Body Fat Calipers

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Body fat calipers take a different approach to measuring than do body fat scales. Calipers are hand-held devices that calculate the percentage of body fat, but they do not deal with body mass index (BMI). These devices allow you to determine your percentage in privacy with a simple skin fold test in several areas that is used to compute the percentage of fat.

The usual recommendation--especially for beginners--is to test in three areas: upper and lower body, and midsection. The best calipers take measurements down to one mm, and do not require you to consult charts and tables. They automatically calculate body fat and often several other factors, such as fitness level, without putting the user through any extra steps. Most body fat calipers are not simply "pinchers," but have many features that assist you in getting accurate measurements with these exercise accessories.

Features of Body Fat Calipers

Some calipers are self-calibrating to ensure accuracy over a period of time so readings give an indication of progress. A convenient feature is a beep that signals that you are using the proper amount of pressure. For each of the measuring spots, the caliper provides the minimum and maximum readings so the user can develop measuring skills.

User manuals are always helpful, and some calipers go farther by including instructions on how to better your measuring ability. If you want a lot of features, they are available in many good body fat calipers. Some even store three personal profiles, and offer fitness ratings using gender, age, and body fat percentage.

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