According to a study done by the “Journal of Hand Therapy” (who the hell funds these things?), our generation of 20 to 34-year-old men have significantly weaker arms and hands than the 20 t0 34-year-old men of the mid-1980s. Apparently, researchers measured the grip and pinch strength of 237 North Carolina university students aged 20-34 and compared that data to a similar study done at a university setting in Milwaukee in 1985. According to the data, in 1985 the average male participant in the study could squeeze with 117 pounds of force while the average male participant in the current study could only squeeze with 98 pounds of force.
Before I get into this I have to say, it’s disheartening to see these intriguing headlines only to find that a garbage study is attached to them. The sample size is small and if you break it down into sexes it’s even smaller. It focuses only on grip and finger strength and ignores any other measure of strength. If I pulled something like this in a middle school class covering the scientific method I’d flunk the hell out of it. This is the Washington Post. You would think they’d have some journalistic standards. But I digress. Just because the data shouldn’t be taken at face value doesn’t invalidate the conclusion.
It makes complete sense that, at least regarding grip strength, men have become weaker. You’d think that since much of our generation spends its time playing video games and jerking off that grip strength would be one of our few improvements, but it’s really not. Holding slices of pizza, typing up spreadsheets, texting, and playing FIFA aren’t exactly grueling activities. Back in the day before there was so much technology and available alternatives to manual labor, men did more things with their hands. Think of your childhood. Playing outside. Little league. Basketball. Yard work. Backyard football. Not playing video games all day and getting fat. People were more active from their childhood to their old age. My dad still does work he can pay a general contractor for. Speaking of, I bet if you did this project with general contractors you’d find the results much closer to the 1985 data.
So what does this study tell us? Not much, except that there is some evidence that men have become weaker, which is something I’ve been saying for years. But that’s mostly because I’ve become old and go on dad rants. Just make sure you’re active enough to have a reasonably firm handshake to impress the corporate world OGs and don’t let any Milwaukee-ite who was in college in 1985 give you a titty twister. .
[via Washington Post]