Body Composition Lab

Students working in a research laboratory

About the Lab

The primary function of the Body Composition Lab is to measure the amount of fat mass an individual has relative to his/her total mass; however, we also have the ability to measure other aspects of body composition such as bone mineral density and total body water. This lab also works in close collaboration with the Exercise Physiology Lab and the Neuromuscular Lab to provide a complete physiological assessment.

The majority of research studies from this lab focus on measuring the validity and the reliability of various body composition assessment methods. However, some studies evaluate longitudinal changes in body composition as the result of exercise and/or nutritional treatments.

The Body Composition Lab gradually evolved from a portion of the Exercise Physiology Lab, and initially consisted of only an underwater weighing tank. Today, the lab is its own entity and is one of the most well equipped Body Composition Laboratories in the United States. It is used for instruction during portions of KIN 4100 (Exercise Physiology), KIN 5100 (Fitness Assessment & Exercise Program Design), and KIN 6440 (Body Composition).

In addition to course instruction and research, this lab is the setting for body composition testing (e.g., body fat percentage test) for the community. If you are interested in a body composition assessment, please contact the lab director below.


The Body Composition lab gradually evolved from a portion of the Exercise Physiology Lab. Initially the lab consisted of only an underwater weighing tank. Today, the lab is its own entity and is one of the most well-equipped Body Composition Laboratories in the United States.

Research Opportunities

Every year there are new studies taking place in the Body Composition Lab. Some of these studies are faculty-led, while others are master’s degree projects.

Current Project

Body composition of club sport athletes

Currently the lab is working on a project to develop normative reference data for the body compositions (e.g., body fat percentage, fat-free mass index, etc.) of university club sport athletes.

Labs and Facilities

The Body Composition Lab is located in room 156 of the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) building. This lab is adjacent to the Exercise Physiology Lab on the east side of the HPER building. It can be challenging to find, so please ask the receptionist in the front office of the HPER building for directions.

The Body Composition Lab contains the equipment necessary to test nearly every aspect of body composition. Equipment highlights include:

  • Hologic Horizon-WI dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanner
  • Two Bod Pod air displacement plethysmographs
  • Built-in hydrostatic weighing tank (underwater weighing tank)
  • Two BodyMetrix BX2000 A-mode ultrasound machines
  • ImpediMed SFB7 bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) unit
  • RJL Quantum II bioelectrical impedance analyzer (BIA)
  • Several Omron HBF-306 hand-held BIA devices
  • Several Lange and Harpenden skinfold calipers
  • Several anthropometric tape measures and anthropometers of varying sizes
  • Seca wall-mounted stadiometer and digital scale

Additionally, there is access to the following equipment in different labs:

  • General Electric NextGen LOGIQ B-mode ultrasound
  • Fit 3D body scanner

Lab Testing Facilities

There are multiple body composition and physiological tests that our labs offer to USU and the community. If you are interested in a body composition or physiological assessment, please contact the lab coordinator, Mr. Jon Carey, He can answer your questions and help you to set up an appointment.

For general information about the testing services visit our frequenty asked questions (FAQ) page.

Test USU Students & Employess Community
VO2 max w/gas analysis
This is the “gold standard” for measuring aerobic fitness. Oxygen consumption, ventilation, and energy expenditure are measured as exercise intensity is gradually increased until exhaustion. Test can be performed on either a treadmill or cycle ergometer.
$75 $110
Ultrasound Body Composition
Measurements of subcutaneous fat are taken at 3 sites and an estimate of body fat percentage is given.
$20 $30
Bod Pod Body Composition
Body mass, body volume, and body density are measured and body fat percentage is estimated from these measurements.
$45 (with measured thoracic gas volume)
$60 (with measured thoracic gas volume)
Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) Body Composition - Not available until the Fall 2021 Semester
Attenuation of x-ray beams to measure segmental (limbs vs trunk) and total bone mass, lean mass, and fat mass.
$70 $100
Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) BoneScan - Not available until the Fall 2021 Semester
Bone mineral content and bone mineral density at the femoral neck (hip) and lumbar spine.
$70 $100
Bioimpedance Spectroscopy Total Body Water
An estimate of total body water (as well as body fat percentage) is provided using multiple frequencies of electrical current.
$25 $35
Multi-component Body Composition
This is the “gold standard” research method of body composition testing. Basically, we take the best of our laboratory methods and combine them: body density from the Bod Pod, bone mineral content from DXA, and total body water from BIS.
$125 $180
Isokinetic Muscle Strength
Maximal strength can be obtained with the Biodex Isokinetic Machine. This is the “gold standard” for strength testing.
$20 $30
Power Testing
Explosive power is measured with the VerTek vertical jump. Mean and peak anaerobic power are measured with the Wingate test, a 30-second cycle test against high resistance. Testing is done on a Velotron cycle ergometer.
$40 $60
Resting Metabolic Rate
This test determines the rate at which calories are consumed while at rest. The test measures your oxygen consumption while you are lying comfortably.
$40 $60
Pulmonary Function/Spirometry
With a maximal inhalation and exhalation this test measures FVC, FEV1, and the FEV1/FVC ratio which can be used as an indicatory of asthma or COPD.
$10 $15

*All tests include an interpretation of the results. They do not, however, constitute a medical diagnosis.


Please contact one of the lab director if you are interested in research opportunities within the Body Composition Lab, either as a study participant or as a research assistant.

Dale Wagner

Dale Wagner


Kinesiology and Health Science

Phone: 435-797-8253
Office Location: HPER 155