The 7 Methods To Measure Body Composition

There are many ways to measure body fat percentage. However, the most accurate measurements aren’t available at home. While it’s natural to want objective feedback on your progress, body weight shouldn’t be your main focus.

By: Huria Saleem, Published on: 2023-12-18, Last Updated: 03-08-24

Reviewed by: Adam Wright

Table of Contents

Have you ever dreamed of shaping your body into its best possible form? Well, the good news is, it's within your reach! With the right combination of dedication, effort, and a strategic exercise plan, you can sculpt and shape your body into a masterpiece you'll be proud of.

Many people mistakenly believe they have no control over their body composition. While genetics do play a role, it's important to remember they don't hold the entire script. This misconception often becomes a convenient excuse for not reaching fitness goals.

The truth is, your diet and exercise habits profoundly impact your body composition. This means you can take control. Daily use of body composition exercises is an excellent way to transform body shapes. In addition, it allows a person to get control of total body fat percentage by using a series of simple exercises. 

6 Powerful Exercises to Improve Body Composition

Here are a set of simple body composition exercises everyone should know that transforms body shapes. Most of these exercises require either no equipment at all or simple equipment, such as free weights.


Start your journey with squats, the king of compound exercises. This movement engages your entire lower body, including your core, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. This builds a strong and balanced foundation, maximizing your results. Variations like front squats and back squats allow you to target specific muscle groups and progress as you get stronger.

Squats build muscle (quads, hamstrings, glutes), boosting metabolism and burning calories at rest. They also trigger hormone release, further promoting muscle growth and fat loss. Combined with proper form, progressive overload, and a healthy diet, squats are a powerful tool for improving body composition.

How to Perform Squats

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed outwards.
  2. Engage your core muscles and pull your shoulders back and down.
  3. Look straight ahead and keep your spine straight.
  4. Bend your knees and hips, pushing your buttocks back as if sitting in a chair.
  5. Keep your weight evenly distributed on your heels.
  6. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or as low as you can comfortably go without losing form.
  7. Avoid letting your knees cave inwards.
  8. Push through your heels and engage your glutes to lift your body back to the starting position.

Variations of the Squat

There are many variations of the squat that can target different muscle groups and make the exercise more challenging. Some popular variations include:

  • Front squats: Front squats are a variation of the squat that places the barbell across the front of your shoulders, resting it on your collarbones. This variation emphasizes your quadriceps and core muscles.
  • Back squats: Back squats are a variation of the squat that places the barbell across your upper back, resting it on your trapezius muscles. This variation targets your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
  • Goblet squats: Goblet squats are a variation of the squat that involves holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your chest. This variation provides a counterweight and helps with balance, making it easier for beginners.
  • Jump squats: Jump squats are a more explosive variation of the squat that involves jumping up from the bottom of the movement. This variation incorporates explosive power and works your legs, core, and glutes.

Related Topics: Which Exercise Machine is Best for Losing Belly Fat


The push-up is the most basic yet effective and most challenging exercise you'll use. Body composition exercises require you to learn to balance and stabilize your body weight. 

It is a bodyweight exercise that works multiple muscle groups, primarily targeting your chest, triceps, and shoulders. They are a fundamental exercise for building upper body strength and endurance and require no equipment, making them accessible to everyone.

Push-ups build upper body muscle (chest, triceps, shoulders) and boost metabolism for fat loss. They also engage the core and improve functional movement. With proper form, progression, and a healthy diet, push-ups can significantly improve body composition. It can be difficult as it asks for control of a range of muscles.

How to Perform Push-ups

  1. Place your hands flat on the floor, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your fingers pointed forward or slightly outward for wrist comfort.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles and glutes to create a rigid body line, ensuring your body forms a straight line from head to heels.
  3. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest towards the ground. Keep your elbows tucked close to your body and avoid flaring them out.
  4. Ensure your back remains flat and your hips don't sag or pike throughout the movement.
  5. Once your chest reaches the floor, push through your palms and engage your triceps to return to the starting plank position.

