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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
Rivista di Medicina Fisica e Riabilitativa dopo Eventi Patologici
Official Journal of the , , , ,
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Indexed/Abstracted in: CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 2,063
Europa Medicophysica 2001 September;37(3):161-70
The hand grip: gender, dominance and age considerations
Sella G. E.
From the Ohio Valley Disability Institute Martins Ferry, OH, USA
Background. This retrospective study of the hand grip evaluated the hand grip strength and the variables of hand dominance and gender differences in a large population sample of USA adult men and women.
Methods. Experimental design: this evaluation was based on retrospective data of hand grip tests performed by 875 individuals (1750 hands) of both genders, ranging in age from 19-91. The testing was done with Jamar dynamometers on both hands (average values) at handle levels I, III & V. Setting: the testing was conducted in an occupational physician’s office. Participants: hand grip was performed routinely on evaluees for the purpose of disability evaluation and in the course of annual physical examinations of patients. No participant had any upper limb pathology or dysfunction. The participants were evaluated also in terms of the body mass index (B.M.I). No gender difference was found in the BMI Interventions: the hand grip testing was not invasive. None of the participants had any reactions, side effects or symptoms related to the hand grip testing. Measures: (1) anthropometric data on the sample of 875 persons (1750 hands); (2) statistical data gathered on the right and left hand grip (kgs) at three handle positiors of the Jamar hand dynamometer. They included the following parameters: (a) average hand grip strength stratified for age groups (b) standard deviation and co-efficient of variation for the same stratifications; (c) left versus right hand grip strength ratio (%) for the genders and the stratified groups; (d) female/male ratio (%) of grip force at the 6 dynamometer positions.
Results. The results of this study done on 1750 hands indicated the following: a) The hand grip strength and pattern of the male gender (964 hands) was 30.6 kg, 37 kg & 25.9 kg at handle positions I, III & V respectively. b) The hand grip strength and pattem of the female gender (794 hands) was 16.3 kg, 19.2 kg & 13.8 kg at handle positions I, III & V respectively. c) When the grip pattern by position data were normalized to the grip value of position III, both genders demonstrated a similar “umbrella pattern”. Thus for 1750 hands, the normalized grip pattern is 76%, 100% & 69% for positions I, III & V respectively. Even though the grip strength was different for the two genders, the study showed that the human hand had the above normalized pattern for the three handle positions, irrespective of gender. d) The study showed that the hand grip varied with age. It increased to maximum till the age group 30-39 in the female gender and decreased thereafter. The pattern was similar in the male gender although the maximal grip strenght was shown in the age group 20-29. e) A greater strength was shown by hand dominance in only 53% of cases. 32% of cases showed greater strength for the non-dominant hand. 15% of cases showed equal hand grip whether the persons were right or left hand dominant. These findings were irrespective of gender.
Conclusions. This is the largest study of the hand grip by gender, age and hand dominance to date in terms of the general population. The data shown in the results section and in the text tables can be utilized as normative data until larger studies are done. The results showed that men and women have a similar grip pattern in terms of hand dynamometry on the Jamar dynamometer, when the testing is done in standardized fashion. The study dispelled the old myth of the greater strength “by 10%” of the dominant hand. Dynamometry is an objective method which allows individual comparison with the database by age and gender.