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48 inch shoulders: Broad or normal?

Learn how broad your 48 inch shoulders really are (and discover how you can make them even wider).
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 15th June 2022
Close up of a man's 48 inch shoulders

If you have 48 inch shoulders, then you definitely have an above average male shoulder circumference. But just how broad are 48″ shoulders?

When it comes to aesthetics, the broadness of your shoulders is determined by both their absolute circumference (or width) measurement and their size in relation to your waist.

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How broad are 48 inch shoulders?

A man with broad 48 inch shoulders

How broad are 48 inch shoulders? Based on anthropometric research, 48 inch shoulders are around 2-3 inches broader than usual for an adult male. So you can definitely say that you have pretty wide shoulders if they measure 48 inches.

Of course, no pair of broad shoulders is complete without a slim waist. Having broad shoulders and a trim waist accentuates your v-taper and results in a more imposing, masculine physique.

You also need to consider what proportion of your 48 in shoulders consists of bone as opposed to muscle mass and fat tissue.

For example, it’s actually quite good to be skinny with 48″ shoulders because it indicates that you have long clavicles, which means that you have plenty of space for deltoid and upper back muscle mass, which, in turn, will further increase your shoulder measurement.

On the other hand, if you’re fat with 48″ shoulders, then your measurement might actually decrease a bit once you lose fat from your upper back and deltoids.

So, as always, it’s not just about your actual shoulder measurement; it’s about your body composition and the width of your shoulders in relation to the size of your waist.

Is it common to have 48 inch shoulders?

A male showing his broad 48 inch shoulders

As we established, the typical guy doesn’t have 48 inch shoulders. However, just because the average man is a bit narrower doesn’t mean that there aren’t still plenty of people with 48 in shoulders.

If you go to any gym or even take a walk into town, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a few people who have 48″ shoulders because it’s not exactly a rare circumference measurement to have.

Of course, seeing a pair of lean and muscular 48″ shoulders is less common than seeing 48″ shoulders that are the result of excess body fat because building muscle takes time and effort.

It’s also likely that 48 inch shoulders will become much more common in the future, seeing as the younger generation appear to be significantly bigger than their grandparent’s generation.

How can you build your 48″ shoulders?

A muscular man doing a shoulder press

You can build your 48 inch shoulders by increasing the size of your deltoids and upper back muscles and also by increasing your body weight.

Let’s start with the exercises. Lateral raises are a no-brainer because they make your shoulders wider from the front.

But if you want to increase the overall circumference of your 48 in shoulders, then you need to hammer your rear delts and front delts as well, ideally with both compound movements (shoulder presses and face pulls) and isolation exercises (rear delt flys and front raises).

Even though we’re talking about broadening the shoulders, building your back is also of paramount importance because a thick and wide back will stretch the tape measure further and increase your circumference measurement.

So, in addition to your shoulder exercises, make sure to do plenty of pull-downs and pull-ups (for width) and also plenty of rows for back thickness.

The verdict: Is it good to have 48 inch shoulders?

A man with a wide 48 inch shoulder circumference

Having 48 inch shoulders is good in the sense that your measurement is above-average. But a given shoulder size doesn’t mean that much unless you’re happy with it.

Indeed, you can have shoulders that are significantly smaller than 48 inches and still be delighted with how your body looks.

But in today’s muscle-obsessed world, many men want their shoulders to be as wide as possible. And while building more muscle might not completely satisfy you, you can certainly broaden your 48″ shoulders by developing your deltoids and back muscles.

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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