Girth Measurement

Original Editor - Chelsea Mclene

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Girth Measurement is a method to know the changes in body dimensions over time.[1]Girths are circumference measures at standard anatomical sites around the body. It is measured with a tape and can be used in determining body size, composition and to monitor changes in these parameters.[2]

Measuring tape.jpg

Advantages[edit | edit source]

  • Relatively accurate.
  • Very reliable when performed on populations who are average to above average body fat. [2]
  • The calculations can easily be performed.
  • Low costs involved in the testing procedure
  • For many sites the measurement can be self administered.[3]

Disadvantages[edit | edit source]

  • It does not work well on lean individuals and it lacks high tech appeal.
  • Some individuals may not feel comfortable.[1]

Equipment Required [edit | edit source]

Flexible measuring tape and pen for marking the skin. The MyoTape is useful for the self-assessment.

Pre-Test[edit | edit source]

Explain the procedures, Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender.

Procedure[edit | edit source]

The site to be measured has to be marked . When recording, make sure the tape is not too tight or too loose. It must be flat on the skin, and horizontal.

Reliability [edit | edit source]

It depends on the tester, tension on the tape, and correct landmarking

Sites[edit | edit source]

1. Head Girth[edit | edit source]

It is the maximum circumference of head when tape is located superior to eyebrow and positioned at back of the head.


2. Neck Girth[edit | edit source]

Tape is located perpendicular to the long axis of the neck superior to larynx.


3. Upper Limb Girth[edit | edit source]

Forearm Girth[edit | edit source]

The measurement is taken around upper third of forearm and it is the maximal girth of the forearm.

Mid-arm Girth[edit | edit source]

The measurement is taken around the mid upper arm. This measurement is also known as arm circumference, upper arm circumference, biceps circumference or relaxed arm girth.

Wrist Girth[edit | edit source]

It is the perimeter of wrist taken distal to the styloid process of the ulna and radius.

Palm Girth[edit | edit source]

  • length: measured from the tip of the longest finger to the crease under the palm.
  • breadth: measured across the widest area where the fingers join the palm.
  • circumference: measured around the palm of your dominant hand, just below the knuckles, excluding the thumb.


4. Trunk Girth[edit | edit source]

Chest Girth[edit | edit source]

Chest should be bare. The subject must stand in normal erect posture. The measurement is taken from under the axilla and around the chest, passing by xyphoid process:

  • Just below the axillary fold.
  • At the level of nipple.
  • At xyphoid process.


Waist Girth[edit | edit source]

Measurement is taken from the narrowest part of the torso that is halfway between the 12th rib and the iliac crest. The subject should stand comfortably erect with hands by the side and must not be contracting any muscles.


Abdominal Girth[edit | edit source]

It is the perimeter distance around the torso at the level of umbilicus. Abdominal muscles should not be contracted.


Gluteal Girth[edit | edit source]

Subject stands with minimal clothing, with feet together and no intentional muscle contraction. Tape is placed compressing overlying clothing but not the soft tissue. It is the perimeter at level of greater posterior protuberance of gluteals. It is also known as buttock or hip circumference.


5. Lower Limb Girth[edit | edit source]

Thigh Girth[edit | edit source]

It is the circumference of the thigh measured when subject stands with legs slightly parted. Weight must be equally distributed on both the legs.

  • Proximal or Upper Thigh Girth: About 1cm below the gluteal fold and horizontal to the long axis of femur.
  • Mid Thigh: Measurement is taken from inguinal crease to the proximal border of patella.
  • Distal Thigh: It is measured from just proximal to femoral condyles.

Knee Girth[edit | edit source]

Measurement is taken around the knee at level of patella for joint swelling and 5cm above and below the border of patella for muscle wasting.

Calf Girth[edit | edit source]

Measurement is taken around the bulky area of calf.

Ankle Girth[edit | edit source]

It is the minimum circumference of the lower leg, just proximal to malleoli.

Foot Girth[edit | edit source]

Arch circumference is the length from a point on top of the foot, down around  and over the highest point in the foot arch, and back to the same point on the top of the foot.[11]


(Watch the video below - PT TIPS: How to take girth measurements with clients)[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Taking girth measurements. PT direct. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert Wood, "Measurements of Body Girths." Topend Sports Website, 2008, [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  3. The 10 Best Ways to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage. Healthline. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  4. CrochetHooksYou. How to measure head circumference. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  5. Neck girth. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  6. ARC seminar. measuring girth of upper extremity. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  7. Patria Hume. Chest girth measurement technique. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  8. Fitness at south bank.Measuring waist girth. Available from[last accessed 05/11/2020]
  9. Maven center. Girth measurement (abdominal) instructions. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  10. How to Measure Your Glutes : Fitness & Exercise Advice. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  11. Sizing - Foot Compression Sleeves - Run Forever Sports. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  12. ARC seminar. measuring girth of lower extremity. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]
  13. PT TIPS: How to take Girth Measurements with Clients. Vast fitness academy. Available from [last accessed 05/11/2020]