Handgrip strength and athletes’ performance
Handgrip strength seems to be related to movement patterns, where the hand is the only point of physical contact or the last bodily point of contact, between the athlete and the tool and/or object. Besides that, several sports-specific movements require a sufficient or even a high degree of handgrip strength (HGS), to optimize performance.
A huge number of sports have grasp and hand force application as important performance indicators. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor handgrip strength for optimize performance and potentially prevent injuries.
Sports that highlight the important relationship between handgrip strength and performance include the following (1):
- Water sports, with the hand being directly (e.g., swimming) or indirectly (e.g. paddles) the last bodily point of contact within the kinetic chain of the movement.
- Throwing and bowling (overhand and underhand) sphere-shaped (e.g., balls) and cylindrical-shaped objects (e.g., bats, sticks, rackets).
- Combat sports (e.g., boxing, mixed martial arts).
- Climbing and gymnastics (e.g., rings and bars).
- Strength sports (weightlifters, powerlifters).
Handgrip and the sporting ability
In this context, because there is a variety of movements to be performed by the hand, it is difficult to evaluate the direct relationship between HGS and performance. However, a large number of studies found that elite and successful athletes have greater HGS in comparison to their sub-elite and less successful counterparts, which supports the relationship between HGS and the level of sporting ability. Furthermore, some authors investigate the effects of resistance training supplemented with HGS and forearm training and found significantly greater improvements in forearm and HGS than the resistance training only group (2).
The existent desire of improving athlete’s handgrip strength implies progressive monitorization of the anatomy of the hand and forearm, prioritizing affordable, portable, reliable, and sensitive measures for detecting meaningful changes.
Gripwise, a digital handgrip dynamometer that measures not only maximum isometric handgrip strength but also the strength profile, satisfies all criteria for a stable and effective monitorization. By implementing this assessment in the athlete’s daily practice, we can quantify their evolution and, subsequently, improve the athlete’s performance.