How To Take
Body Tape Measurements
|by JP CLIFFORD
Girth measurements will give you additional valuable information to assess the progress of your bodybuilding program.
They will tell you where you are growing, which muscle groups are responding and which may need to be attacked in a different way. This information when deciding on such things as exercises, diet and rest.
To take your body tape measurements, you will need a flexible tape measure that you can wrap around your body parts (or, if you want to go old school, you can wrap a string and then measure it against a straight rule).
You can find flexible tape measures tapes at tailor shops, clothes shops and sporting goods stores.
The MyoTape from Accu-Fitness is an improvement over the simple tape and it works excellent. You can get one for less than $10 and part of a package when you get your body fat caliper (see the skinfold measurements page).
Do NOT get a digital tape measure unless you want to torture yourself. Try getting that thing around your waist one time and you'll be ready to smash it with a hammer - undoubtedly the worst invention in the storied history of body tape measuring. Technology can't make everything easier.
Like with taking skinfold measurements, your goal with body tape measurements is consistency.
The tape should be pulled to where it is lying flat against the skin all the way around. The pressure you put on the tape isn't that important; it is only important that it is the same every time you do it. Don't fret over accuracy; fret over consistency.
Take your measurements the same every time you take them and you will get an accurate view of your progress with each body part.
Below and pictured to the right is a list of suggested sites to regularly measure.
Neck - Standing, measure your neck at its largest girth, right over the Adam's apple.
Shoulder - Standing, can either be measured as a straight line from the largest points on each shoulder across the chest or as a girth measurement all the way around the body.
Biceps - Measure at its largest girth, can be taken relaxed with arms at side, relaxed with arm bent, flexed with arm bent or all three.
Chest - Standing, measure with breath out just above the nipple.
Waist - Standing, measure at the narrowest point or at the midway point between the top of the hip bone and the bottom of the rib cage.
Hips - Measure at the largest girth, where the butt is protruding the greatest.
Thigh - Standing, measure at the largest girth, just below the butt.
Calf - Seated if you are measuring yourself or standing if you have a partner, measure at its largest girth.
Your body tape measurements will tell you where you are gaining but you still won't know what you are gaining.
Alone, body tape measurements aren't enough. You need to know what is responsible for your increased size, is it fat or is it muscle? You find this out by tracking your body fat percentage.
You can learn all about how to get a good estimation of your body fat on the body fat percentages page.
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