T Nation


I am looking for the bodypart proportions as defined by that old-time boybuilder Steve Reeves. I only rememeber that calves must equal biceps; does anyone have the rest?

Calves, upper arms and neck are all approximately equal; calf size is 3 to 3-and-a-half times knee circumference. (Good luck achieving this one!)

Take a peek here.

I’m not sure I understand the calf to knee circumference ratio. There is no human being that has a 3:1 calf to knee ratio. Anyhow, I’m close with the arms:calves:neck ratio. Arms and neck are 17" and calves are 16". Still trying to bring up those lagging legs. Working on the Poliquin calf routine, combined with GPP work, and lots o’ jump roping. Seems to be working.

Wow; that’s a riot! I just ran my wrist girth through the calculator and it gave me my ideal proportions. I still have another 35 lbs. to gain to reach my goal, yet it says that I’m already “ideal” on three or four of my bodyparts! I guess it goes to show you how things have changed over time, and how the term “symmetry” has taken on a whole new meaning. Nonetheless, I still plan to get HUGE according to my standards…

Being a visual artist, I guess I might be a little more visually “sensitive” to the sight of a highly proportionate physique. It’s what I always look for first when eyeballing a bodybuilding contest.

But it is really easy to spot a physique that has near perfect proportions. Cory Everson, Anja Langer and Juliette Bergman come to mind. Juliette Bergman having the type of measurements that char mentioned about. As for men, yeah, Steve Reeves. But I thought that Bob Paris had great proportions. I should see how I am in the area of proportions.....

According to website that SteelyEyes posted, I am fairly close to my ideal physique. Of course I know my bodyfat should be lower to obtain these numbers since right now I sit at 13 or 14%. My wrists are small at 7.25" being that I’m 6’1 and 225 lbs. Forarms are bigger than ideal, biceps and calves are equal, neck and thighs are just smaller, chest needs another 2", waist is 2" too big, and hip size is 1" too big. It’s funny because I always look at myself as having small calves and forearms yet according to this thing they are fine. I do need to bring up the back while down the road reducing the waist line if I want to have the “ideal” physique. Or I could just powerlift and be a strong functional husky man. Hmmmm? The latter sounds more fun.

Yeah, Machine, we’re in the same boat (although I’m only 5’8"). My calves and forearms aren’t where I want them to be, yet the calculations said they were fine.

Interestingly, this goes completely against the proportions of the most notorious bodybuilder of all time: Arnold. The insertion points on his forearms were very high; in other words, he had small wrists. Nonetheless, he was still able to build great forearms, calves, arms, and pecs while maintaining a very thin waist. Personally, I’d rather look like Arnold than some statue in Greece that’s covered with pigeon shit…

Bucky here are the #‘s from Steves’ book; arm size=252% of wrist size, calf=192% of ankle, neck=79% of head, chest=148% of pelvis, waist=86% of pelvis, thigh=175% of knee, weight=295% of height. For weight add 10lbs for every inch if over 6’, under 5’11" subtract 5lbs for every inch. He also says his model is based on a medium boned 6’ man that should weigh about 200lbs. If you do the weight calculation it comes 212lbs(72"*2.95). Which according to Steve is really on an inch difference.

Vince Gironda said (several times) that of all the bodybuilders he had trained during his life, only two (Reeves and Mohammed Makkawy) achieved the 3:1 or better knee-to-calf ratio. If you look at either of these two men (although it’s more obvious on Makkawy), you’ll see that their calves were huge, and that these huge calves were coupled with very very small joints.

Of course, I haven’t personally measured either of them myself, so I can’t say for sure that their measurements were what Vince claimed. But the old guy was usually pretty accurate about stuff like that, and in lieu of reasonable evidence to the contrary, I’m inclined to take his word for it.

As for ideal proportions, yeah, Bob Paris was (is?) incredible. As was Frank Zane. If you haven’t seen his website, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. There are about six pages of pictures, and some of them are absolutely incredible. A couple of others: Samir Bannout, Thierry Pastel (robbed more times than anyone else in BB history) and of course Flex Wheeler, before he put on too much size.

