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Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers

Chapter 9 Lab

Assessment of Isometric Hand Grip Strength

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Isometric hand grip strength is an important component of physical fitness and provides a simple method for characterizing overall body strength.1,2 The performance of many manual labor activities, such as yard and garden work and lifting and carrying large objects, depends to a certain degree on hand grip strength.

This lab looks at the forces generated by a particular hand movement. It describes the procedures for measuring isometric hand grip strength with a hand grip dynamometer.


  • Dynamometer


  1. Prior to beginning the test, adjust the length of the handle on the hand grip dynamometer so that it feels comfortable in the hand. For individuals with very small hands, the handle of the dynamometer should be shortened; for those with very large hands, the handle should be lengthened.1
  2. Have the subject hold the hand grip dynamometer in the right hand with the palm facing up and the elbow at approximately 90°. When ready, the subject should squeeze the dynamometer maximally for three seconds. Read the force value (kg) from the dynamometer and record it on the worksheet below. Perform the strength test two more times with the right hand, separating the trials by two minutes of rest.
  3. Repeat the procedures described in Step 2 for the left hand.
  4. Add the highest strength value (kg) for the right hand to that from the left hand and record the value on the worksheet below. Divide the sum by body weight in kg and record this value on the worksheet.
  5. Percentile rank norms by age and gender are provided in the table below. Compare the sum of right and left hand grip strength to the values in the table.


  1. Montoye, H. J., and Faulkner, J. A. Determination of the optimum setting of an adjustable grip dynamometer. Res. Q. Exerc. Sport 35: 29–36, 1964.
  2. Montoye, H. J., and Lamphiear, D. E. Grip and arm strength in males and females, age 10 to 69. Res. Q. Exerc. Sport 48: 109–120, 1977.

Lab adapted from Housh, T., Housh, D., & DeVries, H. (2012). Applied Exercise & Sport Physiology, 3e. (pp. 266-269). Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers.