In thirteen major muscle groups of 50 healthy females and 50 males, aged 20-60 years, maximum voluntary contraction was measured with a hand-held dynamometer. The intrasession variation, the left-right variation, and the fifth and fiftieth centile values were calculated. The ratio of two observations within one session ranged from 0.85 to 1.18 and the ratio of left to right ranged from 0.82 to 1.22 (95% reference limits). In 20 volunteers the repeatability was tested after one week. The ratio of averages of three measurements in two successive weeks ranged from 0.82 to 1.23 (95% reference limits). There were only small differences between muscle groups concerning these ratios. A significant relation with age and weight/Quetelet Index could be demonstrated in some muscle groups. The mean strength of females is approximately two thirds of the strength of males. The data may be useful as reference values in the application of hand-held myometry.
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