I've visited various websites about the 3-site skinfold test, but none seem to deal with my issue. I'm not exactly light (non-athletic 220 lb at 6'), and I'm trying to use fat percentage for my progress. However The sites I've read don't seem to clarify how much one's supposed to pinch. By starting my pinch an inch wider or narrower I can drastically alter the mm measurement the caliper records (+/-25% on the mm measurement), and I can't find any clear instructions as to how wide the pinch should be, leaving my numbers inaccurate.

I very well might be doing something entirely wrong, which I'm willing to correct, but I don't know what that is to fix it. I'm more than willing to give more detail if I can be directed towards what to provide.

The site that I found the most helpful (if a tad... goofy) is the following: http://www.free-online-calculator-use.com/body-composition-calculator.html

  • Related: how-to-calculate-body-fat-using-calipers – arober11 Apr 29 '15 at 16:43
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    It is nearly impossible to take an accurate skin caliper reading on yourself for limited site measurements. Some of the ones (such as subscapular, triceps) WILL be impossible on yourself. – JohnP Apr 29 '15 at 22:50

The Accumeasure gives good instructions on their site with an instruction manual and how to measure videos. They state to begin:

  • with your fingers about 2-3 inches apart

but it goes on to say that,

  • If the site contains a large amount of fat, you will need to increase the distance between your thumb and index finger in order to grasp and pull the fold

Depending on how large you are, skin calipers may not be the best way to begin tracking your body fat percentage because skin calipers are more accurate the thinner the skinfold. In which case using circumference measurements may be more accurate. Accumeasure's video labeled "All Sites" includes circumference measurements which you may find useful. Waist measurements and ratios are a good way to track early progress.

You may also be interested in other ways to measure your body fat percentage.

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    To add to this nice answer: When I was taught, we started with wide fingers and very mild pressure. Slide the fingers together in a pinching motion until they naturally stopped. Measure what remained between the fingers. It takes a bit of practice to get it smooth, but the more you practice the better the results get. – JohnP Apr 29 '15 at 22:45

Have you read the guide on the BrianMac site, or had a look at YouTube, or any ot the numerous guides downloadable from the web?

Personally I use the Android BioMetrIcs app, to record / plot / compare my details.

  • The guide on the referred site mentions nothing about how to actually grasp the fold. – JohnP Apr 29 '15 at 22:52
  • @JohnP "The assistant picks up the skinfold between the thumb and the index finger so as to include two thicknesses of the athlete’s skin and subcutaneous fatThe assistant locates the callipers about one centimetre from the fingers and at a depth equal to the thickness of the fold" – arober11 Apr 29 '15 at 22:56
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    And? How exactly do you pick up the skinfold? What's the technique? "Here's a barbell with 250 lbs loaded on it. Go ahead, pick it up." – JohnP Apr 29 '15 at 22:56
  • There are dozens of videos on Youtube that cover that. They're as easy to find as a 250lb bar bell is to pick up ;-) – arober11 Apr 29 '15 at 23:11
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    As it was put to me on another site, if we can't do better than google/youtube, we're just getting in the way. – JohnP Apr 30 '15 at 3:07

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