Muscle memory

Women are closing the strength gap with men in a big way

(YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Of all of the gender gaps that exist, one that women are having remarkable success closing is the strength gap — well, at least millennial women are. A new study published in the Journal of Hand Therapy, shows that women between the ages of 30 and 34 are about equally as strong as men of the same age when it comes to the strength of their grip. Researchers measured the strength of the right handed grip of men and women between the ages of 20 and 34 and compared the results to data collected in 1985. You might be wondering, why are they measuring people’s grip strength? According to numerous studies, grip strength is a surprisingly accurate predictor of overall strength, and one recent study showed it to be a better forecaster of death and cardiovascular disease than measuring systolic blood pressure.

Now, back to the results of the latest study. Turns out, men’s grip strength has plummeted over the last 30 years. In 1985, the researched showed, men could apply an average of 117 pounds of pressure when using their right hand to grip something. In 2016, that number has tumbled to 98 pounds of pressure. Interestingly, women between the ages of 30 and 34 not only didn’t weaken like the male counterparts in the study — they showed increased grip strength over the women studied in 1985. They actually outperformed the 1985 women — by a lot. In the study done 30 years ago, the 30-34-year-old women were able to apply an average of 79 pounds of pressure when squeezing with their right hands. The 2016 30-34-year-old women were able to apply 98 pounds — the exact same figure that all of the men in the 2016 study averaged. Just keep that in mind if you ever find yourself in an arm wrestling match with a member of the opposite sex. And there are various contributing factors that explain why men’s strength has declined over the years, while women’s has stayed even or increased.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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