The Critical Body Logo

How big is a 48 inch chest? And what size is it?

Learn all the ins and outs of having a 48 inch chest.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 6th June 2022
Close up of a bodybuilder's 48 inch chest

One thing's for sure: A 48 inch chest definitely isn't an average chest measurement—even for a natural bodybuilder.

With that in mind, this guide discusses the reasons (and there are many) why someone might have a 48" chest in the first place.

See How Your Chest Compares:

What does a 48 inch chest look like?

A bodybuilder flexing his big 48 inch chest

So, what does a 48 inch chest look like? A 48 inch chest looks big regardless of your body composition because a 48" chest is around 6-8 inches larger than average for an adult male.

The first factor that affects the appearance of a 48 inch chest is your build and frame size. If you have a large ribcage, then a big proportion of your chest size will consist of bone mass. Of course, at 48 inches, you'll likely still have big pecs. But your frame size is essentially the necessary (but not sufficient) cause for your frankly massive chest measurement.

Similarly, if a tall lifter and a short lifter both have a 48" chest, the chest of the shorter lifter will always look bigger because the muscle mass is less spread out.

On the other hand, you could have a really wide back. If your traps are really thick and your lats massively flare out, then it might be possible for you to get a 48" chest naturally.

The final reason for someone having a 48 in chest is excess body fat. In addition to their stomach, many men tend to store a fair amount of body fat on the chest, which can certainly bulk up your circumference measurement.

How good is a 48 inch chest?

A bodybuilder showing his big 48 inch chest

It mainly depends on your body fat level. If you're 30% body fat with a 48 inch chest, then that isn't very good from a bodybuilding perspective because your body fat will greatly distort your muscle mass.

On the other hand, if you have a lean 48 in chest, then that's very impressive indeed. Most natural lifters don't have the genetics to build a chest that big, so you can pat yourself on the back if you genuinely have a lean 48" chest.

If you have a genuinely muscular 48 inch chest, then it will stand out and potentially cause people to stare at your bulging pecs!

Of course, building 48 inch pecs takes more than just years of bench pressing. You need a decent frame size and also good back development.

And realistically, most natural lifters will need to gain some body fat if they want to achieve a 48 inch chest circumference. So you'll need to decide whether looking bigger is worth it for you. Would you prefer to look jacked but slightly "fluffy"? Or are you going for a leaner look?

What shirt size is a 48 inch chest?

A man with a 48 inch chest size

It depends on the clothing brand, but in many cases, a 48 inch chest will work out at an XL or 2 XL shirt size. Of course, you need to factor in the size of your neck as well when buying shirts, so you might need to get some tailored clothing if your measurements aren't proportional.

The verdict: Is a 48" chest big or not?

A muscular man looking at his 48 in chest

Yes, a 48 inch chest is definitely big. Nobody will deny that. The better question is this: How does your 48" chest actually look?

As I explained earlier, from a bodybuilding perspective, a lean 48 in chest is always going to look better than a flabby 48 inch chest.

Of course, there's also no need for anyone to have a 48" chest. Indeed, you can look great while having a chest that's significantly smaller than 48 inches. Chasing specific circumference measurements isn't always the best idea seeing as we all have different frame sizes and varying abilities to pack on muscle mass.

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.
chevron-upmenu-circlecross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram