Maximal grip strength was measured in kilograms using a hand dynamometer on 344 unrelated males between the ages of 59 and 70 participating in the third examination of the NHLBI Twin Study. There was a significant linear decline in mean grip strength over this age range. Mean grip strength and grip strength per kilogram weight are presented for age 59, ages 60-64 and 65-69. Genetic analysis using 127 pairs of identical (MZ) twins and 130 pairs of fraternal (DZ) twins indicated significant genetic effects for absolute grip strength and grip strength per kilogram weight. The largest estimate of heritability (65%) was obtained for grip strength adjusted for significant effects of weight, height, age, and various anthropometric measures of fatness, muscle mass, and frame size.