Average Bicep Size

Survey Reveals Average Arm Size for Men & Women

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: July 13, 2023

Big biceps are often seen as a sign of physical fitness and strength, and it’s no surprise that bicep curls are a popular exercise at the gym.

However, it can be difficult to determine whether your biceps are average or exceptional. One way to measure your progress is by your upper arm circumference.

This article provides statistics on average bicep size based on age, gender, body size, and other factors. Using this information, you can determine whether your biceps are considered big or need to focus more on arm day.

Average Bicep Size

Data Collection Methods

This article refers to the upper arm circumference measurements obtained from the CDC’s National Health Statistics Reports. Specifically, the data is taken from the Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults in the United States, recorded between 2015 and 2018.

With my engineering and statistical analysis background, I have compiled the numbers into tables and charts that are easier to understand. Furthermore, as a certified fitness coach, I explain how these measurements relate to your overall health and fitness.

What Is Bicep Size?

When measuring bicep size, it’s important to note that it’s not just about the volume of the muscle. Bicep size is actually determined by measuring the circumference of the mid-upper arm, specifically the distance around the widest part of both the bicep and tricep.

How to Measure Your Biceps

Before getting into average bicep sizes, make sure you’ve measured your arm accurately. Bicep size is measured using a flexible tape such as a tailor’s tape.

First, raise one arm parallel to the floor and drape the end with the number “1” over the front of your bicep. Then wrap the other end of the tape around the widest part of your arm until the numbers overlap the end.

The number that intersects the end of the tape is your bicep size. As you can see in the image above, bodybuilders measure their biceps flexed.

Tips: Do not pull the tape too tight or your bicep will appear smaller. Also do not wrap the tape at an angle or your bicep will appear bigger.

Average Bicep Size Measurement

Average Bicep Size Statistics

On average, men have a bicep size of 14.6 inches (37.1 cm), while women have an average bicep size of 13.4 inches (34.0 cm).

However, it’s important to note that bicep size can vary based on several factors, such as age, height, weight, and body composition. Therefore, let’s explore some statistics on bicep size in greater detail.

Average Bicep Size by Age & Gender

The size of your biceps is largely influenced by your age, as we all begin with thin arms as children and develop them during our teenage years.

As you enter adulthood, your arm growth slows down, but typically, people’s biceps continue to grow slightly in their 20s and 30s.

However, in your 40s, your muscles gradually shrink due to a drop in key hormones and physical activity.

Table 1. Average Bicep Size By Age For Men & Women (Unflexed)
Age Men Women
20-29 13.4 inches (34.1 cm) 12.4 inches (31.5 cm)
30-39 14.1 inches (35.9 cm) 12.9 inches (32.8 cm)
40-49 14.0 inches (35.6 cm) 13.1 inches (33.3 cm)
50-59 13.7 inches (34.8 cm) 12.9 inches (32.8 cm)
60-69 13.5 inches (34.4 cm) 12.8 inches (32.4 cm)
70-79 13.1 inches (33.2 cm) 12.6 inches (32 cm)
80+ 12.1 inches (30.8 cm) 11.7 inches (29.6 cm)

The data in the chart above comes from the National Center for Health Statistics in the US. But it’s important to realize that these measurements are taken with the bicep relaxed or unflexed.

Bicep Size Flexed vs. Unflexed

Did you know that when you flex your bicep, your arm can increase in size by approximately 5-10%? This means that if your unflexed arm measures 13.5 inches, it will typically measure around 14.5 inches when flexed.

It’s important to remember this when analyzing arm size data. If you measured your bicep while flexing, you should adjust the previous table’s data for accurate comparisons.

Here is the updated arm size data, which considers the estimated increase in size when flexing your bicep.

Table 2. Average Bicep Size By Age For Men & Women (Flexed)
Age Men Women
20-29 14.4 inches (36.6 cm) 13.3 inches (33.7 cm)
30-39 15.2 inches (38.6 cm) 13.9 inches (35.3 cm)
40-49 15.1 inches (38.4 cm) 14.1 inches (35.8 cm)
50-59 14.7 inches (37.3 cm) 13.9 inches (35.3 cm)
60-69 14.6 inches (37.1 cm) 13.7 inches (34.8 cm)
70-79 14.1 inches (35.8 cm) 13.5 inches (34.3 cm)
80+ 13 inches (33 cm) 12.5 inches (31.8 cm)

Table 2 presents data on the average bicep size for men and women. On average, men have a bicep size of around 14½ inches, while women have a slightly smaller size of 13½ inches.

To better understand this data, it’s helpful to view it in terms of percentiles. The 50th percentile indicates the average bicep size, with a lower percentile indicating a smaller bicep size and a higher percentile indicating a larger one.

Table 3. Arm Size Percentiles For Men & Women (Flexed)
Percentile Men Women
5th 11.9 inches (30.3 cm) 10.5 inches (26.8 cm)
10th 12.6 inches (31.9 cm) 11.1 inches (28.1 cm)
15th 12.9 inches (32.8 cm) 11.4 inches (28.9 cm)
25th 13.4 inches (34.1 cm) 12 inches (30.6 cm)
50th 14.6 inches (37.1cm) 13.4 inches (34.1 cm)
75th 16 inches (40.7cm) 15.2 inches (38.5 cm)
85th 16.9 inches (42.9 cm) 16.2 inches (41.2 cm)
90th 17.4 inches (44.2 cm) 17.2 inches (43.7 cm)
95th 18.4 inches (46.7 cm) 18.2 inches (46.1 cm)

It is now possible to determine the probability of possessing a specific bicep size based on one’s gender. However, it is unlikely that you would engage in a flex-off with an 80-year-old.

