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View Full Version : How Do I Use a Body Fat Caliper



NormalDude
05-29-2003, 02:31 PM
Hey I have one of those manual calipers and I have no idea how to use it. Can anyone help me?

BobbyRS
05-30-2003, 06:59 AM
Here is a good bf caliper. http://bodytrends.com/acm.htm It even makes a nice little "click" sound to let you know you have suppressed it far enough :)

Here are some good sites with directions:

http://www.insitefitness.com.au/lessons/fitness%20testing/Anthropometry/skinfold.html

http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~umexcsci/indexcomp.html

http://maelstrom.seos.uvic.ca/people/zahariev/misc/bf_men.html

NormalDude
05-30-2003, 09:41 PM
Ok i see the measurements and where to measure but I dontunderstand the formula on how to figure the exact percentage

GhettoSmurf
05-31-2003, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by NormalDude
Ok i see the measurements and where to measure but I dontunderstand the formula on how to figure the exact percentage

i know aka23 is good with the formula thing. maybe you could shoot him a PM?

aka23
05-31-2003, 09:02 AM
Originally posted by NormalDude
Ok i see the measurements and where to measure but I dontunderstand the formula on how to figure the exact percentage

There are many different skin calliper formulas, which will report different body fat percentages. Some of these formulas are listed at http://maelstrom.seos.uvic.ca/people/zahariev/misc/bf_men.html. When using these formulas, subsititute the sum of skin folds, for each 'S'. For example, the JP-3 formula uses the sum of the chest, abs, and thigh skin fold measures. If this sum was 10mm, then the formula would be:

Body_Density = 1.112 - 0.00043499*(10) + 0.00000055*(10^2) - 0.00028826*Age
Bodyfat_% = 495/Body_Density - 450

Each formula tends to overestimate or underestimate certain groups. The Jackson-Pollock 3-site (chest,abs,thigh) is one of the most common ones. It tends to underestimate totals in younger weightlifters. When I measure my body fat, I take the median of seven formulas using an Excel spreadsheet. This spreadsheet does the calculations automatically after you type in the skin fold measures. You can download the spreadsheet at http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=493036&highlight=jacksonpollock#post493036 . Save it to your computer by right-clicking.

I think that skin callipers are most useful for consistent measures and tracking changes. If accuracy is desired, there are better methods, such as underwater weighing.

NormalDude
05-31-2003, 11:46 AM
Thanks alot. You guys helped a bunch. I will let you guys know what I come up with

greemah
09-26-2011, 02:05 AM
There are many different skin calliper formulas, which will report different body fat percentages. Some of these formulas are listed at http://maelstrom.seos.uvic.ca/people/zahariev/misc/bf_men.html. When using these formulas, subsititute the sum of skin folds, for each 'S'. For example, the JP-3 formula uses the sum of the chest, abs, and thigh skin fold measures. If this sum was 10mm, then the formula would be:

Body_Density = 1.112 - 0.00043499*(10) + 0.00000055*(10^2) - 0.00028826*Age
Bodyfat_% = 495/Body_Density - 450

Each formula tends to overestimate or underestimate certain groups. The Jackson-Pollock 3-site (chest,abs,thigh) is one of the most common ones. It tends to underestimate totals in younger weightlifters. When I measure my body fat, I take the median of seven formulas using an Excel spreadsheet. This spreadsheet does the calculations automatically after you type in the skin fold measures. You can download the spreadsheet at http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=493036&highlight=jacksonpollock#post493036 . Save it to your computer by right-clicking.

I think that skin callipers are most useful for consistent measures and tracking changes. If accuracy is desired, there are better methods, such as underwater weighing.

Sorry to bump such an old thread, just wondering if anyone knows of a similar spreadsheet to the one aka23 posted? One that takes your measurements and does multiple formulas and takes the average?

Got some calipers and no matter what I do it's showing me near 5% bodyfat each time which I know won't be the case

Alex.V
09-26-2011, 06:34 AM
Honestly man, when you get low enough they're useless. I caliper around 2-3% if carb loaded, less than that under regular conditions. You MIGHT be able to find a formula that's more accurate (say, if you hold more fat in your back and you find an equation that weights the subscapular pinch more than others), but for the most part, it's useful just to track trends.

Other than dunk tank or bod pod, there aren't too many other ways to get a good reading out there.

thecityalive
09-26-2011, 07:12 AM
I personally just use a mirror.

greemah
09-26-2011, 04:24 PM
Honestly man, when you get low enough they're useless. I caliper around 2-3% if carb loaded, less than that under regular conditions. You MIGHT be able to find a formula that's more accurate (say, if you hold more fat in your back and you find an equation that weights the subscapular pinch more than others), but for the most part, it's useful just to track trends.

Other than dunk tank or bod pod, there aren't too many other ways to get a good reading out there.

Damn, was pretty keen to get a bf% measure just for my own curiosity. I look lean as (under 10%) when I tense (especially in good lighting). But untensed or bent over I look kinda averave/chubby!


I personally just use a mirror.

Mirror doesn't work to well for me at the moment as the changes are so slow and barely noticable. Photos are ok though, 4 weeks into my cut I didn't notice ANY change but after comparing photos the changes are slightly noticable lol