the human body and even the growth pattern of plants. The Golden Ratio is actually one of the keys to the human perception of beauty and attraction.

Your shoulder-to-waist ratio is the most important ratio for the overall look of your body. It is the ratio that you’re most often judged on because it is immediately visible and very hard to hide, even under layers of clothing. In a study by Horvath et al. they found that as you walk into a room your shoulder-to-waist ratio is the most powerful and immediate representation of your overall shape.

Furthermore, this ratio is not something you’re simply born with, you’ve got to workout to get it. What I’m talking about here is a level of muscularity that you can build naturally. But remember, you must build it, you’re not going to accidentally end up looking like this without some effort.

The Adonis Index

The Adonis Index is the ratio between your shoulder circumference to your waist circumference.

Here’s how you find out your Adonis Index:

  • Measure the circumference of your waist at your belly button
  • Measure the circumference of your shoulders at their widest point (this is typically halfway between your collarbone and your nipples).

The closer this ratio gets to 1:1.618, the closer you are to perfect body proportions.

Now, this is just the first part of achieving the perfect male body. You can’t just focus on building your shoulders, chest and upper back and reach the ratio that way. No, the perfect physique also comes down to having an ideal waist size.

Even though the physical attraction research shows that women are most attracted to guys with a V taper and a shoulder-to-waist ratio that is almost exactly The Golden Ratio, this rule is only true if the man also has a slim waist.

Reaching the 1:1.6 ratio by having a bulky waist in combination with very bulky shoulders doesn’t cut it! In fact, women report that the look of a man’s body becomes unattractive no matter how big his shoulders are if the man also has a fat waist.

In other words, The Adonis Index only holds true if your waist is closer to it’s ideal size.

So, with that said I’m sure you’re wondering; what is the ideal waist size?

What’s The Ideal Waist Size?

Your ideal waist size is the product of yet another ratio, which is your height-to-waist ratio. For almost all males the ideal waist is approximately 45% of his height.

This number isn’t a random number either; it’s actually a derivative of The Golden Ratio. In fact, it’s based on a complex equation that uses the reciprocal of the square root of five. I will spare you the details, but the actual ratio is exactly 1:1.447.

So for example, if you are six feet tall you are exactly 72 inches tall, and therefore your ideal waist is 45% of 72 = 32.5 inches.

If we want to we can now calculate the perfect Adonis Index ratio for a six-foot-tall male:

  • Height = 72 inches (183 cm)
  • Ideal Waist = 45% of height = 32.5 inches (82.5 cm)
  • Perfect Shoulder Measurement = 1.618 x 32.5 (Ideal waist) = 52.5 inches (134 cm)

Your Arms And Legs Ratios

The Adonis Index is the most most important body proportion and takes into account the size and shape of your chest, shoulders, upper back and waist. The other measurements on your body that are not incorporated into the Adonis Index ratio are the upper arm, the forearm, thighs, hips, calves.

So far there is no research indicating that these other measurements need to be at any specific size or ratio to affect the overall appearance of the male body. Now, this doesn’t mean these other muscles shouldn’t be developed, it only means that there has never been any research done to quantify what the ideal size of these muscles should be.

However, this doesn’t seem to be much of a problem if you’re working to improve your Adonis Index ratio. In fact, the type of workouts you would engage in to build the perfect Adonis Index ratio will have you do plenty of in-direct arm work to build proportioned arms. Some people might require a bit of extra arm work to keep their arms on pace with the rest of their body.

So, the closer you get to your ideal Adonis Index score the closer your arms will also get to their ideal size and proportions.

Now, when it comes to legs, they are another matter entirely. There is no research indicating that thigh mass is attractive or contribute to the many perceptual benefits of the Adonis Index.

With that said, I think that legs should be decently developed to contribute to a well balanced physique, but they’re not a make or break feature of the ideal male physique. To keep proportions in place most people likely need to take it easier on leg training by limit their leg workouts to lower volume, once per week.

The reason for this is that most people develop their legs much faster than their upper body, especially in the beginner to intermediate stages of training. This often leads to a very imbalanced look between upper body and lower body.

