It has been suggested that athletes with longer fingers and larger hand surfaces enjoy stronger grip power. Therefore, some researchers have examined a number of factors and anthropometric variables that explain this issue. To our knowledge, the data is scarce. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of hand dimensions, hand shape and some anthropometric characteristics on handgrip strength in male grip athletes and non-athletes. 80 subjects aged between 19 and 29 participated in this study in two groups including: national and collegian grip athletes (n=40), and non-athletes (n=40). Body height and mass were measured to calculate body mass index. The shape of the dominant hand was drawn on a piece of paper with a thin marker so that finger spans, finger lengths, and perimeters of the hand could be measured. The hand shape was estimated as the ratio of the hand width to hand length. Handgrip strength was measured in the dominant and non-dominant hand using a standard dynamometer. Descriptive statistics were used for each variable and independent t test was used to analyze the differences between the two groups. The Pearson correlation coefficient test was used to evaluate the correlation between studied variables. Also, to predict important variables in handgrip strength, the linear trend was assessed using a linear regression analysis. There was a significant difference between the two groups in absolute handgrip strength (p<0.001) and handgrip/height ratio (p<0.001). The indices of body height, body mass, lean body mass and body fat content (p<0.001) were significantly greater in grip athletes. All hand variables except FS1-4 (p>0.05) were significantly different between the groups (p<0.001). After controlling body mass all hand anthropometric characteristics except thumb length (r=0.240, p=0.135), hand shape (r=-0.029, p=0.858), middle finger length (r=0.305, p=0.056) and forearm circumference (r=0.162, p=0.319) significantly correlated with handgrip strength in grip athletes, but not in non-athletes, except for forearm circumference (r=0.406, p=0.010). The results showed that handgrip strength and some of the hand dimensions may be different in athletes who have handgrip movements with an object or opponent in comparison to non-athletes. Also, there was a significant positive correlation between handgrip strength and most of the hand dimensions in grip athletes. Therefore, these can be used in talent identification in handgrip-related sports and in clinical settings as well.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.