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Handgrip Strength: A Population-Based Study of Norms and Age Trajectories for 3- to 17-Year-Olds

Bohannon, Richard W. PT, EdD; Wang, Ying-Chih OTR/L, PhD; Bubela, Deborah PT, PhD; Gershon, Richard C. PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000366
Research Reports

Purpose: To provide normative values and equations for grip strength obtained from a population-based sample of individuals 3 to 17 years of age.

Methods: This cross-sectional study used grip strength data from 2706 participants (49.2% males, 91% right-hand dominant) in the normative phase of the National Institutes of Health Toolbox project.

Results: Analyses showed greater strength in the dominant hand in boys and with each yearly increase in age. Normative data are presented separately for each side, sex, and age. Separate regression equations using age and weight as explanatory variables of grip strength are provided for each side by sex.

Conclusions: The normative data can serve as a guide for interpreting grip strength measurements. The trajectories can be used to investigate the effect of various pathologies and conditions on grip strength during physical maturation.

This paper presents data from the National Institutes of Health Toolbox project to provide normative values and equations for measuring and assessing grip strength in children.

Department of Physical Therapy (Dr Bohannon), College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina; Department of Occupational Science and Technology (Dr Wang), College of Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee; Physical Therapy Program (Dr Bubela), Department of Kinesiology, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, University of Connecticut, Storrs; and Department of Medical Social Sciences (Dr Gershon), Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Correspondence: Ying-Chih Wang, OTR/L, PhD, Department of Occupational Science and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Enderis Hall 971, 2400 E Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211 (;

Grant Support: This study is funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Blueprint for Neuroscience Research and the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHS-N-260-2006-00007-C, with additional support from the National Children's Study, under Contract No. HHS-N-267-2007-00027-C.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. and Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association. All rights reserved.