Well, I wanted to add Mohamad Makkawy - I’ve always been impressed with his physique. But he was rather lacking in the bicep department, right? Which was one of the big reasons he always did those dynamic, twisty-like poses that highlighted his more thickly developed triceps (and it also highlighted his wide, thick lats).

Oh, and I have Vince Gironda's book, "Building the Wild Physique" - it has plenty of great photos of bodybuilders with great proportions.

This is sort of on topic, so bear with me. Are any of you into art history? I took an ancient art history class my last semester in college. It was interesting – several of these ancient Greek sculptors spent their entire lives trying to devise the perfectly proportioned male. Their results were quite beautiful – search for the Doryphoros by Polykleitos.

There are lots of references in bodybuilding rags, mags, and literature about wanting to look like a “Greek statue”. I kept thinking about that during this class --I wonder what these masters would have thought of modern-day bodybuilders. The fruits of these sculptors labors looked nothing like the modern day conception of proportional, at least in bodybuilding circles. The only thing that I saw that looked like it was the same species as the modern day behemoths was a copy of the Farnese Herakles (by Lyssippos, I think). I bet the often admired Greek sculptors would take one look at Markus Ruhl or Ronnie Coleman or whoever the Freak of the Day is and have the same reaction as most of us --> Yuck.

It made me think that the idea of ‘proportional’ is (obviously) pretty individualized. (For my money, I would take the body of Steeve Reeves any day over the body of the modern monsters, and I bet that Phidias would have too.)

Ahh, heavy sigh redman, if only today’s pros would adhere to one-iota of the standards created by the Greeks in their sculptures. And yes, while the Farnese Herakles (Hercules), does not necessarilly follow typical Greek standards in terms of proportions, it does display Herc to be the powerful figure he was/is in Greek Mythology. I mean, a Hercules should in no way, have a physique resembling one belonging to lets say, Apollo. But even with the power displayed, the sculpture also has a “divine” gracefulness that is beautiful.

Here's an extra "something", take a look: http://www.getbig.com/ news/2002-02/0530konger.htm (and remember to eliminate the space in the url. In this case, located at "/ news" ).

I think Greg Valentino has the best proportions…NOT! http://aafla.org/SportsLibrary/ IGH/IGH0404/IGH0404e.pdf#xml=
There’s what David WIlloughby thinks are the ideal proportions.

I guess I always wondered about this, but I’m now OFFICIALLY small-boned… I have 6.25" wrists at 6’. On the bright side, now I have defined goals for myself. These ideal measurements look really Brad Pitt, strong-waifish (41" chest, 28.5" waist, 14.5" arms)… something to shoot for I guess.

Pluto, those measurements sound almost exactly like what mine were back when I was about 17. Suffice to say, at 6’ tall not too many people on this site would be satisfied with a 41" chest or 14.5" arms. (The waist, of course, is basically a pipe dream for anyone over the age of about 28.)

Re: link from Patricia above - IS the pair on the bottom Priest and danny paddilla? And look at Arnold’s fing back. Not bad for “back in the day”.

Yes, indeed - that is the “Giant Killer” Danny Padilla. Pretty kewl, huh? And I was surprised to see Aw-nold compared to Yates and Coleman. He was pretty on-par with these guys - “back in the day”. :slight_smile:

Patricia, I have seen that page before. My biggest problem with the pro’s today is that it has just gone too far. A man could look at the Doryphoros and say – gee, I wouldn’t mind looking like that: wide shoulders, narrow waist, big calves, fairly lean but not ridiculously so. There aren’t that many people besides desperately insecure 15 year olds that would say the same thing about Markus Ruhl.

I think this is why “retro” bodybuilding material stays in the rags. You can appreciate a lot of the 70’s bodybuilders more. Many of them were quite muscular, and many of them beyond what is possible without the old S-vitamin, but they still had those common traits – big calves, tiny waist, etc. In other words, aesthetically pleasing. Now you look at Ronnie Coleman – the parts are sometimes there. However, it just doesn’t translate to a pleasing whole.

I just wanted to say, that I agree with you completely. Also “back in the day”, the photography was much better. With the likes of Caruso, Balik, Warner. The pros were treated like living sculptures. Unlike today’s garish photo treatments. Yuck.