February 8, 2021

What Is Ape Index and How to Measure Ape Index?

by Brad

Table of Contents

Here, the focus in a particular instance of climbing slang is referred to as the Ape Index. This term is well known. 

With a proper understanding of it, you will be able to recognize your limitations and strengths with respect to climbing and likewise activities.

What is Ape Index?

The ape index measures your wingspan (aka arm span) in relation to your height. Most people have an ape index of 1, or in another way, an ape index ratio of one, since their wingspan equals their height. A person with long arms for their height has an advantage in sports like rock climbing, swimming, boxing, and basketball.

Ape Index Calculator

You can use an ape index calculator to calculate your ape index. It is also very easy to calculate it manually using one of the two methods explained below.

How to Measure Ape Index?

To measure your ape index, measure both the parameters and then calculate it by dividing the wingspan from your height or negating your height from your wingspan. The methods are given here individually. Let’s see what the outcome is. For instance, the measurements are taken, and the parameters can be swapped with yours to get your result.

Method #1: Negating your height off your wingspan

The formula is wingspan – height = the Ape Index

E.g., Bernice has 70 inches wingspan, and her height is 68 inches.

The height should be converted to inches or cm to get the right value. Both wingspan and height should be of the same metrics.

Applying the formula, it is 70-68 inches=2 inches Ape Index. Or take the centimeters value of both parameters to get the final result. You get 177.8 cm- 171.7 cm to get 6.1 cm ape index.

If you observe, the majority of the people have height and arm span to be same or almost same. In such a case, the value is zero irrespective of inches or centimeters. But, if the parameters vary then, the ape index has a value, just as in the above example.

Method #2: The ratio of your wingspan to your height  

The formula is wingspan/height.

This method gives a ratio between the climber’s height and wingspan. It is not a well-known method, though, but it is simple to implement.

Taking the same parameters of Bernice, whose height is 68 inches or 171.7 cm with a 70 inches wingspan, the ape index is evaluated using the above formula.

The result is 70/68 inches=1.03 inches ape index. This indicates the wingspan is somewhat over the height, and the ratio is over 1.

The majority of the climbers possess a ratio of flat 1, implying their height and wingspan are the same. The parameters evaluated in centimeters reveal the same ratio, unlike the previous method. The primary benefit of using this method is this.

Popular Climbers and Their Ape Indexes 

You will see the actual value of the ape indexes of some of the most famous climbers in the world for comparison with your value of the ape index here. When the ape index is positive implying the wingspan to be larger compared to your height, it is observed that enhanced performance in climbing is related to your height.

ClimberWingspan (in)Height (in)Ape Index #1 (W/H)Ape Index #2 (W-H)
Babsi Zangerl6363.80.99-0.8
Alex Megos686810
Hazel Findlay626210
Lynn Hill626210
Adam Ondra73.673.21.010.4
Nalle Hukkataival68.5681.010.5
Jimmy Webb73721.011
Jonathan Siegrist6765.51.021.5
Stefano Ghisolfi68.5671.021.5
Angy Eiter62.260.61.031.6
Alex Puccio65631.032
Emily Harrington64621.032
Sasha DiGiulian64621.032
Jongwon Chon7269.71.032.3
Chris Sharma74.5721.032.5
Paul Robinson74711.043
Sascha Lehmann67.764.21.053.5
Daniel Woods72681.064
Dave Graham74701.064
Ethan Pringle74701.064
Jan Hojer78741.054
Kyra Condie68641.064
Tomoa Narasaki70.966.91.064
Kai Harada70.966.51.074.4
Kai Lightner82751.097

However, it need not be the case always. This aspect will be seen further in the article. On extremes, Kai Lightner’s ape index ratio is the largest, with a value of 1.09. The variation of the wingspan concerning height is 7.0. This is because Kai’s arm span is 82″ while the height is 75 inches.

On the contrary, Babsi Zangerl, the best climber in the female category with a height of 63.8 inches and a 63 inches wingspan, possesses a negative value of ape index ratio of 0.99 and a value of -0.8.

Amongst other famous climbers, Alex Megos and Hazel Findlay have one ape index ratio. This implies that their wingspan and height are the same. Though most well-known climbers are known to have longer arms, it adds to their benefit, as can be seen with their ape index values. Let’s evaluate this aspect a little more closely.

Is a Positive Ape Index Significant in Rock Climbing?

The ape index’s positive value is better for a climber when you measure two climbers’ performance who have the same height but with a variant ape index ratio. When the height is the same for climbers, a positive value implies more reach, efficiency, and a more comfortable climb.

The other aspect is ape index value cannot be varied through a training routine or an improvement technique. A climber can enhance the overall reach by improving flexibility, but not the ape index.

