Grip strength has been used as an important measurement in research setting for a long time and in clinical practice for over a decade, and it remains a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to test muscle strength. It’s typically measured by a machine called a handgrip dynamometer, which you can find online or in most fitness centers.
Beyond muscle mass, grip strength has also been found to be an indicator of overall health in recent years. Increased muscle strength, as demonstrated by a stronger grip, has been associated with increased cardiovascular health in large, longitudinal population studies. The force of one’s grip has even been correlated to overall longevity. “We know grip strength is a powerful indicator–and a potential biomarker of aging,” Bjorn Heine Strand of the University of Oslo’s Institute of Health and Society, tells Reuters.
As such, exercises that maintain muscle mass and grip strength become even more important as we get older (when muscle losses become more common, but not inevitable).