Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Arm Span Measurement

Arm span measurement is a valuable tool in the anthropometrical profiling of athletes in various sports where reach plays a crucial role, like rowing, swimming, and basketball. This simple measure determines the distance between fingertips when the arms are outstretched. By measuring arm length, we can identify potentially advantageous physical attributes for sports that involve reaching and tackling.


The purpose of arm span measurement is to assess arm length, as long arms can be advantageous in certain sports. It allows for a more comprehensive understanding of an athlete’s physical capabilities.

Equipment Required

To measure arm span, all you need is a ruler or tape measure and a wall.


Before conducting the measurement, it is crucial to explain the test procedures to the subject. Ensure the subject is adequately warmed up and perform a screening of health risks. Obtain informed consent and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, and test conditions.


The subject should stand facing away from the wall, with their back and buttocks touching the wall. In this position, they should stretch their arms out horizontally. Measure the distance from one fingertip to the other.


The measure of arm length can be compared to the person’s height. On average, arm span should be about equal to height. By subtracting shoulder width from the arm span measurement, we can obtain the average arm length. Notably, Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps possesses an exceptional arm span of 203cm, which is 10cm longer than his height.

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Arm span measurement offers several advantages, including its low cost, simplicity, and quick execution.

Other Considerations

To ensure accurate results, it is essential for the subject to fully stretch when measuring their arm span. The arms should be held exactly horizontally. Using a wall with horizontal lines or measuring from a corner or wall protrusion can assist in maintaining the correct position. These techniques help ensure stability and accuracy in the measurements.

Similar Fitness Tests

  • Arm Length Measurement
  • Hand Span
  • Shoulder Width

Related Pages

  • Vertical Jump Test: The initial reach height measure in the vertical jump test provides another indicator of arm reach.
  • List of Anthropometric Tests: A comprehensive list of anthropometric tests, including body size measurements.


Q: How is arm span measurement relevant in sports?
A: Arm span measurement is relevant in sports that require reach and tackling. It helps assess an athlete’s potential advantages based on their arm length.

Q: Can arm span be an advantage in competitive swimming?
A: Yes, having a longer arm span can provide swimmers with a larger swimming stroke, potentially improving their performance in the water.

Q: Is arm span measurement suitable for all athletes?
A: Yes, arm span measurement can be used across a variety of sports to gain insights into an athlete’s physical attributes.


Arm span measurement is a valuable tool in assessing an athlete’s physical abilities, particularly in sports where reach is important. By measuring the distance between fingertips when the arms are outstretched, we can gain valuable insights into an athlete’s potential advantages. This simple and low-cost test helps coaches and trainers better understand an athlete’s physical capabilities, and it is widely used in various sports.

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