SKINFOLD CALIPER BODY FAT CALCULATOR

This body fat caliper percentage calculator is a skinfold method of determining total body fat percentage, lean body mass, fat body mass and BMI. Choose from 3-site, 4-site, 7-site and 9-site skin fold options below.
















  • Male Female
  • Age must be in years
  • Kgs Pounds
  • Enter weight
  • Feet & Inches Cms
  • For 5 feet 7 inches, enter 5.7. For 185 cms, enter 185
  • Number must be in mm
  • Number must be in mm
  • Number must be in mm




Description Men Women
Essential fat 3 to 5% 10 to 13%
Athletes 6 to 13% 14 to 20%
Fitness 14 to 17% 21 to 24%
Average 18 to 24% 25 to 31%
Obese 25+% 32+%


What is this Body Fat Caliper Calculator Based On?

The body fat caliper calculator is based on the skinfold method of determining body fat percentage. The skinfold method measures skinfold thickness at 3 to 9 different locations on the body (depending on the method used), then computes body density and with it the total body fat percentage.

The body fat caliper calculator helps do all the computations for you, regardless of the method you want to use.

Body Fat Caliper

Measurements are taken by grabbing the skin and subcutaneous fat and pulling it away from the muscle, then using a caliper to measure the corresponding thickness.

The measurements are then entered into the body fat caliper calculator to give the total body fat percentage along with total fat mass, total lean mass, BMI and BMI category.

How to Take a Skinfold Caliper Measurement?

Body Fat Caliper grabbing skin and subcutaneous fat

Source: Martin et al. 1985 – Adapted from Kinanthropometry and Exercise Physiology Laboratory Manual – 3rd Edition – Roger Eston & Thomas Reilly


1. It is important that someone else (ideally a trained professional) take your skinfold measurements.

2. Skinfold measurement should be taken on only one side of the body (usually right) and must be taken while standing and relaxed.

3. Measurements should not be taken after exercise or when the skin is wet.

4. Ideally, the skin and corresponding fat must be grasped, stretched and held using the thumb and index finger for at least 2 to 4 seconds during measurement.

5. The caliper must be placed in between the pinch (perpendicular to the skinfold) and pressure must be applied to determine the corresponding thickness to the nearest 0.1mm.

6. The dial on the caliper is the measurement that must be noted after the pressure on the trigger is released.

7. It is best to take at least three measurements per body part and the corresponding average for the body fat calculation.

8. Make sure to measure all body parts consecutively before proceeding with measuring the same body part again.

9. When repeating the skinfold assessment, it is best to use the same individual that performed the previous assessment.

How to Perform Skinfold Measurements on Various Body Sites?

Let’s take a look at where to place the thumb and index finger when taking the various skinfold measurements. Also, pay attention to the direction where to grab the skin and subcutaneous fat.

Chest (Pectoral)

Body fat caliper measurement of men and women chest

Men: The pinch site (diagonal fold) should be midway between the anterior axillary line (armpit) and nipple.

Women:The pinch site (diagonal fold) should be one-third between the anterior axillary line (armpit) and nipple.

Abdomen (Belly)

Abdomen Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (vertical fold) on the abdomen should be around 2.5 to 5 cm to the right of the belly button.

Midaxilla (Middle of Armpit)

Midaxilla Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (diagonal fold) can be taken directly below the armpit at the point where the middle of the armpit intersects the horizontal line of the breast bone.

Bicep

Bicep Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (vertical fold) on the bicep should be front facing midway between the shoulder and elbow.

Tricep (Back of Upper Arm)

Tricep Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (vertical fold) should be back facing midway between the bony point of your shoulder and elbow.

Suprailiac (Hip)

Suprailiac Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (diagonal fold) is located about 1 to 2.5 cm above the iliac crest (hip bone).

Calf

Calf Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (vertical fold) is located along the largest circumference of the calf on the inside.

Thigh (Quadricep)

Thigh Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (vertical fold) is located in the anterior (front) middle of your thigh, halfway between the hip and knee.

Subscapula (Lower Tip of Shoulder Blade)

Subscapula Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (diagonal fold) is located around 2 to 3 cm directly below the shoulder blade.

Lower Back

Lower Back Body fat caliper measurement of men and women

The pinch site (horizonal fold) should be 2 inches to the right of the spine and about 2 inches above the gluteus (upper-butt) muscles.

What sites does Jackson & Pollock 3-Site Skin Fold Test Measure?

The Jackson and Pollock 3-site skinfold test measures different skinfold sites for men and women.

Once the measurements are collected, the body density is calculated from it and using Siri’s equation, the body fat percentage is calculated.

Men: Chest, Abdomen and Thigh are measured.

