I am not talking about muscle mass, but just strength. I know some people who never touch weights, do any exercise, have terrible diets, have poor sleeping habits, live in unsettling conditions, however they have surprising strength.

One of them is a man who is 70 years old, and has the grip of a young athlete, yet he doesn't do absolutely any exercise ever, has a bad diet, doesn't move much, and doesn't sleep well either. Is this any crossover with grip strength/genetics, as opposed to overall body strength, or is that vagueness beyond anticipation?

My point is that some point are just strong despite little or no work put in, and some others, like me, make it a mission to get stronger to barely compare against some others who rarely try.

A 70 year old man who does nothing with a grip of over 120 PSI who can over power my crushing grip threatens me - it also makes me feel very weak as I am a much younger man who works out quite regularly, and I can not seem to break such strength.

It pisses me off, but is it all just genetics? If so, why should the weaklings try and get stronger/more fit if some others will always dominate them with little work/ease?

  • 1
    What does/did this strong 70 year old do for a living/hobby? I know someone similar and he did a lot of wood working, so his grip strength was built into his job. Oct 8, 2013 at 20:49
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    Genetics is a factor, but "old man strength" is a real phenomenon--strength can decrease slowly, or even increase, late in life. Maybe the real question here is about your own program? Oct 8, 2013 at 20:56
  • This is a biology question, not a fitness question. I don't see how an answer to this question will inform your fitness activities.
    – user4644
    Oct 8, 2013 at 23:37

2 Answers 2


Taken to the extreme a Gorilla or Orangutan will have a significantly stronger grip than any human, purely due to their genetics.

Variance within the human population has also been shown to have a significant genetic element, go have a quick Google and you'll find numerous studies that will identify quantifiable genetic differences in: lean to fat mass ratios, bone mineral content, relative limb to trunk length, standing height, lung volume..... There are even companies around that will sequence your DNA and tell you what kind of mutant they think you are (for a fee) eg. DNAfit

Retrovirus aside there is nothing you can do about your genetic makeup, you are what your parents made, so go find an exercise routine to exploit what you've been given.


You can look at this from two different point of view. Depends what you mean by competing.

If by competing you mean Bodybuilding Competitions on the stage, I should say straight away, no person on earth with even super genetics have a chance to get on the stage without having 100% dedication, diet, practice and high density muscle with low fat.

On the other hand if you mean he might be able to lift heavier in the gym and over power you. My answer for anybody in this story is that, Do Stimulate, Don't Annihilate! You can still reach the desired point of pump with the weight which suits your strength level and still get amazing results. most importantly you will have less risk damaging your joints and less prone to injury.

Do yourself a favor and read this article very carefully and you'll know what I am talking about when it comes from a legend like Ron Harris

Work with what you have and enjoy what you do

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