Body Composition Calculator for
a 3-Site Skin Fold Test

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This three site skinfold calculator and its visual instructions helps you to calculate body fat percentage using the "Jackson Pollock 3 caliper method."

This online body composition calculator will help you to calculate your body fat percentage when using a skin fold caliper. The body fat calculations are based on the *Jackson/Pollock 3-Site Caliper Method.

A skin fold test with a special skinfold caliper is considered to be the more accurate way to estimate body fat percentage than methods that use simple tape measurements.

If you don't have a skin fold caliper, I suggest you try the Military Body Fat Calculator instead, which only requires a tape measure and 2 or 3 body part measurements.

Or, if you do have a skin fold caliper but would prefer more than just 3 sites, feel free to use the 7-Site Skin Fold Test Calculator.

So with that, let's use the body composition calculator to calculate your body fat percentage.

Calculate Your Body Composition
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Instructions: Choose Standard or Metric, choose your gender, and enter your age and weight (in your chosen measurement). Next, take and enter three skinfold measurements for each site listed in the calculator, then click the "Calculate" button.

Clicking on the test site links in the body composition calculator will take you to pictures on this page showing how each skin fold test site is measured.

Mouse over the blue question marks for a further explanation of each entry field. More in-depth explanations can be found in the glossary of terms located just beneath the body composition calculator.

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Help for online body composition calculator: measurement Measurement:
Help for online body compostion calculator: gender Gender:
Help for online body composition calculator: age Age:
Help for online body composition calculator: weight Weight in pounds:
Female mm mm mm avg. mm
Help for online body composition calculator: tricep Tricep
Help for online body composition calculator: suprailiac Suprailiac
Help for online body composition calculator: thigh Thigh
Body Fat %
Pounds of Body Fat:
Pounds of Lean Body Weight:
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Body Composition Calculator Glossary of TermsCalcy magnifying glass

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Skin Fold Test: A method of estimating bodyfat percentage by taking skinfold caliper measurements in 3-9 different locations on the body, and then applying the results into one of the various formulas available. In order to get the best and most consistent measurements, all skinfold measurements should be taken on the same side (usually on the right side) and by the same person. Also, a minimum of two measurements should be taken at each location. If the two measurements differ by more than 2 millimeters, a third measurement should be taken. The body composition calculator then uses the average of the 2-3 measurements when making the calculations.

3-Site Body Composition Calculation: The formulas used for calculating the male and female percentages in the body composition calculator are as follows:

Male BF%=495/(1.10938-(0.0008267*s)+(0.0000016*s*s)-(0.0002574*a))-450
Female BF%=495/(1.089733-(0.0009245*s)+(0.0000025*s*s)-(0.0000979*a))-450
Variables s = sum of 3 skinfold mm, a = age

Bodyfat Percentage Categories: The American Council on Exercise lists the following bodyfat percentage categories:

Category Women Men
Essential fat 10% to 12% 2% to 4%
Athletes 14% to 20% 6% to 13%
Fitness 21% to 24% 14% to 17%
Acceptable 25% to 31% 18% to 25%
Obese 32% or higher 26% or higher

Body Composition Calculator Measurement Sites

Pectoral or Chest Site
Female Male
Female 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Chest Caliper Male 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Chest Caliper
Pectoral (Chest): The pinch is taken between the nipple and the armpit (axilla) but closer to the armpit, approximately 1/3 the distance. The skin fold is a diagonal one in the direction of the nipple-armpit line.
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Abdomen or Belly Site
Female Male
Female 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Abdomen Caliper Male 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Abdomen Caliper
Abdomen (Belly): A vertical or horizontal fold is taken 2 centimeters to the right of the bellybutton (umbilicus). The vertical pinch is mostly used as the fat folds easier with most people. Some might find the horizontal pinch to fold easier. Use the direction that allows the most comfortable measurement.
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Quadriceps or Thigh Site
Female Male
Female 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Thigh Caliper Male 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Thigh Caliper
Quadriceps (Thigh): The skin fold here should be taken in the front, halfway from the upper part of the knee (proximal patella, where it corners when the leg is bend) and the fold above the thigh when the leg is raised (inguinal fold). The vertical fold should be pinched a little harder as fat and skin tissue in this area tends to be somewhat firmer. The thigh skin fold may therefore overestimate fat content.
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Triceps Site
Female Male
Female 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Triceps Caliper Male 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Triceps Caliper
Triceps (Upper arm, back): Pinch a vertical skin fold halfway the upper arm. If you want to be more precise, use a tape between the bony top of the shoulder or acromiale (do not confuse it with the bony upper part of the shoulder blade!) and the most prominent tip of the elbow (radiale). Mark a dot or a horizontal line at half the measured distance, here’s where the vertical fat fold should be pinched. Face the hand palm forward.
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Suprailiac or Iliac Crest Site
Female Male
Female 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Suprailiac Caliper Male 3-Site Skin Fold Test: Suprailiac Caliper
Suprailiac or Iliac crest (Hip, front): This skin fold is right below the front or anterior part of the armpit (axilla). From here follow a vertical line until you hit the hipbone. The skin fold is an angled one (approx. 45° going up and away from the body) 2 centimeters right above the iliac crest. The fold spot should be between the top of the hipbone on the side and the bony part on the lower right of the belly, which is still the same hipbone.
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* Jackson, A.S. & Pollock, M.L. (1978) Generalized equations for predicting body density of men. British J of Nutrition, 40: p497-504.
* Jackson, et al. (1980) Generalized equations for predicting body density of women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 12:p175-182.

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