Monkey Index Calculator: What's Your Monkey Index? - 99 boulders (2023)

Ape Index Calculator

What is the monkey index?

The Monkey Index is a measure of how your wingspan (aka arm span) compares to your height.It is believed that most humans' wingspan is equal to their height, which means most humans have a neutral ape index, or in other words, an ape index ratio of 1.

The Monkey Index is measured because having long arms for your height is considered an advantage in sports like rock climbing, swimming, boxing, and basketball.

How to calculate your monkey index

There are two ways to calculate your monkey index:Divide your wingspan by your height or subtract your height from your wingspan.

Method #1: Span to Height Ratio

How to calculate:wingspan / height

Example:Daniel Woods, probablythe greatest boulderer of all time, is 5′ 8″ (68 in) with a wingspan of 72 in. To calculate its ape index as a ratio, divide its wingspan by its height:

72 inches / 68 inches = 1.06

Expressed as a ratio, Woods has a monkey index of 1.06.

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bottom line:The typical monkey index ratio is 1. A number greater than one means your wingspan is greater than your height, and a number less than one means your size is greater than your wingspan. The benefit of expressing your monkey index as a ratio is that it stays the same whether you calculate it in inches or centimeters.

Method #2: Difference Between Span and Height

How to calculate:Span – Height

Example:Daniel Woods is 5′ 8″ (68 inches or 172.7 cm) tall with a wingspan of 72 inches (182.9 cm). To calculate the difference, simply subtract its size from its wingspan:

In inches:72 inches - 68 inches = 4 inches

In centimeters:182,9 cm – 172,7 cm = 10,2 cm

Expressed as the difference between wingspan and size, Woods has a +4 monkey index in inches or a +10.2 monkey index in centimeters.

bottom line:This is the most common way climbers express their monkey index. With this method, the typical ape index is 0. The disadvantage of this method is that if it is not 0, your ape index will change depending on whether you use inches or centimeters.

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Monkey indexes of famous climbers

Note:If you know a famous climber's monkey index that isn't listed here, post it in the comments below along with the source and we'll add it to the list!

Compare your Monkey Index to some of the world's best climbers:

climberspanHeightAffenindex 1 (B/H)Affenindex 2 (B - H)
Kai Lighter208.3 cm (82 in)75 inches (190.5 cm)1.09+7 in (+17.8 cm)
Matt Fultz77 inches (195.6 cm)71 inches (180.3 cm)1.08+6 in (+15.2 cm)
Kai Harada70.9 inches (180cm)66.5 inches (169 cm)1.07+4.3 inches (+11 cm)
Daniel Wald72 inches (182.9 cm)68 inches (172.7 cm)1.06+4 in (+10.2 cm)
David Graham74 inches (188 cm)70 inches (177.8 cm)1.06+4 in (+10.2 cm)
Ethan Pringle74 inches (188 cm)70 inches (177.8 cm)1.06+4 in (+10.2 cm)
Kyra Condi68 inches (172.7 cm)64 inches (162.6 cm)1.06+4 in (+10.2 cm)
Jan Hojer78 inches (198 cm)74 inches (188 cm)1.05+3.9 inch (+10 cm)
Tomoa Narasaki70.9 inches (180cm)170cm (66.9in)1.06+3.9 inch (+10 cm)
Sasha Lehmann172 cm (67.7 in)163 cm (64.2 in)1.06+3.5 inch (+9 cm)
Paul Robinson74 inches (188 cm)71 inches (180.3 cm)1.04+3 in (+7.6 cm)
Chris Sharma74.5 inches (189.2 cm)72 inches (182.9 cm)1.03+2.5 inch (+6.4 cm)
Jongwon Chon72 inches (183 cm)177 cm (69.7 in)1.03+2.4 inch (+6 cm)
alex puccio65 inches (165.1 cm)63 inches (160 cm)1.03+2 in (+5.1 cm)
Emily Harrington64 inches (162.6 cm)62 inches (157.5cm)1.03+2 in (+5.1 cm)
Sasha DiGiulian64 inches (162.6 cm)62 inches (157.5cm)1.03+2 in (+5.1 cm)
Angy pus158 cm (62.2 in)154 cm (60.6 in)1.03+1.6 inch (+4 cm)
Stefano Ghisolfi174 cm (68.5 in)170cm (66.9in)1.02+1.6 inch (+4 cm)
Jonathan Siegrist67 inches (170.2 cm)166.4 cm (65.5 in)1.02+1.5 inch (+3.8 cm)
Magnus Midtbo176 cm (69.3 in)173 cm (68.1 in)1.02+1.2 inch (+3 cm)
Jimmy Webb73 inches (185.4 cm)72 inches (182.9 cm)1.01+1 inch (+2.5cm)
Nalle Hukkataival174 cm (68.5 in)68 inches (172.7 cm)1.01+0.5 inch (+1.3 cm)
Adam Ondra73.6 inches (187 cm)73.2 inches (186 cm)1.01+0.4 inch (+1 cm)
Alex Megas173 cm (68.1 in)173 cm (68.1 in)1.00+0 inch (+0 cm)
Hasel Findlay62 inches (157.5cm)62 inches (157.5cm)1.00+0 inch (+0 cm)
Lynn Hill62 inches (157.5cm)62 inches (157.5cm)1.00+0 inch (+0 cm)
Babsi Zangerl63 inches (160 cm)63.8 inches (162 cm)0,99-0.8 inch (-2 cm)


