Sports Medicine

, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 1993–2000 | Cite as

Handgrip Strength and Health in Aging Adults

  • Ryan P. McGrathEmail author
  • William J. Kraemer
  • Soham Al Snih
  • Mark D. Peterson
Leading Article


Handgrip strength (HGS) is often used as an indicator of overall muscle strength for aging adults, and low HGS is associated with a variety of poor health outcomes including chronic morbidities, functional disabilities, and all-cause mortality. As public health initiatives and programs target the preservation of muscle strength for aging adults, it is important to understand how HGS factors into the disabling process and the sequence of health events that connect low HGS with premature mortality. Such information will help to inform interventions designed to slow the disabling process and improve health outcomes for those at risk for muscle weakness. Further, unraveling the disabling process and identifying the role of weakness throughout the life course will help to facilitate the adoption of HGS measurements into clinical practice for healthcare providers and their patients. The purposes of this article were to (1) highlight evidence demonstrating the associations between HGS and clinically relevant health outcomes, (2) provide directions for future research in HGS and health, and (3) propose a sequence of health-related events that may better explain the role of muscle weakness in the disabling process.



Activities of daily living


Handgrip strength


Instrumental activities of daily living


Compliance with ethical standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflicts of interest

McGrath, Kraemer, Al Snih, and Peterson declare no conflicts of interest.

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryan P. McGrath
    • 1
    Email author
  • William J. Kraemer
    • 2
  • Soham Al Snih
    • 3
  • Mark D. Peterson
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Health, Nutrition, and Exercise SciencesNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Division of Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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