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How broad are 17 inch shoulders? (for males and females)

Learn how wide 17 inch shoulders are for men and women.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 15th June 2022
A young man with 17 inch shoulders

17 inches is a slightly above average across shoulder measurement for women and slightly smaller than normal for men. But what does this mean for your body?

Well, first off, it depends on how you’re measuring your shoulders. For example, so many people measure their clavicle width and then compare that measurement to other people’s shoulder width measurements (taken from behind).

With this in mind, the following guide sets the record straight on just how big 17 inch shoulders are for your gender and body type.

See More Measurement Guides:

Are 17 inch shoulders broad for a male?

A male with broad 17 inch shoulders

Are 17 inch shoulders broad for a male or not? If you’re measuring the width of your clavicles only, then yes, 17 inch shoulders are definitely a bit broader than average for a man.

On the other hand, if you’re measuring the width of your shoulders from behind, which also takes into account the upper back, then 17 in shoulders are a bit smaller than normal for an adult male.

You can, of course, measure your shoulders from the front as well and have that measurement take into account your deltoids. In this case, 17 inch shoulders are still smaller than average for a man.

Now, if you’re pretty short, then your 17 in shoulders might not look that narrow. After all, if your other body parts are also small, then your shoulders will look in proportion and not necessarily narrow.

Are 17 inch shoulders broad for a female?

A female showing her 17 inch shoulders

Are 17 inch shoulders broad for a female? Yes, 17 inch shoulders are quite broad for a female, but they’re by no means too broad for a woman to be considered feminine or anything like that.

Indeed, if you’re a fairly tall woman, then your 17″ shoulders will likely look proportionate to the rest of your body.

All of this is presuming that you’re measuring the physical width of your shoulders as a body part (muscle, bone, fat—all tissues) and not just your bone structure (biacromial breadth).

Most women with 17 inch shoulders have them because of their bone structure primarily. But if you have developed back muscles—naturally or from lifting weights—then your shoulders will be wider as well.

How can you increase your 17 inch shoulders?

A man performing a lateral raise

The reality is that, in general, 17 inch shoulders just aren’t that wide for an adult man of a normal height. So what can you do about it?

First off, don’t worry about it because there are literally countless guys just like you who have the same “problem.”

Second, make sure to work your upper back muscles. Performing vertical pulling exercises, like lat pulldowns and pull-ups, will work your lats and improve what the fitness world calls your v-taper.

In a similar vein, doing plenty of horizontal pulls (any row where you’re pulling higher on your body) will work your trapezius muscles, which will help your back to look thicker and broader.

Of course, increasing your body mass by eating in a moderate calorie surplus will fuel your training and allow your muscles to grow so that your 17″ shoulders can broaden and reach their full potential.

And finally, be patient. Real changes take months, and complete transformations can often take a year or more. So enjoy the journey and look forward to your 17 in shoulders getting wider.

Is it possible to decrease your 17″ shoulders?

A woman running on the treadmill

If you have 17 inch shoulders acromion to acromion (the bony parts on your shoulder), then no, you can’t decrease your 17 in shoulders because you can’t change your bone structure.

On the other hand, if you have 17 inch wide shoulders when factoring in all body tissues (i.e., not just your clavicle width) then yes, you can definitely reduce the size of your 17 inch shoulders.

But first, make sure that it’s something that you actually want to do and not something that you feel like you have to do.

For example, if reducing the size of your 17″ shoulders would cause you to become underweight, don’t do it because you’ll be sacrificing your health in pursuit of what is most likely an unnatural body type (for your build).

That said, the best way to slim your shoulders is to simply reduce the amount of tissue (muscle and fat) around your deltoids and upper back. This usually means eating in a moderate calorie deficit and avoiding exercises that work your upper body.

The verdict on having 17 in shoulders

A man with 17 inch wide shoulders

As mentioned throughout the article, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having 17 inch shoulders because we’re all built differently.

In general, most women have shoulders that are a bit narrower than 17 inches, whereas most men have shoulders that are a bit broader than 17 inches.

But since your height affects how your shoulders look, it’s impossible to make a concrete statement like yes, 17″ shoulders are too big or no, 17″ shoulders are too small.

So, by all means, try to build your body in the way that you want it, but don’t obsess over specific measurements if you can help it!

James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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