Skinfold Procedures

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Skinfold image from Trainer ClipArt

  • Measurements should be made on the right side of the body
  • Caliper should be placed 1-2 cm away from the thumb and finger
    • perpendicular to the skin fold
    • halfway between the crest and the base of the fold
  • Release the caliper lever so its spring tension is exerted on the skinfold
  • Maintained pinch while reading caliper
  • Read dial on caliper
    • Between 1 to 2 seconds after lever has been released
    • Nearest 0.5 mm
      • ACSM: nearest mm
  • Take duplicate measures at each site
    • ExRx.net (traditional method)
      • If second measurement is not the same (mode) take third.
      • If no 2 measurements are the same, take middle one (median)
    • ACSM
      • If within 1 or 2 mm take average
      • If not within 1 or 2 mm take 3rd measurement.
      • If still no match, then take average of 2 closest measurements.
    • NSCA
      • 2 or 3 measurements
      • 4th measurement if more that 3 millimeter difference betwee readings
      • Average each site
  • Rotate through measurement sites
    • allows time for skin and underlying fat to regain normal thickness

ACSM (2013) ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. (See in ExRx.net Store)

NSCA (2012) NSCA's Guide to Tests and Assessment. (See in ExRx.net Store)


7 Site Skinfold Measurements

  •  Male & Female
    • Triceps
    • Chest/Pectoral
    • Midaxillary
    • Subscapular
    • Suprailiac
    • Abdominal
    • Thigh

3 Site Skinfold Measurements

  •  Male
    • Chest
    • Abdomen
    • Thigh
  • Women
    • Triceps
    • Suprailium
    • Thigh


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