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Strength Test using Dynamometers


Jeff Harrison: Welcome back, I’m Jeff Harrison, to Living to 120 and Beyond. I’m here with …

Dr. Chein: Doctor Edmund Chein.

Jeff Harrison: Doctor Chein, we have been going down this road of about how important functionality is in the process of aging. While you pointed out three out of every ten people really want to know more and really want to do something about aging, but I think a hundred percent of the people really want to make sure they maintain their function till the day they’re no longer living. Isn’t that correct?

Dr. Chein: That’s absolutely correct.

Jeff Harrison: We want to continue this road. Now if you missed the first episode we talked about this or the last episode we talked about balance. If you haven’t done that test go back and do that now because that’s real important. That’s about our brain function right and our brain health. Today I want to talk about strength. You use a … What do you call that that you grab?

Dr. Chein: Dynamometers.

Jeff Harrison: Dynamometers. Tell us about that, what the test is and why does somebody need to know about the test, the strength if you will.

Dr. Chein: Dynamometers is the most common instrument that we measure strength in pounds. If you don’t measure, you can’t improve. The only way to test strength is to measure it in some kind of a unit and the dynamometers allows us to do that. Why is strength important? Because it declines with age. That’s why when we get older and older, older, we find the same door getting heavier and heavier. It’s not the door getting heavier, it’s your strength that’s decreasing. Same thing as getting in and out of car. You watch a young person getting in a car, they hop in. You watch an old person get in a car, they snuggle in.


Jeff Harrison: They ease in.

Dr. Chein: It’s because of strength. They find it harder and harder to get the hundred and fifty pound torso into the car compartment. The strength is very important to us because it also involves lift, picking up objects, opening up cans, all of that stuff. Ambulation, getting in and out of cars and not fall because if you have muscle in addition to balance, when you step in the pothole, your muscles can help you get out of a fall. Fall in an old person is very, very serious. It can break bones and that leading to death.

Measurement of decline of strength is a very important thing for us to determine in the beginning of seeing a patient, and to prove to the patient that we can reverse that and we can maintain that. Give you example, if the patient came in at thirty with a forty pound squeeze on the right hand and a forty pound squeeze on the left hand. At sixty, twenty years later, doc the door’s getting heavier. Is it because I’m losing strength? No problem, I’ve got the record. Squeeze and squeeze again. Now it’s again forty pounds, that means no that door’s heavy not because of your strength is weakening, it’s some other problem.

Jeff Harrison: Got you.

Dr. Chein: Or it shows thirty, twenty pounds. Oh, it is a strength problem, so now we need to put in exercise. We put in strengthening exercise, all kinds of strengthening exercise for you. For your legs and for your arms. That’s the most important for function. Function involves arms and legs.

Jeff Harrison: When we talked about it in the last episode about the brain function, you said if you test one part of the brain and it is aging, you said it all ages, it’s aging continuously, the whole brain.

Dr. Chein: Yes, the whole brain.

Jeff Harrison: Is it true when you do the dynamometers because that’s just your grip, it appears to be just grip strength, but does that tell …

Dr. Chein: No, it’s the whole body. If you’re decreasing on your grip strength, it’s decreasing everywhere.

Jeff Harrison: Got you.

Dr. Chein: Legs, I don’t even have to test your legs. Your legs are just decreasing too.

Jeff Harrison: Okay. Is there an average that someone should be at a certain weight or a certain age or is it just based on hey, this is your baseline and we start.

Dr. Chein: There’s no average just because functionality of movement and ambulation involves many, many other neurological functions. Actually the measurement is do you have difficulty or do you feel that you have difficulty of doing particular things. That is where the strength measurement comes in.

Jeff Harrison: What we’re talking about then is measuring that grip strength, you are saying if it is … You do it three times I noticed.

Dr. Chein: Yes, correct.

Jeff Harrison: What’s the purpose behind that?

Dr. Chein: It’s so that it’s not accident that the strength is low in the right hand or in the left hand.

Jeff Harrison: If I did that and let’s use this example I did forty, then I go back and I’m doing thirty, now I do twenty, does that tell us anything more? Does it going forty, forty, thirty-nine?

Dr. Chein: Absolutely. It tells me fatigability. The medical word. You get fatigued so easily. There’s something wrong too, just because you’re strong. Let’s say you got ninety pounds, first squeeze ninety pounds, the second one’s forty, the second one’s ten. You got a problem, you got a neurological problem that make you fatigued easily. That’s a problem too.

fatigability - dr Chein

Jeff Harrison: When you talk about fatigability, that’s an indicator there’s something you said neurologically, so these are things you can catch. Now, if there is a strength issue, right, is that just simply a function of now hey I may need to go to the gym or might need to do some grip exercise, some push-ups, sit-ups, those kinds of things?

Dr. Chein: That’s correct.

Jeff Harrison: Again, is it reversible?

Dr. Chein: Absolutely. That’s the whole point. It’s reversible, that’s why we test it.

Jeff Harrison: At any age?

Dr. Chein: At any age.

Jeff Harrison: Beautiful. All right well, this is just another one of those tests that really you can do and test that out. It just dawned on me, is that something if I took a let’s say a tennis ball, I don’t have a dynamometers, but I have a tennis ball, and I squeeze it. This is an honesty thing now. I squeeze it and then I do it again. I do it again and I start to notice there’s an issue there. Can I do that individually and that’s a sign that hey I need to get a hold of you?

Dr. Chein: No, because you didn’t measure in terms of units, therefore your subjective feeling of not able to squeeze it as hard as you can or make it as small the ball as you can are not scientific. They’re not scientific.

Jeff Harrison: Are there other signs Doctor Chein that maybe hey you know what, I can’t get the jar lid off, or I’m having trouble getting the door open. One of those squeeze doors or turning the handle. Are those indicators that say you know what this is not normal, this is advanced and I need to do something about it.

Dr. Chein: Absolutely. That’s a sign that you need to see a doctor about.

Jeff Harrison: Great. Now if they chose to see you, how would they get a hold of you?

Dr. Chein: Call or email, 760-327-8939, or email

Jeff Harrison: Fantastic.

Dr. Chein: If you send me email, I’ll even answer it for free. Telling you yes you need to see a doctor or you don’t.

Jeff Harrison: Fantastic. Well Doctor Chein thank you again for this episode and we’re going to continue down this road of functionality. Just a little teaser, we’re going to do what we call an age scan?

Dr. Chein: Yeah, age scan, correct.

Jeff Harrison: Age scan. I think you’re going to like this. This gets a little more scientific, does it not?

Dr. Chein: Very scientific.

Jeff Harrison: I love that so again thank you for joining us. I’m Jeff Harrison.

Dr. Chein: Dr. Edmund Chein.

Jeff Harrison: For Living to 120 and Beyond. We’ll see you again next time.

Special Offer from Dr. Chein:

Do you live in the Palm Springs Area?  If so and you would like to take advantage of the H-Scan Test, which measures your age based on function, click here now to learn more and make an appointment. (no obligation and the test and appointment are FREE)