Many training or exercise programs are geared solely to modify body size and composition in some way. The tests described below provide a way of measuring current levels of body composition components and for determining changes over time. There are many different ways of measuring the amount of body fat or body composition, which vary in accuracy, ease of measurement, costs and equipment requirements.
Below is a list of popular and not so popular body composition tests that are used in a variety of settings, from simple tests for use at home and in fitness gyms to professional practices and research institutions. For more about choosing the right test to use, see about body composition testing. There is also a poll asking about which methods you use for measuring body composition?
Body Composition Measurements
- Skinfold measurement
- Girth measurements
- Body Weight
- Hydrostatic Weighing (also known as Hydrodensitometry or underwater weighing)
- Bioelectric Impedance
- Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA)
- Near Infrared Interactance
- Total Body Potassium (TBK)
- Whole-body Air-Displacement Plethysmography (BodPod)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Total Body Electrical Conductivity (TOBEC)
- Computed Tomography (CT)
- Total Body Protein (TBP)
- Bodyfat Visual Method — using images to estimate percent bodyfat
Body Composition Calculations
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Waist to Hip Ratio
- Ideal Weight: Broca Index, Devine Formula, Peterson Equation
- Ponderal Index
- Adiposity Index
- Waist to Height Ratio
- Muscle Mass Calculation
- Calculating %bodyfat using skinfolds
- Calculating %bodyfat using girths
- Weight for Height Tables
- Height and Weight Growth Charts
- About body composition testing
- norms for %bodyfat levels for athletes and the general population.
- See video of body composition tests
- Poll about methods for measuring body composition?
- Anthropometric Tests
- Methods for measuring muscle mass
- Body Composition and Fitness
- Videos of Anthropometric Tests including Skinfold Testing.
- Need more information? see the Body Composition FAQs