A Simple Guide on how to Measure your Bodyfat Percentage Using the 3-site Skinfold Assessment Tool
Skinfold measurements are one of the easiest, safest, cheap, and most accessible assessment tools that can be used to monitor your bodyfat % changes over a period of time. They are suitable for any individual; whether you’re an athlete or regular gym goer, this tool can be useful in assessing the effectiveness of your nutrition and training program.
So, you may now be wondering how to conduct skin fold assessments, but first it’s critical to understand some basic principles to ensure your measures are as accurate as possible.
- The person being measured should be standing, in a relaxed position and with the upper body totally relaxed along the torso (unless otherwise indicated).
- The person performing the skinfolds should always stand on the right side of the subject’s body
- The tester should locate the skinfold sites with their left hand’s thumb and index finger (or the non-dominant hand).
- The skinfold (the location where you pinch) should be lifted 2cm above the place to be measured and the calliper should be positioned in the marked site, perpendicular to the skinfold orientation.
- To measure the skinfold, the tester should pick up the minimum amount of fat tissue, making sure that there are only skin and fat tissue, and that underlying muscle tissue is not incorporated.
- The skinfold measurement should be registered 2 seconds after the full pressure of the caliper is applied. (A simple way I remember this, is pinch à place calipers on pinched areas for 2 seconds, hold and record number, remove calipers and stop pinching skin). You always starting by pinching the skin and finish by stopping the pinching of skin.
Now that you understand some basic principles, lets dive deeper into how to perform the 3-site skinfold assessment!
First, you need to be able to locate some key anatomical sites on the body, these are the suprailiac/iliac crest (this is located on the inner side of your abdomen, see pictures below), thigh and if you are a female then triceps, however males will do a chest skinfold instead of triceps. Second, once located, you will apply the basic principles discussed above. It is important that you do this accurately! Remembering to pinch the skin for at least 2 seconds then taking the measurement and recording this.