Hand strength: the influence of grip span and grip type

Ergonomics. 1991 Jul;34(7):881-92. doi: 10.1080/00140139108964832.


The maximal force from each of the fingers II-V (FF) and the resultant force between the jaws of the tool (RF), due to contribution from all fingers, were measured using a pair of modified pairs. The RF was measured at 21 handle separations and the FF was measured at seven handle separations for each finger. A traditional grip type was compared with a 'reversed' grip where the little finger was closest to the head of the tool. Sixteen subjects (8 females and 8 males) participated in the study. Both the RF and FF varied according to the distance between the handles. For both grip types, the highest RF was obtained at a handle separation of 50-60 mm for females and 55-65 mm for males. For wide handle separations, the RF was reduced by 10% (cm increase in handle separation). The force-producing ability of the hand was influenced by the grip type and the highest RF was obtained when using the traditional grip. An interaction was found between the fingers, i.e., the maximal force of one finger depended not only on its own grip span, but also on the grip spans of the other fingers. About 35% of the sex difference in hand strength was due to hand size differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Female
  • Fingers / anatomy & histology
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Posture / physiology
  • Reference Values