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Cartwright Fitness

A hand grip strength dynamometer in red with a blue dial, set up in front of its packaging box with Japanese text, displaying hand grip test norms.

Hand Grip Test Normative Data

Table of Contents

Grip strength dynamometers are useful for testing handgrip strength in a quick and easy way. The test makes up part of a battery of fitness testing. There is plenty of information as to why grip strength measurement is important.

This device is used for determining grip strength values for a range of ages and monitoring improvements with strength training and during rehabilitation.

Why use grip dynamometers?

Handgrip dynamometers are useful for measuring the maximum isometric strength of the hand and forearm muscles. They are also used for testing the handgrip strength of an athlete’s physical development particularly when they are involved in strength training programmes or for participants in sports where the hands play a crucial role when throwing, catching or lifting like gymnasts, tennis, golf and rock climbers for example.

There are many methods for measuring handgrip strength and there is a broad range of equipment available on the market.

Hand grip test

The first was a handgrip dynamometer designed by Edme Regnier (Regnier 1807). Since then, many different dynamometer designs have been used to determine grip strength, including our favourite.

How to Perform the Grip Strength Test

  • The dynamometer handle is usually adjusted (if possible) to fit the hand or set at the same setting for everyone. Start by holding the instrument in the testing hand when using the dynamometer. Begin with the non-dominant hand and turn the dial to adjust the starting point until the second joint of your forefinger is bent through 90 degrees. Repeat the protocol again when retesting the same or another arm. The strength of the left and right hand often varies, so the grip test should be conducted on the same side, on the dominant side, or done on both sides and averaged. We recommend 3 or more measurements to determine a good score. 
  • If you are using a digital dynamometer then it’s possible to continue measurements with the left then right hands for a total of 4 measurements. After which, the mean value of the highest values of force is indicated by flashing after 4 seconds. To simply reset the device after each reading rather than turn the central disk as with the analogue device, just press the ON/C button to clear the device. 
  • Before each measurement turn the centre dial gently in the direction of the arrow until the indicator is set to zero “0”. The digital version just needs the ON/C button to be pressed. Don’t do this if you want the mean value readings, just move from hand to hand.
  • When you are ready to take a measurement to stand upright and relaxed, extend your arms downwards and grip the dynamometer with your hand and exert full force and maximum effort without letting your arm touch your body during the measurement. In order to get the best possible reading try to isolate the hand and forearm muscles. You can do this by not waving the dynamometer about during measurement.
  • After the measurement has been taken read the value displayed on the dynamometer and record it then turn the pulley to set the indicator to zero and repeat the measurement once again.

Handgrip Test Normative Data

Hand Dynamometer Norms for Female and Males    

Age MaleFemale AgeMaleFemaleAgeMaleFemaleAgeMaleFemale
36.5 4.42247.829.34148.030.76040.825.7
47.26.02348.329.34248.030.66139.725.5
59.38.72448.829.44347.330.56239.225.3
610.09.72548.929.74447.430.36338.524.7
711.010.32649.030.04547.129.86437.524.7
813.012.02749.330.04646.929.66536.824.2
915.214.02849.330.14746.629.66636.324.0
1017.315.92949.630.14845.729.06736.024.0
1120.419.13049.630.84945.628.56835.824.0
1224.622.13149.830.85045.528.26935.523.6
1330.724.63250.030.85145.028.07035.023.0
1436.226.13350.431.05244.927.6   
1539.826.53450.031.05344.227.5   
1643.327.23549.730.95443.827.3   
1744.628.03649.530.95543.427.3   
1845.228.13749.530.95642.726.9   
1945.828.43849.130.75742.326.9   
2046.528.63948.530.75842.026.4   
2147.129.14048.530.75941.525.9   

Source

“Average values of new physical strength for the Japanese II.”

“Physical strength average value study society, Tokyo Metropolitan University.”

Results are often different between male and females and between left and right, your dominant and non-dominant hands. There is also an age-related factor to consider as grip strength often weakens with increased age. However, this is not always the case.

The results can also be affected by the wrist, elbow and shoulder position, so these should be standardised.

Summary

To wrap up, decide on a dynamometer that best meets your requirements for testing. There’s a variety of grip testers on the market, but we have focused on the dynamometer we sell for this post; we know they are accurate and reliable and the choice of many professional sports clubs, academic institutions and the national health service. However, there are other options. If you are interested, take a look at Jamar and Camry.

Another important consideration when deciding whether to choose an analogue or digital display and when data recording is of particular interest, it is worth noting that digital devices can track mean values for grip strength which can be useful when taking multiple readings. 

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