The Perfect Male Body

The Perfect Male Body

The perfect body for a male is a body that you feel good about and increases your self-esteem. The perfect body for a male also has the added advantage of being healthy, has functional strength, attracts women and impresses other men.

Let's start with


Self-esteem refers to one's sense of worth or importance; it is a positive or negative bias as to how you feel about yourself. Research has shown that it is associated with occupational success and is connected to physical appearance

Prior research has shown that when there is a discrepancy between the 'real body image' and the 'ideal body image' it can become a source of lowered self-esteem; the greater the discrepancy between real and ideal body image the lower the self-esteem (Johnson & Petrie, 1995)

A study by Mekolichick at Radford University demonstrated that amateur bodybuilders had a higher level of self-esteem than the general population and many, many, studies have confirmed that weight lifting boosts self-esteem in men and women.

However, anecdotal evidence of the self-esteem of professional bodybuilders seems to suggest that they have low levels of self-esteem generally. This may be indicative of an attempt to compensate with muscle for feelings of insecurity.

Building the perfect male body will generally enhance your self esteem Many studies have shown that males who gain muscularity increase their self-esteem dramatically.

perfect male body

Even Arnie took up bodybuilding to boost his self-esteem

Don't take this as a criticism of professional bodybuilders. Even with the use of steroids, they have to be motivated and work extremely hard to acquire the abnormal levels of musculature that they need to be competitive in the world of professional bodybuilding.

However, you don't need to go there. The perfect male body is NOT a professional bodybuilder's body (i.e. Olympia or Universe level) because, as impressive as they are, today they are virtually impossible to achieve without steroids and are a full-time occupation. Their bodies also have limited appeal, especially for women. Evolution has created in women a desire for a certain body type and it is not the extreme represented by professional bodybuilders.


A majority of men and women find these builds unattractive.
The physique on the left, though impressive, is definitely not the perfect male body for most purposes


Male muscularity was an important contributor to success in hunting and combat in our ancestral populations. Success in physical confrontations, is dictated by two key factors; muscle mass and strength (Haldene, 1985). Women find physically strong, athletic men to be the most desirable (Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Jackson, 1992).

It has been argued by various researchers that upper body strength is an adaptation to the problem of confronting and defending against large prey and other humans and that those body parts that best allow an individual male to defend against predators and other humans are arms, chest, and shoulders (although good legs for running away wouldn't hurt either).

So it would make sense from an evolutionary perspective that men and women have evolved mechanisms to appraise these body parts especially. The perfect male body will trigger these evolutionary or biological responses in men and women.

In the case of women, this ability was important for selecting a suitable mate who could provide security and obtain resources, and for men for selecting suitable allies or appraising possible male competitive threats.

The perfect body from a male viewpoint will be the one that satisfies both criteria. In our evolutionary past the criteria would have matched fairly well but today there is a large discrepancy between the body preferred by females and that preferred by males.

The male factor

Anthropological evidence indicates that violent conflict among our foraging ancestors was a large enough problem that it became a major selection pressure, especially on males (Manson & Wrangham 1991; Keeley 1996).

In some indigenous societies a third of the adult males are reported to die violently (Keeley 1996), Some estimates for the Australian Aborigines estimated mortality rates per head of population greater than World War 2. At the extreme end rates of violent death have been recorded as high as 59 per cent for the Achuar people of the Amazon(Bennett Ross 1984).

native with blowpipe

In the past Achuar males, like this one,
had a high chance of death from other males
through inter-tribal warfare or internal disputes.
Their traditional greeting says it all:
Pujamik—“Are you living?

Research by Sell (2009) showed that both men and women can accurately assess adult men’s physical strength from assessing a male's upper body musculature and that these assessments are correlated with a man's fighting ability.

Anatomical evidence supports the view that, for ancestral humans, the single most important factor driving the differential ability to use weapons, hunt and inflict costs against an opponent was upper-body strength.

No wonder then that both males and females have a built-in ability to estimate strength and fighting prowess via a visual inspection of a male's torso. The perfect male body will be well developed, predominantly in the upper body but will look good and proportional all over.

Surprisingly, Males and females can evaluate male strength and fighting ability on the basis of facial characteristics alone, with a more masculine face equating to greater strength and fighting prowess due to the same testosterone impacts that shape the face also shaping the body.

So from an evolutionary perspective, the upper body was important for competition with other males and also for 'respect', either out of fear or admiration. It is still the same today.


male looking at female

A component of male fitness and the perfect male body is the ability to attract females but since women are looking for a host of attributes other than looks you don't need to have a fantastic body to be successful in attracting women. I know that sounds contrary to what I have said before but the body is one component of attraction. It can certainly help in short-term mating though.

