Female measuring body fat with calipers

The Fitties Blog

How to Calculate Body Fat Using the Parillo Body Fat Formula

April 01, 2023 | Lifestyle and Wellness

The Parillo body fat formula is a rather simple caliper-based method for calculating body fat percentage. The Parillo method utilizes a basic formula that does not take into consideration the biological differences between males and females, which tends to make this method more user friendly. However, because of its simplicity, the Parillo method has been known to produce somewhat inaccurate results.

If you need help with measuring body fat with calipers, be sure to check out our guide.

Parillo Skinfold Locations for Males and Females

  • Chest: For the chest skinfold measurement, obtain a diagonal skinfold that is halfway between the nipple and the upper portion of the pectoral muscle from the armpit
  • Abdominal: For the abdominal measurement, take a vertical fold of skin that is one inch to the right of the belly button
  • Thigh: For the thigh measurement, a vertical fold of skin is to be taken that lies halfway between the knee cap, or the patella, and the inguinal crease (the location where the top of the thigh connects with the hip)
  • Bicep: The bicep skinfold consists of a vertical fold parallel to the arm, located directly over the bicep, and halfway between the shoulder and elbow.
  • Tricep: The tricep measurement is a vertical skinfold that is taken halfway between the top portion of the shoulder and the elbow
  • Subscapular: The subscapular site is located at the bottom tip of the shoulder blade. Acquire the skinfold measurement at a 45 degree angle, approximately two centimeters below the bottom tip of the shoulder blade. This orientation should be almost be parallel to the inside angle of the shoulder blade itself.
  • Suprailiac: For the suprailiac measurement, locate the anterior (front) part of the axilla (armpit). Then, follow a vertical line down toward the hip until the hipbone is reached. The skinfold at this location should be at a 45-degree angle, going up and away from the body, approximately two inches above the iliac crest, otherwise known as the area above the upper and forward protrusion of the hip bone. Specifically, the skinfold is located between the top portion of the hipbone on the side of the body and the bony portion of the same hipbone along the lower right of the body.
  • Lower Back: The lower back skinfold consists of a horizontal fold located directly over the kidneys, two inches to the right of the spine.
  • Calf: The calf skinfold consists of a vertical fold located along the largest part of the calf on the inside of the leg.

Parillo Body Fat Formula for Males and Females

If you would like to calculate body fat with the Parillo method, use the formula below, which applies to both male and female test subjects.

Measure the following skinfolds (in millimeters) with body fat calipers:
Chest, Abdominal, Thigh, Bicep, Tricep, Subscapular, Suprailiac, Lower Back and Calf

Body Fat Percentage (%) = (27 x sum of skinfolds sites) divided by bodyweight (lbs)

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