I recently had a customer ask whether we had any information on studies that show how grip strength is related to overall upper body strength. Her organization was interested in simplifying their clinical tests by using a hand dynamometer to perform grip strength testing, and using the results to make projections about the test subjects’ upper body strength.
I found a study done by Doctor Gary Chimes from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey that had as its objective finding out what correlation, if any, existed between women’s hand grip strength and other measures of upper body strength. The study involved using a Jamar Hand Dynamometer to test grip strength, along with a Cybex NORM isokinetic dynamometer to measure rotational strength in the shoulder.
The conclusion reached in the study was that there is a significant correlation between grip strength as measured by a hand dynamometer and general upper body strength. This means that for general applications, upper body strength testing can be simplified by testing a patient’s grip strength. The study does carefully conclude that for applications that require a more precise evaluation of upper body strength, this simplification will not work.