Jackson Pollock 3 site Body fat caliper measurement of men

Body Density = 1.1093800 - 0.0008267 x sum of (pectoral +abdomen +quadricep) + 0.0000016 x square of sum of (pectoral +abdomen +quadricep) - (0.0002574 x age)

Body Fat Percentage = 495/Body Density - 450

Women: Tricep, Thigh and Suprailiac (Hip) are measured.

Jackson Pollock 3 site Body fat caliper measurement of women

Body Density = 1.0994921 - 0.0009929 x sum of (tricep +quadricep +suprailiac) + 0.0000023 x square of sum of (tricep +quadricep +suprailiac)- (0.0001392 x age)

Body Fat Percentage =495/Body Density - 450

What sites does Jackson & Pollock 4-Site Skin Fold Test Measure?

The Jackson and Pollock 4-site skinfold test measures the same skinfold sites for men and women.

Unlike the 3-site skinfold test, we will directly calculate the body fat percentage from the measurements.

Men: Abdomen, Tricep, Thigh and Suprailiac (Hip)

Jackson Pollock 4 site Body fat caliper measurement of men

Body Fat Percentage = 0.29288 x sum of (abdomen + tricep + quadricep + suprailiac) - 0.0005 x square of sum of (abdomen + tricep + quadricep + suprailiac) + 0.15845 x age - 5.76377

Women: Abdomen, Tricep, Thigh and Suprailiac (Hip)

Jackson Pollock 4 site Body fat caliper measurement of women

Body Fat Percentage = 0.29669 x sum of (abdomen + tricep + quadricep + suprailiac) - 0.00043 x square of sum of (abdomen + tricep + quadricep + suprailiac)+ 0.02963 x age + 1.4072

What sites does Jackson & Pollock 7-Site Skin Fold Test Measure?

The Jackson and Pollock 7-site skinfold test measures the same skinfold sites for men and women.

Once the measurements are collected, the body density is calculated from it and using Siri’s equation, the body fat percentage is calculated.

Men:Chest, Midaxilla, Abdomen, Tricep, Thigh, Subscapular (lower tip of shoulder) and Suprailiac (Hip)

Jackson Pollock 7 site Body fat caliper measurement of men

Body Density = 1.112 - 0.00043499 x sum of (pectoral + midaxilla + tricep + subscapular + abdomen + suprailiac + quadricep) + 0.00000055 x square of sum of (pectoral + midaxilla + tricep + subscapular + abdomen + suprailiac + quadricep) - (0.00028826 x age)

Body Fat Percentage = 495/Body Density - 450

Women:Chest, Midaxilla, Abdomen, Tricep, Thigh, Subscapular (lower tip of shoulder) and Suprailiac (Hip)

Jackson Pollock 7 site Body fat caliper measurement of women

Body Density = 1.097 - 0.00046971 x sum of (pectoral + midaxilla + tricep + subscapular + abdomen + suprailiac + quadricep) + 0.00000056 x square of sum of (pectoral + midaxilla + tricep + subscapular + abdomen + suprailiac + quadricep)- (0.00012828 x age)

Body Fat Percentage = 495/Body Density - 450

What sites does Durnin & Womersley 4-Site Skin Fold Test Measure?

The Durnin and Womersley 4-site skinfold test measure the tricep, bicep, subscapular (lower tip of the shoulder blade) and suprailiac (hip) for both men and women.

Once the measurements are collected, the body density is calculated using the equations (see table) below for the different sexes and age groups. Following the calculation of body density, the Siri equation is used to calculate the body fat percentage.

Men

Durnin & Womersley 4-site Body fat caliper measurement of men

Women

Durnin & Womersley 4-site Body fat caliper measurement of women


Age (in years) Body Density (Men) Body Density (Women)
< 17 D = 1.1533 – [0.0643 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)] D = 1.1369 – [0.0598 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)]
17-19 D = 1.1620 – [0.0630 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)] D = 1.1549 – [0.0678 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)]
20-29 D = 1.1631 – [0.0632 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)] D = 1.1599 – [0.0717 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)]
30-39 D = 1.1422 – [0.0544 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)] D = 1.1423 – [0.0632 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)]
40 -49 D = 1.1620 – [0.0700 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)] D = 1.1333 – [0.0612 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)]
> 50 D = 1.1715 – [0.0779 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)] D = 1.1339 – [0.0645 X Log 10 (sum of skinfold)]

Body Fat Percentage = 495/Body Density - 450

What sites does Parrillo 9-Site Skin Fold Test Measure?

The Parillo 9-site skinfold test measures the same 9 skinfold sites for men and women using the exact same formula. The body fat percentage is calculated directly from the measurements. This formula does not account for the difference between the sexes or age groups.

The measurement sites include the chest, thigh, tricep, bicep, abdomen, subscapular (lower tip of shoulder blade), suprailiac (hip), lower back and calf.

Men

Parillo 9-site Body fat caliper measurement of men

Women

Parillo 9-site Body fat caliper measurement of women

Body Fat Percentage = [(sum of skinfold) x 27]/weight (in pounds)

What types of Skinfold Body Fat Calipers are Available?

