Upper body strength endurance evaluation: A comparison between the handgrip strength and three body weight tests

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BACKGROUND: The hand-grip strength test has been widely adopted to evaluate upper limb strength. Other field based tests as push-ups and pull-ups are commonly used for the same purpose. It is however unclear if these may be used interchangeably for upper body strength evaluation. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate strength endurance of the upper body and understand which test could be the most appropriate for upper body evaluation. METHODS: Thirty-eight healthy young male participants were tested with three tests comprised of: 1) push-ups (PS), 2) pull-ups (PL) and 3) parallel dips (PD) performed to exhaustion. Grip strength (GS), total number of repetitions, time-to-complete the test, repetition cadence and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were also retrieved for investigation. RESULTS: Repetitions, time-to-complete the test and repetition cadence significantly differed across the three tests (p< 0.001). No difference in the RPE was present. No correlation was present between GS and the other tests. No correlation was present between RPE and performance values and time-to-complete the tests. BMI was positively correlated to RPE in all tests. All tests strongly correlate to each other (PS vs. PL r= 0.55; PS vs. PD r= 0.64; PL vs. PD r= 0.70) and to time-to-complete the test (PS r= 0.79; PL r= 0.69; PD r= 0.66). Only the results of the PD correlate to their respective repetition cadence (r= 0.66). CONCLUSIONS: GS is not suitable to evaluate strength endurance. PS, PL and PD are all suitable to evaluate strength endurance. However, PD may be preferred to evaluate the upper body, if velocity also needs to be taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalIsokinetics and Exercise Science
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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