How to Measure Grip Strength

If you’re anything like us, you probably love assessing your self, especially now that you know how important grip strength can be. Luckily for you (and us), grip strength can be tested in a variety of ways and a variety of settings, whether you want to gear up and hit the gym, jam in your ‘jammies’ at home or go see your physician or physiotherapist.

Let’s take a look at how you can effectively and efficiently test your grip strength!

How to Measure Grip Strength

The Handgrip Dynamometer

One of the easiest, and accurate ways to test your grip strength is to use a handgrip dynamometer.

These handy gadgets are most probably lying around in your local gym or fitness club or can be easily bought off fitness websites or in fitness stores. Since hand grip is relevant for a major period of the average human’s life, it’s a great investment to consider.

While using the dynamometer, ensure that your arm and hand are positioned properly (forearm extended 90 degrees from the elbow, which is in a straight line with your shoulder and resting against the side of your body). The dynamometer’s base should rest on the hand’s heel while the remaining fingers rest on the gadget’s lever. Once this is achieved, squeeze the dynamometer as hard as you can for at least 5 seconds (the Eurofit Test Manual recommends at least 3 seconds) and voila. An accurate measure of your grip strength (do at least 3 tests, with at least a 15 or 30-second rest in between, for more accurate results).

There are also variations in the position that the test can be done, such as the arm swinging above the head while squeezing or hanging loose at the side (for the “Groningen Elderly Tests”). Though the method has come under question (the forearm strength may not necessarily be representative of the overall body strength), it is still deemed reliable and is an accepted method worldwide.

Using a Scale

If at all you can’t find a handgrip dynamometer, worry not. It’s still possible to test your grip strength using objects lying around your household, such as a pull-up bar (or hanging board), bathroom scales and a stopwatch.

To test your grip strength, position your scale right beneath the pull-up bar (or board, as the case may be). Ensure that the latter is high enough for your arms to extend fully above your head. Stand on the scale, take a note of your weight to ensure accuracy and place your hands on the bar overhead. Once you have your hands on the bar, pull with all your might for at least 5 seconds, all the while ensuring that your feet are still standing flat on the scale, your elbows, wrists and knees are not bent and your whole body (other than your hands) is stable. The aim is to lift as much of your body weight as possible off the scale.

As in the previous case, an average will give you more accurate results, so try to do the test anywhere between 3 to 5 times. To calculate your grip strength, use this simple equation — your grip strength in pounds equals your current weight minus your weight while gripping the bar.

So, What’s a Good Score?

Well, we’re glad you asked because what good is a test if you don’t know what the results mean?

The ideal amount of grip strength varies according to the subject’s age group.

However, on average, men should ideally aim for a grip strength score of at least 105 which is the average, while women should aim for at least 57.

Anything higher is an excellent score and anything lower means taking steps to improve your grip strength. As is the case with most things in life, practice makes perfect; therefore, incorporating exercises to increase your grip strength will surely go a long way.

If you’re looking for a more detailed break down of grip strength scores, here you go.

Male Grip Strength

When it comes to gripping strength in men, a score:

  • above 141 pounds (64 kilograms) is excellent,
  • 123-141 pounds (56-64 kilograms) is very good,
  • 114-122 pounds (52-55 kilograms) is above average,
  • 105-113 pounds (48-51 kilograms) is average,
  • 96-104 pounds (44-47 kilograms) is below average,
  • 88-95 pounds (40-43 kilograms) is poor
  • anything below 88 pounds (40 kilograms) is very poor.

Female Grip Strength

When it comes to gripping strength in women, a score:

  • above 84 pounds (38 kilograms) is excellent,
  • 75-84 pounds (34-38 kilograms) is very good
  • 66-74 pounds (30-33 kilograms) is above average
  • 57-65 pounds (26-29 kilograms) is average
  • 49-56 pounds (23-25 kilograms) is below average
  • 44-48 pounds (20-22 kilograms) is poor
  • anything below 44 pounds (20 kilograms) is very poor.

Now that we know what grip strength is, why it’s important and how to measure it, let’s proceed to take a look at how you can improve your grip strength.