  • InThis video, says Kai Lightner, his monkey index is +18. Since the video of him training at Café Kraft is in Germany, I interpreted it as 18centimeter, or about 7 inches. A +7 inch monkey index is already incredible. +18 inches would be downright ludicrous.
  • This photoHere I found the reported monkey indexes by Chris Sharma, Dave Graham, and Lynn Hill. Sharma's is at the top right and appears to read "2½". Graham's is in blue at the top left and appears to read "4". Hill's is at the bottom and seems to read "0".
  • This videoHere I found the ape indexes of many climbers in this list including Adam Ondra's ape index.


The few professional climbers in the table above have, on average, a positive monkey index. Simply put, they tend to have long arms for their size.

Note that our sample is quite small. If these averages were for a larger sample of professional climbers, they would suggest that a positive Monkey Index is an advantage in high-level climbing.

However, there are some notable exceptions:

  • Lynn Hill,the first person to free The Nose at El Cap and one of the most famous climbers of all time has a monkey index of 0 (or a monkey index ratio of 1)
  • Babsi Zangerl,one ofthe best trad climbers in the world, has a monkey index of -0.8 (or a monkey index ratio of 0.99)
  • Alex Megas,one ofthe best sport climbers in the world, has a monkey index of 0 (or a monkey index ratio of 1)

And Adam Ondra, arguably the tallest living climber, has a monkey index of +0.4 inches (+1 cm). This is extremely unspectacular.

Is a positive monkey index good for climbing?

It is generally believed that a positive Monkey Index (or a Monkey Index ratio greater than 1) is good for climbing.

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In fact, Matt Samet, editor of Climbing Magazine, writes in his bookThe Climbing Lexicon: “A positive ape index where your wingspan exceeds your height is a bonus. ... A negative monkey index is rarely an advantage.”

It's easy to see why climbers, by and large, believe in this. It seems to make intuitive sense: the longer your arms, the greater your reach advantage compared to your height of other climbers.

However, while researching this article, I became curious if there was any data to support this assumption. So I decided to do a little digging.

Let's look at the science.

Do Elite Climbers Have High Ape Indices?

A few studies have measured the Ape indices of elite climbers.

Many of them are plagued by the problem of small sample sizes, but inmostvon you, the climbers have on average a monkey index ratio greater than 1. Keep in mind that a monkey index ratio of 1 is considered typical.

It appears that elite climbers, on average, have higher ape indices than the general population.

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Does a high monkey index make you a better climber?

Although elite climbers appear to have high ape indexes on average, researchers have compared ape index to climbing performanceyou have frequently foughtfind a positive correlation.

A studysummarized it well:

"[E]lite climbers typically have an index greater than 1.00, but monkey index has not been proven to correlate with climbing performance."

Trainable factors better predict climbing ability

There is nothing you can do about whether or not a high monkey index is good for climbing. You stick with what you have.

(Well, at least it seems so. I've found a few suggestionsinternet forumsand one on theMonkey index Wikipedia entrythat certain exercises can improve your monkey index over time. I haven't found any data to support this claim.)

Fortunately, things that are under your control have been shown to be positively correlated with climbing ability.

Ifa studyTo put it bluntly, "The variables found to explain most differences in sport climbing ability are trainable."

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What are these variables?

These are things like low body fat and grip strength-to-body mass ratio—variables that you can directly influence through training.

Remember, next time, use your -2 monkey index as an excuse for not climbing as hard as you want. 😉


Is a +5 ape index Good? ›

Define good. A +5 ape index means that your arm span is longer than your height by 5 inches. That's quite high compared to the average person. However, as we've seen in this article, while it may help with performance, there's no reason to believe that it's a requirement to become a high-level climber.

What is normal ape index? ›

Ape index, ape factor, or gorilla index is slang or jargon used to describe a measure of the ratio of an individual's arm span relative to their height. A typical ratio is 1, as identified by the Roman writer, architect and engineer Vitruvius prior to 15 BC.

What is a good ape index for climbing? ›

It's commonly believed that a positive ape index (or an ape index ratio greater than 1) is good for rock climbing.

Is a high ape index good? ›

What is a good Ape Index? As already mentioned, a particularly high span should theoretically have an advantage. This means that the arms should be longer than the total body height. Using the Division method, any value above 1 is positive, and with the Subtraction method, the bigger number the better.

What does a +2 ape index mean? ›

What does a +2 ape index mean? A +2 ape index means that your wingspan is two inches longer than your height. In short, you have longer arms than your height. You can calculate your ape index using the subtraction method.

Does ape index matter for climbing? ›

Your ape index is the ratio between your height and your arm span. To find your ape index, subtract your height from the length of your arm span. This will give you a value that's either positive, neutral, or negative. A positive ape index is considered advantageous for rock climbers.

