What are important body composition measurements for personal trainers?

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ExecutiveChronicles.com | What are important body composition measurements for personal trainers? | A client’s starting body fat percentage is very important information for a personal trainer to have. Fat reduction is most often the client’s primary goal and the analysis can be used when discussing progress with the client.

Body fat testing can be performed in a number of different ways:

Skil fold calliper measurements

This involves measuring a client’s subcutaneous fat by calculating the size of the skin folds. Most personal trainers do not have a laboratory at their disposal which means that skinfold calliper body fat testing is the preferred and most common method of testing the fat of the clients.

When conducting this test, the personal trainer must be consistent with the exact areas of the skin fold measured as well as the condition of administering the text. For example, if the test is taken after the client’s workout, the timing must remain consistent when carrying out any figure tests with the client.

The Durnin-Womersley test is used when the timing must remain consistent when calculating the client’s body fat. All tests should be conducted on the right side of the body as this is the standard which has been established.

Here’s how to conduct the skin fold calliper test on different parts of the human body:

  • Biceps: a vertical fold on the front aspect of the client’s arm over the biceps, halfway between the shoulder and the elbow.
  • Triceps: A vertical fold on the back aspect of the client’s upper arm. The arm must be relaxed and held freely to the side of the body. The test must be done halfway between the shoulder and the elbow.
  • Subscapular: a 45-degree fold of between 1 and 2 cm between the inferior angles of the media to the auxiliary line.
  • Chest: A perpendicular fold with the line of the pectoralis major.
  • Abdominal: a vertical fold taken at about one to two fingers’ width beside the belly button.
  • Thigh: a vertical fold in between the knee and hip
  • Suprailiac: a fold in the same direction as a V-line(line of the inguinal ligament on the anterior superior lilac spine (ASIS)
  • Calf: a vertical fold in between the knee and ankle on the medial gastrocnemius
  • Lower back: a horizontal fold on the posterior superior iliac spine where erector spinae arise.

To calculate percentages, make use of the following equation: 

  • Males (0.105 x sum of calliper measurement ) + 2.585
  • Females: (0.1545 x calliper measurement) x 3.850

What are bioelectrical impedance measurements?

In bioelectrical independence measurements, an electrical current is sent through the body to measure fat. It is based on the hypothesis that tissue which is high in water content conducts electrical currents with less resistance than those with little water.

What does underwater weighing accomplish?

Underwater weighing determines the portion of fat to lean tissue. Lean tissue is denser than fat it. This means that the leaner the person is the more he or she will weigh underwater.

What’s the purpose of circumference measurements?

Circumference measurements can be another way of feedback for clients who are wanting to change their body composition. Being consistent with this test on a monthly or weekly basis is important. When taking measurements, make sure that the tape measure is taut and level around the measured areas.

Irrespective of which metric you go with, resist the urge to test every week. Results take time so encourage new clients to wait for at least six to eight weeks prior to re-measuring their body fat percentage. This is because at first, you want them to focus on implementing good fitness habits and noticing how they feel. 

Regarding which testing procedure to try, find a one that works for you and stick with it although bioelectrical impedance and skin callipers tend to be slightly less accurate as opposed to more high-tech methods such as underwater weighing. Nevertheless, they can still be an incredibly useful tool.