Average Wrist Size Male & Female

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: September 14, 2022

For most of my life, I felt like I had skinny wrists. But this perception was based purely on observation rather than actual measurements.

Recently I started publishing articles on body measurements and proportions. And I finally realized that my wrists are actually slightly larger than average.

So I decided to write this article on average wrist size for men and women. Because if you feel like you have small or large wrists, you might be surprised by how you compare the typical man or woman.

Average Wrist Size Male Female

Data Collection Methods

This article refers to wrist circumference measurements from the U.S. Army Anthropometric Survey. 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.

Wrist Anatomy & Dimensions

Your wrist is essentially an oblong cylinder of bone, tendons, muscle, fat, and skin. So if you take a cross-section of that cylinder, you get an ellipse.

Now we can measure wrist size as either the diameter at the widest point of the ellipse or the circumference around the outside. Wrist circumference is a more common measure, so we’ll use that dimension when discussing wrist size.

Anatomy Average Wrist Size

Why Is Wrist Size Important?

Knowing your wrist circumference is useful when buying a watch band or bracelet to ensure you get a proper fit.

In addition, your wrist size can help you establish targets for other body measurements. For example, my article on Greek body ratios shows you how to determine your ideal bicep size based on wrist size.

Related: Body Measurements for a Greek God Physique

Lastly, wrist circumference is a common anthropometric (body measurement) assessment for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and carpel tunnel syndrome. While it won’t replace diagnostic tests, wrist size is a quick and cost-effective screening method.

Average Wrist Size Diabetes

Average Wrist Size Factors

First, people with larger frames tend to have thicker wrists. So it makes sense that men also generally have larger wrists than women.

However, you might not have realized that body composition can affect your wrist size. Overweight and obese people usually have larger wrists than thin people due to the body fat stored in their joints.

  • Gender
  • Body Size
  • Body Composition

How to Measure Wrist Size

There are several ways to measure wrist size with or without a measuring tape. Each method takes less than a minute, as I’ll describe below.

With Flexible Measuring Tape

First, you can measure your wrist circumference in inches or centimeters using a flexible measuring tape or tailor’s tape. Start by holding your forearm parallel to the floor with your palm up.

Now grab the low-numbered end of the measuring tape and wrap it around your wrist at the narrowest part, gently pulling out any slack. The number that intersects the end of the tape is your wrist size.

Average Wrist Size Measure

In this example, the person’s wrist is 7 inches (17.78 cm) in circumference. Shame on the artist for not knowing their unit conversions! 😂

With String or Paper

If you don’t have a flexible measuring tape, you can use a piece of string or a strip of paper to measure your wrist size. But this method still requires a ruler or tape measure.

First, wrap the string or paper around your wrist, marking where it overlaps. Now remove the string/paper and lay it flat on a table. Measure from the end to the mark to get your wrist size

With Fingers

Finally, you can also approximate your wrist size by wrapping your middle finger and thumb around your wrist. The extent to which your fingers touch is a rough estimate of wrist size.

If your fingers don’t touch, your wrists are probably large. While overlapping fingers could indicate a small wrist. And fingers slightly touching likely means your wrist is average.

However, this method doesn’t account for the size of your hands. So it is the least accurate of the three techniques.

Average Wrist Size Statistics

For men, the average wrist size is 6.5-7.2 inches (16.5-18.3 cm). While the average wrist size for women is 5.7-6.2 inches (14.6-15.7 cm).

I used data from a 1988 anthropometric survey of US Army personnel to establish average wrist sizes. With 3,982 individuals of mixed genders and ethnicities, this is one of the most representative samples available.

Now let’s take a more detailed look at this wrist size data.

Average Wrist Size Male

The average wrist circumference for males was 6.86 +/- 0.33” (17.42 +/- 0.83 cm). In other words, a typical man’s wrist is 6.53-7.19” (16.59-18.25 cm) around.

Average Wrist Size Female

The average wrist circumference for females was 5.95 +/- 0.27” (15.12 +/- 0.69 cm). So a typical woman’s wrist is 5.68-6.22” (14.43-15.81 cm) around.

Wrist Size Percentiles

The averages for males and females only tell part of the story. And there is a wide range of wrist sizes from the minimum to the maximum data point.

Therefore, I’ve provided detailed percentile information for a more granular look at the wrist size data. The table below shows where you fall on the bell curve of the normal distribution of wrist sizes.

