Measurement of Grip Strength Normative Data for 20-49 Year Old British Adults
Background: Hand grip strength is measured daily in hospitals and clinics, as it provides information on arm and hand function and strength. This is important in helping people with injuries and diseases of their arms and hands. The injured individual’s measurements are compared to those of healthy individuals, to find out how much strength they should have in their arms and hands for their age and gender. This gives therapists a goal to work towards in therapy.
The healthy comparative information we call norms. It is important that norms are updated from time to time, to make sure they are reflective of the entire British population. The more accurate the norms are, the more realistic the therapy goals.
Objective: To establish the current norms for power grip strength in 20-49 year old British adults.
Methods: A non-experimental quantitative inquiry recruited 135 healthy British citizens, between the ages of 20 and 49 years. Grip strength was measured using a Jamar dynamometer and ASHT standardised testing procedures. Research setting involved multisite sampling from in and around Uxbridge, West London.
Results: Stratified by age and gender, grip strength norms show males have superior grip strength than females throughout life. Right hands are generally stronger than left hands for both genders. Males peak at 20-24 years with a mean maximal grip strength of 52.1kg for the right hand and 49.8kg for the left hand. Females peak at 35-39 years with a mean maximal grip strength of 30.5kg for the right hand and 30.0kg for the left hand.
Conclusions: British 20-49 year olds grip strength has decreased from previously developed norms (Gilbertson & Barber-Lomax, 1994). Possible explanations for this decrease include diverse multicultural demographics in Britain, sample population anthropometrics, changes in lifestyle factors like nutrition, exercise, vocation, leisure pursuits and technological advancements in recent decades. The main research findings support the development and periodic updating of population specific GS norms. Tabulated norms provide a useful clinical reference tool for grip strength norms in Hand Therapy / Occupational Therapy practices in Britain.