Measure Fat with a Fat Caliper
Fat calipers are the most accurate way to measure your body fat. They use the thickness of your skin and the underlying fat inmultiple locations on your body to calculate your total body fat percentage.
When using the calipers, there are a couple things you need to know. First, get help because you’re not going to be able to reach some of the areas. Second, take all measurements on the right side of the body for uniformity.
The areas you’re going to measure are:
Abdominal area - approximately 5 cm to the right of the belly button using a vertical skinfold
Tricep area - halfway between the elbow and shoulder using a vertical skinfold
Front of the thigh - halfway between the knee and top of the thigh using a vertical skinfold
Waist area - just above and a little in front of the hip bone taking a horizontal skinfold reading with the front of the caliper tilted slightly downward
To get an accurate measurement, grab the skin in the designated area between your thumb and index finger. Hold it firmly in a pinch-type fashion and pull it away from your body. Put the pads of the calipers on the skin fold approximately ¼ inch from your pinch. Release the trigger while continuing to firmly holdthe skinfold.
Give it a couple seconds to register and then take the reading, calculating to the nearest 0.5 mm. Take at least two measurements at each site (with at least 15 seconds in between readings) to make sure they’re accurate. When they’re within 1 mm of each other, you know you have a good reading.
Add up the sum of all four measurements. Then, using the Jackson and Pollock equation, calculate your body fat percentage. The calculations are:
For men: (0.29288 x sum of skinfolds) – (0.0005 x square of the sum of skinfolds) + (0.15845 x age) – 5.76377
For women: (0.29669 x sum of skinfolds) – (0.00043 x square of the sum of skinfolds) + (0.02963 x age) + 1.4072
Now you know your accurate body fat percentage and can track your progress as you lose weight and gain muscle. How exciting is that?