A review of the measurement of grip strength in clinical and epidemiological studies: towards a standardised approach

Roberts, Helen C., Denison, Hayley J., Martin, Helen J., Patel, Harnish P., Syddall, Holly, Cooper, Cyrus and Sayer, Avan Aihie (2011) A review of the measurement of grip strength in clinical and epidemiological studies: towards a standardised approach Age and Ageing, 40, (4), pp. 423-429. (doi:10.1093/ageing/afr051). (PMID:21624928).


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Background: the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People has developed a clinical definition of sarcopenia based on low muscle mass and reduced muscle function (strength or performance). Grip strength is recommended as a good simple measure of muscle strength when ‘measured in standard conditions’. However, standard conditions remain to be defined.

Methods: a literature search was conducted to review articles describing the measurement of grip strength listed in Medline, Web of Science and Cochrane Library databases up to 31 December 2009.

Results: there is wide variability in the choice of equipment and protocol for measuring grip strength. The Jamar hand dynamometer is the most widely used instrument with established test–retest, inter-rater and intra-rater reliability. However, there is considerable variation in how it is used and studies often provide insufficient information on the protocol followed making comparisons difficult. There is evidence that variation in approach can affect the values recorded. Furthermore, reported summary measures of grip strength vary widely including maximum or mean value, from one, two or three attempts, with either hand or the dominant hand alone.

Conclusions: there is considerable variation in current methods of assessing grip strength which makes comparison between studies difficult. A standardised method would enable more consistent measurement of grip strength and better assessment of sarcopenia. Our approach is described.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/ageing/afr051
ISSNs: 0002-0729 (print)
Keywords: grip strength, measurement, protocol, sarcopenia, elderly

Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 341857
Date :
Date Event
30 May 2011e-pub ahead of print
July 2011Published
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2012 14:24
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:43
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/341857

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