Body composition tests for athletes refer primarily to the distribution of muscle and fat in the body. In most cases excess body fat is not desirable, as it may lead to obesity and increases the risk of getting many diseases. In sports, excess fat hinders performance as it does not contribute to muscular force production, and it is additional weight that requires energy to move about. There are many ways of determining body fat percentage - the page of body composition tests lists the full range of methods for measuring body fat levels.
Body fat is only one part of the composition of the human body. A two compartment model divides the body into lean body weight and fat weight components. Your fat weight can be expressed as a percentage of your total body weight by using the following formula:
body fat percentage (BF%) = (fat weight ÷ total body weight) x 100
Formula for Calculating BF%
- Skinfold method - information about a few of the many equations available for converting skinfold measurements to a percent body fat measure
- Girth Method - using girth measures is a simple (though less accurate) method for estimating body fat levels.
BF% from Body Density Measurements
Many body composition equations derive their measure of percent body fat from first determining body density. Skinfold measures are used to calculate density using these Body Density Formula, such as by Jackson & Pollock, Sloan and Durnin and Womersley. Once body density is determined, percent bodyfat (%BF) can be calculated using the Siri Equation:
% Body Fat = (495 / Body Density) - 450