Variations of Push-ups

Several push-up variations can target different muscle groups and increase the intensity of the exercise. Here are a few examples:

  • Diamond push-ups: Place your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. This variation emphasizes your triceps.
  • Decline push-ups: Elevate your feet on a bench or platform. This increases the workload on your upper chest muscles.
  • Wide push-ups: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart. This variation targets your outer chest muscles.
  • Archer push-ups: Perform a push-up while reaching one arm out to the side, alternating arms with each repetition. This challenges your core stability and shoulder strength.

Related Topic: How to Perform Body Composition Analysis


Excellent for home workouts, planks strengthen muscles and improve posture. They work the hamstrings, shoulders, glutes, and core. 

Planks build core strength, improve posture, and boost metabolism through isometric muscle engagement and EPOC. With proper form and progressive variations, planks contribute to a leaner, fitter physique by strengthening the foundation and improving overall physical fitness.

The plank is an isometric exercise that engages your entire core, including your abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back. It also activates your shoulder muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, making it a full-body exercise. Planks are an excellent way to build strength and stability in your core, leading to improved posture, better balance, and reduced risk of back pain.

How to Perform Planks

  1. Start in a push-up position with your forearms on the ground, elbows directly under your shoulders, and hands clasped together.
  2. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core and glutes to maintain a rigid plank position.
  3. Look down at the floor to maintain proper neck alignment and avoid straining your neck muscles.
  4. Hold the plank position for as long as you can, aiming for 30-60 seconds initially, gradually increasing the duration as you get stronger.
  5. Breathe steadily throughout the exercise, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
  6. Release by lowering your knees to the ground and resting briefly before repeating the exercise.

Variations of Planks

Several plank variations can challenge different muscle groups and increase the intensity of the exercise. Here are a few examples:

  • Side plank: Hold a plank position on your side, supporting your weight on your forearm and elbow. Alternate sides for a balanced workout.
  • Raised plank: Elevate your hands on a platform or bench to increase the difficulty.
  • Plank with leg raises: Raise one leg off the ground while holding the plank position, alternating legs with each repetition.
  • Plank with arm raises: Raise one arm off the ground while holding the plank position, alternating arms with each repetition.


A burpee is a full-body exercise that combines multiple movements into a single, dynamic workout. It starts from a standing position and transitions through a squat, push-up, and jump, making it a challenging and effective exercise for building strength,

Burpees combine high-intensity cardio and muscle engagement for rapid fat loss, muscle building, and improved cardiovascular health. With proper form and progressive overload, burpees can significantly impact your body composition, leading to a leaner, stronger, and more athletic physique.

This is one of the top body composition exercises out there. They make the heart pound and send the heart rate jumping quickly. Burpees are top-notch solutions for endurance, coordination, and power.

How to Perform Burpees

  1. Start standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend down and squat, placing your hands flat on the floor in front of you.
  3. Kick your feet back into a push-up position, ensuring your body forms a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Perform a push-up, lowering your chest towards the ground and then pushing back up to the starting plank position.
  5. Jump your feet forward close to your hands, returning to the squat position.
  6. Explode upwards from the squat into a jump, extending your arms overhead.
  7. Land softly and immediately transition into the next repetition.

Variations of Burpees

  • Burpee with a tuck jump: After jumping, tuck your knees towards your chest in mid-air before landing.
  • Burpee with a push-up variation: Perform a diamond push-up, decline push-up, or wide push-up instead of a regular push-up.
  • Burpee with a medicine ball: Perform a push-up on top of a medicine ball for an added challenge.
  • Burpee with a jump squat: Instead of jumping straight up, perform a jump squat at the end of the exercise.


Lunges is a powerful execise for improving body composition. By targeting key lower body muscles, enhancing functional strength, and promoting fat loss, lunges can help you achieve a leaner, stronger, and more defined physique.

