Sculpting a Greek God Body

Calculate Your Measurements for an Aesthetic Physique

Everyone aspires to look good. And that generally means losing weight and adding some muscle mass. But if you want to look like a Greek god, you need a precise target, which can be harder to define.

To reverse engineer a Greek god body, it’s necessary to have more than a general direction. You need quantitative values – numbers, not words. A precise blueprint for building a divine physique.

This article explains the philosophies and mathematics behind an aesthetic physique. And it gives you personalized measurements for sculpting your own Greek god body.

Greek God Body

Greek Philosophy 101

Ancient Greek ideas and culture still influence society today, particularly in the West. Some Greek contributions to the modern world include Democracy, trial by jury, the alphabet, and the Olympics.

One of the most notable influences is Greek mythology which centered around gods like Zeus, Poseidon, and Apollo. Larger-than-life figures whose stories and statues we still admire.

For example, when you look at a statue of Hercules, you see a physique that most men aspire to have today

What Is a Greek God Body?

Greek gods were the embodiment of great power and authority. Therefore, they were generally muscular and lean with tremendous strength.

In terms of physical characteristics, male gods commonly had broad shoulders tapering down to a slim waist. And most statues of Greek gods show a very lean physique, often with shredded abdominal muscles.

In addition, many descriptions of Greek gods depict muscular arms and strong legs. Again, visible muscle separations in the limbs indicate a minimal level of body fat.

Greek God Body Characteristics

  • Broad shoulders and chest

  • Slim waist

  • Muscular arms

  • Strong legs

  • Minimal body fat

These are the same qualities we look for in modern-day superhero movies. Just picture Superman, Batman, Captain America, and Thor.

So what makes these ancient ideals relevant thousands of years later? To answer that, we need to travel from ancient Greece to the present day.

History of Physique Culture

One of the cornerstones of Greek philosophy was using mathematics to understand the natural world and the human body. To that end, the Greeks discovered numerous proportions in nature that are pleasing to the eye.

Vitruvian Man

The Vitruvian man is a drawing made by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1490ad. This artwork represents the proportions of the human body initially put forth by Marcus Vitruvius – a 1st century BC Roman architect and engineer.

The philosophy was that man is the measure of all things. And that applying the proportions of the human body to art and architecture creates aesthetically pleasing and practical designs.

Greek God Body Vitruvian Man

In his drawing, Da Vinci was trying to explore the mathematics of human proportions. And he discovered many ratios hidden within the human body. Here are a few examples:

  • The width of the shoulders is 1/4 the height of a man

  • From the elbow to the tip of the hand is 1/4 the height of a man

  • The length of the hand is 1/10 the height of a man

  • The height of the head is 1/8 the height of a man

Many of these ratios were confirmed accurate using modern measurement technology1. So it turns out math is built into the natural world, including our bodies.

The Greeks understood this and applied specific ratios to their engineering and artistic works. It’s why we still admire Greek architecture and sculptures to this day.

Heracles (Hercules)

Some of the most famous ancient statues are of the Greek god Heracles. We know him as Hercules in the West, and Hollywood movies popularized his story.

Greek God Body Hercules

In Greek mythology, Hercules was the son of Zeus, the ruler of all gods. And he was renowned for his incredible strength and muscular build.

So it’s no wonder that statues of Hercules served as the gold standard for the Greek god body for centuries to come.

Eugen Sandow

Eugen Sandown was a 19th-century strongman who performed feats of strength in traveling shows. However, audiences were more amazed by his aesthetic physique than his strength.

Interestingly, Sandow’s pleasing proportions were no accident. He went to museums and measured Greek statues to find the ideal measurements to sculpt his body.

Greek God Body Eugene Sandow

With his unique showmanship and attention to detail, Sandow launched a new era of physical culture. They still hand out statues of Sandow to the winner of the biggest bodybuilding show in the world – Mr. Olympia.

In addition, Sandow was at the forefront of defining the ideal physique in terms of measurements and proportions. In the first half of the 20th-century, bodybuilding became more popular and some of the most aesthetic physiques were built.

Steve Reeves

In the 1940s and 50s, Steve Reeves became a bodybuilding superstar by winning the Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe contests. His proportions and symmetry are still considered some of the best of all time.

You could say he embodied the Greek god physique. So much so that Reeves played Hercules in the movies, which launched him to international stardom.

Steve Reeves Greek God Body

Now that we’ve reached the “modern” era of bodybuilding. We should be able to define the Greek god physique in terms of actual numbers and measurements.

So what were Steve Reeves’ measurements? Well, the internet abounds with inflated stats and straight-up misinformation. So it’s best to have a healthy skepticism about any bodybuilders’ stats you find online.

