Average Thigh Circumference [Male & Female]

The following is a meta-study exploring the average thigh size measured as the circumference of men and women. We dive deep into the findings of 18 different peer-reviewed studies with an aggregated 361,363 study participants.

Here’s the outline of the report:

Key Insights

  • The average thigh circumference for adult men ranges from 20 to 24 inches, while for adult women, it is between 19 and 23 inches.
  • Men on average have the largest thigh circumference at age 40-49, with 21.4 inches in circumference.
  • Women on average have the largest thigh circumference at age 30-39, with 21.8 inches in circumference.
  • Athletes and fitness enthusiasts may have larger thigh sizes due to increased muscle mass.
  • Thigh size varies significantly between individuals, depending on factors such as age, genetics, body composition, and physical activity levels.
  • For adolescents, thigh circumference typically ranges between 17 and 20 inches for boys and 16 and 19 inches for girls.
  • Ideal thigh size can be better understood by analyzing the ratios of waist circumference to thigh circumference, hip circumference to thigh circumference, and height to thigh circumference.
Average thigh circumference (male and female)

Average Thigh Size for Men and Women

Understanding the average thigh size for different age groups can help you gauge where you stand and set realistic goals for improvement. The following data is based on a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

average thigh circumference by gender and age

Men (20-80+ Years)

AgeThigh Size (inches)

Women (20-80+ Years)

AgeThigh Size (inches)

Boys (8-15 Years)

AgeThigh Size (inches)
8 years15.1
9 years15.7
10 years16.6
11 years17.4
12 years18.1
13 years18.8
14 years19.4
15 years20.0
16 years20.4
17 years20.7
18 years21.0

Girls (8-15 Years)

AgeThigh Size (inches)
8 years14.8
9 years15.3
10 years16.1
11 years16.8
12 years17.6
13 years18.1
14 years18.6
15 years19.0
16 years19.3
17 years19.6
18 years19.9

The Ideal Thigh Size – a question of proportions

Proportion Calculations: Waist, Hip, and Height to Thigh Circumference

Calculating the proportions between waist, hip, and height to thigh circumference can provide insight into your overall body composition and help you set realistic goals for your body shape. In this section, we will discuss how to calculate these proportions and provide examples in tables.

Waist-to-thigh Circumference Ratio

The waist-to-thigh circumference ratio is a simple calculation that compares the size of your waist to your thighs. This ratio can help identify potential health risks associated with carrying excess fat around the waist.


Waist to Thigh Circumference Ratio = Waist Circumference / Thigh Circumference


Waist Circumference: 32 inches

Thigh Circumference: 24 inches

Ratio: 32 / 24 = 1.33

Table: Waist-to-thigh Circumference Ratio Examples

Waist CircumferenceThigh CircumferenceRatio
32 inches24 inches1.33
36 inches22 inches1.64
28 inches20 inches1.4

Hip-to-Thigh Circumference Ratio

The hip-to-thigh circumference ratio is a measure of the proportion between your hips and thighs. This ratio can help identify potential imbalances in lower body muscle development or highlight areas for improvement in body composition.


Hip to Thigh Circumference Ratio = Hip Circumference / Thigh Circumference


  • Hip Circumference: 40 inches
  • Thigh Circumference: 24 inches

Ratio: 40 / 24 = 1.67

Table: Hip-to-Thigh Circumference Ratio Examples

Hip CircumferenceThigh CircumferenceRatio
40 inches24 inches1.67
42 inches22 inches1.91
38 inches20 inches1.9

Height-to-thigh Circumference Ratio

The height-to-thigh circumference ratio is a comparison between your height and thigh size. This ratio can provide insight into your overall body proportions and help identify potential imbalances in muscle development or body composition.


Height to Thigh Circumference Ratio = Height / Thigh Circumference


  • Height: 68 inches (5 feet 8 inches)
  • Thigh Circumference: 24 inches

Ratio: 68 / 24 = 2.83

Table: Height-to-thigh Circumference Ratio Examples

HeightThigh CircumferenceRatio
68 inches24 inches2.83
72 inches22 inches3.27
64 inches20 inches3.2

Ideal ratios

It is important to note that “ideal” ratios can vary greatly depending on individual body types, fitness goals, and cultural preferences.

However, based on general health guidelines and aesthetic trends, the following table provides a rough estimate of the ideal ratios for waist to thigh, hip to thigh, and height to thigh circumference.

These ratios should be considered as a starting point and not an absolute standard.

