What Are Considered Big Arms?

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To determine how big your arms really are, you need a means to accurately measure them.  I recommend the MyoTape Body Tape Measure:

There is no doubt that big arms are a sure sign of overall muscularity and strength.  If you are seeking information on how to build big arms quickly or how to make your biceps look bigger, these articles are for you:

Six Tips to Make Your Arms Look Bigger Instantly
How to Make Your Arms Look Bigger: A Guide to Looking Jacked

If you’ve already built what you consider “big” arms or are interested on what is considered big biceps or triceps, read on. But look. You also need to consider the importance of having big, shredded forearms to complete the overall appearance and size of your arms. It has been said that you could add a full inch to your biceps by increasing the thickness of your forearms. The process of building impressive, muscularly large forearms and add to the size of your biceps is described in great detail in the article The Key to Building Big Forearms. 

Traditionally, the ideally symmetrical measurements of the male physique include equal circumference of the neck, upper arms and calves.  In a popular example, the most impressive display of symmetry and proportion is a man whose neck is 17 inches in circumference, whose upper arms are 17 inches around and who has calves that measure 17 inches. 

Considering the fact that few people develop muscle mass at the same rate all over their body makes the pursuit of the “ideal physique” extremely challenging.  Sure some people will be able to achieve these measurements relatively easily.  But the majority of drug-free, natural bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts will find it difficult to bring all these three body parts to a point of simultaneous identical measurement.

In this article, I will explain what is commonly considered big arms, big biceps or large upper arms.  As explained in the article What is Considered a Big Bench Press, there are several variables to consider when deciding if you have what could be considered big arms. 

For the purposes of this article, upper arm measurements are established on a cold, flexed upper arm with a measuring tape.  The term cold means no pump in the muscle or at lease twelve hours after a workout.  The best type of measuring tape to measure the arms does not stretch over time, provides a consistent result when dry and moist and can easily stay in place while positioning it on your arm.    

Body composition must also be considered when comparing arm size.  A person who carries a lot of fat can easily achieve large arms because of the volume of fat tissue that is beneath the skin.  On the other hand, a lean, muscular person could have such a low body fat percentage that the tape measurement is relatively small.  For our determination of how big is a big arm, we’ll use the example of a fit person who has a body fat percentage of about 15%.  

You can determine your body fat percentage easily at home with the Accu-Measure Body Fat Tester Kit. Get it here.

How to Measure Your Arms

To measure the upper arms to determine their size and circumference, flex your biceps as if you were showing off how jacked you are.  Take your measuring tape and wrap it around the largest part of the upper arm.  This will vary from one person to the next but many people find that the upper arm is largest just off center toward the shoulder.  Make sure the measuring tape is straight around the entire circumference of the arm and not crooked as this will provide an inaccurate result. 

Pull the tape measure tight enough against your arm so that the entire tape measure is in contact with the skin but not so tight that it presses into your skin.  Place the end of the tape measure closest to the one inch mark against the measuring tape so that the side edges are aligned.  The end of the tape measure will line up with a measurement, for example 16 inches.  This is the size of your upper arm.  

For an easier, more accurate measurement, use the MyoTape Body Tape Measure. Get it here.  

What is Considered a Big Arm?
19 inch arms using MyoTape Body Tape Measure

Now that you’ve established what your upper arms size is, compare it to the following breakdown and see
where you stack up:

11–12 inches – Small arms.  You’re either a prepubescent girl or very new at this. 
13-14 inches – Moderately small arms.  You’ve got a long way to go to big arms.
15-16 inches – Decent size arms.  You’re muscular but could have bigger arms.
17-18 inches – Muscular arms.  Your arms are well developed and look impressive.
19-20 inches – Big Arms.  You’ve acquired the elusive big arms!
21+ inches – Massive Arms.  You’ve surpassed big arms and are simply huge.

Read Mass Building Program Guide for Skinny Guys Who Can't Gain Weight

Congratulations if you fall into the Big Arms or Massive Arms category.  If you fall into a category that indicates that you have some work to do in the area of arm muscle development, you may want to read the following articles:

The Key to Building Big Forearms
Build Big Biceps with These Three Exercises

In the meantime, stay positive, focused and don’t give up your pursuit of big arms. 

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