T Nation

BF testing with calipers

Hey guys… I have a simple question. I have a set of calipers to test my body fat and Im using that t-mag article on how to test for BF. I do the 3 point test (abs, quads, chest). Well the majority of my fat is around the belly (going to make a nice spare tire one day!). I barely if anything have fat in my legs or chest. Im not big or anything great, its just how the fat settles I guess. Well when measuring there is no problem with getting the pinch to work on my belly. The issue is the thigh and chest (its hard to grab). Now I can pinch but its not easy to pinch and I know im grabing more muscle than anything else. If i slightly flew the leg the skin slips out. The question is should I just skip the thigh and chest if its not possible to measure those areas? Or is there another way to go about it? Any help you be great! Happy New Years!

I had the same problem. If you can afford it, I would suggest buying a tanita bf scale. T-mag reviewed it in one of the “Stuff We Like” columns. Anyways, I got mine from Amazon.com for 60 bucks. It might not be as accurate (but then again, calipers are probably worse), but at least it lets you monitor if your bf is increasing or decreasing.

Well, if you can’t separate the fat from the muscle, then don’t use that skinfold.

It's not a perfect system, but find 3-7 sites that you can consistently duplicate and measure those - could be ab, suprailiac, calf, hamstring, bottom rib for example. Add up the total and just use the total to track your progress.

I’m similar. What I do is just track the measure of my Ab skinfold only when cutting. Since thats where most of the fat is, if its going down i’m in good shape. If the other skinfolds are so low you can barely get a reading, just don’t worry about it. I don’t really care about the total percentage, its just a number. Just make sure that skinfold is going down. I also use a handheld impedinence (sp?) device, weight, and measurements to track bf, and it seems to work well.