The skinfold caliper is the most accurate and cheapest way to measure your bodyfat but if you need to do it right to get meaningful results. I’ve been getting lots of requests for this because people have been having trouble figuring out how to use skinfold calipers properly.
The reason its so important to know bodyfat accurately its the only way to know if that 10 pound increase on the scale is because of added fat or added muscle. The skinfold caliper lets you figure your lean body mass (LBM) and bodyfat accurately so you can guage your progress in losing weight or gaining muscle.If you dont have one of these, get yourself one! They are about $15.
So you measure the skinfold thickness in 3 places. Halfway between your nipple and your armpit, 1″ to the side of your belly button, and on the front of your thigh half way between the crease and your knee. Measure, dont guess, use a sharpie and mark. Measure when standing
To measure the thickness, use your thumb and forfinger to make a “C”, grab as big of a hunk as you can. Then squeeze the hunk till it hurts and pull. Place the caliper ends 1/4-1/2 of an inch away from your thumb and index finger, then take the reading within 5 seconds. Measure in the middle of the fold, not right next to your body, not out at the tip of the pulled skin – halfway. Measure each place 3 times in round robin and then take the average.
Now before I tell you how to convert to bodyfat percentage, let me say that although its much more usefull than BMI, bodyfat percentage is still a pretty useless number. The mirror can tell you if you have 6-pack abs or not, you dont need to know your bodyfat percentage to know that! The main use of these calipers is to gauge progress, it doesnt matter what your bodyfat measure is, what matters is if it is going up or down.
So having said that, after you have averages your three measurements at each location, head over to my website’s bodyfat measurement calculator and plug in your three values along with your age and weight. It will then tell you your bodyfat percentage and body composition, how many pounds of fat and your lean body mass.