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  1. #1
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    Bodyfat caliper question

    ok, I KNOW these things are wildly inaccurate when you don't know what you're doing, but I picked some up anyway in the hopes of being able to track trends over time. So, after three measurements, and taking into account the 4% margin of error, I now know my bodyfat percentage to be somewhere between 9 and 24%.

    Does anyone else use these? When you pinch the skin and take the measurement, do you press the calipers together firmly at the chosen location before taking the reading, or do you simply rest the calipers lightly on the surface of the skin and take the reading there? Obviously, it makes a huge difference, but my manual fails to clarify that point...

  2. #2
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deolmstead
    ok, I KNOW these things are wildly inaccurate when you don't know what you're doing, but I picked some up anyway in the hopes of being able to track trends over time. So, after three measurements, and taking into account the 4% margin of error, I now know my bodyfat percentage to be somewhere between 9 and 24%.

    Does anyone else use these? When you pinch the skin and take the measurement, do you press the calipers together firmly at the chosen location before taking the reading, or do you simply rest the calipers lightly on the surface of the skin and take the reading there? Obviously, it makes a huge difference, but my manual fails to clarify that point...

    I have used them. The ones I have click at a certain pressure so I stop when I hear the click. I don't regard them as being accurate, but if I do it the same way each time I think it can tell me if I'm gaining or losing fat. That's about all I would rely on them for, but you can probably get the same thing from a mirror and the fit of your clothes.

    Dan
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
    2006 Trek Pilot 1.2

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
    Bertrand Russell

  3. #3
    Recumbent Ninja
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    it takes a while to get decent at using them, and even then it doesn't mean much. You're better off taking measurements of neck, chest, waist, butt, thigh, and whatever else you want and tracking that.

  4. #4
    Moto gp dokie's Avatar
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    the calipers i have have little arrows that you have to line up that tell you the correct pressure. you should not rest it on the skin or press firm it should be somewhere in the middle.

    also the way you grab the fat matters, for example when using them on your belly you have to mesure the fold verticaly. and the chest is horisontaly.

  5. #5
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    If you are careful to use the calipers the same way each time, they are good at showing trends, but without training they aren't very good at an absolute measure.

    My Tanita scale measures body fat through impedence (which I think is about as good as calipers, which isn't great), and it's very sensitive to hydration.

    There are water and air displacement methods that are considered the "gold standard" for body fat (and a weird new x-ray one that showed up recently).
    Eric

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