Sunday, 3 June 2012

Steve Reeves Ultra-Symmetrical Physique Ratios

3rd June 2012

I have taken my wrist and ankle measurements and punched these into several on-line body size calculators. They all use the same methods so the readings were all the same. The measurements are based on a calculation performed during the Victorian period using statues from the Roman and Greek empires which depicted what was considered to be the perfectly proportioned male body which while being muscular was not massive.

Steve Reeves

Steve Reeves, who competed in body building in the 40's and 50's was probably the ultimate body builder from the pre-anabolic steroid era. He tweaked the calculations used by the Victorians slightly whereby for his perfect symmetry, the calves, neck and biceps should be the same circumference, the chest should be twice the thigh and the waist double the neck. Although I can't verify this last ratio, his measurements satisfied the other criteria for what he considered the ideal body.

Based on a wrist measurement of 18.5cm or 7.8", here are my ideal and actual measurements using this calculator.

Chest 120cm, 103cm, 47", 40.6"                 +17cm
Waist 84cm, 93cm, 33", 37"                        -9cm
Bicep 43cm36cm, (left 35cm) 17"14"       +7cm
Calf 41cm41cm, (left 38cm) 16"16"          0
Thigh 64cm, 57cm, (left 55cm) 25", 22"       +7cm
Neck 44cm, 39.5cm, 17", 15.6"                  +4.5cm
Forearm 35cm31cm, (left 28cm) 14"12"   +4cm
Hip 102cm101cm40"40"                        0

(I find it hard to believe that my hip size is considered to be all right. Everyone I know tells me I don't have a bum. Maybe that's more to do with the shape and contrast with my waist.)

Steve Reeves Ultra-Symmetrical Physique Ratios for me
Chest = Hip 101cm X 148% = 149cm-/*58.7"        +46cm
Waist = Hip 101cm X 86% = 87cm/34"                 -8cm
Bicep = Wrist 18.5cm X 252% = 47cm/18.5"         +11cm
Calf = Ankle 24cm X 192% = 46cm/18"                 +5cm
Thigh = Knee 39.5 X 175% = 69cm/27"                 +12cm
Neck = Head 57.5 X 79% = 45cm/17.7"                +5.5cm

*This is clearly wrong! Arnold Schwarzenneger had a 57" chest
This seems very out, so adjusting for a smaller waist of 31" which I had in 2005, would give;

Chest = 136cm-/53.5"        +33cm
Waist = 79cm/31"               -14cm
Hip = 92cm/36"                  -10cm

As the ankle, wrist and head cannot change, the rest stays the same.

I don't have a hip measurement for Steve Reeves but this would make my other measurements pretty close to his.

            Steve Reeves             Ideal Me      

Chest           54"                        53.5"
Waist           30"                        31"
Bicep           18.5"                     18.5"
Calf              18.5"                     18"
Thigh            27"                        27"
Neck            18.5"                     18"

We are nearly the same height with Steve Reeves at 185cm and me at 188cm, so this makes a lot of sense.

Steve Reeves
While it could be easy to be disheartened by this, one should remember that there is no point in having a goal that doesn't aim for the ideal and stretch you along the way. I know it is going to be extra hard for me considering my past injuries and weaknesses and my age but this is the picture, the image I shall keep in my mind from which I shall gain encouragement.

It's interesting to see that my ideal neck, calve and bicep measurements are all around the 18" mark - the same as Steve Reeves. Yikes. Now there's a challenge but if he could do it then why not? Interestingly enough, I notice that I am only 3cm taller than Steve Reeves and while he was 97kg my ideal according to his calculations would be 104kg.

Steve Reeves
All right he was genetically gifted but he didn't know that before he started out and in fact he had to do it twice. After once having built the ideal body, Steve joined the American war effort in 1944, contracted malaria, and lost over 20lb of muscle as well as the will to continue competing. He bounced back after recovering from his illness and gained the muscle all back in 4 months doing a simple full body work out.

Now, despite the fact he had superior genes, I still find this story a great motivator. While I can't remember my previous measurements I do remember that at the age of 40 my waist was 31", so I know for this body part at least, I can achieve better than my ideal!

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