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Unveiling the Powerful Secrets of Grip Strength: Unleash Your Inner Strength with Mighty Hands

The Importance of Grip Strength and How to Improve It

As a 16-year gym veteran, I have noticed a recurring trend among lifters. While they focus on training their chest, back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps, they often neglect an important body part that plays a crucial role in all of these exercises – their hands and grip strength. Many of my personal training clients fail to lift heavier weights during deadlifts not because of poor form or weak posterior chain strength, but because of a weak grip. It is surprising that while most gym-goers can tell you their personal bests in bench press or squat, only a few know their grip strength numbers. However, having a strong grip not only improves lifting performance but also serves as a reliable measure of overall health and fitness.

A study published in BioMed Central analyzed various factors such as age, gender, residence, education level, and health status, and found that lower grip strength was associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart disease. This highlights the importance of maintaining and improving grip strength for overall well-being. In this article, we will delve into what grip strength is, the average grip strength for men and women, different methods of measuring grip strength, factors affecting grip strength, and how to improve it.

Average Grip Strength by Sex, Age, and Hand Dominance

The average grip strength can vary greatly depending on an individual’s gender, age, and hand dominance. Additionally, grip strength is not a linear progression for most people and can fluctuate throughout the years. One of the most detailed studies on this subject is titled “Hand-Grip Strength: Normative Reference Values and Equations for Individuals 18 to 85 Years of Age Residing in the United States.” Here are the findings of this research:

Average Grip Strength in Men:
– 18-24 years: Dominant hand – 105.16 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 97.9 pounds
– 25-29 years: Dominant hand – 108.46 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 103.84 pounds
– 30-34 years: Dominant hand – 101.42 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 99 pounds
– 35-39 years: Dominant hand – 110.22 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 103.84 pounds
– 40-44 years: Dominant hand – 100.98 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 93.94 pounds
– 45-49 years: Dominant hand – 89.54 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 88.88 pounds
– 50-54 years: Dominant hand – 98.56 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 97.46 pounds
– 55-59 years: Dominant hand – 85.14 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 81.84 pounds
– 60-64 years: Dominant hand – 88.66 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 81.62 pounds
– 65-69 years: Dominant hand – 80.52 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 82.5 pounds
– 70-74 years: Dominant hand – 79.86 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 75.9 pounds
– 75-79 years: Dominant hand – 73.7 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 66.44 pounds
– 80-85 years: Dominant hand – 64.9 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 60.06 pounds

Average Grip Strength in Women:
– 18-24 years: Dominant hand – 62.48 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 54.34 pounds
– 25-29 years: Dominant hand – 65.12 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 60.5 pounds
– 30-34 years: Dominant hand – 65.56 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 60.72 pounds
– 35-39 years: Dominant hand – 66.66 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 60.72 pounds
– 40-44 years: Dominant hand – 66.88 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 64.46 pounds
– 45-49 years: Dominant hand – 63.14 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 59.18 pounds
– 50-54 years: Dominant hand – 62.04 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 58.08 pounds
– 55-59 years: Dominant hand – 53.02 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 51.7 pounds
– 60-64 years: Dominant hand – 53.68 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 49.72 pounds
– 65-69 years: Dominant hand – 48.84 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 47.08 pounds
– 70-74 years: Dominant hand – 49.5 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 45.98 pounds
– 75-79 years: Dominant hand – 40.04 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 40.92 pounds
– 80-85 years: Dominant hand – 42.9 pounds, Non-dominant hand – 42.46 pounds

Another study conducted in Australia in 2011 analyzed the average grip strength of males and females. Instead of evaluating dominant and non-dominant hands, this study simply analyzed right and left-hand grip strengths. Here are the findings:

Average Grip Strength in Males:
– 20-29 years: Left hand – 99 pounds, Right hand – 103 pounds
– 30-39 years: Left hand – 103 pounds, Right hand – 103 pounds
– 40-49 years: Left hand – 99 pounds, Right hand – 103 pounds
– 50-59 years: Left hand – 94 pounds, Right hand – 99 pounds
– 60-69 years: Left hand – 83 pounds, Right hand – 88 pounds
– 70+ years: Left hand – 70 pounds, Right hand – 72 pounds

Average Grip Strength in Females:
– 20-29 years: Left hand – 61 pounds, Right hand – 66 pounds
– 30-39 years: Left hand – 63 pounds, Right hand – 68 pounds
– 40-49 years: Left hand – 61 pounds, Right hand – 63 pounds
– 50-59 years: Left hand – 57 pounds, Right hand – 61 pounds
– 60-69 years: Left hand – 50 pounds, Right hand – 52 pounds
– 70+ years: Left hand – 41 pounds, Right hand – 44 pounds

Although the findings of these studies may vary from other international literature, they provide a comprehensive benchmark to analyze grip strength. It is important to remember that grip strength can vary for each individual based on several factors. Therefore, it is best to use this data as a standard and refrain from comparing yourself with others.

Measuring Your Grip Strength

Now that you know the average grip strength for different age groups, it is time to assess how you stack up against your peers. There are various grip strength tests available, such as pinch strength, dead hang, plate pinch hold, farmer’s walk, rope climb, barbell hold, and finger strength tests. However, the results of these tests may not be uniform and can vary depending on multiple factors. Here are two of the most reliable methods to measure grip strength:

1. Hand Dynamometer:
The hand dynamometer is the most popular tool for assessing grip strength. It is a handheld device with a gauge that shows the amount of force applied. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use the hand dynamometer correctly:

Step One – Set the Dynamometer:
Ensure that the hand dynamometer is properly adjusted to fit your hand. Using a device that is too big or too small can result in inaccurate readings.

Step Two – Warm-Up Your Hands:
Perform wrist rotations, finger extensions, and flexions to warm up your hands. This will improve blood flow and prepare your hands for the test. It is also recommended to perform light exercises like dead hangs and barbell holds to further warm up your hands.

Pro Tip: Avoid the common mistake of trying to crush the dynamometer as soon as you get your hands on it. Treat the hand dynamometer as a workout for your hands and warm up properly before using it.

Step Three – Sit Down:
To ensure accurate readings, it is best to take the hand dynamometer test while sitting down on a sturdy surface. This eliminates lower body engagement and provides a more precise result.

2. Weight Scale:
Another method to measure grip strength is by using a weight scale. This method involves hanging a weight from a grip and measuring the force required to hold the weight for a specific duration. While this method may not be as common as the hand dynamometer, it can still provide reliable results.

Improving Your Grip Strength

If you find that your grip strength is below average or if you simply want to improve it, there are several exercises and techniques you can incorporate into your training routine. Here are some effective ways to improve grip strength:

1. Deadlifts:
Deadlifts are one of the best exercises for developing grip strength. By lifting heavy weights from the ground, you challenge your grip and force it to become stronger over time. It is important to use proper form and gradually increase the weight to avoid injury.

2. Farmer’s Walk:
The farmer’s walk is a simple yet effective exercise that involves walking while holding heavy weights in each hand. This exercise not only works your grip but also targets your entire body, making it a great addition to any training program.

Stan Quinn
Stan Quinn
Stan Quinn, the founder of "The Body Builder" and formerly Body Guider, isn't just a business owner – he embodies the spirit of holistic fitness. With a degree in sports nutrition, Stan blends academic knowledge with practical expertise, ensuring that his gym members receive not just physical training but also nutritional guidance tailored to their unique needs. Over the years, Stan's passion for fitness has extended beyond the gym's walls. As a fervent sports enthusiast, he understands the intricacies of athletic performance and is dedicated to helping both amateur athletes and fitness novices achieve their goals. Under his leadership, "The Body Builder" has grown from a mere gym to a comprehensive fitness hub where every member feels empowered, educated, and inspired. Stan's commitment to excellence, combined with his in-depth understanding of sports nutrition, makes him a revered figure in the fitness community.
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