Grip strength measurement: Towards a standardized approach in sarcopenia research and practice

L. A. Schaap, B. Fox, T. Henwood, O. Bruyère, J. Y. Reginster, C. Beaudart, F. Buckinx, H. Roberts, C. Cooper, A. Cherubini, Giuseppina Dell'Aquila, M. Maggio, S. Volpato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Grip strength is a well-accepted measure of muscle strength. A standardized protocol for the measurement of grip strength has been proposed in 2011 to enable consistent measurement of grip strength and comparisons between studies. It is unknown whether this protocol has been adopted in sarcopenia research and practice. The aim of the study was to provide insight into current measurement practice, including the use of cut-off values for low muscle strength. Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted, followed by a methodological quality assessment and extraction of relevant data. Inclusion criteria included a description of the grip strength protocol, EWGSOP standards were used to define sarcopenia, data was collected after 2010 and participants were 65 years and older. Results: Twenty-seven observational papers were included in the review. The methodological quality was acceptable/good. Overall, information about the protocol was limited with a large variability in measurement approach. Most non-Asian studies used cut-off values for low grip strength of 30 kg for men and 20 kg for women. Asian studies showed more variability in choice of cut-off values. Discussion: The proposed grip strength measurement protocol has been poorly adopted since its publication. Although there seems to be some agreement on cut-off values in non-Asian studies, proposed cut-off values need to be evaluated in specific diseases and settings and its predictive abilities regarding outcomes such as mobility limitations and falls needs to be determined. Asian research on cut-off values is still ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Cut-off values
  • Grip strength
  • Protocol
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology


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