A 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator is a tool that can accurately estimate your body fat percentage based on skinfold measurements taken from three different locations on the body and perhaps assess your level of health and fitness. The method was developed by Jackson & Pollock in the late 1970s and has since become one of the most extensively used techniques for determining body composition.
The main idea behind this technique is that by measuring skinfold thickness at specific locations, you can estimate how much subcutaneous fat (fat beneath the skin) a person has. This information can then be used to calculate overall body fat percentage using an equation that takes into account age, gender, and other factors.
A 3-Point Skin Fold Test is often performed with callipers, which are handheld equipment built specifically for taking these types of measurements. The test involves pinching and pulling together folds of skin located at specific points on the body.
This method is the most widely used in the fitness industry of all the other methods out there; it's free of cost and can give you a fairly precise measurement of your body composition (the standard error is 3.5%, depending on the equation used, compared to 2.7% error for a hydrostatically assessed measurement). It is also quite simple to carry out once the trainer has mastered the ability of pinching the skin and measuring it with skinfold callipers.
In this blog post, we will explore what the 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator is, how it works, and how to perform an accurate test. Prepare to learn everything there is to know about this popular way of assessing body fat.
3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator
How to Use The 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator
Using the 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator is a pretty straightforward process that requires a few basic steps. To get started, just follow the step-by-step instructions highlighted below.
Step 1: Begin by selecting your preferred unit of measurement: either in metric (kg) or imperial (lbs). We want to make sure you feel comfortable throughout the process.
Step 2: Select your gender, allowing us to provide you with accurate results tailored to your specific needs. We value diversity and provide options that suit everyone.
Step 3: Enter your weight, as this crucial input will aid in accurate calculations
Step 4: Type in your age in years. It's essential you input your correct age for better assessment of your result.
Step 5: Take precise skinfold measurements. For males, measure the chest, abdomen, and thigh. For females, focus on the triceps, thigh, and suprailiac. Input these values with care, as they contribute to the precision of the final outcome.
Step 6: With all the necessary details in place, hit the "Calculate" button. In an instant, the calculator will work its magic, providing you with valuable insights into your personalized body fat composition.
What is a 3-Point Skinfold Test?
A 3-Point Skinfold Test is a method used to estimate body fat percentage by measuring skinfold thickness with a calliper at three different locations on the body. This test is based on the principle that the amount of subcutaneous fat tissue, or adipose tissue, directly relates to total body fat.
The 3-point skinfold test measures skinfolds in common fat-storing areas such as: the pectoral, abdomen, and thigh for men, and the thigh, triceps, and suprailiac for women. These areas were chosen because they contain a significant amount of subcutaneous adipose tissue and are less influenced by changes in muscle mass.
The 3-Point Skinfold Test is easy to administer and does not require expensive equipment making it accessible for personal trainers, coaches or anyone interested in tracking their fitness progress.
How to Perform an Accurate 3-Point Skinfold Test
Performing a 3-point skin fold test to calculate body fat percentage requires precision and accuracy. Here's how to perform an accurate 3-point skinfold test:
Firstly, ensure that the person being tested is relaxed and has not exercised for at least an hour prior to the test. The tester should also make sure they have cleaned and dried their hands before beginning.
Next, locate the three common fat-storing sites where measurements will be taken: the chest, abdomen, and thigh for men, and the thigh, triceps, and suprailiac for women.
Some factors can affect these measurements making the calculations inaccurate. These factors include age, hydration, and firmness of the skin. Some people tend to have firmer skin, making it nearly impossible to pinch while for others, it's much easier. For those who possess a very firm skin, utilizing other options would be better.
For each skinfold zone, pinch the skin with your thumb and index finger while keeping it perpendicular to the muscle fibres beneath. Be sure to grasp enough tissue for an accurate measurement but not so much that you are including underlying muscle or bone.
Using callipers, take a reading of the thickness in millimeters at each site. Wait a few seconds between each measurement. Take three readings at each site and average them out for more accurate results. To ensure consistency, measurements should be taken on the right side of the body unless there is an injury or surgery that affects one side only.
It is important to note that results obtained from this calculation may not be as accurate as those obtained through more sophisticated methods such as hydrostatic weighing but it provides a reasonable approximation for most people.
Where to Take Skinfold Measurements
Knowing the precise locations to take skinfold measurements is key to obtaining accurate results.
Here's a breakdown of the measurement locations for both men and women:
Measurement Location for Men
- Pectoral (mm) - This measurement is taken just above the nipple, vertically in line with the armpit ensuring an accurate assessment of the chest area. Pinch the skinfold between the thumb and index finger to obtain an accurate reading
- Abdomen (mm) - For this measurement, pinch the skinfold vertically approximately one inch to the right side of the belly button to capture the thickness accurately.
- Thigh (mm) - For the thigh measurement, position the callipers halfway between the hip and knee, on the front of the thigh. Pinch the skinfold vertically to ensure precise results
Measurement Location for Women
- Tricep (mm) - The tricep measurement is taken on the back of the upper arm. Position the callipers halfway between the shoulder and elbow. Pinch the skinfold vertically to get an accurate reading.
- Suprailiac (mm) - To obtain this measurement, locate the site approximately 1-2 cm above the hip bone, in line with the natural angle of the iliac crest. Pinch the skinfold diagonally, ensuring a firm grip for an accurate measurement.
- Thigh (mm) - Similar to men, the thigh measurement for women is taken halfway between the hip and knee, on the front of the thigh. Pinch the skinfold vertically, ensuring a consistent grip to obtain precise results.
By taking accurate readings from each of these locations you can obtain an overall approximation of body fat percentage that will be useful when monitoring changes in health or weight loss goals over time.
3-Point Skinfold Body Fat Formula
The 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat Formula is used to calculate the percentage of body fat based on skinfold measurements taken from three specific areas of the body. This formula was developed by Arthur C. Jackson and Michael L. Pollock , two exercise physiologists who conducted extensive research on human anatomy and body composition.
Here are the formulas for both male and female below;
Formula for Male
Body Density = 1.10938 – (0.0008267 x sum of skinfolds) + (0.0000016 x square of the sum of skinfolds) – (0.0002574 x age)
Formula for Female
Body Density = 1.0994921 – (0.0009929 x sum of skinfolds) + (0.0000023 x square of the sum of skinfolds) – (0.0001392 x age)
After determining your body density, you can use it to calculate the body fat percentage using the Siri equation:
Body Fat Percentage = ((4.95 / body density) – 4.50) x 100
Body Fat Percentage Norms for Men and Women
The 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator created by Jackson & Pollock is an effective tool to measure body fat percentage. By following the steps outlined in this article and using the appropriate formula for your gender, you can get a fairly accurate estimate of your body fat percentage.
However, it's important to remember that no measurement method is perfect and there are always limitations to consider. Other factors such as hydration levels, age, fitness level, and overall health should also be taken into account when assessing body composition.
The 3-Point Skinfold Body Fat calculator can be a useful tool for tracking changes in body composition over time and setting realistic goals for weight loss or muscle gain. Just remember to use it as part of a comprehensive approach to health and wellness that includes regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and self-care practices.