Ape Index Calculator

Created by Ilona Szumowska
Reviewed by Hanna Pamuła, PhD candidate and Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jul 12, 2022

Welcome to the ape index calculator! Here you will learn what the ape index is (sometimes it's called the ape ratio), how to measure your ape index, and where you can use that knowledge.

With this tool, you can check if your wingspan to height ratio will help you in your sports career. Additionally, you can even compare yourself with some of the greatest athletes.

What is the ape ratio?

Have you ever heard about the Vitruvian Man? It is a picture of a man written in a square and circle. The author's idea was to present a perfect human being where every measurement is symmetrical. But is your wingspan equal to your height? Most of the society indeed has similar wingspan and height, but not always.

The ape index is jargon that describes the wingspan to height ratio. If we would like to relate to "perfection," our ape index should be 1. On the other hand, in some sports, it is better to have a greater arm span.

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

How to measure ape index

There is a simple way how to calculate your ape index using this formula:



  • W – Wingspan or arm span; and
  • H – Your height.

One of the most important things is to measure yourself correctly. Here are some tips that help to acquire proper measurements.

  • Height:
    1. If you are alone, find a wall where you can mark your height and a pen.
    2. Lean against the wall with your back flat against it.
    3. Remember to stand straight do not slouch.
    4. Mark on the wall where is the top of your head.
    5. Measure your height from the floor to the mark you made.

🙋 Fun Fact: Did you know that you can predict future height with this height calculator?

  • Wingspan:
    (Pro-tip: the easiest way is to ask somebody for assistance)
    1. Stand up straight.
    2. Expand both arms parallel to the floor.
    3. Measure the length from fingertip to fingertip.

If you have both measurements, just put them in this ape index calculator, and you will receive your ape ratio.

The majority of society will have a result close to 1. Some successful sportsmen had a significantly higher ape index, but it also depends on the sport.

Alternative ape index

The alternative, less popular way of calculating your ape index is to find the difference between wingspan and height, not the ratio of these two measurements. So don't be surprised if you find an ape index much bigger than 1 and provided in cm or inches – it means that the alternative formula was used.

We've implemented this method too – you'll find it in the Advanced mode of this ape index calculator.

Wingspan to height ratio: result interpretation

When you already know how to measure your ape ratio, you need to know that most of society has a neutral ape index, which means it equals around 1. The negative ape index (below 1) means that your wingspan is lower than your height. On the other hand, a positive ape index (above 1) means that your wingspan is greater than your height.

Sports where the ape index is important

As mentioned above, having a greater arm span in some sports may be beneficial. For example, if you have a greater wingspan to height ratio in martial arts, your opponent is within your fighting distance, and you can send more accurate punches.

Another example is ball sports, where you must block or throw something. A greater arm span means that it is easier to reach a ball (e.g., goalkeepers in any sport that uses a ball), or to generate a more significant acceleration when throwing objects (this rule can relate to any ball sport – like basketball – or athletics, such as, e.g., in the heptathlon where you throw a javelin and a shot put).

Finally, a greater wingspan to height ratio is beneficial in swimming or climbing. When swimming, you can accelerate quicker and use less energy to cover a similar distance than opponents with shorter arms (by the way, do you want to know how many calories you burn by swimming?). And last but not least, when climbing, you can grab holds that are further away with a greater ape index.

Below you can find our ranking of sports where having a greater wingspan to height ratio is perceived as favorable:

  1. Boxing, MMA, etc.
  2. Ball sports
  3. Swimming
  4. Climbing

Some athletes and their ape index

This section presents some famous athletes who achieved huge successes in sports, together with their ape index.



Ape index

Muhammad Ali



Floyd Mayweather



Michael Phelps



Michael Jordan

NBA (Basketball)


Shaquille O'Neal

NBA (Basketball)


And what is your ape index?

Ilona Szumowska
Ape index
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