Table: Estimated Ideal Ratios

RatioIdeal Range
Waist to Thigh Circumference1.2 – 1.5
Hip to Thigh Circumference1.5 – 2.0
Height to Thigh Circumference2.5 – 3.5
  • The ideal waist-to-thigh circumference ratio is estimated to be between 1.2 and 1.5.
  • The ideal hip-to-thigh circumference ratio is estimated to be between 1.5 and 2.0.
  • The ideal Height to Thigh Circumference ratio is roughly between 2.5 and 3.5.

Remember that these ideal ranges are approximate and may not apply to everyone.

It is always best to consult with a fitness professional, nutritionist, or healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate and realistic goals for your body type and individual circumstances.


Here are examples of different size people and the corresponding range of thigh circumferences based on the ideal ratios:

  1. Person A
  • Height: 5’6″ (66 inches)
  • Waist: 32 inches
  • Hip: 40 inches

Thigh circumference ranges:

  • Waist to Thigh ratio: 32/1.2 = 26.7 inches (min) and 32/1.5 = 21.3 inches (max)
  • Hip to Thigh ratio: 40/2.0 = 20 inches (min) and 40/1.5 = 26.7 inches (max)
  • Height to Thigh ratio: 66/3.2 = 20.6 inches (min) and 66/2.8 = 23.6 inches (max)
  1. Person B
  • Height: 5’10” (70 inches)
  • Waist: 36 inches
  • Hip: 44 inches

Thigh circumference ranges:

  • Waist to Thigh ratio: 36/1.2 = 30 inches (min) and 36/1.5 = 24 inches (max)
  • Hip to Thigh ratio: 44/2.0 = 22 inches (min) and 44/1.5 = 29.3 inches (max)
  • Height to Thigh ratio: 70/3.2 = 21.9 inches (min) and 70/2.8 = 25 inches (max)
  1. Person C
  • Height: 6’0″ (72 inches)
  • Waist: 34 inches
  • Hip: 42 inches

Thigh circumference ranges:

  • Waist to Thigh ratio: 34/1.2 = 28.3 inches (min) and 34/1.5 = 22.7 inches (max)
  • Hip to Thigh ratio: 42/2.0 = 21 inches (min) and 42/1.5 = 28 inches (max)
  • Height to Thigh ratio: 72/3.2 = 22.5 inches (min) and 72/2.8 = 25.7 inches (max)

These examples provide the ideal range of thigh circumferences for different individuals based on their height, hip, and waist sizes.

Factors Affecting Thigh Size

  • Genetics: Your genetics play a significant role in determining your natural thigh size and shape. Some individuals may have naturally larger or smaller thighs due to factors such as muscle fiber composition and skeletal structure.
  • Age: As you age, your muscle mass tends to decrease, leading to smaller thigh circumference. Hormonal changes can also affect thigh size, especially in women during menopause.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise, particularly resistance training, can lead to increased thigh size as your muscles grow and adapt to the workload.
  • Diet: Consuming a diet high in calories, particularly from protein sources, can promote muscle growth and increase thigh size. Conversely, a calorie-restricted diet may lead to muscle loss and smaller thighs.

How to Increase Thigh Size

  • Training programs: Focus on compound exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts to stimulate muscle growth in your thighs. Include isolation exercises like leg curls, leg extensions, and calf raises for a comprehensive leg workout.
  • Nutrition: Consume an adequate amount of protein and calories to support muscle growth. Aim for 1.2-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.
  • Recovery: Prioritize sleep and rest to allow your muscles to grow and repair. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

How to Decrease Thigh Size

  • Calorie reduction: Create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight. This will encourage your body to use stored fat for energy, potentially leading to a decrease in thigh size.
  • Cardiovascular exercise: Incorporate regular cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, to help burn calories and reduce overall body fat. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also be effective in promoting fat loss while preserving muscle mass.
  • Training adjustments: While resistance training is essential for overall health and fitness, you may want to reduce the volume and intensity of leg-focused exercises if you’re aiming to decrease thigh size. Opt for higher repetitions with lighter weights to maintain muscle tone without promoting significant muscle growth.

