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  1. #1
    Registered User kmorrissey's Avatar
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    body fat calipers. 4-site or 7-site?

    I typically use the 4-site body fat caliper test on my clients. However this evening I've been playing around with the 7-site test. On me there was a huge difference. The 4-site puts me at 23-4% and the 7-site puts me at 16.6%! This seems like way too big a gap for both to be of the same accuracy. Which do you find to be more accurate when testing clients or yourself for body fat, the 4 site (bi, tri, subscap, suprailliac) or the 7 site (bi, tri, ab, subscap, suprailliac, quad, pec)?? Or is there a different test you prefer?
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  2. #2
    Tree killer Calhexas's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kmorrissey View Post
    I typically use the 4-site body fat caliper test on my clients. However this evening I've been playing around with the 7-site test. On me there was a huge difference. The 4-site puts me at 23-4% and the 7-site puts me at 16.6%! This seems like way too big a gap for both to be of the same accuracy. Which do you find to be more accurate when testing clients or yourself for body fat, the 4 site (bi, tri, subscap, suprailliac) or the 7 site (bi, tri, ab, subscap, suprailliac, quad, pec)?? Or is there a different test you prefer?
    I say as many as possible. Skinfolds assume that the fat is distributed equally all over the body, so the more sites you measure and factor in, the more variability you get.

    We did my 3-site in exercise phys lab...I am definitely not 6-7.7% bodyfat.

    Just sayin.

    I'd do the 7.
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  3. #3
    Registered User cnparong's Avatar
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    don't mean to steal your thread...

    But i posted a similar question and wasn't successful with a response. Also, what chart are you using to show how to interpret the results? Like how many mm. equal body fat% Can i use the insert that i got from my accumeasure and use it for different sites?
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  4. #4
    Registered User frozen1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Calhexas View Post
    I say as many as possible. Skinfolds assume that the fat is distributed equally all over the body, so the more sites you measure and factor in, the more variability you get.
    Agreed - more is better. I think it balances out errant individual readings and more accurately accounts for personal variances in where someone stores/loses fat.
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  5. #5
    Registered User jake777's Avatar
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    i find the equations hard so just keep note of the skinfold measurements and . then work out bmi and waist to hip ratio

    but i take quite a few

    7 or more i follow a chart
    i want meaty traps
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  6. #6
    Pudgy Limping Moderator ctgblue's Avatar
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    I do a 5 site (tri, ab, suprailliac, quad, pec)

    Most of the time caliper readings will be skewed, but they are generall accurate against themselves.

    IE.. I carry all my fat around the midsection. because of this, my tri's, quads, and pecs have very small readings, my wiast has the larger, but it will skew the % off by about 4% low. I know I'm 13-14 and it says 9.6. But when it says I lost 3%, I usually did. The lower my bf % is, the more accurate the readings are.
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  7. #7
    Registered User flexapeal's Avatar
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    Take all measurements on the right side of the body. If the client is obese it is not recommended to take skinfold measurements. Do not take measurements after physical activity or when overheated. The added fluid under the skin may increase skinfold thickness. Always take the readings at the same time of the day. If you are female, avoid measuring during the menstrual cycle. The site you will use for skinfold measurement is the suprailliac, which is located approximately one inch above your right hipbone and move up one inch. Practice until you get consistent results.
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  8. #8
    Like a fiddle -Ironside-'s Avatar
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    More is better and I agree with calhexas, I've seen woman with 6 packs and flags on their arms that would not go away.

    CTG, That's the one I used to use, do you have the chart for it?
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  9. #9
    The Grato Nato bb24's Avatar
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    More is not necessarily better. At least three certifying groups I know of have a 3-site test (it's the Jackson Pollock), which is quite credible. I don't think the difference should necessarily be in how many sites you use, but with the chart that you use and how you measure. Bodyfat is something that can't 100% be measured by calipers anyway, so you're always going to be looking at a range. Try the 3,4,5, or 7 site test again and see if you get similar results. It may a difference in how you're pinching. Remember that different sites can be easier or harder to pinch.

    What test you use will also depend on if you're pinching a male or a female.

    Just my thoughts.
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  10. #10
    Registered User joshrider's Avatar
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    1. Skinfold testing isn't that accurate. Errors of +/- 5% bodyfat are typical.

    2. The more sites tested (12 is usually the most), the more accurate the reading.

    3. You need tons of experience and truly proper instruction in testing bodyfat percentage with calipers before I'd personally take your numbers seriously. If you haven't had true and repeated formal instruction on how to perform bodyfat caliper tests and haven't done the process 100s of times, your accuracy is probably not that good no matter what.
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  11. #11
    Registered User flexapeal's Avatar
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    Nah, skin fold test are easy and accurate if done correctly. Keep taking readings til you come up with a consistent reading. If you truly want to know the correct body fat percentage you need to use a water tank.
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  12. #12
    Registered User joshrider's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by flexapeal View Post
    Nah, skin fold test are easy and accurate if done correctly. Keep taking readings til you come up with a consistent reading. If you truly want to know the correct body fat percentage you need to use a water tank.

    Or a DEXA scan, which is even known to be more accurate in some instances than the old standard that you mention.
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  13. #13
    Registered User nickmanzoni's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by flexapeal View Post
    Nah, skin fold test are easy and accurate if done correctly. Keep taking readings til you come up with a consistent reading. If you truly want to know the correct body fat percentage you need to use a water tank.
    You're right, if they are done correctly.

    More sites= more chance for human error

    less sites= less likely to have a good understanding of the clients body make-up. (NOT PAINT you jerks <~~~~~ only attempt at emoticon EVER)
    I would've lied if I told you this was easy.

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  14. #14
    The Grato Nato bb24's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by nickmanzoni View Post
    You're right, if they are done correctly.

    More sites= more chance for human error

    less sites= less likely to have a good understanding of the clients body make-up. (NOT PAINT you jerks <~~~~~ only attempt at emoticon EVER)

    As with everything else we do, it's all about balance and consistency. There will never be a 100% accurate reading unless done in a physiology lab, and even then there's a chance for measurement error.
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  15. #15
    Becoming a Spartan L-Mendes's Avatar
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    Until you do Charles Poliquins Biosignature Course, don't waste your time pinching. There are 12 sites not 4 or 7 or 3...
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