Girths are circumference measures at standard anatomical sites around the body. The flexed arm girth measurement is a measure of the circumference of the upper arm when the biceps is flexed. See the list of girth measurement locations.
purpose: To measure the circumference of the arm, as a measure of the underlying musculature and adipose tissue. Girth measurements combined with skinfold measurements can give a clearer picture of changes in tissue composition and distribution of muscle and fat.
equipment required: flexible metal tape measure and pen suitable for marking the skin. If a plastic or cloth tape is used, it should be checked regularly against a metal tape as they may stretch over time.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: This girth measurement is usually taken on the right side of the body. The arm is raised to a horizontal position in the sagittal (forward) plane, with the elbow at about 45 degrees. The subject maximally contracts the biceps muscle, and the largest circumference is measured. When recording, you need to make sure the tape is not too tight or too loose, is lying flat on the skin, and is kept vertical. The maximal girth is not always obvious, and the tape may need to be moved along to find the point of maximum circumference.
reliability: Factors that may affect reliability include changes to the testing personnel, constant and even tension on the tape, and correct landmarking (finding the correct anatomical site for measurement).
advantages: low costs involved in the testing procedure
comments: Clothing over the site should be removed if possible to make sure measuring tape is positioned correctly and that the correct circumference is determined.
- See the similar relaxed arm girth measurement
- General description of taking girth measurements, and links to other girth measures.
- Using MyoTape for girth measurement.
- A discussion about Body Size Testing
- Other anthropometric tests
- Videos of Anthropometric Tests