Here, I will discuss the requirements for the male body that is most attractive to women but try to understand that it doesn't matter as much for you to be attractive as it does for women and women weigh up a number of factors other than your physical appearance.

However, getting the right build will increase your confidence and improve your chances with women, especially for short-term mating.

The physical requirements that women are looking for are actually different from what most men believe and an improved body will certainly help your chances but it is not the whole story.

In one study men rated their ideal body as being about 28 lb (13 kg) more muscular than themselves and they also estimated that women preferred a male body about 30 lb (14 kg) more muscular than themselves.

In numerous other studies it has been found that women prefer an ordinary male body without added muscle or somewhat more muscular than average but not overly so(e.g.Frederick & Haselton, 2003; Olivardia et al.,2004; Pope et al., 2000).

A recent (2010) study showed women rate muscular men as sexier, more physically dominant and volatile, and less committed to their mates than non-muscular men and men with moderate muscularity were rated as being the most attractive.

Men with a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) closest to 0.9 reported more sex partners, more affairs, more sex with women who were in relationships and an earlier age for their first sexual intercourse (Hughes and Gallup 2002).

Men tend to have broader shoulders than women. This is one example of sexual dimorphism in humans where the male tends to be larger than the female. Shoulder width is associated with higher levels of testosterone in the development stage and there is a strong correlation between shoulder width and male attractiveness.

Women find men with moderately broad shoulders and chests attractive as long as they are not overly muscular. For women the key male body factor that seems to appeal the most in terms of physical attraction is the Shoulder to Hip ratio (SHR) (Bijkstra and Buunk 2001).

male bodies

Women consider the toned and built bodies the most attractive(figures 4 and 5 from the left).

Large shoulders can easily advertise a man’s physical strength, which in evolutionary terms may be an advertisement of greater ability to protect and defend.

Given that men and women tend to be different sizes it is logical that anything that enhances this size difference will increase your 'maleness' and large shoulders will do just that.

As with a WHR close to 0.9, men with a high SHR also report more sex partners, more affairs, more sex with women who were in relationships and earlier age for first sexual intercourse. If you have a higher Shoulder-to-hip ratio you will also be perceived as being more socially and physically dominant.

However, given that women find a tapering ‘V’ body shape with larger shoulders and a smaller waist attractive then it would seem that a more valid measure of body attractiveness would be the Shoulder-to-waist ratio (SWR). The perfect male body attempts to achieve a good SWR.

Given also that men pay more attention to a rival’s waist than his hips (Dijkstra & Buunk, 2001), it seems reasonable that a broad-shouldered male with a smaller waist would be perceived as physically stronger and dominant, and,therefore, more desirable by women (Franzoi & Herzog, 1987).

Various studies have shown this to be the case. One study demonstrated that women would rather have sex with a male with a higher, more masculine shoulder-to-waist ratio, especially for a one-time sexual encounter.

So, a high shoulder-to-waist (SWR) around 1.6 should be the start of your journey to the perfect male body. If you measure it the other way and compare your waist to your shoulder measurement it should ideally be around 0.6 but anything up to 0.75 is OK

There are two ways of achieving these measurements and you should be looking at doing both at the same time. The first is to narrow your waist and the second is to broaden your shoulders.

Males and females rate belly fat as the least attractive aspect of the opposite sex. So, follow the diet recommendations on this site (especially a paleodiet or Zone diet) to lose any extra weight and start an aerobic regimen (see the end of this page for my aerobic link)to lower body fat around your abdomen.

waist-to-shoulder ratio


Functionality is defined as - 'capable of serving a purpose well'.

So if you are asking the question 'Is my muscle functional', you are really asking 'Is my muscle serving a purpose well?. As I say on my health-fitness page quoting Buckminster fuller 'Specialisation is for insects' and the same goes for muscle.

Training for the perfect male body should not just make you look pretty. Don't misunderstand this. It is hard to look good and muscular without also becoming stronger but strength and looks are only two functions of muscle. There are others.

The perfect male body will have the following attributes:

  • Muscle size will be enough to earn the respect of other men
  • Muscle shape will be enough to attract women
  • Muscles will be strong enough to lift heavy weights in the gym up to far above average
  • Muscles will be strong enough to move and suspend your bodyweight to achieve excellent results in the 'real world', whether it be in a sport, the military or an emergency situation.
  • In the process of developing your musculature you will have become healthy through proper diet and exercise that also extends your lifespan into old age without loss of function

Bodybuilders are strong but their general focus is looking good for competitions so they may not develop other aspects of fitness but then again some do. Bodyweight exercisers are certainly fit for lifting and moving their bodyweight but generally lack the musculature of body builders unless they are competitive gymnasts.

You want all of these aspects of fitness as well as power, flexibility, coordination, agility, balance and endurance, and being attractive to women and respected by other men.

Don't be worried about functionality. If you train right the perfect male body will have all the functional strength and agility that you need.

The Trade-off

Why do you think the photos of men in Cosmopolitan magazine (and other women’s magazines)(around 90% female readership) are different from those in Men’s health and men’s fitness magazines (around 85% male readership)?

It’s very simple. We have different requirements. The readers of Cosmopolitan are women and the readers of men’s fitness/men’s health are men. So the perfect male body is going to be a trade-off between a male perception of what is good and a female perception of what is attractive.

The men in cosmopolitan are considered by women to be their ideal sexual partners, not the men in men's health or men's fitness.

The difference in the muscularity of male bodies portrayed in magazines aimed at men and those aimed at women is consistent with a pattern in which the media fuels gender-specific prestige competition involving body form, enhancing a runaway process through which male body ideals diverge from women’s preferences. (more on this when I update this page)

Maintaining muscle mass is metabolically expensive to make as it requires a high caloric intake. It is commonly believed that 50-100 calories a day are required to supply the energy to keep an extra pound of muscle alive but recent research suggests that resting muscle only requires about 5 calories per day but this is after the muscle is built. Building muscle takes time and energy.

Increasing muscle also decreases cooling efficiency and impedes your body's ability to preserve a normal temperature. So there is a downside to too much muscle. The perfect male body takes this into account and is muscular enough to attract women, get the respect of other men, be strong and healthy and take the minimum time out of your life to achieve it.

Your body will only create extra muscle in response to demand. If you look at the physiques of a variety of modern day hunter/gatherers, similar to our ancestors through much of human history, you will find them to be lean and well-muscled, but not overly so. However, their bodies do represent the perfect male body for the 21st century.

hunter gatherers

To build their musculature to the level of a modern day anabolic-using professional bodybuilder would have been impossible, unnecessary and would require vast amounts of food that was unlikely to be available, except for some groups, at certain times of year.

Their bodies developed in response to the demands placed on them by their environment and for thousands of years women responded to their bodies in terms of attraction and men responded in terms of alliance or threat. They had the perfect male body for their lifestyle but the perfect male body today is slightly more muscular.

Modern men have access to vast quantities of food that is easily acquired (including supplements), scientific knowledge of how to increase muscle mass, leisure time to train and access to weight training equipment. Modern men are also in competition with other men who are all influenced by western cultural role models of fitness and health.

This leads to a much more muscular ideal for the perfect male body than the hunter-gatherers were able to sustain but nothing approaching the steroid enhanced professional bodybuilder (I differentiate them from the natural bodybuilding competitors)

One would think that the modern Olympian bodybuilder with his musculature enhanced far beyond the average male would have the perfect male body on the basis of more is better. You would also think that as his muscle mass increased he would become increasingly attractive to females since theoretically he should be able to provide greater protection, increased hunting ability, greater dominance and attract more alliances.

Unfortunately, this is not the case and a large body of research demonstrates that women generally find this type of body unattractive. Why is this the case?

Some traits are fitness cues because they demonstrate that a male is in good condition. In 1975, Zahavi proposed the idea that males who display traits that are costly to maintain (e.g., the peacock’s tail) are attractive to females precisely because they are costly and thus demonstrate that the male is in good enough condition to produce them.

High testosterone levels suppress the immune system but are also associated with muscularity. A male who has higher levels of muscularity is demonstrating that he has high levels of testosterone and is capable of producing muscle in spite of the costs.

Up to a point, this increased muscle is attractive. However, although women perceive muscular men as sexually desirable, they also see them as less trustworthy and less likely to commit to their partner, as well as being more volatile and threatening.

So, an extremely muscular male, such as a professional steroid using bodybuilder might well be viewed as having more of these negative traits and therefore perhaps be seen as not a good option by women. It could also be that they are too far outside the human range of muscularity and therefore seen as too unusual.

I don't believe this is the whole story but all you have to remember is that for women, a moderately muscular body is attractive enough. They rate the moderately muscular as more attractive than men of low or high muscularity. So we have an idea that the perfect male body (for women, at least)is more muscular than average but not overly so.

However, for men, subconsciously (and not so unconsciously) in competition with other men, a greater degree of muscularity is required and unfortunately that male ideal of the perfect body has come from men's fitness and bodybuilding magazines as well as movies that connect high status individual males with enhanced muscularity.

If you aim for the muscularity of any of the three fitness models shown below you will be on the right track. From top to bottom they are Oba Obadike, Rob Riches and Paul Amos. Even if you fall short of achieving their level you will still be in great shape and remember that fitness models prepare for photo shoots to get the absolutely best definition. You can look good with a flat stomach so six-pack abs are unnecessary but if your stomach is already flat it doesn't take much to achieve a six-pack (mainly diet)

perfect male body

top male fitness models Paul Amos the ab man

The perfect body

So what does the perfect male body look like. Firstly it will have a waist-to hip ratio approaching 0.9 and it will have a waist-to-shoulder ratio of at least 0.75, which means that your waist measurement across will be three quarters of your shoulder measurement across. Anything less than this is even better with the optimum for a male around 0.6

Shoulder width is associated with higher levels of testosterone in the development stage and there is a strong correlation between shoulder width and male attractiveness.

The perfect male body will also have a flat stomach, not necessarily a six pack. The six pack will appeal more to other men in terms of admiration rather than to women. Women will be happy with a flat stomach although many do like rippled abs.

Men have approximately 75 per cent more muscle mass than women in the arms, but only 50 per cent more muscle mass in legs. So arms (including forearms)are more important than legs from a female point of view if you want to appear more 'male'.

A broad, developed chest, greater than average but not too much greater is also popular. Add to this a strong back and to a lesser extent strong, well-shaped legs and calves you are on your way. Even though legs don't rate as highly with women as the upper body you will need to work your legs anyway if you want overall muscle development, as working them hard stimulates overall growth.

The extras

The face is important, especially for short-term relationships. A symmetrical, masculine face with a strong jaw and a deep voice are appealing, as is a good head of hair.

The perfect male body includes the face but other than plastic surgery you can't make it more masculine. Luckily, you don't have to. Other pages here will deal with the face and improving it, but humour, confidence and social skills will work much better for you in the long run than being handsome, though being handsome certainly helps in short-term mating. Extreme facial masculinity though can decrease a male's attractiveness.

Research also indicates that women’s preferences with regard to male partners may vary based on the stages of their menstrual cycle (e.g., Gangestad, Simpson, Cousins, Garver-Apgar, & Christensen, 2004; Gangestad & Thornhill, 2003; Penton-Voak & Perrett,2000).

This attraction for masculine features is especially true in the fertile window of their menstrual cycle.

Women generally don't find feminine-looking or feminine-sounding men to be sexually attractive. However, they express a definite preference for a less masculine face when they are not ovulating and you can make up for the lack of a square jaw with other characteristics, such as sense of humour, personality, self-confidence and social status.

In fact, these other characteristics are way more important if you want to attract women. How many men with not particularly muscular or attractive bodies are seen with beautiful women. Quite a few and since we know it isn't the body it must be something else.

I remember doing a workshop with a guy who was handsome, tall, strong and well-built but he was having trouble attracting women. Basically, his personality sucked as he was far too arrogant (a little bit can help) and stand-offish to appeal to women. So the body is not everything but if you have a good personality as well then you are ahead in the game.

Just a word of warning. You cannot be all things to all women and in fact they should definitely NOT be your priority in life. Your body should not be just catering to the evolutionary preferences of women as you have other reasons for shaping it. The perfect male body is the one you are most happy with and achieves YOUR aims.

Follow your dreams, be an individual and realise that women are a wonderful aspect of life on earth but not the only one. They should be people who join you on YOUR journey through life and NOT be the journey itself.

If they are available...GREAT. If not, you are too busy enjoying your life to really notice, and THAT is attractive. You can get started on your path to the perfect male body by checking out the

Weight training is the key ingredient to developing an electric physique but aerobics, diet and flexibility are the other key ingredients and those elements are coming soon.

I was going to develop my own programme based on evolutionary principles but I found that someone has already used an evolutionary approach to training for the perfect male body. The closest to my philosophy that I have found is a site called 'The Adonis effect' and if you want to get to the next level Click Here!

Here are some examples of what is possible from real people.

Adonis before and after Jason

Adonis index before and after adonis index before and after andrew

You too could achieve these results. Click Here! to begin the journey. You know you want to:-)

Good luck.

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