How to Take Circumference Measures

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

CIRCUMFERENCE AND WHR: Testing Procedures: Circumference

  • Measure weight to the nearest .5 kg

  • Measure height to nearest .5 cm

  • Determine anatomical sites for girth

  • Measure girths, being careful to not pull too tightly (indent skin) and avoid air space between tape and skin

  • Tape should be placed on skin surface without compression

  • Duplicate each measurement and retest if not within 5 mm (ACSM 2006)

Upper abdominal

Minimal girth between xiphoid process and navel

Hip girth

Maximal circumference of gluteal muscles

Midabdominal girth

Level of navel


Inferior to larynx with tape perpendicular to axis of neck


With subject standing erect and arms hanging freely at sides with hands facing thigh, a

horizontal measure midway between acromion and olecranon processes


With subject standing erect feet (~20 cm apart), a horizontal measure taken at the

level of maximal circumference between knee and ankle, perpendicular to long axis


With subject standing, arms hanging downward but slightly away from trunk and

palms facing anteriorly, a measure perpendicular to the long axis at maximal



With the subject standing with legs apart (~10 cm) a horizontal measure taken at

maximal circumference of the hip/proximal thigh, just below gluteal fold


With subject standing on one foot on bench so knee is flexed to 90 degrees, a

measure is taken midway between inguinal crease and proximal border of patella,

perpendicular to long axis

Refresher: To get your Waist to hip (WHR) = upper abdominal / hip


Kaminsky, L. A., & Bonzheim, K. A. (2006).ACSM's resource manual for Guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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