T Nation

HELP WITH USE OF BF CALIPERS!!!

Hi,

When using bodyfat calipers, am I supposed to be relaxed or flexed when pinching. When I pinch the standard suprailiac site in relaxed state, the chart says I’m a sloppy 17% (!) bodyfat. If, however, I flex my abs and try again, I’m supposedly a more respectable 13%. Studies do indicate that bodyfat calipers are close in accuracy to underwater electrical impedance bodyfat measurement…if done properly! - Please advise!!!

Interesting question.

You need to be relaxed when taking skinfolds. Also one site is not going to be enough. Take multiple sites and then keep track of the skinfold sum. If you really need an equation try this 3 site equation because you can take most of the measurements yourself : http://www.gncproperformance.com/stout_qa_0014.asp
This site will also give you information about the accuracy of skinfold calipers.

Damn, calipers have been getting alot of attention on the board this week. See my other answers today about skin-fold calipers. The previous poster does have it correct in that only a few sites are accessable if your doing it yourself, but 7+ (I like 9) is greatly preferred for accuracy to underwater weighing. BTW, underwater electrical impedance measurements are not recommended - they can be a bit shocking (although sure to remove some bodyfat! :-).