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.

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: