Tracking progress in your fitness program is an important tool of motivation. Several measures are available, including GPS distance trackers, heart rate monitors, weight scales, and body fat calipers. When you have specific goals, whether for athletic performance or related to a health condition, accurate measurements let you know you're exercising effectively.
One of the more useful measurements is the percentage of body fat. It is understood that higher percentages of body fat increase the severity of symptoms associated with chronic disease and increase the risk of diagnosis. An effective exercise routine should decrease the percentage of body fat. You can accurately monitor progress with body fat calipers. Learn how to use them and the different types of calipers.
This tool is also called skin fold calipers. It is applied to four specific regions of the body for measurements, which are then averaged for your total body fat percentage. Due to the location of measurement sites, you will need a friend to help with the use of manual calipers. For the two arm measurements, you'll need to squeeze the skin vertically on the back and front of the arms and apply body fat calipers. The tip of the shoulder blade closest to the spine must be squeezed diagonally for the third measurement. The fourth measure is horizontal on the waist.
The skin must be held firmly to ensure the reading is only taken for the skin fold. Wait several seconds for the calipers to rest on the reading. Apply pressure to the calipers during this time, and not the reading before releasing pressure.
Digital Body Fat Calipers
Digital calipers take the guesswork out of applying pressure, so your friend doesn't have to be a personal trainer for accurate readings. The same basic rules apply to taking readings with digital calipers.
Once you have the four readings, they should be added together. The total is then used to find your body fat percentage on the calculation chart. There are different charts for males and females. Monitor your progress regularly for exercise motivation with digital or manual body fat calipers.