Table 1. Wrist Size Percentiles Male & Female

  Male Female
  inches cm inches cm
1st 6.14 15.59 5.36 13.61
2nd 6.23 15.81 5.43 13.78
3rd 6.28 15.95 5.47 13.89
5th 6.35 16.13 5.52 14.03
10th 6.46 16.41 5.61 14.26
15th 6.53 16.59 5.67 14.41
20th 6.59 16.73 5.72 14.54
25th 6.64 16.86 5.77 14.65
30th 6.68 16.98 5.8 14.74
35th 6.73 17.09 5.84 14.84
40th 6.77 17.19 5.88 14.92
45th 6.81 17.29 5.91 15.01
50th 6.85 17.4 5.94 15.1
55th 6.89 17.5 5.98 15.18
60th 6.93 17.61 6.01 15.27
65th 6.98 17.72 6.05 15.37
70th 7.02 17.84 6.09 15.46
75th 7.07 17.97 6.13 15.57
80th 7.13 18.12 6.18 15.69
85th 7.2 18.29 6.23 15.84
90th 7.29 18.51 6.31 16.02
95th 7.42 18.84 6.42 16.29
97th 7.5 19.05 6.49 16.47
98th 7.56 19.21 6.54 16.61
99th 7.66 19.44 6.62 16.82
Average Wrist Size Chart

In addition, I broke the wrist size data into tertiles (three parts) to establish wrist size categories. These represent wrist sizes in the 1st-33rd, 33rd-66th, and 66th-99th percentiles.

The table below makes it easier to tell what is considered a small, medium, or large wrist for men and women.

Table 2. Small, Medium, Large Wrist Size Male & Female

  Male Female
Small 6-6.7″ (15.2-17 cm) 5.3-5.8″ (13.5-14.7 cm)
Medium 6.7-7″ (17-17.8 cm) 5.8-6.1″ (14.7-15.5 cm)
Large 7-7.7″ (17.8-19.6 cm) 6.1-6.9″ (15.5-17.5 cm)

Average Wrist Size Quiz

After measuring your wrist size, you probably want to see whether your wrists are small, average, or big. But you might not feel like pouring through tables and charts of data.

This wrist size calculator makes it simple to see how your wrist size compares to other people in your demographic. Plus, you will help me compile a database of anthropometric measurements, hopefully even larger than the US Army!

wrist size calculator

Enter your gender, age, weight, height, and wrist circumference. Then submit the for and see if your wrist size is considered small, medium, or large.

Average Wrist Size FAQ

Now you know the average wrist size for men and women. But you might still want more information regarding your wrists. So here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Why is my wrist so small?

Small wrists could result from several factors, including your age, body mass, and nutrition/health status.

For example, maybe you’re still young, and your bones aren’t done growing yet. Or your overall body size may simply be smaller than average.

Finally, small wrists could signify that you’re undernourished or not eating a healthy diet.

At what age do wrists stop growing?

Boys’ wrists naturally stop growing around 17-18 years of age. While girls’ wrists generally only grow until the age of 15-16.

However, you can still make small increases in wrist size even after they stop growing in adulthood.

Average Wrist Size by Age

Can you grow wrist size?

Unlike your upper arms and forearms, your wrists don’t contain large skeletal muscles. Instead, they are comprised of tendons and sinewy flexor and extensor muscles.

Therefore, you cannot significantly increase your wrist size using weight training like you can with other body parts. However, you can strengthen the muscles and tendons, which may slightly increase their thickness.

In addition, your wrists can become thicker with increased body fat or total body water retention. This effect is evident by the fact that overweight and obese people have larger wrists than fit people.

How can I get thicker wrists?

Certain exercises will strengthen your wrists and may even slightly increase wrist size. However, the muscle bellies are in the upper forearm and not within the wrist itself. So your forearms will grow more than your wrist.

Also, there is no way to drastically change the size of your bones once your body stops growing in childhood. Still, your wrists will get slightly thicker when you gain body weight.

Do your wrists get smaller when you lose weight?

Your wrists will also get slightly smaller when you lose weight. This decrease in wrist size is due to the small deposits of body fat and any water retained in your wrist joints.

However, don’t expect drastic changes in wrist size unless you lose massive amounts of body weight. Most of the time, your wrist size will only change by 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch.

Wrist Size and Body Type

Small wrists could be a sign that you have an ectomorph body type. This body type is associated with a faster metabolism and a lighter, leaner frame.

As an ectomorph, it’s generally harder for you to gain weight even when you eat a lot of food. But you can get bigger using specific ectomorph diet and exercise strategies.

Next Step: Take My Free Body Type Quiz

Wrist Size Body Type

More Body Measurements

Now that you know how your wrists compare to the average person, you might be interested to learn about other body measurements. So here are some other articles I know you’ll find helpful:

Average Arm Size by Age, Height, Gender

Is a 30 Inch Waist Normal?

Average Butt Size by Gender, Age, & Ethnicity

Average Forearm Circumference & Length

How Big Is an 18-Inch Neck?

Average Male Chest Size by Height & Percentile

Are 16 Inch Arms Big?

Average Thigh Size for Men & Women

If you liked this article, check out some of my other awesome content below. You’ll find helpful tips on nutrition, supplements, and workouts to reach your fitness goals faster.

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By |September 14, 2022|Bodybuilding|0 Comments
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