What is a low ape index good for? ›

If you have a negative ape index, you may be better suited to sports like running, soccer, cycling, and others where long arms are not necessarily an advantage. You may also find that shirtsleeves run long for you. Just like those with a positive ape index may find their shirts constantly too short.

What is a negative ape index? ›

If you have a negative Ape Index, meaning your arms are shorter than your height, you won't travel as far in the water with each stroke as someone with a positive index, simply because your reach is shorter. Instead, those with a negative index might have to adopt a faster turnover (or stroke rate).

What is ape index of athletes? ›

Here, we help define the terms that all athletes should know. Definition: Ape index (aka ape factor or gorilla index) equals arm span minus height, in inches. If you're 5-foot-7, for example, and your arm span is 5-foot-9, your ape index is +2. But if your arm span is 5-foot-6, your index would be -1.

Who has the smallest ape index? ›

By far, the lowest ape index in UFC history belongs to Artem Lobov, Conor McGregor's gym partner. Lobov is 5'9'' but has a 65'' reach, meaning his ape index is -4'', giving him the biggest negative ape index in UFC history. They are the same height compared to Conor McGregor, but Lobov has a 9.5'' shorter reach.

What is normal arm length for height? ›

For most people, their arm span is about equal to their height. Mathematicians say the arm span to height ratio is one to one: your arm span goes once into your height.

What is positive vs negative ape index? ›

Longer arms than you are tall: you've got a positive ape index. Shorter wingspan than how high you stand? You've got a negative one. You can figure out your own ape index by dividing your arm span by your height.

What is a long ape index? ›

The ape index is the length of your arm span compared to your height. This is sometimes expressed as a ratio, with Da Vinci's “Vitruvian Man” alluding to the idea that the perfect ratio is one, which is to say that arm span and height should be equal.

Why are my arms longer than my height? ›

The long limbs unique to Marfan syndrome often mean that the arm span of the individual is longer than their height. There is a higher risk of developing scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, spondylolisthesis, and dural ectasia.

What body type is best for bouldering? ›

Tall, small, strong and lean all have their advantages

Don't rush onto plastic as we head into indoor climbing season. Visit here for a few tips on warming up for gym climbing.

What level of climbing is considered advanced? ›

As a rough guideline, the 5.6- to 5.8-grade range is generally considered beginner-level climbing. 5.9 through 5.10 is roughly intermediate, 5.11 through 5.12 can be considered advanced, and 5.13 and beyond is very difficult elite-level climbing.

Why are my arms shorter than my height? ›

Generally the arm span measurement should be close to the measurement of height. If the arm span is less than height then a chondrodystrophy may be limiting bone growth. If the arms plan is longer than height then abnormalities of spinal growth may be a possibility.

Are humans 99% apes? ›

"This will allow us to look for the genetic basis of what makes modern humans different from both bonobos and chimpanzees." Ever since researchers sequenced the chimp genome in 2005, they have known that humans share about 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, making them our closest living relatives.

What is the kindest ape? ›

Bonobos are known as the "friendly" apes. Through the use of "bonobo TV," researchers found that bonobos' yawns are contagious, like humans. But while they have humanlike traits, their biggest threat comes from humans. "When the two groups meet, they will not be as aggressive as chimpanzees," Tan says.

What is the biggest ape ever recorded? ›

Gigantopithecus blacki, the largest ape that ever lived, stood 3m tall and weighed over 500kg. Its enormous bulk and brute strength kept Gigantopithecus safe from the predators it lived alongside – including tigers, leopards and black bears.

What inch arms are considered big? ›

11-12 inches (28-30cm): Smaller than most, you probably should start looking to gain some mass. 12-14 inches (30-35cm): Average size, but you have your work cut out for you. 14-16 inches (35-41cm): Muscular, you're on the way to impressive guns. 16-18 inches (41-46cm): Strong; people know you work out.

Are 18 inch arms considered big? ›

Are 18 Inch Arms Big? Generally speaking, 18 inch armsAnythingy larger than average size. Anything over 14.6 inches is above average for men. And over 13.4 inches is above average for women.

What's the average size of a man's bicep? ›

AgeAverage biceps size in inches
3 more rows
Jun 26, 2019

Is ape index Important? ›

Does the Ape Index Matter? A positive gorilla index or larger wingspan can undoubtedly make the climbing process easier. There are several benefits to having a positive ape index. You will have the ability to scale more height when your arms are longer than your height.

What does the ape acronym tell you? ›

Adapted Physical Education (APE)

What is ape strategy? ›

Open Ended Question Strategy. A-Answer the questions with a complete sentence. Use the same word choice that is used in the question to complete your answer. P-Prove your answer by using evidence/quote from the text.

Has an ape ever asked a question? ›

But despite these abilities, there has been no recorded case in scientific literature of an ape asking a question. In human-primate conversations, questions are exclusively asked by the humans.

What does ape to human mean? ›

To ape someone is to imitate them, often in a mocking way. Most people don't like being aped. To ape is to imitate, but it can mean a few different things. One type of aping is to blatantly imitate something or someone in every way. That's considered a bad thing because it's so unoriginal — it's a rip-off.


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