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Is a 40 inch chest big for a man?

Discover if a 40 inch chest is big for your height, build, and body fat level.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 6th June 2022
A man getting his big 40 inch chest measured

Is a 40 inch chest the ideal chest size for males? In terms of health, 40 inches may well be within the ideal range. But how about when it comes to aesthetics?

It mainly depends on how lean and muscular your 40" chest is, as well as how much size your back is contributing to the measurement. So to answer these questions in more detail, I'm going to draw on both measurement research and real-life case studies of people who have a 40 in chest.

See How Your Chest Stacks Up:

Is a 40 inch chest big?

A man wondering if his 40 inch chest is big

Is a 40 inch chest big for a man? It depends on how lean and muscular your chest is, but in general, a 40 inch chest is not big for a man, especially not one who lifts weights regularly. On the contrary, a 40 in chest is very much a medium size.

Now, if you're on the shorter side of the height spectrum (let's say 5'7"), then your 40" chest will naturally look bigger than the chest of someone who's 6'2". How so?

It's because your chest mass is distributed over a smaller surface area (a shorter torso/ribcage). Therefore, it will naturally look bulkier and, if your body fat is fairly low, potentially somewhat big as well.

So to be clear, a 40 inch chest will almost never look huge. But if you have a smaller frame—especially height-wise—and you have well-developed pecs, then your 40" chest will definitely look bigger than average rather than smaller.

But height isn't the only physical characteristic that affects how your 40 in chest looks. You need to factor in your body fat level and the muscularity of your back as well.

What does a 40 inch chest look like?

A muscular man showing what a 40 inch chest looks like

So what does a 40 inch chest look like? In general, a 40 inch chest looks normal and somewhat muscular on a man. In other words, a 40" chest is neither big nor small; it's medium and average.

Now, if you have a 40 inch chest measurement and a really well-developed back, then that could be an indication that your actual pectoral muscles are underdeveloped (at least in relation to your upper back muscles).

After all, a chest circumference measurement factors in your back muscularity as well, which is why measurements north of 40 inches are often expected for a man who lifts weights seriously.

On the other hand, if you have a slimmer back but bigger pecs (typical gym pro physique), then you might have visually impressive chest muscles but a rather normal circumference measurement.

As mentioned previously, a lean 40 in chest will obviously look better and visually bigger than a fat 40 inch chest.

What shirt size is a 40 inch chest for men?

A man with a 40 inch chest size

So what size is a 40 inch chest? In most clothing brands, a 40 inch chest is equal to a medium shirt size. For some brands, 40 inches is on the upper end of a medium, so you might want to size up if you like your garments to fit a bit looser.

Also, make sure that you measure around the fullest part of your 40 inch pecs. You can also take an inhaled measurement to factor in the breathing room that you'll likely want when wearing shirts.

What size is a 40 inch chest for a woman?

A woman measuring her 40 inch chest

While the specifics differ per brand, a 40 inch chest or bust is typically a size large (size 14) in women's clothing. In some cases, a 40 inch bust may work out as a size XL or size 16.

How to grow your 40" chest

A man doing a wide grip bench press

If you're a man who wants to grow his 40 inch chest to make it more muscular, then this section is for you. A big chest commands attention and is one of the most visible and powerful muscle groups on the male physique, so it's well within your interests to make chest training a priority.

Contrary to popular belief, you can definitely exceed a 40 in chest by just doing push-ups, especially if you have a larger frame. After all, if you put enough tension through your pecs, they're going to grow and develop no matter what.

But as effective as push-ups are for building muscle, they're not the most efficient way to get your chest growing. Bench presses, while not as convenient as push-ups, enable you to keep adding weight to the bar on a weekly or monthly basis.

But barbells aren't my preferred choice for building mass. The dumbbell bench press offers a greater range of motion (a deeper stretch) than the barbell version, which puts your pecs under more growth-stimulating tension.

So to grow your 40" chest, I recommend making the dumbbell press your primary exercise. You can also throw in some kind of incline press, but for pure mass, a regular flat press hits both pectoral heads pretty well.

Flys don't provide that heavy tension that the pecs love—and they can be quite harsh on your shoulders—so I strongly recommend finishing your workouts with wide-grip push-ups if you feel that your chest needs extra volume.

Finally, do not neglect your back. Building your lats (with pulldowns or pull-ups) and your traps (with rows) won't do much for your pecs, but it will increase your chest circumference, which is a measurement that many guys really want to improve.

40 inch chest case studies

See what a 40 inch chest looks like in real life with the help of these two case studies.

Rahul Singh

Rahul Singh has a lean, muscular, and athletic physique. While you can't see that much of his chest in this particular video, you can definitely tell that he's got a good upper body and v-taper.

At 5'10", Rahul shows that most men of a normal height can build a 40 inch chest without actually being a bodybuilder.

Of course, shorter people tend to have smaller circumference measurements. But since a 40 in chest isn't exactly huge, pretty much anyone can sculpt a 40" chest by implementing the above training advice.

Raftar Fitness

The guy behind the YouTube channel Raftar Fitness has a pretty impressive intermediate physique. You can clearly see that his 40 inch chest is carrying a decent amount of mass, likely due to plenty of bench pressing or push-ups.

Raftar Fitness has a very proportional physique with good chest and back development, which is crucial if you want to exceed your 40 inch chest size.

As mentioned before, the back muscles contribute a lot of size to your actual chest measurement, so don't neglect pull-ups and rows if you want to bulk up your chest circumference.

In conclusion: Is a 40 inch chest good or not?

A man looking to see if his 40 inch chest is good

So, in conclusion, is a 40 inch chest good for a man who lifts weights? If your pecs are fairly lean and muscular (they don't need to be ripped), then I'd say that a 40" chest is definitely good.

After all, the average guy with a 40 in chest is probably carrying excess body fat. So if you have a 40 inch chest due to being muscular, that's very impressive because it shows that you're at least somewhat dedicated to strength training.

That said, most natural lifters will likely be able to exceed their 40" chest by focusing on the proven basis; good form and progressive overload. Do bench presses with good technique, and the chest gains will take care of themselves.

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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