Yuhasz Skinfold Test
Measuring body fat percentage is an easy
method of discovering correct body weight and composition. Beneath the skin is
a layer of subcutaneous fat, and the percentage of total body fat can be
measured by taking the 'skinfold' at selected points on the body with a pair of
callipers. The Yuhasz Technique uses six sites as opposed to the three of four sites used in many other tests.
The objective of this test is to monitor the athlete’s level of body fat.
To undertake this test you will require:
- Skinfold callipers
The assistant records measurements taken from the following sites:
The assistant takes a vertical fold midway between the shoulder and the elbow on the back of the arm.
The assistant takes a diagonal fold across the back, just below the shoulder blade.
The assistant takes a diagonal fold just above the hip bone.
The assistant takes a vertical fold midway between the athlete's side and the navel.
The athlete places their right foot on a six-inch step. The assistant takes a vertical fold midway between the athlete’s right hip and knee on the front of the leg.
||Chest (male only)
The assistant takes a fold at a 45 degree angle to the horizontal above and slightly to the right of the athlete’s right nipple.
||Rear thigh (female only)
The athlete places their right foot on a six-inch step. The assistant takes a vertical fold midway between the athlete’s hip and knee on the back of the leg.
How to conduct the test
- The assistant takes the measurements, in millimetres, on the right side of the athlete’s body
- The assistant picks up the skinfold between the thumb and the index finger so as to include two thicknesses of the athlete’s skin and subcutaneous fat
- The assistant locates the callipers about one centimetre from the fingers and at a depth equal to the thickness of the fold
- The assistant repeats each measurement three times and records the average value
- The assistant records the sum of the four measurements and uses this value to assess the athlete’s percentage body fat
Fat-free Body Mass & Lean Body Mass
The fat-free body mass (FFBM) represents the body mass devoid of
all fat whereas lean body mass (LBM) contains a small percentage of essential fat. LBM is a theoretical value developed
by Behnke (1974). For men Behnke considered it to be FFBM+3% essential fat and for
females FFBM+12% fat (3% essential fat + 9% sex specific essential fat). Many
researches use the terms FFBM and LBM interchangeably.
The average man has 15 to 17% body fat, while the average
woman is between 18 and 22%. Typical values for elite athletes are 6% to 12%
for men and 12% to 20% for women.
The following table details the percentage body fat for male and
female athletes for a variety of sports. Wilmore (1994)
|Track - Jumpers
|Track - Runners
|Track - Throwers
Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test and recommend body fat levels.
This test is suitable for everyone but not for individuals
where the test would be contraindicated.
Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.
Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development.
The test is not a good predictor of percentage body fat, however it can be used to indicate changes in body composition over time.
- Minimal equipment required
- Simple to set up and conduct
- Can be conducted almost anywhere
- Specialist equipment required - Skinfold callipers
- Assistant required to administer the test
- WILMORE, J.H. and COSTILL, D.L. (1994) Physiology of sport and exercise. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics
- BEHNKE, A.R. and WILMORE, J.H. (1974) Evaluation and Regulation of Body Build and Composition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
The following references provide additional information on this topic:
- LEGER, L. A. et al. (1982) Validity of plastic skinfold caliper measurements. Human biology, p. 667-675
- GRIMES, W. B., and FRANZINI, L. R. (1977) Skinfold measurement techniques for estimating percentage body fat. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 8 (1), p. 65-69
- KATCH, F. I., and MICHAEL, E. D. (1969) Densitometric validation of six skinfold formulas to predict body density and percent body fat of 17-year-old boys. Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 40 (4), p. 712-716
The reference for this page is:
- MACKENZIE, B. (2002) Yuhasz Skinfold Test [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/fatyuhasz.htm [Accessed
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: