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Are 20 inch shoulders broad? (for males and for females)

Learn how broad your 20 inch shoulders really are, according to anthropometric research.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 15th June 2022
A male with wide 20 inch shoulders

What do 20 inch shoulders look like? Slightly larger than the average male shoulder width to be sure, but it really depends on your height and the amount of muscle mass that you're carrying.

So if you want to know how your 20″ shoulders really stack up, then this science-based guide is for you. We'll be using published anthropometric data and our own measurement research to explain all the ins and outs of having 20 in shoulders.

Compare Other Shoulder Measurements:

Are 20 inch shoulders broad for a male?

A man showing his broad 20 inch shoulders

Are 20 inch shoulders broad for a male? Yes, 20 inch shoulders are broad for a man because they're around 1-2 inches wider than average for an adult male.

Of course, this 20 inch measurement presumes that you're measuring deltoid to deltoid (either from the front or back) and not just from acromion to acromion. After all, if your clavicles alone were 20 inches, then that would be very broad indeed, considering that most men only have a biacromial breadth of around 15.5 inches. [1]

But in terms of physical shoulder width, 20″ shoulders are still quite broad for a man. You might have 20 in shoulders due to having a fairly wide bone structure or because you have a lot of muscle mass on your frame.

Obviously, if you're fairly skinny with a 20 inch shoulder width, then you definitely still have the potential to make your shoulders even broader should you want to.

Are 20 inch shoulders broad for a female?

A female with 20 inch shoulders

Are 20 inch shoulders broad for a female? Yes, 20 inch shoulders are very broad for a female because they're around 4-5 inches wider than normal for an adult woman.

Indeed, an adult woman has shoulders that are around 14.5 inches when measured in terms of biacromial breadth. [2] So in terms of full shoulder width (including muscle mass and fat tissue), most women have shoulders that measure between 15 and 16 inches.

So with a 20 inch shoulder width, you're definitely much broader than the average woman, which could be an indication that you're tall or just so happen to have a larger frame.

Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with having 20 inch wide shoulders either. While such a measurement is undeniably uncommon for a female, there are obviously exceptions to the rule.

After all, you've probably seen at least a few women who are taller than the average guy. So there's no reason why the same can't hold true for shoulder width every now and again.

How can you increase your 20 inch shoulder width?

A muscular man doing a shoulder press

Increasing the width of your 20″ shoulders comes down to increasing the amount of soft tissue (muscle and fat) around your deltoids and upper back.

To do this, you'll need to lift weights and most likely eat in a moderate calorie surplus so that you can gain a bit of weight (if you're skinny).

Focus on exercises that train the lats and traps. These are two of the biggest muscles on your back and will really help to broaden your 20 inch shoulders when well-developed.

So make sure to do vertical pulls for the lats (pulldowns, pull-ups, lat pushdowns) and horizontal pulls for the traps (barbell rows, cable rows, face pulls).

On top of this, shoulder presses, lateral raises, and rear delt flys will help to increase the muscularity of your deltoids. While certainly a small muscle, the deltoids will definitely help to stretch the tape measure further if they have plenty of meat on them.

Is it possible to shrink your 20″ shoulders?

A woman using the treadmill

While you can't change your bone structure, you can definitely shrink your 20 inch shoulders by essentially doing the opposite of what I recommended above for people wanting to broaden their 20 in shoulders.

To reduce the size of your 20 inch wide shoulders, avoid exercises that work your back muscles and deltoids. Instead, do leg exercises and cardiovascular workouts.

Also, consider reducing your calorie intake, especially if you're severely overweight.

Shedding excess body mass will likely slim your 20″ shoulders because you'll lose fat and muscle from your upper back and deltoids.

Just note that you might not experience much of a decrease if most of your 20 inch shoulder width is due to your bone structure.

In this case, there's not a lot you can do. Indeed, if you're skinny with 20 inch shoulders, then losing weight might actually make them look more prominent because the bones will be more visible.

In conclusion: Is it good to have 20 inch wide shoulders?

A muscular man with a 20 inch shoulder width

When it comes to the highly varied human body, people love to obsess over specific measurements. But the truth is that we're all built differently, so it's not like you can attain somebody else's bone structure by following a particular workout or lifestyle.

But let's cut to the case. It's obviously true that 20 inch shoulders are wider than normal for a woman. But if this is the way that you're built (and not as a result of you being obese), then you should just embrace it. You can always enhance other parts of your body to make your broad shoulders less noticeable.

On the other hand, if you're a man with 20 inch wide shoulders, then you're definitely a bit broader than average, which is definitely something to be happy about for those seeking to sculpt a masculine physique.

References

  1. Hanson, L., Sperling, L., Gard, G., Ipsen, S., & Olivares Vergara, C. (2009). Swedish anthropometrics for product and workplace design. Applied Ergonomics, 40(4), 797–806. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2008.08.007
  2. McDowell MA, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: United States, 1988–1994. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 11(249). 2009
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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