Body Composition Measurements: Skinfolds

Skinfold measurements

It has been awhile since my last blogging post – sorry about the long pause, I was trying to get a new structure going for my clients at the gym / working on my own scheduling so I wouldn’t be driving back and forth so often/ and working on getting to know the new clients I have taken on, not to mention, my gym had a grand opening and I wanted to be present so I could sell myself to possible new members. With all this being said, I took a break from blogging & haven’t been as present on Instagram either BUT this will all change, I am going to start back at blogging and getting on instagram more often again so I can rebuild myself as a personal trainer and have recent post for my clients at the gym to read. On that note, I am going to continue where I left off talking about body composition measurements. 

Skinfolds, have any of you heard of this before? In college was my first time being introduced to it and learning how to properly measure someones body using calipers. Since then I haven’t used this method in a really long time, and my gym doesn’t use this method — we have something new called “evolt” (high tech machine) and seems like it will be the future for body composition measurements. Anyways, for those of you who don’t know what I mean when I say “skinfold measurements” — it is another way of saying pinching the skin using calipers & basically there are multiple ways of doing this:

1) The 7 site skinfold 

2) The 3 site skinfold 

Men and women have different areas of the body that needed measured during the skinfold measurement. If we are doing the 7 site skinfold — both men and women will need to use the calipers to measure: chest, abdomen, thigh, triceps, axilla, subscapula, suprailliac 

For women the 3 site skinfold sites: Triceps, thigh, suprailliam

For men the 3 site skinfold sites: Chest, thigh, abdomen

Steps to take proper skinfold measurements:

  1. Identify which part of the body you will be taking the measurement. Take ALL measurements on the RIGHT side of the body. 
  2. Grasp the skinfold firmly with the thumb and index finger of the left hand
  3. Hold the calipers perpendicular to the site, place the pads of the calipers approximately 1-4 inches from the thumb and forefinger
  4. Approximately after 1-2 seconds after the trigger has been released, read the dial to the nearest 0.5mm
  5. A minimum of two measurements should be taken at each site with at least 15 seconds between the measurements to allow the fat to return to its normal thickness.
  6. Continue to take measurements until two measurements vary by less than 1 mm
Once finished you will want to do the calculations for fat weight and lean weight. 
Of course there are some pros and cons using this method, but for the most part personal trainers learn this method early on because it can be a decently accurate method if done correctly and efficiently. 
I’d say the con that seems to bother people the most is the fact they have to show their body in the first place — especially if they feel self conscious about their physique and/or weight, Most clients will not be a fan of this if they are self conscious / low self esteem/ modest/ or don’t like the feeling of the calipers pinching their skin. While the positive I have seen is, the fact clients then know where the majority of their fat stores inside their body. 
I think the important thing to take away from using this instrument is taking your time and being as precise as possible and being empathetic towards clients whom may not feel comfortable having their fat seen or pinched. Otherwise, I would say it is a great tool due to it being relatively inexpensive, and small enough it can be taken anywhere. 
Leave me comments if you are someone who has used skinfold measurements for yourself or others? 

Published by fitnessgrad

Hello! College graduate in exercise science and ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. My blog has all kinds of fun topics, something for everyone who is anyone that involves themselves with fitness. I like to think of fitness as a confidence booster, something to make us feel good and look good & pushes us to do things that make us feel more productive, unstoppable and stronger mentally and physically. My blog focuses on building people, and helping people see their true potential, while also sharing my journey with workouts, competing with powerlifting, and sharing how to's on workouts, so you step inside the gym with more knowledge. I don't know everything but I am on a voyage to build my character, my strength and work on my weaknesses --- with awesome people in my corner who support me and my goals. I plan on being your cheerleader, friend, coach and trainer all-in-one and most of all, I want to be your listener, the person who can listen and gain more knowledge about you and learn what makes fitness important to you; what's your why! (Your why will carry you to the finish line). It's important to have purpose for something, because you will need that purpose when you start to give up on yourself or want to quit. "Don't let the fire that guides you, dim" - Shay-lon Besides the fitness stuff, I reside in Ohio, love dogs and love pizza. Typical 26 year old trying to build an empire that brings out the best in others and makes me the best person I can be in all aspects in my life. Before I die, I want a reason to live, and I was given that reason each day I am able to wake up --- I have learned to not take life for granted and to explore as much as possible because to live with zero regrets would be fantastic! "I've conquered many things, but I still have much to learn about life, because nobody can know everything. & every battle is different" - Shay-lon

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