Lean Body Mass Calculator

Use this calculator to estimate your lean body mass (LBM), also known as lean body weight (LBW). Also outputs the lean mass index (LMI) value and percentile*.

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How to calculate Lean Body Mass (LBM)

To estimate the lean body mass (a.k.a. lean body weight, LBW), the calculator uses the U.S. Navy Method Body fat formula and then subtracts the fat percent from the total mass to produce the final estimate. The body fat percent formulas used are as follows.

For men, imperial metrics (inches), the formula is [3]:

86.01 x log10(waist - neck) - 70.041 x log10(height) + 36.76

For women, imperial metrics (inches), the formula is [4]:

163.205 x log10(waist + hip - neck) - 97.684 x log10(height) - 78.387

For men, SI metrics (centimeters), the formula is [3]:

100 x ((4.95 / (1.0324 - 0.19077 * log10(waist - neck) + 0.15456 * log10(height))) - 4.5)

For women, SI metrics (centimeters), the formula is [4]:

100 x ((4.95 / (1.29579 - 0.35004 * log10(waist + hip - neck) + 0.22100 * log10(height))) - 4.5)

Note the instructions on obtaining accurate measurements. In calculating lean body mass with these equations the standard error of the estimate is ~3.5 percent points in either direction [2], meaning that about 68% of estimated body fat percentages will fall within ±3.5 of the true BFP, while ~95% of estimated BFPs will fall within ±7 of it.

The lean body mass calculator also outputs the lean mass index (LMI) in kg per meter squared (kg/m-2) which is a measure similar to BMI but for lean mass instead of total body mass.

Lean body mass reference standards

There are standards for leanness derived from scientific studies of certain populations. The minimal lean body mass for the reference man (61.7 kg) includes 3% of essential body fat. Marathon runners can go down to 1% body fat. For women the lower limit for the reference woman equals about 12% essential fat. Even the leanest women rarely fall below 10-12% body fat.

Reference values using lean mass index as a measure of lean body mass standardized for height are most useful in practice. A set of such values are provided in the tables below. Note that a bigger LMI means leaner body. Additionally, our lean mass calculator automatically calculates and outputs the reference percentile by using a more precise version of these tables.

Lean body mass index reference values for Caucasian men:

LMI percentiles per age group, men
Age group / LMI Percentile20-th percentile50-th percentile80-th percentile
20-39 years 17.7 19.4 21.8
40-59 years 17.3 19.0 21.8
60-79 years 17.0 18.0 20.6

Lean body mass index reference values for Caucasian women:

LMI percentiles per age group, women
Age group / LMI Percentile20-th percentile50-th percentile80-th percentile
20-39 years 14.0 15.4 17.2
40-59 years 13.9 15.4 17.3
60-79 years 13.9 15.1 16.9

Values in the tables are adopted with some grouping and averaging from Table 3 of "Reference standards for lean mass measures using GE dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in Caucasian adults" [5] and apply to Caucasians only. It should also be mentioned that DXA estimates are more accurate than estimates produced using body measurements so the table should be used as a rough guide only.

Fat-Free Body Mass vs Lean Body Mass

It should be noted that lean body mass (LBM) is not the same as fat-free body mass (FFM), although the terms may sometimes be used interchangeably. LBM is a theoretical percentage which includes both non-fat tissue (bones, muscles, ligaments, etc.), but also some non-sex-specific essential fat which is up to 3-4% of the total body mass for men and up to 5-7% for women [1]. That essential fat is mostly contained in the central nervous system, bone marrow, and internal organs. FFM on the other hand is the body mass devoid of all extractable fat, including essential fats. FFM = Body Mass - Fat mass. Fat-free body mass is typically 80-90% of the total, reaching 95% in some athletes.

Methods for measuring lean body mass

While this online calculator is a good tool, it is not perfect. Its advantage is that it is very easy to use and decently accurate. Other, more expensive and more accurate methods are available, such as DEXA (Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, a.k.a. DXA), CT and MRI scans (so-called 3D scans), body density (underwater weighing). The most popular of these is DEXA, as it is accessible, easy to perform and reliable.

Other less precise methods for calculating lean body weight are bioelectric impedance analysis, total body water measurement, total body counting, and neutron activation. They have accuracy issues, especially in overweight or obese individuals, and even for individuals with normal weight due to some of their assumptions being too general.

How to measure neck, waist and hip circumference?

Our lean body mass calculator (a.k.a. fat-free body mass calculator) works by using four body measurements: height, neck, waist, and hips, age and gender, to estimate the percentage and mass of fat in your body. It then subtracts that from 100% to arrive at the lean body mass (LBM) estimate. Here is some advice on taking these measurements with the help of a soft measurement tape:

  • Height: step on a flat surface that is perpendicular to a wall, column or a door frame. Look straight ahead. Get an assistant to place a ruler or another straight object on the top of your head so it is horizontal and mark the point at which it touches the wall, column, etc. Step out and measure the height from that point to the floor.
  • Neck: measure just inferior to the larynx with sloping slightly downward to the front (narrowest point).
  • Waist: measure at the widest point of the abdomen, at the level of your naval (umbilicus).
  • Hips: measure your hips at the widest point below your waist, while keeping your feet together for an accurate measurement.

You can record the measures in centimeters or feet and inches, since our LBM calculator supports both units. Measuring to the nearest half inch or within 1 cm should be sufficient.


* Note percentiles are standard for Caucasians only, due to the limited data available. Reference standards based on reference [5] below.

References

[1] Yu, S. et al (2013) "Lean body mass: the development and validation of prediction equations in healthy adults", BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology:14(53).

[2] Hodgdon J.A. (1990) "Body Composition In The Military Services: Standards And Methods", Body Composition and Physical Performance, National Academies Press (US)

[3] Hodgdon J.A., Beckett M.B. (1984) "Prediction of percent body fat for U.S. Navy men from body circumferences and height." Report No. 84-11, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA

[4] Hodgdon J.A., Beckett M.B. (1984) "Prediction of percent body fat for U.S. Navy women from body circumferences and height." Report No. 84-29, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA

[5] Imboden, M. T. et al (2017) "Reference standards for lean mass measures using GE dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in Caucasian adults." PloS one:12(4), e0176161

Cite this calculator & page

If you'd like to cite this online calculator resource and information as provided on the page, you can use the following citation:
Georgiev G.Z., "Lean Body Mass Calculator", [online] Available at: https://www.gigacalculator.com/calculators/lean-body-mass-calculator.php URL [Accessed Date: 05 Jul, 2020].