When one considers the emphasis many place on achieving their best possible shape physically, it is no surprise the supplement and training industries are booming. There are many approaches to getting, and staying, in shape, with the majority of these revolving around diets and training plans.
However, to achieve superior conditioning, many turn to new and innovative ways to measure their progress. Body-fat measurement has for some time been considered an ideal way to chart physical improvement, with various skin-fold techniques generally considered the most convenient, accessible and cost-effective way.
Indeed, the measurements taken from a skin-fold body-fat test, provide a very good indication of ones body-fat levels. Skin-fold measurements can be converted into a percentage, which can be compared to various norms, and improvements in diet and/or training intensity can subsequently be made to further strip body-fat, to meet physical objectives.
Although a good way in which to chart progress, it should be said that calipers cannot be totally accurate. In fact, in some circles it is thought that skin-fold measurements, not body-fat percentage, will provide greater accuracy when monitoring changes. Rob Thoburn, scientific advisor for BSN nutrition, remembers using calipers in exactly this way.
"I was working for a supplement company several years ago and a group of us guys in R&D would have these in-house body fat competitions.
"We would measure ourselves with calipers. We wouldn't use any complicated formula to figure out our body fat percentage. We simply added up the measurements we got with the calipers on different locations in the body.
Below are some caliper options available to the general public.
The caliper measurement options reviewed below are generally regarded as the best available, as they are easy to use and scientifically tested. As body-fat measurement technology has progressed, calipers have also improved in a variety of ways.
Accu-Measure Personal Body-Fat Tester
These, along with Fat-track Gold, are the only calipers that allow one to self-test, making them possibly the most efficient; provided the tester follows the correct procedures.
Other types of calipers generally require the services of a qualified professional as they more complex to use, and, as a result, there is a greater possibility for error if self-testing.
Fat-Track Gold, Body-Fat Tester
The latest technology in body-fat testing, Fat-track gold allows for self-testing in seconds. They are also easy to use, digital accuracy.
Recommended by publications, Oxygen, Physical, Shape, Ironman, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Max Sports & Fitness, American Health and Fitness, IDEA Personal Trainer, and Natural Muscle, Fat-track Gold could be the most effective caliper testing method yet.
Harpenden Skin-Fold Calipers
The Harpenden skin-fold caliper has been a standard research caliper for many years. Many of the tables used to determine body-fat percentage, and data regarding fat tests, have been provided using the Harpenden.
The Harpenden, valued at over $400, is touted as the most accurate skin-fold caliper in existence as it can be read to the nearest 0.1 mm, and can measure up to 55 mm.
- Highest quality.
- A standard research tool.
Lafayette Skin-Fold Calipers
These calipers are also purportedly very accurate. In fact, they were designed by the co-author of the widely used Jackson-Pollock skin-fold formulas, Dr Andrew S. Jackson.
The measurement range with these calipers is 0-100mm, double that of the Harpenden model. Lafayette's unique skin-fold design also has an adjustable zero-point which allows one to reset the pointer back to zero.
- Features floating tips for parallel measurements and a large, easy to read dial.
- Delivers a constant pressure of 10 gm/mm2 which is necessary for the Jackson-Pollock skin-fold equations.
Among the most expensive, the Lange caliper is said to be the best selling professional caliper ever made. They are though to be the most direct, simple and accurate method for estimating leanness-fatness is measuring the thickness of skin-folds by constant-tension calipers.
- Accurate to + or - 1mm.
- Tips pivot automatically for parallel measurement.
- Easy to read scale up to 60 mm.
- All critical pivot points utilize low friction bearings.
- Spring loaded leavers provide a substantially constant standard pressure.
Example Of How Fat-Track Gold Calipers Work
In order to gauge the preciseness of the latest in skin-fold technology, the Fat-track Gold body-fat tester, a subject was chosen and tests were taken. The results were accurate, as outlined below.
Subject: Natalie Robson.
|Natalie Robson Fat-Track Gold Calipers Tests|
Results showed a very low percentage of body-fat, according to the universally used Jackson and Pollock table.
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