T Nation

Body Fat Measurement

I am interested in learning how to take my own bodyfat measurements and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on a good pair of calipers? I see so many online and at various stores, and I want to make sure that I get a quality pair and not some cheap piece of plastic that someone is trying to make a couple of bucks on. Any suggestions?



I use a weight scale that measures body fat too, seems to be acurate and it wasnt to expensive, only 35 bucks

[quote]alfredONE wrote:
I use a weight scale that measures body fat too, seems to be acurate and it wasnt to expensive, only 35 bucks[/quote]

Most of those scales are useless if you carry more muscle mass than average. If you are average lean body mass, it will probably be accurate. Those weren’t designed for bodybuilders or larger athletes. The most accurate way is autopsy. The most convenient (with near-accuracy) is still getting the caliper test done.

Accurate methods are DEXA scan and underwater composition tests. They’re expensive, and you need to go to special labs to get them done.

Stick with calipers - they’re good enough.

I agree w/ the previous posts. Don’t get too caught up in the actual percentage. Have a someone competent test the following 12 sites (courtesy of Charles Poliquin) and seek reduction in those scores. Now, depending on the scores and those scores moves will also give you an idea of what your hormonal profile looks like. The sites are:


I think more important then getting actual body fat measurments (if you can’t afford or don’t have access to one of the more advanced methods) is just being able to get repeatable caliper measuremnts.

If you are able to pinch the same spot with the same pressure over and over again you can easily tell if your loosing fat or not just by comparing the measurements.

I have a friend who is a trainer and he totals 6 sites for his clients and just keeps track of these totals on excel to track progress.

I have been using the FatTrack II for a few years now and think it works great. I think Testosterone.net (pre-Nation) did a bit on them in there “Things We Like” column a few years ago.

When I’m fat, I’m around 12.5%. When I’m slim, I’m around 10% or less. The hand-helds or scales are absolutely worthless.

~ j