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The Effect of Repeated Maximal Grip Strength on Force Output and Cardiovascular Variables

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Studies have obtained a significant amount of data validating the benefits of repeated muscle contraction such as exercise on longevity. Meta-analysis has shown that regular exercising is linked to 30% decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease, as it has resulted in decrease of blood pressure and an improvement in cholesterol levels. Additionally, supporting evidence shows that preserving the amount of exercise, and its values, decreases risk of mortality and increases longevity. Resistance training helps improve health both physically and psychologically. It increases both muscle strength and mass. As it has been established that there is a relationship between exercising and strength, which suggests that developments in strength helps maintain health and longevity. Clinics acknowledge the role of exercise as addition to treating depression and anxiety disorders, as evidence shows exercising prevents mental disorder and helps improve sleep. Exercise can increase life span by nullifying the effects of aging on bodily functions and maintains functional reserves within elderly people.

Muscles have an essential role in health such as physical strength, organ function and immunity. In order to improve muscle mass, good health is needed. This is ensured by maintaining a balanced diet and suitable nutrition. Grip strength is a way of measuring muscle mass. It has been discovered that there is consistency of resistance training having an effect on the increase of muscle strength and mass, therefore increasing grip strength. (Watson, 2019) Total body muscle mass is highly correlated to muscle strength. (Legrand et al., 2013) Reduction in muscle mass lead to the reduction of muscle strength which restricted bodily functions and movement. This resulted in the increase of risk of falls, fractures, increase in mortality and decrease in longevity. (Watson, 2019) Therefore it is important to protect and preserve muscles in order to avoid the disadvantages listed above. Studies have shown that with low mobility, which is causes an increase in age, leading to low grip strength. (Legrand et al., 2013)

Muscle fatigue is the decrease in functioning of the neuromuscular system. This occurs due to repeated muscle contraction with low muscle strength, that then causes tiredness and feeling of fatigue. Low grip strength, can be caused by the syndrome sarcopenia, has been recognised as a feature of muscle fatigue. (Bautmans et al., 2007) The workings of fatigue are multifactorial and do not have scientific evidence. It is seen as a great complex and included factors contained in the central nervous system and muscle cells. Those that are weak and prone to fatigue, especially elderly individuals, grew tired during activities quickly. Body muscle mass had a great impact on the function of muscle and level of fatigue. If there is a decrease in body mass, muscle strength also decreases which results in fatigue and tiredness.

Thus, the aims of this experiment were to 1) examine the feasibility of using a large cohort of investigators to collect data for a force fatigue curve in a grip strength protocol, 2) establish the effect of this grip strength protocol on the blood pressure response, and 3) examine the association between maximal grip strength and fat free mass in kg.

The hypotheses for this work were 1) As time increases, the grip strength decreases in a large cohort due to muscle fatigue, 2) The higher the grip strength, the higher blood pressure 3) The greater maximum grip strength, the greater the percentage of fat free mass.

Grip strength and force output was tested, taking cardiovascular variables into account. Before the procedure took place, the participant filled in a PAR-Q form, so any medical issues are known prior to the experiment, showing that they are physically able to take part in the experiment. Before the method for measuring grip strength proceeded, the participants recorded height (cm), weight (kg) and their percentage body fat (%). After, the participants heart rate was measured. This was carried out by the participant placing their fingers on to their wrist, where their artery is located. For 30 seconds, the number of beats felt were counted and that calculation was then multiplied by 2. It was ensured that the participant was seated comfortably, and their dominant arm was resting on a table for easy access, so a blood pressure cuff was positioned on the dominant arm. The cuff had an artery marker which had to be placed on directly above the participants artery. The cuff was positioned on to the participant without skin being pinched when it expands. This measured the blood pressure while in seated position. The systolic pressure , diastolic pressure and heart rate were all recorded before and after the grip strength was measured. Using a dynamometer, the participant squeezed, for 3 seconds, and applied all their strength, and the maximum grip strength is recorded. As the first grip strength was measured, the timer was started using a stopwatch. For every 30 seconds, this was repeated for each grip strength measure. This was repeated for the next 10 minutes. Due to this method being reproducible and repeatable, the results recorded allowed comparison with other results, which showed a relationship between grip strength and force output.

Figure 1 one shows the changes in mean grip strength over time. The graph shows that there is a decrease in mean grip strength over the 10 minutes. At 0 minutes, the mean grip strength is 34.01kg and at 10 minutes, the mean grip strength is 29.58kg. Between 0 and 4.5 minutes, there is large decrease in mean grip strength, and as time increases the percentage decrease also decreases. This graph has a r2 value of 0.7115. This suggests that there was a strong negative correlation as 71.15% of the results obtained have shown this correlation.

