Girths are circumference measures at standard anatomical sites around the body. The shoulder girth measurement is a measure of the circumference around the shoulders a couple of inches below the top of the shoulder, going around the arms, chest and back. This measure of shoulder girth will also be affected by the musculature around the shoulder as well as the chest size. There is also a description of the chest girth measurement. See the list of girth measurement locations.
purpose: to measure the body circumference at the level of the shoulders, as a measure of body proportion and the size of the chest muscles and lung size.
equipment required: flexible (but not stretchy) 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 measurement is taken at a level two inches below the top of the shoulder and around the arms, chest, and back. After the tape is in position, the arms should be relaxed and hanging by the side, and the measurement taken at the end of a normal expiration. When recording, you need to make sure the tape is not too tight or too loose, is lying flat on the skin, and is horizontal, particularly around the back.
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. For this girth measurement, due to the location of the measure, care should be taken to maintain the personal privacy of the subject, and sometimes it is appropriate to measure over clothing. If so, this should be recorded with the results.
- General description of taking girth measurements, and links to other girth measures
- A discussion about Body Size Testing
- Using MyoTape for girth measurement.
- Other anthropometric tests
- This girth measurement is part of the assessment for US Scout's Personal Fitness Merit Badge
- Videos of Anthropometric Tests