How to Measure Body Fat with Calipers
What is the caliper method of body fat?
The caliper method which you can learn to do yourself - measures skin folds and puts those measurements into a skinfold measurement formula, which can instantly spit out an estimated body fat percentage and determine your fat mass and lean mass.
How to Use Skinfold Caliper to Measure Body Fat Percentage
Using a body fat caliper involves pinching and measuring specific "sites" on your body, then using equations or a body fat calculator to arrive at an estimate of your body fat percentage.
How accurate your results depend on how well you take your measurements and which method of measuring body fat with calipers you use.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to use a caliper to measure body fat accurately, including how to do the most common body fat skinfold test.
How to Measure Body Fat with Calipers
When you take your body fat caliper measurements, follow these steps:
- Place your thumb and forefinger on your body, about 2 inches apart, and pinch the skin to push them firmly into your flesh. (Note: If there is a lot of fat in the area, you may need to increase the distance between your forefinger and thumb to grab and pull the skinfold).
- Put your fingers together and gently pull the skinfold away from your body.
- Measure the squeezed skinfold by placing the tip of the caliper about an inch about the middle of the side where your finger touches the skin and perpendicular to it, compressing the caliper until it clicks(and no more), and note the measurement
5 Tips for Measuring Body Fat With Calipers Accurately
Not only measuring fat but also accurate reading are important. Following are five tips to help you get more accurate readings.
1. Take all the measurements on your body's right side while you stand and make sure the muscles are relaxed.
2. Make sure your skin is dry while you prepare to take measurements.
3. Don't take any measurements while you are particularly hot or after manual labor or physical exercise.
4. Please try to take measurements at the same time every day.
5. If you are a woman, please avoid the menstrual cycle for measurement.
Why Measure Your Body Fat?
I ever heard that a woman want to measure her body fat just because she didn't like the number her personal trainer had given her. Maybe you have been tempted to make a similar request. There is no wrong with it. But it shows a misunderstanding about the body fat percentage means.
Measuring body fat is the first step to see if you have overweight and if the fat percentage exceeds the standard. If it has, it is necessary to lose weight and keep the protein intake. Keep exercising to build a fit body, not only care about the fat percentage number. It is different for people in different heights because your body consists of your bones, muscles, hair, water, miscellaneous stuff, and fat, not only just muscle!
What is a healthy body fat percentage?
Men and women need different amounts of fat. For a man, 2–5% fat is essential, 2–24% fat is considered healthy, and more than 25% classifies as obesity. For a woman, 10–13% fat is essential, 10–31% fat is healthy, and more than 32% classifies as obesity.
What do these Body Fat Percentage Numbers mean?
Now that you know what your body fat percentage is, we can discuss what it means in accordance with your health.
The skinfold caliper is a great tool to add to your health measuring toolbox. It’s perfect for a convenient way to assess body fat at home. It can be used to perform the 7 fold test to give you a decent assessment of your current body fat.
Knowing your body fat can help you achieve both your cutting and bulking goals while allowing you to avoid the risk of chronic disease and live a healthy overall lifestyle.
What is the best body fat caliper?
Personally, I like the Pro-Health body fat caliper because it's easy to use, accurate, and affordable (which is probably why they're endorsed by the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation as the premiere body fat caliper on the market).