Luckily for us, the Mr. America and Mr. Universe contests measured all contestants prior to the show. And I came across what appears to be Steve Reeves’ actual measurements.

Steve Reeves Measurements

This photo is pretty cool you’re a bodybuilding fan or just like vintage memorabilia. And it includes a lot of interesting details.

But the old-fashioned typewriter font also makes it a bit hard to read. So below is a table with Steve Reeves’ measurements from the 1950 Mr. Universe contest.

Table 1. Steve Reeves’ Contest Measurements

Height 6’1″
Weight 214 lbs
Waist 30″
Chest (expanded) 52″
Neck 18″
Wrist 7 1/4″
Upper Arm (flexed) 18 1/2″
Forearm 14 1/2″
Thigh 26″
Ankle 9 1/2″
Calf 17 7/8″

One thing that sticks out about Reeves’ measurements is his tiny waist and massive chest. In this case, the officials took measurements with his lungs full, and his chest and lats expanded. So Reeves’ chest was probably more like 48 inches relaxed.

Now we have an idea of some numbers that make an impressive physique. So it’s time to take some measurements of your own.

Greek God Body Measurements

To create targets for your Greek god physique, you first need to measure a few key body areas. This process involves taking a circumference measurement using a flexible tailor’s tape.

If you don’t have a tailor’s tape, you can check circumferences with a piece of string. Then measure the string with a standard tape measure or yardstick.

Here are the measurements you’ll need to know to see your overall proportions.

  • Height – standing tall

  • Waist – just above the navel, not sucking in

  • Chest – widest part, not expanded

  • Shoulders – widest part, not expanded

  • Neck – around the base

  • Wrist – narrowest part, non-dominant hand

  • Upper Arm – widest part, flexed

  • Forearm – widest part, relaxed

  • Ankle – narrowest part, non-dominant leg

  • Thigh – widest part, flexed

  • Calf – widest part, flexed

When taking the measurements, be careful to wrap the tape perpendicular to each body part. Because measuring at an angle makes the numbers larger than they should be.

Also, it’s best to take these measurements first thing in the morning for the most accurate results. Measuring while pumped after a workout only inflates your numbers and your ego!

It’s important to realize that building the perfect body is not as simple as specifying absolute numbers like “16 inch arms“. Instead, the Greeks knew aesthetics was all about proportions and ratios.

Greek God Body Ratios

Proportions are easiest to compare in the form of ratios. For example, we will divide your shoulder circumference by your waist circumference to find your shoulder to waist ratio and so on for other body parts.

To find the ideal ratios, I analyzed the body measurements and ratios for all the Mr. America winners from 1939 to 1954. For one, most people agree these men had perfectly aesthetic bodies because they were still adhering to the Grecian ideals, unlike the mass monsters of today.

In addition, this period is considered the pre-steroid era of bodybuilding. That means these proportions are a reasonable target for most guys training naturally.

Here are the body ratios that most closely replicate the Greek ideals based on my research.

Table 2. Greek God Body Ratios

Waist to Height 0.46
Shoulders to Waist 1.618
Chest to Waist 1.45
Upper Arm to Wrist 2.45
Forearm to Wrist 1.8
Thigh to Ankle 2.65
Calf to Upper Arm 1
Neck to Upper Arm 1

Calculate Your Greek God Body

Don’t worry if this is starting to feel like too much measuring and math. I’ve created a calculator that does most of the work for you.

Really the only measurements you need are your height, wrist circumference, and ankle circumference. Then enter the numbers in the calculator below, and you will see your personal Greek god body proportions.

Greek god body calculator

Enter your height, wrist circumference, and ankle circumference to calculate your "ideal" measurements. Use decimals instead of fractions.

your "ideal" measurements

Enter your numbers above to see your "ideal" measurements. Then enter your current measurements in the "Actual" field to see the difference and pinpoint what you need to work on.

At this point, it’s important to emphasize that this is not an exact science. Instead, these numbers represent an aggregate of many male physiques.

In reality, there’s a lot of genetic variation in the human species, and there is no magic formula for the perfect body. So, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t fit an exact mold!

That said, this tool can help you see where your physique may be lagging or where you need to chisel away. As an example, I’ll put in my numbers to show you how it works.

First, here are my input measurements:

  • Height – 5’9″
  • Wrist – 7″
  • Ankle – 9.25″

With that, the calculator crunches the numbers and spits out my “ideal” measurements. Now let’s compare those to my current measurements.

In the table below, I’ve shown my theoretical and actual measurements so I can see where I may need to improve my physique.

Table 3. Example Measurement Comparison

  “Ideal” Actual Difference
Waist 31 3/4″ 34″ +2 1/4″ 🔴
Shoulders 51 3/8″ 52″ +5/8″ 🟢
Chest 46″ 45 3/4″ -1/4″ 🟡
Upper Arm 17 1/8″ 16 5/8″ -1/2″ 🔴
Forearm 12 5/8″ 12 1/2″ -1/8″ 🟡
Thigh 24 1/2″ 26″ +1 1/2″ 🟢
Calf 17 1/8″ 16 1/2″ -5/8″ 🔴
Neck 17 1/8″ 16 1/2″ -5/8″ 🔴

At a glance, you can see that I have a few red flags to work on, the biggest of which is my waist. No surprise there because I’m at the end of a 9-month bulking phase, and, like most guys, the excess weight goes to my waistline.

However, I know my waist quickly shrinks down to 31 inches after a few months of cutting. So I’m not concerned about that one.

Another area of improvement for me is my upper arms. I can honestly say this has always been a weak point for me, particularly the biceps. With 22 years of training under my belt, adding an extra 1/2″ will be challenging, but I recently tweaked my training to work on this.

My calves and neck also get a red flag for being undersized, so I will need to beef those up. But the good news is they are already in close proportion to my upper arms.

On the plus side, my shoulders are a little over the mark. And my legs exceed Greek god status by quite a bit, so I guess I can finally afford to skip a leg day! 😂

Lastly, I’m very close to “ideal” with my forearms and chest. And I’ll take that since I’m still building back after a torn pectoral muscle.

I hope you can see how to use these measurements to guide training and nutrition decisions. At the same time, it helps to cross-reference the quantitative values with your personal experience, situation, and preferences.

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Sculpting Your Greek God Body

After reviewing your numbers, you might find one or more muscle groups that need building. So here are some tips for adding muscle to specific parts of your body to create a Greek god physique.

Boulder Shoulders

The deltoids consist of three heads on the front, side, and back of your shoulders. Most guys give plenty of attention to their front delts through exercises like the bench press. But their side and rear delts are lacking.

Side delt exercises add width to your shoulders and make them appear broader. While rear delt exercises give your shoulders a balanced appearance from the side and back.

Massive Chest

Building a massive chest requires hitting it from all angles. In other words, use the incline bench press and flat bench press to build the upper and mid-chest. As well as decline if necessary for the lower chest.

Greek God Body Chest

But remember, your chest measurement is not just about the pectorals. You also need large sweeping lats to have a Greek god physique.

That means you should pay as much attention to your back as you do to your chest. And including a variety of pulldown and row exercise variations in your routine.

Bigger Arms & Forearms

Your upper arms consist of your bicep and tricep. And you must train both to build huge arms. Don’t neglect your triceps because they make up 2/3 of your arm!

Also, arm muscles tend to recover faster than larger muscle groups. That means you can usually get away with training them twice per week.

Some guys’ forearms grow simply by holding the weight during arm or pulling exercises. But if you’re not one of those guys, try to include some forearm-focused exercises in your routine.

Tree Trunk Thighs

Leg day isn’t fun, but it’s a necessity if you want to build tree trunk legs. And your leg training should include heavy compound movements like barbell squats or leg press.

Greek God Body Legs

Neck & Calves

You probably haven’t thought too much about training your neck. Like forearms, most guys’ necks get thicker from other exercises like deadlifts.

However, if you have a small neck, it may be worth your while to focus more on exercises like barbell shrugs, for example. Or, even use neck-specific equipment if you have access.

As for calves, they can be the most stubborn muscle group to grow. That means you have to double down on calf exercise volume and intensity if you want to see any significant gains.

Greek God Physique Calves

Chiseled Waistline

Lastly is the all-important waistline. Without a chiseled midsection and 6 pack abs, the rest of your physique loses all its luster.

Frankly, this is where most guys fail to achieve their Greek god body aspirations. And often it’s because you focus too much on ab exercises and not enough on proper nutrition.

You see, there’s no amount of crunches that will give you rock-hard abs if you stuff your face with too much junk food. So if you’re serious about getting shredded, then you need to crack down on a few basic concepts.

Greek God Body Abs

Greek God Body Composition

The ultimate Greek god physique is a perfect balance between muscle mass and low body fat percentage. But those are more qualitative statements that can be hard to pin down and work towards.

That’s why I created another type of calculator that determines your FFMI (fat-free mas index). Think of it like BMI (body mass index), except more accurate for active people because it accounts for body composition.

Basically, FFMI is a better tool for finding your ideal weight and body composition to look like a Greek god.

Try the FFMI Calculator to See Your Score

FFMI For Men

Fat-free mass index (FFMI) is like BMI for muscular people.

Find Your FFMI

With this information, you now have a blueprint for building your very own Greek god body. If you found this article interesting, make sure you check out some of my other great content below!

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