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  1. #1
    Registered User mzzxx11's Avatar
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    measuring body fat: calipers vs. electric gauges

    Im thinking of buying some kind of gauge to measure my body fat and there seem to be two main types: calipers which measure skin fold, and electronic ones which transmit an electric current through the body.

    Which one is more accurate? any recommendations on specific models?

    TIA
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    Registered User jordynsdaddy's Avatar
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    What you'll find is that almost everything besides hydrostatic weighing ( pretty sure that's what it's called hahahaha) is going to have a good amount of room for error. I was told by a physician that the electronic ones that you hold out in front of you can be as much as 8% depending on hydration levels. And if youre over 6'5 they dont work...(sad)The calipers can be fairly accurate if you know what youre doing.(I don't) I've just made it a yearly tradition to go get measured in a bod pod(which can be inaccurate if not calibrated correctly) it cost me 80 bucks, compared to a couple hundo for hydrostatic. Of you need to know constantly what your bf % is than I would suggest being trained to do measurements with the calipers, but for someone like me that just likes to see a yearly progress, I'd go spend some money and have a professional do it...
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  3. #3
    Registered User mzzxx11's Avatar
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    tnx. at a potential 8% error, electric gauges are pretty much useless, IMO.

    what is there to know about using calipers? basically, they just grip a skin fold, no?
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    I use a tape measure, a scale and a copy of the r600-9. I attached some of the relevant pages.
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    Registered User mzzxx11's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by morebarbell View Post
    I use a tape measure, a scale and a copy of the r600-9. I attached some of the relevant pages.
    tnx.

    but how accurate is this method? is it comparable to using a caliper?
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    Originally Posted by morebarbell View Post
    I use a tape measure, a scale and a copy of the r600-9. I attached some of the relevant pages.
    Aw, thanks, dude. This will come in handy until I can get some calipers. Much appreciated.
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  7. #7
    Registered User morebarbell's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mzzxx11 View Post
    tnx.

    but how accurate is this method? is it comparable to using a caliper?
    Air displacement plethysmography ("the pod") is a better measurement. Calculation from height and circumference is an estimate and the accuracy depends on a lot of things. As an example, if you have huge neck muscles, it will be biased toward a lower body fat percentage. Skinfold is also biased. It only measures subcutaneous fat (the fat directly under your skin). The good thing about skinfold is that smaller changes will be more noticeable. I wouldn't worry too much about which caliper you buy. The most important thing is consistency of the measurement. Use the same caliper each time and measure from the same locations each time. Also most people don't use the calipers correctly. You need to really grab the skin with it. You also need to measure from multiple locations -- there's usually instructions that come with the calipers. ....keep in mind that your body has some essential fat (around 5% if I recall correctly). 0% body fat would not be healthy.
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