So forget about bodybuilding, forget about 20-inch arms and weighing 250+ lbs. The Adonis Index within the natural limit of muscular development is the ideal male physique.

Here’s an image of the ideal male physique measurements:


Where Are You Now? (Your starting point)

Okay, so let’s get an idea of where you currently are so you know what you have to work on to build your ideal male physique!

Step 1: Calculate Your Waist-to-Height Ratio

To measure your waist size, use a measuring tape lined up at your belly button. Then, use the following equation to calculate your waist-to-height ratio:

Waist: Height: Your Ratio:

Goal: Get as close to 45 % of your height as possible.

Step 2: Calculate Your Current Adonis Index Score

To calculate your Adonis Index ratio, measure the circumference of your shoulders about halfway between your nipples and your collarbone (the widest part of your shoulders) and your waist across your belly button and the circumference of .

Then, use the following equation:

Shoulder: Waist: Your Ratio:

Goal: Get as close to a 1.6 score as possible.

This quick two-step process gives you an accurate measurement of where your Adonis Index ratio is right now.

Remember this number is relative

Your perfect form depends on your height. Every guy who is six feet tall has the same perfect waist and shoulder measurements. Likewise, all men who are five feet, ten inches tall have a specific set of ideal measurements that are different from a man that is six feet tall.

Again, your perfect Adonis Index score is unique to your height.

What About Your Morphology?

One worry many guys have is that they can’t possibly have the same predetermined ideal form as every other man of their height. We’re all shaped so differently, so it shouldn’t be possible to reach the same measurements, right? What if you’re just “big boned” or naturally skinny?

Well, by looking at the data on morphology and somatotypes we can see that we’re actually very similar in size when we remove any excess fat. In reality, the factor that matters more than anything else is our height in relation to our muscle mass. And this is precisely why your height-to-waist ratio is the first determiner of your Adonis Index ratio.

Essentially this means that being “big boned” or skinny doesn’t matter if you have a good workout and nutrition program in place. You can always bring your body closer to its perfect form. You and almost every guy of your same height will in fact have one perfect body size.

It doesn’t matter if you think you’re naturally thicker or thinner than the next guy, because once you start working out to achieve the perfect Adonis Index score, both big and skinny guys will eventually arrive at the same ratio.

How to Build The Perfect Male Physique

Okay, so in this post you’ve learned that a decent level of muscular development that’s achievable naturally, in combination with a waist that is roughly 45% of your height, and with the 1:1.6 shoulder-to-waist ratio, you will achieve the most attractive male physique on the planet.

Now the question becomes; how do you start working towards the physique?

Well, to do so you must set up a good training program and diet protocol based on your current physique, or rather your starting point. As you might realize, most starting points require different nutrition and training protocols to start moving towards the goal physique.

In my guide: How to Build an Aesthetic Physique I cover each of the different starting points (fat, average, skinny-fat, and skinny), and exactly what you should do to reach the perfect male physique! You can read the guide by clicking here!

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas Lampi and I work as a fitness writer, nutritional consultant and personal trainer. My favourite exercise is the bench press and my favourite food is pizza!

18 thoughts on “What Is Considered The Perfect Male Body? (The Adonis Index)

  1. This is awesome; almost fully comprehensive!

    I found another site that helps find ratios for the lower body: http://tylerjwatkins.com/greek-god-in-3-steps/

    Hopefully this helps! 😀

  2. In this article you mention “…this number isn’t a random number either; it’s actually a derivative of The Golden Ratio.”

    Would you please elaborate on how this derivation is found? I’m curious about it! Also, does a similar derivation exist for women?

    1. It’s found through the Fibonacci Sequence. The Fibonacci sequence is a unique set of numbers. The sequence starts with the number 1.

