I have a couple of obese clientele that I have used calipers on for body composition, and I am finding that the results are inaccurate. I am unable to pull skin/fat tissue away from the target areas in order to measure. The subcutaneous fat is too hard, and its difficult to get an accurate reading. Any suggestions on how to measure body composition using calipers on a client that is obese?
This population of clients can be sensitive as well as self-conscious. My question for you to consider is–is it really necessary to get the measurements on body fat for the obese client? Many fitness assessments that we use may not be suitable for this population. Calipers can be intimidating and embarrassing to some obese clients, and we need to consider whether or not we really need some of the assessments performed. Certainly we want to track progress, which includes body composition, but not all clients are comfortable with this procedure.
For this population, I discuss the assessment with the client. If they are comfortable, I may use a bioelectrical impedance monitor. It may not be as accurate, but as long as you track results with the same mode, then you are able to see progress. If they are not comfortable, then I leave it out. There are other ways to track progress.
Good luck–working with this population is very rewarding!