Literature Review

StudyNumber of participantsMain findings
C. Jacobs, E. Kusema, B. Keeney, W. Moschetti (2019). Does the thigh circumference affect the positioning of the acetabular component when using the direct anterior approach in total hip arthroplasty?. The Bone & Joint Journal148• Patients with larger thigh circumference (59 cm to 78 cm) had inclination angles that were a mean of 5.96° larger and anteversion angles that were a mean of 2.92° larger than the smallest quartile.
• No significant differences were noted in leg-length discrepancy or offset.
• THA can be performed using the DAA in patients with large thigh circumference without the risk of malpositioning the acetabular component.
H. McCarthy (2011). Thigh circumference percentile curves for the UK child and youth population. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society8,079• Thigh circumference (TC) percentile curves were constructed separately for boys and girls using the LMS method.
• Median values were consistently greater in girls from age 5 years.
• There was a suggestion of a pubertal effect on TC in girls, with them tending to show a steeper increase at approximately ages 11–13 years.
K. Jung, Gyu Jang Lee, S. Jee (2012). The Association between Thigh Circumference and Lipids Profile in Korean Population: The Korea Medical Institute Study.314,842• Thigh circumference was positively correlated with BMI and waist circumference in both men and women.
• After adjusting for BMI and waist circumference, thigh circumference was positively correlated with total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride / HDL cholesterol ratio.
• A small thigh circumference was associated with increasing levels of lipid profiles including triglyceride and decreasing level of HDL cholesterol.
A. Hodgkiss, H. McCarthy (2017). Thigh circumference measurement as a potential marker of leg skeletal muscle mass – cross sectional study in a U.S. population age 39–69 years. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society241• Thigh circumference (TC) is a potential marker of leg skeletal muscle mass (SMM) in adults aged 39-69 years.
• Significant but moderate correlations were found between TC and leg SMM in females and males across all BMI categories.
• Stronger correlations were observed between TC and fat mass (FM) in females and males across all BMI categories.
B. Heitmann, P. Frederiksen (2009). Thigh circumference and risk of heart disease and premature death: prospective cohort study. BMJ : British Medical Journal1,436 men and 1,380 women• Low thigh circumference is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases and total mortality in both men and women.
• There is a threshold effect for thigh circumference, with greatly increased risk of premature death below around 60 cm.
• These findings are independent of abdominal and general obesity, lifestyle, and cardiovascular risk factors.
J. Nicholas, F. Taylor, R. Buckingham, D. Ottonello (1976). Measurement of circumference of the knee with ordinary tape measure.. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases10• Interobserver, intraobserver and among-patient variation was established for measuring knee circumference with a tape measure.
• A change in circumference of 1-5 cm at the midpatella, 2-7 cm at 7 cm above, and 3-5 cm at 15 cm above the patella is significant when measured by different observers on two different days.
• When a single observer performs both measurements, the change need exceed only 1-0, 2-0, and 2-7 cm, respectively, to be significant.
J. Knapik, J. Staab, E. Harman (1996). Validity of an anthropometric estimate of thigh muscle cross-sectional area.. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise18• Total thigh circumference (CT), fat-plus-skin thickness (SQ), and the distance across the medial and lateral femoral epicondyle (dE) were measured in 18 healthy, active men and women.
• MRI and anthropometric estimates of thigh muscle cross-sectional area (AM) were compared and found to be highly correlated (r = 0.96).
• A regression equation was developed to estimate AM from anthropometric measurements (CT, SQ, and dE).
K. W. Foster, D. Kouba, J. Hayes, V. Freeman, R. Moy (2008). Reductions in thigh and infraumbilical circumference following treatment with a novel device combining ultrasound, suction, and massage.. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology5• The MedSculpt device was well tolerated and without side effects.
• Mean reduction in thigh circumference was 2.25 cm or 4%, with a 5 cm reduction in 1 subject.
• Mean reduction in infraumbilical circumference was 6.5 cm or 7.3%, with a 10 cm reduction in 1 subject.
Jie Shi, Zhen Yang, Yi-xin Niu, Weiwei Zhang, N. Lin, Xiao-yong Li, Hongmei Zhang, Hong-xia Gu, J. Wen, G. Ning, Li Qin, Q. Su (2020). Large thigh circumference is associated with lower blood pressure in overweight and obese individuals: a community-based study. Endocrine Connections9,520• Thigh circumference was negatively correlated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, and total cholesterol.
• The risk of hypertension was significantly lower in the highest thigh circumference tertile group compared to the lowest tertile group in both overweight and obese individuals.
• Large thigh circumference is associated with lower risk of hypertension in overweight and obese Chinese individuals.