      You get each number in the sequence by adding the previous two numbers, for example: 1+1=2…1+2=3…2+3=5…3+5=8…5+8=13…8+13=21…13+21=34…21+34=55…34+55=89…

      Fibonacci numbers are often called the Golden Sequence and are unique because they have an interesting property – as you go through the sequence and divide each Fibonacci number with the number that comes right before it you end up with a special answer: 1.618 aka: PHI (Φ)

      PHI is a special number and is the key to the Golden Ratio 1:1.618 2/1=2, 3/2=1.5, 5/3=1.666, 8/5=1.6, 13/8=1.625, 21/13=1.615, 34/21=1.619, 55/34=1.617, 89/55=1.618 (PHI Φ)

      1.618 is also known as PHI (Φ). For some reason, when an object, or person :P, has this ratio we humans believe it’s aesthetically pleasing.

      Women also got this golden ratio. It’s calculated in this way:

      1. Measure the circumference of your upper body at the point at which your bust is most prominent (B), your waist at its narrowest (W) and your hips at the widest (H). (You can do it in cm or inches.)

      2. Then measure from your bust line down to your waist (label this distance BW) and measure from your Waist to your Hip line (HW).

    2. (B – W) x BW x 0.5 = Bust figure
    3. (H – W) x HW x 0.5 = Hip Figure
    4. 3. And then calculate:

    5. Bust figure + Hip Figure / Hip Figure = your Golden Ratio
      1. Thank you SO much! This is quite interesting!

        Your response to my question is very much appreciated. If it’s not too much to ask, I have another question:

        Whereas the “ideal” waist to height ratio in men is .447, or the inverse of the square root of 5, some say that the “ideal” waist to height ratio in women is around .38. Are you aware of this notion, and if so, do you have any insight as to why the ratio differs between men and women, and the origin of the woman’s ratio?

        1. The best theory I have to the above is that the ideal waist to height ratio for women is equal to 1 minus the inverse of the golden ratio, also known as the silver ratio or the golden ratio conjugate. But beyond me butting my head up against math I googled, I don’t understand how else to come to a similar number.

          1. Yes I’ve also heard about this “silver ratio”. But as I said I’m also uncertain why the ratio differs between men and women. I also bump into a ton of frustrating math when trying to find out how to come up with similar numbers, so I decided to leave it be for now hehe.

  3. thanks for the post and thanks guys for the comments! this is very helpful in finding out the best measurements to aim at!

  4. Question – You mention that legs matter for physique, but there is no research as far as ratios, but in your image you show that legs should match upper body. What does that mean?

  5. Something doesn’t make sense to me. I’m 178cm tall, 86Kg and 24% body fat. As far as I know from other studies, for each cm off your waist, you need to lose 1.5kg.
    According to your article, I should be aiming for a waistline (measured at the belly button) of 80cm. I am currently at 95cm. That is a difference of 15cm. Effectively, I need to lose 22.5Kg, which is more than all the fat in my body.
    So, what gives? I need to lose muscle?

    1. Two things going on here. The first one is that 1.5 kg of weight loss does not result in 1 cm off your waist for all people. You might have a different fat distribution which means you can lose 1 cm around your waistline while only losing 0.5 kg of bodyweight. This is true for me personally since I have so much concentrated fat around my abs. So the weight I’m losing almost exclusively come from around my midsection.

      The second thing is that if you build lets say 10-15 kg of muscle (which most beginner to novice guys need to do to look the way they want) that is 10-15 kg that is distributed on other parts of your body rahter than your waist, sure a total of 0.5-1 kg might be bigger abs and erector spinae muscles but not much more. In other words, with more muscle you will weigh more with a slimmer waist 🙂

  6. thnx for the huge help!! im looking forward to achieve the goals…..my height is 6.3 ft and my shoulders naturally are of 50.4 inches…….but my waist has always given me a lot of trouble….but now i guess i have something to aim at!! thnx again !!

  7. Important is body Frame.
    In my case , bf 7-8 %, waist 78 cm, shoulders 130 cm,.
    Im 187cm 76kg. 50 Year old.
    When i reach 95 kg, my waist is 93 cm, shoulders 140 cm, i loose golden ratio.
    Conclusion, i have small/ medium body Frame, my ideal waist is about 42-43 % height.

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