Weight Loss
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Small or medium frame?

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(This might be more appropriate for the Health forum instead of Weight Loss, but I wasn't sure, so I'm posting here.)
Okay, I have a little question. What is the best way to tell your frame type? Some sites tell you to put your thumb and your middle finger around the smallest part of your wrist. When I do this, my finger and thumb touch, so that way I'm a small frame. Other sites tell you to do this with all your major fingers and your thumb. When I do this, my thumb touches my middle finger but not my index or ring finer. So, what does that mean?
Also, yet other sites tell you to put your index finger and thumb on the bones at the sides of your elbow, and calculate the distance between the finger and the thumb.
Which is the correct way?
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I believe, though I'm not an expert, that if your thumb and middle finger do not touch, you have a large frame. If they just touch, you have a medium frame. If they overlap, you have a small frame.

It sounds like you have a medium frame.

I don't think you're supposed to be using your other fingers. Just your thumb and middle finger.
Yeah, I've wondered the same thing.  The thing is...I don't believe that test that experts say to use to determine your frame.  My fingers are long and thin, and both my wrists and ankles are very small, which would mean yet I am a small frame, yet I am 5'5'', 150lbs, and have very large boobs.  I really don't think that equals a small frame.  What do you ladies think?
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My thumb and middle finger kinda overlap - very little, but they do. My thumb can touch half-way through the top third of my finger.
And how exactly does knowing your frame size help?
my thumb totally covers the entire nail of my middle finger, but I have a hard time believing that I have a small frame. Check out my pictures, I'm a thick girl. My wrists and ankles are just small. Its a generalization, I dont think its actually scientific...
Politica has it right. I know for a fact it helps you to know what to develop and what not to develop when lifting weights. For instance, if you are short with a large frame, there are certain parts of the body you wouldn't want to over develop for symetry's sake. The opposite can be true with a small frame.
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I think the point is to determine whether you are large boned or not since this plays a part in your size and weight when determing your bmr and other factors.  Its my belief that they assume a certain proportion of your fingers in this method as well.

Likely though, we all know if we are  large, medium, or small boned without this test just by having looked around our whole lives or felt someone elses wrist.

But I could be way off mark.  I think I'm large boned but I said medium based on the finger test and the fact that there is definitely someone larger boned than me out there.
what kills me with inacuracy of this fingers around the rist is that it does not account for big hands !!!!!

there is no way I am small frame woman.. and my thumb overlaps my ringer, middle and index.
it is either I have terribly small rists or (which probably is the case, big hands ..)
i always thought what frame you were didnt reflect your current weight, rather it reflects the weight/frame that is your bodies ideal. My current weight would scream medium frame-healthy. But all my fingers touch my thumb more than easily around my wrist, and the middle finger overlaps, making me a small frame, which I take to mean that my body would look its best at a low weight, which helped me determine my ultimate goal weight 105, still healthy but closest to almost underweight at 5'4, except I know this will suit me best because my body is naturally a small frame. At 133 now, probably what would be defined as a medium frame, this weight doesn't suit me because I still look like I could stand to lose. At my highest, 147 for example, I probably looked 157 because my body isnt built to handle that weight, and looks that much bigger due to my naturally small frame. i could be completely off base but this is how I have always rationalized it out.
Those are all just ways of estimating. Your wrists do get smaller as you lose weight (mine did anyway). The best thing to do is ask your doctor... not only can she/he tell you what bone size you have, he can check your bone density; very important for women who are dieting to have this done as it's easy to not get enough calcium whilst on a diet.

~And an added note... you can have big boobies and a small frame :-)

I think the methods that measure wrist circumference to height are the most accurate if your wrists are boney.  If you have some extra weight on your wrists maybe round down a bit.


The finger ones are horrible, I wear an extra large ladies glove because my hands are so big, according to finger based measurements I have a very small frame but my wrist circumference is 6 inches.
You can also measure the breadth of your elbow -- here are the instructions:


by the wrist test, I am large-framed.

by the elbow test, I am small-framed.

so I assume I am medium framed and went for dead-center in the 30 lb range for my height. 
I've heard a couple people mention that "they just happen to have" small wrists and ankles.  When you are trying to determine "frame size" you are trying to determine how large your skeleton is.  Your skeleton is your frame.  Some folks have a larger frame than others.  A fit and healthy person with a large frame is going to naturally weigh more than a fit and healthy person with a small frame.  Thatâ??s why knowing your frame size helps you establish your weight goals, the larger frame person shouldnâ??t try to get as low as the smaller frame person.  Ankles and wrists are a great place to estimate frame size, because they donâ??t carry a lot of fat and muscle.  Take your fingers and feel your wrist; you can feel the bones very easily, they are right there under your skin.  This measurement changes very little is you either lose or gain weight, so it's a good rule of thumb.  I donâ??t think there is any medical condition where folks have unusually small ankles and wrists compared to the rest of their skeleton.  If you have small wrists, then you are small framed.  The size of the body (or boobs) that your frame has to cart around doesnâ??t change that.
ah ha, but what if you have small wrists and med/large ankles??
it usually only means a 5-10 pound difference.

so like say you were suppose to weigh 150 for your ht. with a med. frame.

140 for small
160 for large


here you can compare:
http://www.pennhealth.com/health_info/wellnes s/ideal_weight.html
I've never really understood this frame thing either. I'm 5'11" and my thumb covers to the first knuckle on my middle finger, so I'm obviously a small frame by that method of measurement. Conversely, I have very broad shoulders and wide hips which would suggest to me a medium frame or larger. I think at the lower end of the recommended weight for my height, I would be way too thin.
When I went to a Wellness Fair, they said that you have a small frame if your wrist's diameter is under 6 inches.  6 inches to ??? is a medium frame.  (I can't remember the measurements for a large frame.)

>>Ankles and wrists are a great place to estimate frame size, because they don?t carry a lot of fat and muscle. 

 Wrists = small frame (6 inches)

Ankles = large frame (9 inches)


So, how accurate is that then?  

i don't think these tests can mean all that much. I mean, if you have a lot of muscle, you can weigh more than someone who is not and still be healthy. Add a large chest on top of the muscle and you've easily got a 10 pound difference - and none of that will show up in a measurement of your wrists, ankles, or elbows.

I wouldn't suggest going outside of the range, but depending on the body, being at the upper end of your range might be perfectly healthy, or being at the low end could be bad, or vice versa.

just measured my wrist (which is skinny) and it's 5 3/4", and my fingers overlap past the first knuckle.

I go by med. frame as I have large hips and at 5'6" theres no way I'm sm framed.
Berryblue, that link was really helpful. I've always suspected I have a small frame, and sure enough based on actually measuring my wrist, I do.

Thanks for posting that!
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