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Calculating Muscle Mass

Here is a method for determining human body muscle mass using the anthropometric measures of girth and skinfolds (Martin et al, 1990). The formula was developed from measurements conducted on cadavers. There are many other methods for determining muscle mass, though most require more sophisticated equipment.

purpose: to calculate body muscle mass using the simply attained girth and skinfold measurements.

equipment required: skinfold calipers, girth measurement tape measure, marker pen, calculator.

procedure: The formula for calculating muscle mass requires six anthropometric measurements. Follow the links for detailed procedures for recording each of these measurements. Height and girths are measured in cm, skinfolds in mm. See the procedures for: height, mid-thigh girth, calf girth, forearm girth, mid-thigh skinfold and calf skinfold. The girth measurements include subcutaneous fat, which is corrected for using the skinfold measures.

results: The equations to use is as follows, where: H = height, FG = forearm girth, CG = calf girth, CCG = corrected calf girth, TG = mid-thigh girth, CTG = corrected mid-thigh girth, ϖ = Pi.

measuring muscle massCTG = TG - ϖ(mid-thigh skinfold/10)
CCG = CG - ϖ(calf skinfold/10)
Muscle mass (g) = H(0.0553CTG² + 0.0987FG² + 0.0331CCG²) - 2445

advantages: This calculation of muscle mass requires equipment that is available in most gyms, compared to many other muscle mass assessment techniques that require expensive and hard to find equipment.

target population: these formula is applicable for men. This test is suitable for bodybuilders and sports people wanting to monitor changes in body muscle mass with resistance training


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