Skinfold calipers vary greatly in quality and price.

There’s a body fat caliper that can work with almost any budget and for almost anyone. Instead of listing every possible body fat caliper in the market, here are 5 calipers that differ greatly in quality, price, longevity, and material:

Harpenden Skinfold Caliper PRO

Harpenden Skinfold Caliper Pro is one of the most accurate calipers you can find in the market. It is trusted by universities, hospitals and fitness professionals around the world for decades and is considered the gold standard of skinfold calipers.

The pro kit also comes with calibration dowel and includes software for body fat analysis. However, the only drawback is the price. The entire kit will push you back around $400.

Lange Skinfolds Body Fat Calipers

Lange Skinfold Calipers is also a caliper at the higher quality and price end of the market. Like the Harpenden Pro, it is also used by many healthcare and fitness professionals around the world. It is accurate to around 1.0 mm.

The tips of the caliper adjust automatically for parallel movement. It is easy to read and also includes a calibration block. This caliper would push you back around $225.

Slim Guide Skinfold Caliper

Slim Guide Skinfold Caliper is affordable, easy to use and quite accurate. It is one of the best budget calipers on the market. If you are short for cash, you cannot go wrong with this purchase. It does come with an instructional booklet but no calibration block as it is not needed. It retails for around $12.29

Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Body Fat Caliper

Accura-Measure Caliper is made of durable Delrin plastic, easy to use, affordable and quite accurate. It is easy to read and retails for only $10.99. It does not require any calibration block.

Qiorange Digital Body Fat Caliper

The Qiorange Caliper is a digital caliper that displays the skinfold measurement in an LCD screen. It is easy to learn and use. It also stores measurements during the assessment.

The reviews on this caliper are mixed with some loving it and some hating it. However, for the price of just $11.29, you can’t go wrong if you just want to try it out for yourself.

Advantges & Disadvantges of Skinfold Measurement

Advantges

1. A simple, low-cost and effective method of estimating body fat percentage.

2. Non-time consuming.

3. Non-invasive compared to methods such as Dexa Scans and Hydrostatic Weighing.

Disadvantges

1. The skill level of the individual performing measurement is a big factor in the accuracy of measurements.

2. Variability in measurements based on the type of caliper used for assessment.

3. Multiple equations and body measurement sites add to variability.

4. Results can be skewed if an individual is obese, extremely thin or elderly.

Body Mass Index (BMI) Standard

BMI is a simple measurement based on your height and weight to determine if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. BMI does not measure body fat percentage directly but has shown to moderately correlate with other methods of body fat measurement.

It is a rudimentary measurement and can vary significantly depending on age, distribution of muscle mass, bone density and fat mass. The BMI calculation does not take ethnic body differences into account. It should be taken as a rule of thumb rather than the perfect determination of your overall health.

BMI General Categories
BMI Category
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal or Healthy Weight
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

BMI Height & Weight Chart

BMI Chart

Source: Wikipedia

The World Health Organization has the following breakdown for BMI Categories:
Category BMI (FROM) BMI (TO)
Very severely underweight - 15
Severely underweight 15 16
Underweight 16 18.5
Normal (healthy weight) 18.5 25
Overweight 25 30
Obese Class I (Moderately obese) 30 35
Obese Class II (Severely obese) 35 40
Obese Class III (Very severely obese) 40 45
Obese Class IV (Morbidly obese) 45 50
Obese Class V (Super obese) 50 60
Obese Class VI (Hyper obese) 60+

Other Body Fat Calculators

A.I. Body Fat Percentage Calculator

U.S. Military Body Fat and BMI Calculator

Skinfold Caliper Body Fat and BMI Calculator

Face Fat Calculator

Sources

Jackson, A. S., & Pollock, M. L. (1978). Generalized equations for predicting body density of men. British Journal of Nutrition, 40, 497-504.

Jackson, A. S., Pollock, M. L., & Ward, A. (1980). Generalized equations for predicting body density of women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 12, 175-182.

Jackson A S, Pollock, M (1985) Practical assessment of body composition. Physician Sport Med. 13: 76-90

J. Parrillo, Greenwood-Robinson. "High-performance bodybuilding" Berkeley Publishing group, New York,169-172, 1993.

Durnin, J.V.G.A. and Womersley, J. (1974). Body fat assessed from the total body density and its estimation from skinfold thickness: measurements on 481 men and women aged from 16 to 72 years. British Journal of Nutrition, 32, 77-97.

Siri, W. E. (1961). Body composition from fluid space and density. In J. Brozek & A. Hanschel (Eds.), Techniques for measuring body composition (pp. 223-244). Washington, DC: National Academy of Science.

Kinanthropometry and Exercise Physiology Laboratory Manual – 3rd Edition – Roger Eston & Thomas Reilly

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