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Rejuvenation Res. 2018 Oct 18. doi: 10.1089/rej.2018.2111. [Epub ahead of print]

The Association of Handgrip Strength and Mortality: What Does It Tell Us and What Can We Do With It?

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1 Division of Exercise Science, USF Muscle Laboratory, University of South Florida , Tampa, Florida.
2 Kevser Ermin Applied Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi , University, Mississippi.


The relationship between grip strength and mortality is often used to underscore the importance of resistance exercise in physical activity guidelines. However, grip strength does not appear to appreciably change following traditional resistance training. Thus, grip strength could be considered reflective of strength independent of resistance exercise. If true, grip strength is not necessarily informing us of the importance of resistance exercise as an adult, but potentially highlighting inherent differences between individuals who are stronger at "baseline" compared to their weaker counterpart. The purpose of this article is to discuss: (1) potential factors that may influence grip strength and (2) hypothesize strategies that may be able to influence grip strength and ultimately attain a higher baseline level of strength. Although there appears to be a limited ability to augment grip strength as an adult, there may be critical periods during growth/development during which individuals can establish a higher baseline. Establishing a high baseline of strength earlier in life may have long-term implications related to mortality and disease.


aging; development; grip strength; human baseline; mortality; strength


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