The importance of hand strength and function is evident in all aspects of our daily living, from eating and maintaining personal hygiene to typing at the computer, performing brain surgery, or playing tennis or the piano. People suffering from arthritis or hand injury quickly appreciate the difficulty of performing even simple tasks with reduced grip strength.

Testing of hand grip strength is used by orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to evaluate the extent of an injury and the progress of recovery. Grip strength can also be used to diagnose neuromuscular problems such as stroke, herniated disks in the neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, and elbow tendonitis. Athletes are interested in grip strength because it relates to performance in many sports, such as tennis, golf, baseball, football, gymnastics, and rock climbing.

Pinch strength is a way for occupational therapists to measure loss of fine-motor strength in the thumb, fingers, and forearm. It is useful for analyzing the extent of an injury and the outcome from surgery or therapy.

In Part I of this experiment, you will measure and compare grip strength in your right and left hands. You will also correlate grip strength with arm position, handedness, and height. In Part II you will analyze the pinch strength of each of your four fingers.


  • Measure and compare grip strength of your right and left hands in three different lower arm positions.
  • Compare grip strength of dominant hand and nondominant hand.
  • Compare the pinch strengths of the individual fingers of the dominant hand.