Skinfold Body Fat Calculator

Created by Mariamy Chrdileli
Reviewed by Anna Szczepanek, PhD and Adena Benn
Last updated: Aug 19, 2022

Welcome to the Omni skinfold body fat calculator, a convenient tool that will help you calculate your body fat percentage using a skinfold test. Did you know that body fat percentage is an excellent indicator of your physical fitness? Whether you're an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or just a curious mind, come along, and learn how to calculate body fat using a skinfold caliper!

Some of the critical questions you will get clear answers to are:

  • What are skinfolds, and how do I measure them?
  • How do I use body fat calipers?
  • What is a skinfold test?
  • How do I calculate body fat percentage from skinfolds using Durnin and Womersley method?
  • How does our 4 skinfold body fat calculator work?
  • What are alternative methods for measuring body fat percentage? And more! 💪

Skinfold test and body fat

There are three types of body fat:

  1. Subcutaneous fat, stored right below our skin;
  2. Intramuscular fat, located inside the muscle; and
  3. Internal fat, which is around our internal organs and serves as a protective shield.

If you were to pinch your skin at certain places (e.g., tricep, bicep) and measure the fold, you would be measuring subcutaneous fat stored below your skin. This type of skinfold test is a reasonably accurate body fat calculation technique and can help you observe changes in your body fat percentage over time.

How do I measure skinfolds?

An image of skinfold measurement with a body fat caliper

You can measure your skinfolds using a caliper, a device utilized to measure an object's thickness or diameter. To take skinfold measurements with a body fat caliper, follow the listed steps:

  1. Pinch the skin at the location of your choice using your thumb and index finger of your one hand.
  2. Gently pull the skin away from the muscle; the fold should be around 1 centimeter (0.39 inch) above the spot.
  3. Keep the fold elevated, and with your opposite hand, ​put the caliper​ perpendicular to the fold, close to your fingers.
  4. Compress the caliper and measure the thickness of the fold while maintaining the pinch (it is best to wait for 2 seconds before reading the measurements).
  5. Note the results, and take another measurement at the same spot, no further than 2 millimeters away, for accurate measurements.

Now that you know how to use a caliper, you're probably wondering which measurement sites are appropriate for skinfold measurements. Keep on reading to learn about the skinfold measurement sites!

Skinfold measurement sites for determining body fat percentage

Some of the skinfold measurement locations include:

  • Tricep – you can take the tricep measurement from halfway between the bony tip of the shoulder and the elbow. Note that tricep measurement requires a vertical skinfold.
  • Bicep – the bicep measurement site is located halfway between the bony tip of the shoulder and the elbow, right over the bicep muscle. Similar to the tricep skinfold, the bicep skinfold is also vertical.
  • Subscapular – you can take the subscapular measurement at the bottom part of the shoulder blade. The skinfold should be at 45 degrees, facing away from the body.
  • Suprailiac – you can locate the suprailiac measurement site at the top of the hipbone, more specifically, by following a vertical line from the front part of the armpit down to the hipbone. Similar to the subscapular measurement, the skinfold should be at 45 degrees.

How to calculate body fat using skinfold caliper

To calculate your body fat using a skinfold caliper, according to the Durnin-Womersley approach:

  • First, measure the tricep, bicep, subscapular, and suprailiac skinfolds in millimeters, following the instructions above.
  • Then, calculate your body density using the equation below that corresponds to your age and gender.

Equations for men:

Age

Equation

Younger than 17

D = 1.1533 – (0.0643 * L)

17-19

D = 1.1620 – (0.0630 * L)

20-29

D = 1.1631 – (0.0632 * L)

30-39

D = 1.1422 – (0.0544 * L)

40-49

D = 1.1620 – (0.0700 * L)

Older than 50

D = 1.1715 – (0.0779 * L)

Equations for women:

Age

Equation

Younger than 17

D = 1.1369 – (0.0598 * L)

17-19

D = 1.1549 – (0.0678 * L)

20-29

D = 1.1599 – (0.0717 * L)

30-39

D = 1.1423 – (0.0632 * L)

40-49

D = 1.1333 – (0.0612 * L)

Older than 50

D = 1.1339 – (0.0645 * L)

where

  • D – Body density; and
  • L – Log base 10 of the sum of skinfolds.

After you calculate your body density, use the following formula to calculate the body fat percentage:

Body Fat Percentage (%) = (495 / Body Density) - 450

Sounds cumbersome? Don't worry; the Omni 4 skinfold body fat calculator will do all the calculations for you! Keep on reading to find out how this magic tool works.

How does the skinfold body fat calculator work?

Now that you know how to calculate body fat percentage from skinfolds, let's discuss how the skinfold body fat calculator works, even though it is super straightforward!

To determine your body fat percentage, you must enter your gender, age, and skinfold measurements of the tricep, bicep, subscapular, and suprailiac. Our body fat caliper calculator will perform calculations for you and determine your body fat percentage.

Also, don't forget to change units of measurement as per your convenience.

FAQ

What is a skinfold test?

The skinfold test is one of the methods for determining body fat percentage. To perform a skinfold test, you will need a skinfold caliper, a device used to measure an object's thickness, in this case, a skinfold. The triceps site is the most common measurement site for the skinfold test.

How do I calculate a body fat percentage of a 28-year-old female?

To calculate the body fat percentage as per the Durnin-Womersley approach, you should follow these steps:

  1. Measure the tricep, bicep, subscapular, and suprailiac skinfolds in millimeters, using the caliper.
  2. Calculate the log of the sum of skinfolds.
  3. Calculate body density by multiplying the log of the sum of skinfolds by 0.0717, and subtracting the computed number from 1.1599.
  4. Divide 495 by the number calculated in Step 3 (body density), and substruct 450.
  5. That's all! You have calculated the body fat percentage.

Is Durnin-Womersley body fat measurement method accurate?

The skinfold test, the Durnin-Womersley body fat measurement method, is a relatively accurate measure of body fat percentage. Although, keep in mind that the skinfold test requires at least some knowledge of anatomy and can be uncomfortable for some people due to pinching the skinfolds.

What are the different methods of measuring body fat percentage?

Some of the methods for measuring body fat percentage are:

  • Body circumference measurement is a convenient way to determine your body fat percentage. Measure your neck, waist, and hips if you are a woman. If you are a man, measure your neck and waist. Next, utilize the appropriate body circumference measurement formula according to your gender.
  • Air displacement plethysmography (ADP) measures your body fat percentage based on your density while sitting in an enclosed chamber.
  • Ultrasound is a reliable way to estimate body fat and muscle mass.
Mariamy Chrdileli
Gender
Male
Age
<17
To learn more about skinfold measurement sites, click here.
an image of skinfold measurement sites
Bicep measurement
mm
Subscapular measurement
mm
Suprailiac measurement
mm
Tricep measurement
mm
Body fat percentage (%)
%
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