W. Lee, R. Deter, S. Sameera, J. Espinoza, L. Gonçalves, R. Romero (2008). Individualized growth assessment of fetal thigh circumference using three‐dimensional ultrasonography. Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology• Three-dimensional ultrasonography can be used to measure fetal thigh circumference (ThC).
• Individualized growth assessment (IGA) standards for upper (ThC(u)) and middle (ThC(m)) fetal thigh circumferences were developed.
• The IGA standards can be used to assess fetal growth and development.
R. Deter, A. Warda, I. K. Rossavik, Greg Duncan, F. P. Hadlock (1986). Fetal thigh circumference: A critical evaluation of its relationship to menstrual age. Journal of Clinical Ultrasound• Fetal thigh circumference growth was best described by a power function.
• Variability in ThC increased with menstrual age, from 1.3 cm at 22 weeks to 3.1 cm at 40 weeks.
• A standard growth curve for the ThC was constructed using the data.
K. Jung, H. Kimm, J. Yun, S. Jee (2013). Thigh Circumference and Diabetes: Obesity as a Potential Effect Modifier. Journal of Epidemiology• Small thigh circumference was associated with greater risk of diabetes among men and women.
• This relationship was stronger among participants younger than 50 years.
• BMI was a significant effect modifier among men with a BMI of less than 25 kg/m2.
Chao-lei Chen, Lin Liu, Jia-yi Huang, Yu-ling Yu, G. Shen, K. Lo, Yu-qing Huang, Ying-qing Feng (2020). Thigh Circumference and Risk of All-Cause, Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Mortality: A Cohort Study. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy19,885• Every 1cm increase in thigh circumference was associated with a 4% and 6% decreased risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, respectively.
• The highest quartile of thigh circumference was associated with a 21% decreased risk of all-cause mortality.
• BMI was a significant effect modifier among individuals with a BMI of less than 25 kg/m2.
Ryo Yoshii, Y. Konishi, D. Ando, S. Ochiai, T. Hagino, S. Dobashi (2019). Effect of Subcutaneous Tissue on Changes in Thigh Circumference Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. International Journal of Sports Medicine• Increases in subcutaneous fat CSA (r=0.72 at 10 cm, r=0.67 at 15 cm) greatly affected thigh circumference in females on the surgical side.
• In males, increases in subcutaneous fat CSA (r=0.83) at 15- and 5-cm and decreases in quadriceps muscle CSA (r=0.73) at 5 cm affected thigh circumference on the surgical side.
• Thigh circumference measurements might not reflect actual muscle CSA in ACL patients.
M. Gold, K. Khatri, Kelley Hails, R. Weiss, N. Fournier (2011). Reduction in thigh circumference and improvement in the appearance of cellulite with dual-wavelength, low-level laser energy and massage. Journal of Cosmetic & Laser Therapy83• Low-level, dual-wavelength laser energy and massage device safely improves the appearance of cellulite while reducing thigh circumference.
• Reduction in thigh circumference of the treated areas exceeded those of the control areas for the upper, middle, and lower thigh in most subjects.
• Resolution of adverse effects including erythema, swelling, and increased urination was seen within 30 minutes after treatment.
Menna-Allah Mohamed, Ali El-Shabrawi Ali, Mohamed Sabry Mohamed, M. A. Abd El-Rahman (2021). Role of thigh circumference in predicting the fetal weight: Comparison with other ultrasound methods—A prospective observational study. The journal of obstetrics and gynaecology research• Fetal thigh circumference (TC) was found to be a reliable predictor of fetal weight when added to other ultrasound parameters.
• The addition of TC to other ultrasound parameters improved the accuracy of fetal weight prediction compared to two standard formulae (Hadlock’s and Vintzileos methods).
• The results of this study suggest that TC should be included in the routine ultrasound assessment of fetal weight.
Jin-Young Min, Jae-Sung Cho, Kyung-Jong Lee, Jae-Beom Park, Kyoung-Bok Min (2013). Thigh circumference and low ankle brachial index in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004.. International journal of cardiology5,716• The overall prevalence of PAD in this sample was 6.6%.
• Thigh circumference of those with PAD was 50.1cm compared to 52.2 cm for those without PAD (p < 0.0001).
• After adjusting for potential covariates, the prevalence of PAD generally decreased as thigh circumference increased up to 55 cm. In the first quantile (smallest thigh circumference), men and women had as much as a 4.8-fold (95% CI, 2.28-10.29) and a 3-fold (95% CI, 1.45-6.18) increased risk of PAD, respectively.
A. Warda, R. Deter, Greg Duncan, F. P. Hadlock (1986). Evaluation of fetal thigh circumference measurements: A comparative ultrasound and anatomical study. Journal of Clinical Ultrasound• The transition plane for making fetal thigh circumference measurements occurs at the junction of the upper and middle thirds of the thigh, at the level of the proximal nutrient foramen of the femur.
• Ultrasonic ThC measurements are systematically larger than anatomical measurements.
• Measurements made within 1–2 cm of the transition plane are quite similar, demonstrating that exact positioning of the plane is not necessary.
18 different scientific studies361,363