Therefore, the charts below depict the normal distribution of bicep sizes among individuals aged 20-59.

Average Bicep Size Men Percentiles
Average Bicep Size Women Percentiles

Average Bicep Size by Height

It’s also important to understand that your height affects how big your biceps look. To illustrate, picture a 5’6” person standing next to a 6’6” person.

If they both have 15-inch arms, the short guy’s arms will look much larger. So the taller you are, the bigger your arms must be to look impressive.

Average Bicep Size by Weight

Finally, how much you weigh also determines how big your biceps look on your body. For example, 16-inch arms look much more prominent on a 150-lb guy than a 250-lb guy.

In other words, the heavier you are, the bigger your biceps need to be to look impressive. Obviously, you want that weight to be muscle, not fat. I’ll get into that in a minute.

Average Bicep Size Calculator

Height, weight, and age make it difficult to know if your biceps are considered big. Fortunately, there are equations to predict average bicep size based on these variables.

I created a simple calculator that shows you if your biceps are big or small for your demographic.

bicep size calculator

Enter the information below to see if your biceps are bigger than other people your age and size.

Bicep Size & Body Fat Percentage

When calculating bicep size, there are some additional factors to consider that are not included in the equation. One important factor is your body fat percentage.

Your biceps will appear larger if you have more muscle and less fat. This is because the separations between your bicep, tricep, forearms, and shoulders are more visible, as well as muscle striations and veins.

Being leaner can make your biceps look bigger than your arm joints and waist. To illustrate, I have included two pictures of myself – one when I am bulking and one when I am cutting.

Even though my biceps are the same size in both pictures (around 16 inches), they appear bigger when I’m leaner.

Average Arm Size Bulk vs Cut

I weighed 198lbs on the left and 171lbs on the right and I’m 5’9″ tall. It goes to show that 16″ arms look bigger when you’re lean. I should also note that I had an arm pump in both pictures.

Bicep Size Pump vs. No Pump

When working out, it’s important to understand that increased blood flow to your biceps can cause them to swell up in size, also known as the “pump”.

However, it’s recommended to measure your biceps without the pump for accuracy, so you can see your actual arm size rather than just the volume from bicep curls.

Although it can be fun to measure your arms with a massive pump occasionally, it’s important to keep in mind that the inflated measurement isn’t a true representation of your typical bicep size. So, taking the measurement with a grain of salt is advised.

Average Arm Size With Pump

A juicy pump temporarily increases the size of your arms. In this picture, I am using blood flow restriction training to maximize muscle cell volume.

How to Get Bigger Biceps

Developing impressive biceps requires more than simply performing sets of curls. Instead, it is advisable to adopt a comprehensive approach that encompasses nutrition, exercise routines, and a selection of proven supplements.

Diet

Believe it or not, how you eat is more important than how you lift when building muscle. You won’t progress in the gym if you don’t give your body what it needs to grow.

First, you need to create a calorie surplus to gain muscle consistently. That means you eat more calories than you burn each day.

Calorie Surplus For Bulking II

Consuming sufficient protein is important to promote muscle growth for your biceps. However, you shouldn’t rely on the outdated belief of consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Instead, protein needs vary based on lean mass, activity level, and fitness goals.

Calculate Your Grams of Protein Per Day

Here’s some nutrition advice that might help you: try to eat mainly clean, whole, and natural foods instead of junk food. This will give you the best results in terms of quality gains.

Additionally, consider nutrient timing to maximize the potential gains in your arms. This involves consuming most of your carbs and calories around your workout.

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Workouts

If you want to develop impressive arms, it’s important to focus on your entire body. This may seem counterintuitive, but exercises that work multiple muscle groups, like squats and deadlifts, stimulate the production of hormones that aid in overall muscle growth.

When it comes to your biceps, they consist of two different parts- the short and long heads. The inner short head is responsible for adding size and thickness, while the outer long head contributes to the peak of your biceps.

To fully develop your biceps, you’ll want to incorporate a variety of exercises that target both heads.

Average Bicep Size Workout

Remember to include triceps exercises in your arm workouts since they make up about two-thirds of your arm’s size. Having well-developed triceps can help you achieve bigger arms more easily.

Supplements

It’s important to note that taking supplements alone won’t magically grow your biceps in a matter of days or weeks. They should be used in combination with a proper diet and exercise routine for best results.

Be wary of expensive supplements that make false promises. However, there are some proven muscle-building supplements that can aid in building bigger biceps.

How To Build Your Biceps Faster

Now you know how your biceps measure up. And you’ve learned some quick tips for building bigger arms.

If you want to grow your muscles in weeks instead of months, you must start with a dialed-in muscle gain meal plan. And you can get a personalized, easy-to-follow nutrition plan right here.

Click the image or button below to learn more about Custom Meal Plans for Muscle Growth.

More Body Measurements

If you enjoyed this article, you’re probably curious about average measurements for other body parts. So here is a list of some additional articles about body measurements and proportions.

Average Neck Size Charts

Average Waist Size for Men & Women

Relative Size of 20 Inch Thighs by Gender

Average Wrist Size & Why It Matters

Average Male Chest Size by Height

Or if you’re all measured out, feel free to check out some of my other helpful content below! You’ll find information on topics ranging from supplements and workouts to bodybuilder bios.

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By |July 13, 2023|Bodybuilding|Comments Off on Average Bicep Size By Gender, Age, & Body Size
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