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Chapters 2 & 9~ Body Composition Explained
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Chapters 2 & 9~ Body Composition Explained


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  • 2. Pre-test and site location:
    • Weigh the participant on scale with shoes off. Record weight to nearest 0.1 lb
    • Measure and mark the 3 skin fold sites using location instruction below. Be sure to mark on RIGHT side of body.
    • Men: Chest, Abdomen, Thigh Women: Triceps, Supraillium, Thigh
    • Skin fold sites and descriptions:
    • Abdominal : Vertical fold 2 cm to right of umbilicus (men only).
    • Triceps : Vertical fold on posterior midline of arm, halfway between acromion and olecranon processes. Arm should be held freely at side of body (women only).
    • Chest : Diagonal fold one-half distance between anterior axillary line and nipple (men only)
    • Suprailiac : diagonal fold (45 degree angle) in line with natural line of iliac crest, taken at anterior axillary line immediately superior to iliac crest (women only).
    • Thigh : Vertical fold on anterior midline of thigh, midway between proximal border of patella and inguinal crease (men and women).
  • 3. Figure 1. Anatomical site location
    • Data Collection Procedures:
    • Pinch site with your left thumb and forefinger. Roll to ensure you have only skin and subcutaneous tissue.
    • Hold calipers in your right hand, open the jaws, and place heads 1 cm away from your pinch. Placement should be ‘as deep as the pinch is wide’.
    • Maintain the pinch with your finger and thumb as you allow caliper reading to stabilize.
    • Read within 1-2 seconds – no longer
    • Record measurement to nearest 0.5 mm
    • Rotate through the sites to allow skin to stabilize
    • Take duplicate measurements at each site. If readings are more than 1 mm apart, take a third measurement, and record.
    Suprailiac Triceps Abdomen (but use vertical fold!) Thigh Chest
  • 4. Data Reduction and Consultation Procedures:
    • Enter all skin fold measurements into excel spreadsheet.
    • The program uses the Jackson and Pollock equations for men and women and calculates percent fat, fat weight and fat-free weight.
    • Record the percentage body fat, fat weight and fat-free weight on the form in the space provided. Refer to TABLE 1 (ACSM tables 4-3 and 4-4) for norms (percentile rank) and standards (risk stratification). Record this information on the form.
    • Discuss with your participant his/her results and body composition goals.
    • Determine a range for goal percentage body fat. If a subject is currently at the 50th percentile, you might suggest the percentage fat equivalent to the 60th percentile.
    • Calculate a range of goal weight based on the goal percentage body fat, using the following formula. Noah can enter this formula on the excel spreadsheet as well.
    • Goal body weight = Fat-free weight / (1.0 – goal % fat as decimal)
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