A professional climber is optimum in shape and trained correctly. All a climber can do is to improve his or her performance but can no way impact the ape index value.

The training aspects include your overall fitness level, body fat percentage, and overall strength on the grip. These factors are with respect to your body mass. An article on grip training, their benefits, and training methods to gain conventional grips with rice buckets was written a while.

The grip is improved by minimizing the percentage of body fat and will add to better climbing. It also provides you with direct control over these aspects. There is effort involved, but the result is worth the effort.

Is the Ape Index Important in Other Sports?

Yes, the ape index is an important measurement in other sports such as swimming, boxing, goalkeepers, basketball. From some research done, it’s seen that possessing long arms to height can be a significant advantage in some other sports.

  • Long arms can enhance your swimming performance—for instance, Michael Phelps whose 10 cm/3.9 inches arm span is more than his height.
  • More player reach in boxing implies making a hit to your counterpart, maintaining sufficient distance. Short arms have difficulty as they are closer to the opponent. Conor McGregor, for instance, is a great boxer who has an impressive ape index.
  • High ape indexed goalkeepers are good in their goalkeeping than the keepers with short arms.
  • A positive value of ape index makes basketball simpler to shot interception and passing contests. This makes the basketball player good at defense naturally.

Ape Index Statistics and Analysis

Gorilla index or ape index or ape factor is a variable that is non-trainable. In many studies, this factor focuses on the impact of physiological aspects in rock-climbing capabilities. The outcomes are mixed.

Some of the studies reveal that there is no correlation between enhancing climbing capabilities and non-trainable aspects. A study referred to as the ape factor was not relevant. This is due to the lower variability in climbers.

Another study of 2001 reveals performance comparisons of female climbers to male teenage climbers. Many factors were considered in explaining performance differences, amongst which female climbers having a lower ape index was one.

What is Ape Index and How to Measure it

Do Elite Climbers Have High Ape Indices?

Ape indices have been measured in some studies of elite climbers. In most of them, climbers have ape index ratios greater than 1. On average, climbers have ape index ratios greater than 1. An ape index ratio of 1 is considered typical. The ape index appears to be higher for elite climbers than for the general public on average.  

Does a High Ape Index Make You a Better Climber?

Even though elite climbers are thought to have high ape indices, researchers have struggled to find a positive correlation between the ape index and climbing performance.

What are the other Indexes similar to Ape Index?

The other Indexes similar to the Ape Index are Sloth Index, Snake Index, Hobbit Index, Beanie Index, Insta Index, Windex Index, Index Index, Fist Index, Caldwell-Fiennes Missing Index Index.

Climbing necessitates a close focus on your equipment. However, climbing equipment is only an aspect of the overall experience. Of course, fitness is one spot where you can fix things that will impact your life. However, there’re a few other variables over which you have less control but are nonetheless important to be aware of, like indexes similar to the ape index, for instance, as well as other metrics.

If you’re new to climbing, terms like ape index, sloth index, and so on may make you laugh, but they’re helpful measurements that each climber must be aware of. These figures can help you figure out how you ascend. The more a climber knows about the various indexes, the better you’ll be in a position to utilize them to your advantage while climbing.

The Sloth Index 

The sloth index is equivalent to your ape index, though it does not include the torso. It’s based on the comparison of various extremities. Deduct the size of the leg from the arm length to get your sloth index.

From heel to hip, evaluate your leg. Then measure the deltoid to one’s fingertip. You can express your sloth index, just like the ape index, as a negative, neutral, or positive number. Individuals with the neutral index may find that bringing one’s legs up toward the hands in a climb is more fluid.

The Snake Index

The snake index is always expressed as a ratio. It’s a measurement of how broad the mouth could open. Pick your toughest redpoint score and split it by two to get this measurement.

The Hobbit Index

The hobbit index is the comparison of foot and hand lengths. The two limbs grow in size in most people due to a strong linear effect. Tiny hands equal tiny feet in layman’s terms, and big hands equal big feet.

The Beanie Index

The beanie index is a metric for how good a boulderer you are. The more beanies one has, the stronger a boulderer one is, like everyone knows. It’s A measure of your bouldering ability, conveyed as the number of beanies one owns. Nalle Hukkataival was in a position to tick V17 after his funders at Black Diamond delivered him a new beanie, which is a well-known fact.

The Insta Index 

The Insta index is, without even any doubt, the most vital index on this list. It measures the “influencer” reach. Split the number of supporters you own by the average amount of likes your posts earn, always defined as the ratio. The best part about it is that it doesn’t require much effort to achieve an astronomical Insta index. Only ensure you’re attractive, and if you aren’t, look away dreamily off the camera.

