Calculate body fat percentage

Hydrostatic weighing

The body fat percentage can be measured or calculated by a variety of methods. However, not all procedures are exactly the same. The most accurate method is hydrostatic weighing in which the body weight is measured under water and, in addition, the amount of water displaced is recorded. Since the method is very complex and expensive, it is only relatively rarely used.

For home use or body fat determination in the gym Caliper (body fat forceps) or body fat wagon are often used. Especially body fat trucks provide - depending on the model - but not always accurate values.

Determine body fat with a caliper

In calipometry, the thickness of the skin fold is determined by means of a vernier caliper. The thicker the skin folds, the higher the body fat percentage. For the results to be as accurate as possible, the examination should always be performed by the same person. In addition, it is recommended to measure each skin fold three times and then form the mean. However, the measurement results are never quite accurate, as the body fat percentage of a few measurement points is extrapolated to the entire body.

A Caliper, in contrast to electrical measuring methods has the advantage that it can not be distorted by the consumption of beverages such as coffee or alcohol. Also the time of the measurement - before or after the training - does not matter. Because the subcutaneous fatty tissue can not build up or break down so fast.

Skinfold measurement for men and women

To get the most accurate results possible, men and women should measure their skin in at least three places with the Caliper.


  • Chest: Make a crease in the middle between the chest and the armpit. The fold should follow the direction of the large pectoral muscle.
  • Belly: Form a vertical crease two to three centimeters from the belly button.
  • Thighs: Make a longitudinal fold on the front of the thigh, preferably in the middle.


  • Upper arm: Form a fold longitudinally on the back of the upper arm.
  • Belly: Form a vertical crease two to three centimeters from the belly button.
  • Hip: Form over the hip bone a fold at 30 degrees angle.

Determine body fat with a body fat scale

Body fat carts determine the body's fat content by channeling low current through the body. This method is called bio-impedance analysis. The body fat percentage can then be calculated using the electrical resistance that is measured. Fat conducts electricity less well than muscle, so it has a higher resistance.

However, many scales do not provide accurate results because they do not measure the whole body, but often only the lower part. The dangerous belly fat is usually only detected by such scales, which in addition to the electrodes on the feet additionally have two hand sensors.

In a body fat scale, the measurement result can be influenced by a variety of factors, such as wet feet, a creamy skin or a full bladder. Since the current flows better through the body in these cases, the result can be up to 30 percent too low. If you want to determine your body fat percentage exactly, it is best to make an appointment with a doctor.

Calculate the body fat percentage

It is not possible to calculate the body fat percentage in this way - without any measuring device. Although there are some formulas, but with these body fat can be determined only relatively inaccurate. In some computers, for example, the waist circumference is set in relation to the body weight. However, the abdominal girth does not allow a reliable statement about the relationship of fat and muscle in the body.

In the so-called US Navy method for the calculation in addition to the waist circumference still the hip circumference, the neck circumference and the body size are used. The body weight, however, is not included in the calculation. Again, the calculation can make no statements about the relationship of fat and muscle.

Body Fat Table

Which body fat percentage is normal depends, among other things, on gender, age and physique. In general, the body fat percentage in women is significantly higher than in men. With increasing age, the body fat percentage also increases as the muscle mass decreases. The following two tables provide an overview of the ideal body fat percentage in men and women. The information is in each case in percent.

Body Fat Table for women

Age in years ideal normal Too high
20-2422.125.0 - 29.5from 29.6
25 - 2922.025.4 - 29.7from 29.8
30 - 3422.726.4 - 30.4from 30.5
35 - 3924.027.7 - 31.4from 31.5
40 - 4425.629.3 - 32.7from 32.8
45 - 4927.330.9 - 34from 34.1
50 - 5929.733.1 - 36.1from 36.2
from 6030.734.0 - 37.2from 37.3

Body fat table for men

Age in years ideal normal Too high
20-2414.919.0 - 23.2from 23.3
25 - 2916.520.3 - 24.2from 24.3
30 - 3418.021.5 - 25.1from 25.2
35 - 3919.322.6 - 26.0from 26.1
40 - 4420.523.6 - 26.8from 26.9
45 - 4921.524.5 - 27.5from 27.6
50 - 5922.725.6 - 28.6from 28.7
from 6023.326.2 - 29.2from 29.3
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