Simple Ways To Test Your Body Fat Percentage

By Paul Becker

Copyright © 2008 by Paul Becker.

When losing fat it is important to know, not just how much weight you are losing, but how much of your body is muscle and how much is fat. You want to lose fat while maintaining or even building muscle. So, you need some way to keep track of your body fat percentage.

The following are two simple methods to determine current body fat percentage and lean mass percentage.

Method Number One

For this test you will need someone’s help and a ruler that reads in millimeters (mm).

Step 1 – Hang your right arm at your side and have someone find the point halfway between your shoulder and elbow, on the rear (triceps side) of your arm.

Step 2 – With his/her thumb and forefinger have him/her pinch a fold of skin and fat away from the muscle.

Step 3 – Have him/her measure the thickness of the skin pinched. (Do not rest the ruler against the skin.)

Step 4 – Have him/her do steps 2 and 3 several times and get the average reading.

Step 5 – Find your body fat percentage by using the chart below.

Fat Percentage Chart

Skin Fold Thickness In MM = % for Men & Women

6mm = 5-9% for men

6mm = 8-13% for women

13mm = 9-13% for men

13mm = 13-18% for women

19mm = 13-18% for men

19mm = 18-23% for women

25mm = 18-22% for men

25mm = 23-28% for women

38mm = 22-27% for men

38mm = 28-33% for women

Method Number Two

This test requires a scale and a tape measure. Do the following calculations:

For Men

Lean body weight = 94.42 + 1.082 (nude weight in pounds) – 4.15 (waist girth around bellybutton in inches)


Body fat (%) = bodyweight – lean bodyweight x 100/bodyweight

For Women

Lean body weight = 8.987 + 0.732 (weight in kilograms) + 3.786 (wrist diameter in centimeters) + 0.434 (forearm circumference in centimeters)


Body fat (%) = bodyweight – lean bodyweight x 100/bodyweight


To convert pounds to kilograms divide by 2.2

To convert inches to centimeters divide by 0.394

Divide circumference by 3.14 (pi) to get diameter.

About The Author: Paul Becker is a natural (steroid free for life) bodybuilder and fitness consultant. For more information on Bodybuilding and Bodybuilding Supplements visit his website at

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