The Windex Index 

In this competitive rope industry access, the Windex index is where the real physical reach is king. It’s a measurement that is becoming extremely relevant.

It’s more than just a height measurement; it also considers tendon and muscular strength. Scoop up a reach and squeegee as high as you could on the tiptoes for 10 seconds to quantify. Expert window washers will benefit from learning to improve their ability to achieve that little bit further, which might also set them apart from the others of similar height.

The Index Index

The index index compares the thickness of the fingers to the littlest hold on a path. Smaller fingers are more likely to fit into small finger pockets, cracks, or crimps. It’s among the most difficult to evaluate on the list and can differ considerably depending on the variations of climbs.

It’s a comparison of your smallest grab on any specified ascent and your fingers pad size, with the concept that tinier fingers can sometimes fit comfier on tiny crimps.

When powerful climbers get hammered by somebody with great skills on something techy and thin, they frequently use the index index as a superb and extensively scientific excuse.

The Fist Index

The fist index is crucial when crack ascending. The fist thickness is equated to the crack width in this case. It isn’t what you’re expecting to hear. The fist-width, which is utilized as the metric for overall hand size, is especially compared to the crack width on any specified hand in a progression of the index index.

It’s also identified as the Indian Creek index, and it describes why big-handed climbers can often sail 5.10s such as Supercrack, whereas thin-handed climbers struggle to get off the surface. After which pertains to grades, the index index rises into the 5.12 and 5.11 ranges, and the opposite is accurate. It’s all extremely complicated, but you shouldn’t attempt it without a thorough understanding of particle physics.

The Caldwell-Fiennes Missing Index Index 

The most vital of all the indices: It’s a rough guess of how awesome you are rooted in how difficult you can ascend versus the number of fingers you’ve lost. What’s your climbing percentage concerning the number of fingers you’ve lost this far?

Tommy Caldwell, for instance, sent Flex Luthor using no half of the left index finger. Ewbank translates to a grade of 36 multiplied by 0.5 of your finger, giving TC a low index of 18. On the other hand, it’s uncertain what grades adventurer Ranulph Fiennes has earned, but provided that he chopped off his fingertips using a hacksaw while in his yard shed, he’s free to assign himself an index he desires.

Ape Index Frequent Questions

What is a low ape index good for?

If you have a low ape index, this doesn’t mean that you will be bad at sports. You just might be better suited to train sports like soccer, running, cycling, and other sports where long arms are not considered an advantage.

What is a normal ape index?

A normal ape index is considered 0 among the average population, where the average ratio between arm length and height is 1.

What is a good ape index?

It is considered that a positive ape index, which is an ape index ratio higher than 1, is good for rock climbing.

How can I increase my ape index?

You can’t increase your ape index as your wingspan and height can’t be changed.

What is Michael Phelps ape index?

Michael Phelps’s ape index is 1.052, 80 inches (203 cm) divided by 76 inches (193 cm). His ape index is much above the average ratio even for elite athletes.

What does a negative ape index mean?

A negative ape index means that your wingspan is shorter than your height.

What does a +2 ape index mean?

Ape index of +2 means that your wingspan s 2 inches/cm longer than your height.

Is your wingspan your height?

No, your wingspan is not your height. In many cases, the wingspan and height of an individual might be the same, but they may differ.

How to measure wingspan?

The easiest way to determine your wingspan is to spread your arms horizontally and measure between the tips of the longest fingers on either side. Divide that number by your height to get your arm-to-height ratio.

Why is ape index important in rock climbing?

The ape index is important in rock climbing because it allows you to assess and understand the advantages and disadvantages of your specific wingspan and height, and alter your style to best solve routes.

Final Thoughts on the Importance of Ape Index for Rock Climbing

A high ape index doesn’t guarantee that you will be a great climber. As a result, having a low ape index will not necessarily imply that you’re a terrible climber. Don’t fall for the trap of blaming a perceived drawback for your inability to complete a task.

What matters most is that one recognizes their body type and uses that knowledge to their advantage. Work on your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Use the ape index to determine the beta to utilize from other climbers and an enjoyable comparison among companions.

Simply put, do not give up; instead, dedicate yourself to becoming the greatest climber you could be, and keep climbing! Therefore, now you know what your ascending game’s most critical metric is! So put yourself to the test and look at how you compare to a sloth and an ape. Don’t be fooled by the famous ape index.

These aspects are equally important!

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About the author 

Brad

Brad is a professional climber in the discipline of traditional climbing. He often jokes that he can get a book to read during the long climbs. Of course, it always goes well with a good cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is his safer hobby.

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