The lunge engages abdominal and core muscles. It builds stability and balance. With a powerful core, you can avoid lower back issues. Lunges also help improve posture, coordination, and balance. Likewise, lunges support the strengthening of buttocks and legs while improving hip flexibility. The exercises enhance functionality and impact everyday, natural movement.

How to Perform Lunge

  1. Start standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and core engaged.
  2. Step forward with one leg, lowering your body until both knees are bent at 90-degree angles.
  3. Keep your front knee directly over your ankle and your back knee pointing towards the ground.
  4. Push through your front heel and engage your glutes to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the exercise on the other leg, performing the same number of repetitions on each leg.

Variations of Lunges

  • Walking lunges: Walk forward while performing lunges, alternating legs with each step.
  • Reverse lunges: Step backward instead of forward with your lead leg.
  • Side lunges: Step out to the side instead of forward, targeting your inner and outer thighs.
  • Jump lunges: Explosively jump up from the bottom of the lunge, switching legs in mid-air.
  • Weighted lunges: Hold dumbbells or a barbell in your hands while performing lunges.


Crunches are an exercise that targets the rectus abdominis, the muscle responsible for the "six-pack" appearance. They are a simple and effective exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime. Crunches build core strength and definition, improving posture and athleticism. They indirectly contribute to fat loss by boosting metabolism but alone won't be enough for significant body composition changes. 

What separates the crunch from the sit-up is the former focuses only on the ab muscles. Another difference is when overdone, crunches can cause beginners severe back pain.

You may have read about celebrities doing 1,000 crunches at a time. Don't bother. Stick to 25 to 30 reps a set and do several sets during a single workout.

How to Perform Crunch

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands across your chest or behind your head.
  3. Engage your core and lift your upper body off the ground, contracting your abdominal muscles.
  4. Exhale as you reach the top of the movement and slowly lower your back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Variations of Crunches

  • Reverse crunches: Lie on your back with your legs raised and knees bent. Lower your hips towards the floor while engaging your core.
  • Bicycle crunches: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Twist your torso and bring your opposite elbow towards the opposite knee, simulating a pedaling motion.
  • Russian twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lean back slightly and twist your torso from side to side, engaging your obliques.
  • Plank crunches: Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground. Lift your upper body off the ground by engaging your core muscles, bringing your chest towards your knees.
  • Weighted crunches: Hold a weight plate or dumbbell across your chest while performing crunches.


These six powerful exercises, along with monitoring your calorie intake, provide a comprehensive foundation for building strength, improving fitness, and achieving your body composition goals. 

Each exercise targets specific muscle groups while also engaging your core and promoting overall athleticism. By consistently incorporating these exercises into your workout routine and progressively increasing the intensity, you can achieve your fitness goals and unlock your inner athlete. 

Remember, proper form and technique are paramount to maximize results and prevent injuries. In addition to these core exercises, numerous variations and modifications cater to different fitness levels and target specific muscle groups. You can further enhance your results by incorporating cardio exercises, core work, and a healthy diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does exercise improve body composition?

Exercise training results in a healthier body composition as reflected by a reduction of body fat, especially in overweight and obese subjects, with little or no long-term effect on body weight.

How often should I do these exercises?

Ideally, you should aim to do each exercise 2-3 times per week, allowing adequate rest and recovery between workouts.

How can I modify the push-ups if I find them too challenging?

There are several ways to modify push-ups. You can start by performing them on your knees, placing your hands on an elevated surface, or doing wall push-ups.

How can I avoid neck pain during crunches?

To avoid neck pain, avoid pulling on your neck with your hands. Instead, focus on engaging your core muscles and lifting your upper body off the ground.

Are burpees safe for everyone?

Burpees are a high-intensity exercise and may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it's important to consult with a doctor before attempting burpees.

External Links:

How to (Actually) Get a Six-Pack

Explosive Workouts for Speed, Power, and Strength

12 Exercises to Improve Your Posture