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Understanding the Average Chest Size For Men: What You Need to Know

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

A large chest, broad shoulders, and a tiny waist are the fitness goals of many men worldwide. Whether aiming for a classic Arnold Schwarzenegger body or Brad Pitt in Fight Club, you must work on your chest.

But what is the average chest size in men, and how do you compare? Let’s look at the stats and how you can build a more muscular chest. 

A muscular man above the average chest size for men
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Related: Discover the average forearm, bicep and calf size.

What’s the Average Chest Size for Men?

The truth is, there isn’t a lot of consistent data regarding the average chest measurement for males. One of the most extensive data sets in the United States is the 2012 Anthropometric Survey of U.S. Army Personnel

This survey identified the average body measurements of over 4,000 men and nearly 2,000 women. So, what did the survey find?

Average Chest Circumference Measurement

According to the 2012 survey, the average chest circumference for males was 41.68 inches (105.87 cm). The average chest size range was roughly 38 inches (97 cm) to 45 inches (114 cm). 

Here’s a chest measurement chart so you can get a better idea of how you stack up:

1st 34.3″87.2 cm
5th36.3” 92.2 cm
10th37.3” 94.8 cm
15th38.1” 96.7 cm
25th39.2”99.6 cm
35th40.2”102.1 cm
45th 41.1”104.3 cm
50th41.6”105.6 cm
55th42.0”106.7 cm
65th42.9”109.0 cm
75th44.0”111.7 cm
80th44.6”113.3 cm
85th45.3”115.1 cm
90th46.1” 117.2 cm
95th47.5”120.7 cm
97th48.5”123.3 cm
98th49.3”125.1 cm
99th50.3”127.7 cm

Average Male Chest Width

The chest width measurement is the width across the chest around the armpit height. A large caliper is typically used, but a flexible fabric tape measure also works. 

According to the survey, the average male has a chest width of 11.4 inches (28.9 cm). The normal range was between 10.68–12.1 inches or 27.2–30.8 cm. 

Average Male Chest Depth

The depth measurement tracks the thickness of the chest from front to back at roughly nipple height. 

The average male has a chest depth of 10 inches (25.4 cm), with a range of 9–11 inches (22–28 cm).

A man with the average chest size for men
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How to Measure Your Chest Size

An accurate chest measurement can help you find clothes that fit and track your fitness progression. But it’s critical to use the proper techniques so you don’t end up with inaccurate numbers.

It’s recommended to use a flexible measuring tape and have an extra person to help you get an accurate reading. Use the following steps to get started:

  1. Remove your shirt and stand with your arms loosely at your sides for an accurate chest size measurement. Don’t flex, as it can affect the measurements.
  2. Ask your assistant to wrap the flexible tape measure around the thickest section of your chest—typically on the nipple line or beneath the armpits. 
  3. Ensure the flexible measure tape is parallel to the ground and wraps around your chest. 
  4. Take note of the number where the tape overlaps. This will be your chest measurement.
  5. You may want to take two or three readings and average them for a more exact measurement.
A muscular wondering how to measure if he has the average chest size for men
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How to Measure Your Chest Width

There’s a difference between chest width and chest circumference. The chest width measurement is the horizontal distance between your armpits. Chest circumference is typically used as your chest size. 

There are two chest measurement methods to gauge your chest width—measuring your chest or a piece of clothing. 

Body Measurement

This method is known as the “half-chest measurement.” Having someone assist you is recommended, but it isn’t mandatory. Use the following steps to get started:

  1. Remove your shirt and stand with your arms loosely at your sides.
  2. With a flexible measuring tape, measure across your chest between each armpit. The number will be your chest width measurement. 

Using an extra set of hands will typically provide a more reliable measurement. You may want to take a few readings to ensure you have an accurate chest measurement. 

Garment Measurement

You can also use a piece of clothing or your favorite shirt to measure your chest width. This method won’t be as accurate, but it is still viable. Use the following steps to get started:

  1. Find a shirt that fits well. 
  2. Lay the piece of clothing on a flat surface. 
  3. Use a tape measure and spread it across the front of the garment just below the sleeve. 
  4. This will be your chest width measurement.

Many clothing brands use this method for sizing their clothes online, which can be useful when shopping for new garments.

A man measuring if he has the average chest size for men with a tape
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Can You Measure Your Chest Without a Measuring Tape?

Yes, measuring your chest without a flexible measuring tape is possible, but you may not get as accurate of a reading. 

You can use a piece of string and wrap it around the thickest section of your chest. Mark where the two ends overlap and use a ruler to measure the distance. You can also cut the string after you’ve wrapped it around your chest, so you’re left with your chest size. 

Lastly, you can make a guess about your chest size by inspecting the size guide for the garment you’re wearing. 

Many clothing manufacturers include a size guide, and you can make your best guess. For instance, if your shirt feels a bit loose and it’s meant to fit 40–42 inch chests, you may want a smaller size. 

What Are the Best Exercises to Increase Chest Size?

So now you know the average chest size, but how do you increase it? 

Although many factors play into building muscle, like macronutrients, training frequency, and recovery, a few stand-out exercises can help you build a bigger chest.

1. Standard Barbell Bench Press

The flat or standard barbell bench press is a classic exercise for building a muscular chest. It’s one of the big five compound lifts used by powerlifters, bodybuilders, and athletes to develop explosive power.

  • It primarily targets the middle of the chest and front deltoids, while the triceps are used as secondary muscles.
  • It’s recommended to use weights in the 6–8 rep range for three to five sets.
  • The barbell bench press is easy to program and can fit into most training routines.

2. Incline Bench Press

To get a full, broad chest, you’ll need to target the upper, middle, and lower portions of the pectoral muscle. The incline barbell variation does just that, engaging the upper chest and shoulders more than the standard bench press. 

The bench is typically set to a 15-30 degree incline, making it comparable to a shoulder press. Incorporating this exercise into your regimen will help you target the entire chest and improve your other lifts.

  • Primarily targets the upper chest and front deltoids while placing less stress on the rotator cuff.
  • Using weights in the 6–8 rep range for three to five sets is recommended.
  • You can safely perform this movement to failure if you have a spotter.
  • Has carryover to overhead pressing movements thanks to the shoulder activation.

There are several variations of the incline barbell bench press, like using dumbbells or cables and the incline hex press.

3. Decline Bench Press

One of the best movements for targeting the lower chest is the decline bench press . This movement starts with the bench at a 15-30 degree decline, emphasizing the lower chest. It may be best to complete this movement with a spotter, as the position can be compromising. 

  • Places less stress on the shoulder, making it a reasonable consideration if you have shoulder pain.
  • Reduces stress on the lower back thanks to the decline. 
  • Targets the lower chest, shoulders, and triceps. 
  • It’s recommended to use weights in the 6–8 rep range for three to five sets.

4. Chest Fly

The chest fly is another excellent isolation movement for building a fuller chest. Like the barbell bench press, it targets all the muscles in your pecs. You can also adjust the angle of the bench to target a specific portion of the chest.

  • It’s better to use weights in the 8–12 rep range for three to five sets. 
  • It can be completed with dumbbells, cable machines, resistance bands, or a fly machine. 
  • You can adjust the movement to provide consistent tension throughout the exercise.

5. Push-Ups

As always, there’s the humble push-up. The push-up targets the entire chest, and with the correct form, it can strengthen the lower back and core. It’s a convenient and relatively safe movement that can be performed nearly anywhere. 

  • Your joints won’t be under as much pressure if you’re only using body weight.
  • You can do as many push-ups as you see fit, adjusting for your fitness level.
  • Variations in the angle, grip placement, and weight make it versatile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is the Average Chest Size for a Bodybuilder?

Many professional bodybuilders’ chest size exceeds 50 inches. That said, if your chest is over 45 inches, you’re above the average male chest size. Remember that your height, body weight, and muscle mass will affect what’s large for your body type.

Is a 32 Inch Chest Small for a Man?

The average adult male has a 41-inch chest, with a typical range between 38–45 inches. This means if you have a below-average chest size if your chest is under 38 inches. That said, the size of your chest is proportional to your body frame type and depends on your height, weight, and muscle mass.

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