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Figure 2 displays the relationship between grip strength and blood pressure. The bar graph shows that as grip strength increases, there was no extreme changes in blood pressure. For systolic pressure, before grip strength the blood pressure is 118.31mmHg and after grip strength, the blood pressure is 117.09mmHg. The error bars are large, suggests the values are widely spread and vary from the mean. Additionally, for diastolic pressure, blood pressure prior to the exercise it was 75.23mmHg and after was 74.05mmHg. Error bars are smaller for diastolic pressure, which implies the values are less spread and closer to the mean. Moreover, the error bars for this data overlap suggesting there is no significant difference between the two data sets.

Figure 3 demonstrates a moderate positive correlation between maximum force and fat free mass, showing the trend that as maximum force increases, fat free mass increases. This graph has a R2 value is 0.3238 which suggests that there is a positive correlation and 32.28% of the results obtained show this correlation. The r value is 0.5690, which was low implying that there is no significant difference.

The results obtained for the first hypothesis, which is a negative correlation between time and grip strength, supports the hypothesis and aim. As the graph shows that as time increases, the grip strength decreases. Second hypothesis suggests that as grip strength increases, blood pressure also increases. Therefore, a positive correlation is expected to be displayed on the graph. However, the results obtained do not link to the hypothesis as figure 2 displays decrease in blood pressure as grip strength increases. Figure 3 supports the third hypothesis as it shows that there is a moderate positive correlation between maximum force and fat free mass, which insinuates that as one variable increases, the other variable increases.

Research has supported the first aim which was decrease in grip strength over time due to fatigue. The results obtained from this research act as evidence to the data shown in figure 1. The results shows a decrease in both mean of first three repetition and mean of last three repetition. The mean of first three repetition is 33.6kg and the mean of last three repetition is 25.2kg which is a decrease of 8.4kg, thus helping the aim and hypothesis, by proving that there is a negative correlation between the two variables. This is caused by muscle fatigue due the increase in maximum force that was recorded between repeats. Due to this supporting evidence, the protocol used was reliable and has high internal validity.

Studies have discovered that grip strength is significantly correlated with diastolic blood pressure. Grip strength is found to increase the risk of hypertension, more specifically those who are overweight and obese. Additionally, evidence shows that isometric handgrip exercise has an effect on blood pressure as it causes it to be reduced. A longitudinal cohort study is conducted which supports the aim and hypothesis which is that as grip strength increases, blood pressure increases. However, these findings only target participants of older age, therefore it cannot be used to generalise to the wider population. In this study, blood pressure and grip strength are not significantly correlated for younger participants.

Investigations shows that decrease in body fat and an increase in fat free mass helps reduce the weakening in an individual’s strength and their physical ability as they get older. This matches the third hypothesis which indicates that the higher the fat free mass, the higher the maximum force used for grip strength. The R2 value (0.3238) for figure 3 shows that there is a positive correlation between the two variables. However, there is no significant difference between them due to the r value being 0.5690. This can be the consequence of decrease in strength while aging or increase in body fat due to unbalanced diet and lack of exercise. Grip strength is thought to be strongly correlated with fat free mass and body fat.

The experiment is overall appropriate and produces reliable data. The protocol is understandable, simple and undemanding. However, there are confounding variables present within the experiment, such as BMI may have not been taken to account, which could have some impact on the results. Age is another factor which contributes to changes in both blood pressure and grip strength and is linked to muscle fatigue or low muscle strength/mass. This is because aging causes muscles to weaken and increase frailty. Age can be avoided as a factor by making sure the participants are of similar ages, which enables age to be taken into account. Gender might be another factor which effected the results obtained in this research. This could be avoided using separate data for the two genders, which will allow the contrast and comparison between two data sets to be seen. However, the apparatus used for measuring grip strength, dynamometer, prevents age from being a factor as setting up the equipment requires age, gender, weight and height of the participant. Also, the results obtained with this experiment, has presented the relationship between two variables. Additionally, a large cohort is used for this procedure. This large sample provides more data to be collected, which not only allows a trend to be seen within the data, but the results to be generalisable and more representative.

Overall, the grip strength shows to have an effect on blood pressure although it hypothesis 2, that is the higher the grip strength the higher blood pressure, was not met, because grip strength is isometric exercise, and there is no significant difference between blood pressure and grip strength. This study has two of the hypotheses which has high support and are met. For Hypothesis 1, as time increases, the grip strength decreases in a large cohort due to muscle fatigue, it can be concluded that the data collected shows that muscle fatigue is the cause for decrease in grip strength. For hypothesis 3, the greater maximum grip strength, the greater the percentage of fat free mass results obtained shows support, and it can be concluded that aging, maintained balanced diet, exercise lead to reduced body fat. As these all caused muscle fatigue or decrease in muscle mass.

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The Effect of Repeated Maximal Grip Strength on Force Output and Cardiovascular Variables. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“The Effect of Repeated Maximal Grip Strength on Force Output and Cardiovascular Variables.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
The Effect of Repeated Maximal Grip Strength on Force Output and Cardiovascular Variables. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
The Effect of Repeated Maximal Grip Strength on Force Output and Cardiovascular Variables [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from:
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