Do Gym Mirrors Make You Look Bigger?

Many people have observed that it seems gym mirrors make them look bigger. A lot of people have asked if gyms indeed use trick mirrors or it’s just a matter of perception. So we decided to find out for ourselves and share our findings with you.

 Do gym mirrors make you look bigger? Gym mirrors often make people look bigger, but this is not a standard practice. Some gyms use special types of mirrors or orient their mirrors in certain ways that make people appear bigger and more muscular. Using convex curved mirrors and tilted mirrors are among the tricks gyms use to make images appear stretched, thus giving gym subscribers a bigger and more muscular look.

 Certain types of mirrors can make you look thinner while others will make you look bigger. The types you often find in the gym make people look bigger and muscular. But what are these kinds of mirrors? Why do these mirrors make you look bigger in the gym? Why do gyms use these kinds of mirrors? Read on to find out.

do gym mirrors make you look bigger
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Why Do Mirrors Make You Look Bigger in the Gym?

Mirrors in the gym will make you look bigger if they are curved (convex) or tilted forward. Just a slight convex curve in a mirror, even if it’s just around the edge, will change the way you look. You will appear bigger and more muscular. Gym mirrors are also sometimes tilted forward and as such make your upper body bigger and the lower part smaller. When you look in such mirrors, your chest will appear broader.

 The images formed by mirrors vary with the curvature and orientation of the mirror. And this is the trick that some gyms take advantage of. They use the kind of mirror curvature and orientation that will make people look larger.

Which Mirror Will Make You Look Larger?

The following are the types of mirrors that can make you look larger. They are the kinds that you’ll find in some gyms:

Convex Mirrors

Convex mirrors have a forward curvature, so images usually look wider and bigger in them. Conversely, concave mirrors have an inward curvature, so they make images appear slimmer and taller. The kinds of convex mirrors you find in gyms are just slightly convex, so the effects are quite subtle. Since the curvatures of these mirrors are not so pronounced, you may not easily notice it.

 Tilted Mirrors (Tilted Forward)

Some mirrors can be tilted either backward or forward to create a perspective for the mirror images. A mirror tilted forward from above will make your image look wider in the upper part of your body and a bit shorter. Conversely, you will look slimmer and taller in a mirror tilted backward.

 Many gyms tilt their mirrors forward from the top. So your chest area will be closer to the mirror than your legs. This will make your chest, shoulder, and arm muscles look bigger than they are in reality. Your stomach and hips will also look smaller in these mirrors.

Video – Do Mirrors Make You Look Bigger

In this video, Dylan Berg talks about whether mirrors make you look bigger or not. He is a fitness enthusiast, so he talks from that perspective. You should watch this video to understand some of the factors that affect how you look in a gym mirror.

How Can Normal Gym Mirrors Make You Look Bigger?

If the mirrors in the gym are neither convex nor tilted, the lighting condition of the gym can make you appear bigger in the mirrors. Light intensity and position affect mirror images. If the light is coming from above, it makes you look bigger. What’s more, your mind and how you perceive yourself can also affect how you look in gym mirrors or any other mirror for that matter. You can also check this article titled, why do I look fat in pictures but not in the mirror

 Let’s briefly examine the different factors that may contribute to how you look in Gym mirrors:

Lighting Conditions

The type of light in your gym, its intensity, and its position can affect how you look in the gym mirrors.  If the light is coming from above, it will make you look bigger. Your shadows from the light will affect how you look in the mirror. The shadow will give you a bigger appearance and make certain body areas look bulkier.

What’s more, if the light is dim, you will look better in the mirror because it will conceal imperfections. Intense light, on the other hand, will show every detail and will likely expose perceived body imperfections.

Mind Perceptions

Your mind can play games on you when you are looking at yourself in a mirror. You have an image of yourself in your mind, and that can affect what you see whenever you look at yourself in a mirror. If you have been working out consistently for a week, you may begin to think you have gained some muscle. And that will make you see yourself as more muscular in the mirror.

In some cases, you may think that others in the gym are very fit while you are fat. This could also make you see yourself as bigger or fatter in the mirror. This means that sometimes, the problem is not the gym mirrors but your mind.

Why Do Gyms Use Trick Mirrors?

Gyms use trick mirrors and certain lighting conditions that make people look bigger and more muscular to motivate their subscribers. When you see yourself in the mirror looking more vascular and muscular, you’ll feel good about yourself. This feeling gives you confidence and motivates you to keep working out. As such, using trick mirrors and special lighting conditions keeps the happy “client” coming back to the gym.

There is a sort of connection between the mind and the body. If you feel a certain way about yourself, it will motivate you to do better at the gym. This connection is what gyms try to harness by using trick mirrors to motivate the bodybuilders. It’s even better when you can see yourself looking bigger as you are working out in the gym.

A tilted mirror will make your chest, shoulder, and arm muscles look bigger. If you see this while working out, it catches your attention. And as you fix your attention on the muscles, their activity will significantly improve. As the activity in the muscles becomes better and motivation increases, you will get better results from your workout.

Video – Gym Mirrors: To See Or Not To See?

This video explores the different sides to whether you should be looking at yourself in the mirror while training or not. Some experts say you should while others say you should not. Why is it that some gyms deck the entire hall with mirrors while others don’t have a single mirror, even in their bathroom? Do mirrors make your training better or weaken you.

Related Questions

How Tall Should a Gym Mirror Be?

The ideal height of gym mirrors is 5- 6 feet tall, with a width of about 36 inches, at least. Gym mirrors should also be mounted at about 2 feet distance from the floor. So if you are measuring the height by the top edge of gym mirrors, it should be about 7-8 feet from the ground. This is a perfect height for weightlifting, as well as other workouts. Yoga and other exercises that require you to go down to the floor will require the mirrors to be lower. Check out this article about what a room of only mirrors look like. We have shared an interesting discussion about the topic.

Why Do I Look Different in Gym and Store Mirrors?

Gyms and clothing stores sometimes install mirrors that make you look better so that you can feel better about yourself. In gyms, the mirrors often lean forward to make you look more muscular. But in clothing stores, the mirrors lean backward so that customers, especially women, will look slimmer as they try different clothes on. You can also check out this article that discusses why some mirrors make you look better than others. We have shared an in-depth explanation of the topic.

Are There Mirrors that Make You Look Thinner?

Some mirrors, known as “skinny mirrors” can make you look thinner. These mirrors have a concave glass (with an inward curvature) that would make you look slimmer and taller. Some mirrors even boast of being able to make you look 10 pounds slimmer than you are.


As we have discussed in this post, some gym mirrors can make you look bigger. These include convex mirrors, as well as mirrors tilted forward. Furthermore, lighting conditions and mind perceptions can also make you look bigger and more muscular in gym mirrors.

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