Protocol – Skinfold Clips

How To Take Skinfold Clips (Used to Calculate Percent Body Fat)

To take clips (or skinfolds) you will need a quality pair of calipers (fat calipers). The highest quality calipers are the Harpenden calipers.

Primary Clip Sites

  • Chest: For men, get a diagonal pinch half way between the armpit and the nipple. Women need a diagonal pinch 1/3 of the way from the arm pit to the nipple.
  • Mid-Axillary: A vertical pinch on the midaxillary line which runs directly down from the center of the armpit. Raise your arm above your head and have your partner get these skinfold measurements just below the level of your nipple.
  • Suprailiac: A diagonal pinch just above the front forward protrusion of the hip bone.
  • Abdominal: A vertical pinch about one inch laterally from the belly button.
  • Mid Thigh: A vertical pinch midway between the knee and top of the thigh.
  • Triceps: A vertical pinch midway between the acromion process and the olecranon process (elbow).
  • Biceps: A vertical pinch mid-biceps at the same level the triceps skinfold was taken.
  • Subscapular: A diagonal pinch at the inferior angle of the scapula.
  • Mid-Calf: A diagonal pinch taken at the widest point of the calf on the LEFT side.

 Helpful Clip Tips


  • Clips must be take while standing and on the RIGHT side of the client’s body.
  • Pinch between your forefinger and thumb. Pinch deep enough to separate the fat from the muscle (you are looking for a double-thick pinch of skin), but not so deep that you include the muscle. In reality, clipping to include muscle up is very difficult and often quite painful to the client.
  • Place the calipers 1 cm from your clip, midway between the crest and the base.
  • For each of the clip sites, take 2 measurements and use the average if within 0.5 mm. Take the 2 measurements non-consecutively – run through all the sites and then return to the first. This allows the skin to return to normal between clipping measurements. It may also develop some consistency.

Intra-tester reliability is key to clipping. This means the same person should take the same clips each time.

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