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Hand Grip Strength Norms

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Grip strength can be an indicator and evaluator of a patient’s overall health. A grip strength dynamometer is a useful tool for testing a patient’s hand grip strength. But what is normal grip strength? Because grip strength can vary due to a number of factors such as age and gender, it’s important to compare grip dynamometer results against established norm values for grip strength. Using established grip strength norm values is extremely useful in rehabilitation when establishing a baseline of strength, creating rehabilitation regimens and tracking improvements with strength training and during rehabilitation.

Handgrip Testing Protocols

Because hand grip strength testing results can vary when different protocols are used, it’s important to have established testing protocols to ensure accuracy and easily duplicable results. For example, the handgrip dynamometer handle should ideally be adjusted to fit the patient’s hand or if that’s not possible, the handle should be set at the same setting for everyone. When retesting, the same handle setting should be used, even if the strength of the right or left hand varies. Also, it’s important to perform multiple tests in order to get the maximum score.

When testing for hand grip strength, it is expected that results will differ for the following reasons:

  • Male and females
  • Left and right (dominant and non-dominant) hands
  • Age

Keep in mind, grip strength test results can also be affected by the position of the wrist, elbow and shoulder, so these should be standardized and adequate bracing and/or support should be used when necessary.

Here is a simple norm table for males and females, with subcategories for age. 

Grip Strength Ratings for Males (in kg)

AGE Weak Normal Strong
10-11 < 12.6 12.6-22.4 > 22.4
12-13 < 19.4 19.4-31.2 > 31.2
14-15 < 28.5 28.5-44.3 > 44.3
16-17 < 32.6 32.6-52.4 > 52.4
18-19 < 35.7 35.7-55.5 > 55.5
20-24 < 36.8 36.8-56.6 > 56.6
25-29 < 37.7 37.7-57.5 > 57.5
30-34 < 36.0 36.0-55.8 > 55.8
35-39 < 35.8 35.8-55.6 > 55.6
40-44 < 35.5 35.5-55.3 > 55.3
45-49 < 34.7 34.7-54.5 > 54.5
50-54 < 32.9 32.9-50.7 > 50.7
55-59 < 30.7 30.7-48.5 > 48.5
60-64 < 30.2 30.2-48.0 > 48.0
65-69 < 28.2 28.2-44.0 > 44.0
70-99 < 21.3 21.3-35.1 > 35.1

Grip Strength Ratings for Females (in kg)

10-11< 11.811.8-21.6> 21.6
12-13< 14.614.6-24.4> 24.4
14-15< 15.515.5-27.3> 27.3
16-17< 17.217.2-29.0> 29.0
18-19< 19.219.2-31.0> 31.0
20-24< 21.521.5-35.3> 35.3
25-29< 25.625.6-41.4> 41.4
30-34< 21.521.5-35.3> 35.3
35-39< 20.320.3-34.1> 34.1
40-44< 18.918.9-32.7> 32.7
45-49< 18.618.6-32.4> 32.4
50-54< 18.118.1-31.9> 31.9
55-59< 17.717.7-31.5> 31.5
60-64< 17.217.2-31.0> 31.0
65-69< 15.415.4-27.2> 27.2
70-99< 14.714.7-24.5> 24.5

Once a clinic has established grip strength protocols and understand the use of the norm tables, the question turns towards what handgrip strength dynamometer to use for testing?

The Best Handgrip Strength Dynamometers

  • Most Accurate: One of the best handgrip strength dynamometers on the market today is the J-Tech Commander Echo Grip Strength Tester. The J-Tech Commander dynamometer is known for both accuracy and testing efficiency. This handgrip dynamometer can be used alone or with the Commander Echo Testing Console (sold separately). The main benefits of the J-Tech Commander Echo are that it can perform industry accepted 5-position, rapid exchange and sustained grip tests, while automatically storing data for up to 20 tests in the console to help streamline patient charting in high volume clinics.
  • Functional Capacity Testing: For clinics and evaluations looking to perform grip strength testing as part of functional capacity evaluations, the Commander GripTrack dynamometer system is the perfect choice to provide efficient and reliable grip strength testing. The Commander dynamometer meets industry standards and can provide grip testing results using established 5-position grip and rapid exchange grip (REG). The Commander GripTrack provides practitioners a reliable tool for identifying strength deficits, and can be used as part of a functional capacity evaluation to determine voluntary maximal effort. What’s more, the JTech Commander Griptrack can record and display data for up to 25 tests, making it a great choice for multiple-person testing situations.
  • Manual Muscle Tester and Grip Strength Dynamometer Combination Device:Combination devices are great for any clinician or practitioner who needs to perform a full-strength evaluation. Baseline created the LiTE dynamometer to give practitioners the ability to measure grip strength or take manual muscle testing readings by attaching an easy-to-use MMT conversion kit. Further, the Baseline LiTE features an ergonomic design with an available dual-grip handle which can be used during testing to stabilize the dynamometer during the testing procedure to ensure the accuracy of results.

Handgrip Strength Training Tools for Hand Rehabilitation

When working with patients who would like to increase grip strength, it’s important to give patients options for home use.

Big Grip Hand Exerciser: An easy to use tool for patients is the Big Grip hand exerciser which can be used to facilitate hand flexion and improve grip strength. With a simple design, the grip exercisers are simple to use and are available in four different resistance levels to accommodate patients of varying strength levels and can be upgraded as grip strength improves.

Cando Ergonomic Handgrip: Another great option for improving grip strength is the Cando Ergonomic Handgrip. The Cando Handgrip also offers various levels of resistance and features five different versions color-coded according to strength levels. This ergonomic handgrip is an excellent choice to start beginners or patients new to hand rehabilitation after an injury, as they can be moved through the levels as their strength improves. This is also a great choice for athletes looking to improve grip strength to enhance their athletic performance.

Whether assessing grip strength as part of a hand injury evaluation or assessing overall health, handgrip dynamometers are an important tool to use to complete a full evaluation and to track patient progress. With the right handgrip dynamometers, practitioners can get a full picture of a patient’s strength, deficits and create a successful treatment plan.

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