Forearm muscle quality as a better indicator of physical performance than handgrip strength in older male ground golf players aged 70 to 89

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2016 Dec 14;16(4):296-301.


Objectives: To examine the associations between absolute and relative handgrip strength (HGS) and physical performance.

Methods: A total of 135 old men aged 70-89 years had muscle thickness (MT) measured by ultrasound at anterior forearm (MT-ulna). Maximum voluntary HGS was measured for the dominant hand. Relative HGS was calculated as ratios of HGS to MT-ulna (HGS/MT-ulna, kg/cm), HGS to forearm girth (HGS/forearm-girth, kg/cm), and HGS to body mass (HGS/body mass, kg/kg). Physical performance was also assessed using the short physical performance battery (SPPB).

Results: Age was significantly correlated with absolute and relative HGS (r=-0.479 and r=-0.315 to -0.427, respectively all p<0.001) and physical performance (walking speed, r=-0.218, p=0.011; chair stand, r=0.348, p<0.001), but not with SPPB score (r=-0.083). Absolute HGS was positively correlated with usual-walking speed (r=0.354, p<0.001) and was inversely correlated with chair-stand time (r=-0.386, p<0.001). The strongest correlations were seen between HGS/MT-ulna and usual-walking speed (r=0.426, p<0.001) or chair-stand (r=-0.461, p<0.001). Stepwise regression analysis revealed that HGS/MT-ulna was a significant predictor for U-walk speed (R2=0.205) and chair-stand time (R2=0.241) while absolute HGS was not a significant predictor of either one.

Conclusion: Thus, we suggest that forearm muscle quality (HGS/MT-ulna) may be a stronger predictor of physical performance than absolute HGS in active old men.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Forearm / physiology*
  • Golf*
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*