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How to Measure Grip Strength

by | Jun 17, 2022 | Pickleball

While grip strength is obviously an important part of swinging a pickleball paddle, it is also one of the best indicators of overall adult strength and reduced risk of all cause mortality. [1]

There are several ways to measure grip strength, but the gold standard is using a Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer.

Other Facts Related to Grip Strength

  • A 5kg decrease in grip strength was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • For the cohort followed 25 years, individuals with the lowest baseline grip strength were significantly more likely to be unable to rise from a chair.
  • Relationship between grip strength and bone mineral density has been firmly supported by literature. [2]

How to Measure Grip Strength Using the Jamar Dynamometer

1. Wash your hands and explain the procedure to the participant.

2. Ensure that the dynamometer is cleaned before use.

3. Ask the participant to remove their shoes and also any watches and/or bracelets.

4. Record the participant’s hand dominance.

5. Demonstrate how to hold the dynamometer to the participant by testing it on yourself and explain how the dial registers the best result by squeezing as tightly as possible.

6. Sit them comfortably in a chair with a back support and fixed arm rests.

7. Use the same style of chair (low backed, with fixed arm rests) for every measurement.

8. Ask the participant to rest their forearms on the arms of the chair and keep their feet flat on the floor. You should ask the participant to roll their trousers/jeans up in order to ensure their feet are flat on the floor and do not rise from the floor when squeezing the dynamometer.

9. Their wrists should be just over the end of the chair’s arm, thumb facing upwards.

10. Ask them to position their thumb round one side and their fingers around the other side of the handle. When they are holding the dynamometer in the correct position their fingers and thumb should be visible on the same side of the apparatus.

11. Check with them that the instrument feels comfortable in their hand. The position of the handle can be adjusted if necessary for different sized hands.

You will notice whether the handle needs altering based on the distance of the four fingers from the palm of the hand. If the finger nails are digging in to the palm, it will be uncomfortable for the participant and means that the handle needs moving further away from the mechanism.

If it looks as though the fingers are not close enough to the palm and it feels to the participant as though their hand may slip off the handle when squeezing, it suggests that the handle needs to be adjusted to bring it closer to the mechanism.

12. Inform them that it will feel as if there was no resistance.

13. Ensure the red needle is in the “0” position by turning the dial.

14. Start with the right hand and then repeat the measurement with the left hand.

Man Measuring Grip Strength Side View
Man Measuring Grip Strength Front View

15. The measurer should support the weight of the dynamometer by resting it on their palm while the subject holds the dynamometer but they should not be restricting the movement of the device.

16. Encourage squeezing as long and as tightly as possible for the best result until the needle stops rising. Use a standard squeezing phrase

“Squeeze……harder, harder…and stop squeezing”

17. When the needle stops rising read the measurement (in kg) from the dial and record the result to the nearest 1kg. The outside dial registers the result in kg and the inner dial in lb.

18. Disregard and repeat the test if the participant’s arm rises above the arm of the chair, or if their feet lift off the floor during the measurement.

19. Record three measurements for each hand, alternating sides.

20. Thank the participant.

* Link to Resource

Choosing the Best Grip Strength Dynamometer

Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer, Lightweight Max Force Indicator to Measure Grip Strength, Calibrated Strengthener Measures PSI, Cordless Hand Evaluation Tool, Easy Squeeze Adjustable Exerciser

Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer

This is the device I use in my physical therapy clinic. It is incredibly durable. I purchased it over 10-years ago and has remained accurate.

It is the gold standard device for accurate measurements.

* Click image to check pricing.

GRIPX Digital Hand Dynamometer Grip Strength Measurement Meter Auto Capturing Electronic Hand Grip Power 198Lbs / 90Kgs

GRIPX Digital Hand Dynamometer

Is a more affordable option for recreational pickleball players. I have used this device in my physical therapy clinic. It has been reliable enough for non-clinical use that I would recommend it for home use.

* Click image to check pricing.

Choosing the Best Grip Strength Dynamometer

Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer, Lightweight Max Force Indicator to Measure Grip Strength, Calibrated Strengthener Measures PSI, Cordless Hand Evaluation Tool, Easy Squeeze Adjustable Exerciser

Jamar Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer

This is the device I use in my physical therapy clinic. It is incredibly durable. I purchased it over 10-years ago and has remained accurate.

It is the gold standard device for accurate measurements.

GRIPX Digital Hand Dynamometer Grip Strength Measurement Meter Auto Capturing Electronic Hand Grip Power 198Lbs / 90Kgs

GRIPX Digital Hand Dynamometer

Is a more affordable option for recreational pickleball players. I have used this device in my physical therapy clinic. It has been reliable enough for non-clinical use that I would recommend it for home use.

References:

1. McGrath RP, Kraemer WJ, Snih SA, Peterson MD. Handgrip Strength and Health in Aging Adults. Sports Med. 2018 Sep;48(9):1993-2000. doi: 10.1007/s40279-018-0952-y. PMID: 29943230.

2. Bohannon RW. Grip Strength: An Indispensable Biomarker For Older Adults. Clin Interv Aging. 2019;14:1681-1691. Published 2019 Oct 1. doi:10.2147/CIA.S194543