Back muscle flex

Ideal Body Proportions?

Is there an ideal body proportion? Obviously there are some body proportions which are superior than others, but there probably isn’t an “ultimate”apex of body proportions. Some examinations:

1. Farnese Hercules

I am obsessed with the statue of the Farnese Hercules. It is a physique and body strength look I aspire to:

Analysis of the proportions:

Some studies I did on the breakdown of the proportions:

Or another sinister looking version of Hercules I love:

2. Ideal physiques are different in different cultures and time periods

Going back to our friend Hercules, inspect this statue from 2nd century (Before Christ)— the Hercules of the Forum Boarium:

He is still quite large, epic, but not as “buff” as the other versions of Hercules.

3. Grotesque depictions of muscle?

The Giant Hercules (1589) by Hendrik Goltzius

Studying this image (1589) of Hercules — it looks a bit grotesque to me. The muscles look fake, perhaps the same sensation I get from looking at photos which feel they have too much “HDR”.

4. Proportions of fat, size, and muscle?

And here, Hercules looks a bit “fat”when depicted by Rubens (he is still quite large, with muscles and low bodyfat, but his muscles don’t seem as impressive):

The Drunken Hercules (1612-1614) by Rubens

A comic book picture from 1950s depicts Hercules as more “cut”— strong muscularity, but not as massive and epic as the Farnese Hercules:

5. What would you rather look like?

Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson, 1810
Coloured etching by T. Rowlandson, 1810

Would you rather have the physique of the fat man above, or Hercules? Of course Hercules.

I think generally speaking, we find that (for men) the ideal body proportions and physique include:

  1. Broad shoulders
  2. Strong midsection
  3. Larger size
  4. Low bodyfat percentage
  5. Taller
  6. More muscle mass

6. Strong physique

My general theory:

The physique of a person or man is a reflection of their reproductive as well as hunting, gathering, and family rearing abilities. Also ability to fight, conquer, and gain more resources.

Now of course in modern times you got lots of men who are fat and physically weak, yet super rich and influential-powerful. I think “gold diggers”still flock to these types of men, but they would still prefer to have a “bad boy”on the side.

Etchings by Bernardino Genga:

7. It’s up to you to decide

I really like the physique of Arnold and many other physiques out there. Honesty at this point, we don’t “need”strong muscles for modern living — only fast thumbs, and the ability to sit all day and withstand boredom.

8. Artistic benefit of more muscle and strength

You can work towards your own ideal physique. I’ve known that for myself, putting on more muscle mass, low bodyfat, and increasing my strength has helped me in these ways:

  1. More focus and calm. Zen-stoic sense of calm, peace, yet strength.
  2. More energy during the day to write more, walk more, think more, shoot more, and create more.

Lifting weights and powerlifting has helped me strengthen my mind and willpower.

9. Ignore modern bodybuilders

Study ancient physiques in statues, or perhaps the really really old school bodybuilders or powerlifters. It’s difficult to know whether a modern individual is taking steroids or performance enhancing drugs.

Scroll to Top