You don't have to be a competitive bodybuilder to care about your chest measurements. And, though you might have apps, charts or notebooks to keep track of your workout results, there's a simple, lo-fi solution, too: A good old-fashioned measuring tape.
More than just giving you bragging rights, keeping track of you chest measurements is a quick, straightforward and efficient way to monitor the tangible results of your workout program. If you're into fashion, it definitely won't hurt the way your clothes fit, either.
How To Measure
Whether you're a guy or a gal, measuring your chest works the same way. Grab a flexible measuring tape (like the kind tailors use), wear form-fitting clothes and recruit a friend for the most accurate results.
How To: Stand straight with a relaxed pose, letting your arms hang naturally at your sides. Keep things neutral; don't arch your back, flex your pecs or puff out your chest.
The measuring tape should run in a horizontal line at the fullest part of your chest, typically right in line with your nipples. Run the tape high up under your armpits and around your back, across your shoulder blades. It's OK to lift your arms when situating the tape, but when it's time to take your measurement, lower your arms. Make sure the tape is snug but not overly tight once it's in position, and you've got your chest measurement.
For Women: Pec Workouts and Measurements
If you're a woman keeping track of your chest measurements, chances are you've come across a common debate: Will working the pecs increase your breast size?
Because a woman's breasts are made of skin and fatty tissue — not muscle — the answer is no. However, women do have underlying pectoral muscles just like men, and working them may have a lifting effect, depending on your genetic predispositions. Because chest-focused and other workouts help improve the posture, measuring your chest is still a viable way to track your results.
Read more: Chest Exercises at Home for Women
Chest Measuring Tips
There's little point to measuring your chest if you don't keep your results recording for posterity. Without being able to accurately compare your past and present stats, you won't glean much concrete info about your regimen's effectiveness.
If you're not the pad-and-paper type, use a free smartphone app to input (or even photograph) your results, keeping them handily in your pocket for comparison's sake.
If you've got your own tracking or measuring tips, feel free to share and share alike in the comments below. Because, at the end of the day, teamwork is the ultimate fitness app.