How the "ideal" male physique has transformed over the past 150 years, progressing from wide waists in the 1870s to the muscular man of today

The ideal body for a modern man might be all about bulging biceps and rippled six-packs, but as you can see from this exciting set of pictures, this wasn't always the case.

Nickolay Lamm, a graphic artist, and researcher from Pittsburgh, made them. He also makes a line of "standard human body proportioned" Lammily dolls meant to make fun of Barbie's unrealistic proportions. The artist used 3D computer modeling for his most recent project to show how the ideal man's body has changed over the last 150 years. Considering things like changes in society and the availability of food and the different pictures Lamm collected from each decade he studied, the results are often very different from what you might expect.

In the 1870s, wide waists were very popular because they were seen as a sign of wealth and success. In Connecticut, people who weighed at least 200 pounds could join the Fat Man's Club. But the club closed at the beginning of the 20th century because people's ideas about how their bodies should look were changing, especially with the rise of Hollywood. Actors had to be skinny because the camera often made them look bigger than they were. This trend peaked in the 1960s when thin became the most attractive body type for guys. In the 1980s, though, when gyms and health clubs became more common, the ideal male body started to get bigger and stronger. This was also affected by actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, who made people more interested in bodybuilding. Please scroll down to learn more about how beauty standards for the male body have changed and to see what it looks like now. Which do you like better? Tell us in the comments section below.

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1870s – The Fat Man’s Club

"Today, being overweight is often a sign of being poor, but before people had easy access to food, fat bodies were seen as attractive because they were a sign of wealth."
1930s –  The Muscular Mesomorph

Clark Gable

John Wayne

Charles Atlas

1960s – The Lean Rocker

Mick Jagger

John Lennon

"Beautiful bodies weren't significant in the 1960s. Young Americans, and some who weren't so young, showed their individuality and sexuality more through their clothes and hair than through their measures. — Lynne Luciano

1980s – The Muscular Man

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sylvester Stallone

"In the 1970s, youth wasn't shown through political activism and protests like in the 1960s. Instead, it was shown through the body, which was as sexy, fit, and lean as an eighteen-year-old." — Lynne Luciano.

1990s to present – The Everyman

Brad Pitt

"He looks good, but he isn't huge. He has great abs, arms, muscle tone, and an okay chest. And people want to be thin and have a six-pack...Bodybuilding used to be it, but now you have to take steroids to do that. With physical training, you don't have to spend ten years trying to get big; you get skinny. 

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