Article-10872078 image

Study: Men Are Getting Weaker

Millennial males in college are significantly weaker than their fathers, new research suggests.
1 ½ min

Young people, it seems, increasingly regard the word “masculine” with derision.

Based on the findings of a recent study, one wonders if such attitudes could stem from some latent insecurities. Via the Washington Post:

Researchers measured the grip strength (how strongly you can squeeze something) and pinch strength (how strongly you can pinch something between two fingers) of 237 healthy full-time students aged 20 to 34 at universities in North Carolina. And especially among males, the reduction in strength compared to 30 years ago was striking.

The average 20-to-34-year-old today, for instance, was able to apply 98 pounds of force when gripping something with his right hand. In 1985, the average man could squeeze with 117 pounds of force.

Now, there is a caveat here. The participants in the North Carolina study were recruited from college and university settings, so they’re not representative of the population as a whole. If you were to look exclusively at young adults who never went to college, for instance, you might get different results.

To summarize: it appears that the millennial males in college measured in this study were significantly weaker than their fathers. These results, the Post points out, comport with a 2011-2012 nationwide survey.

I tend not to put much stock in sweeping cross-generational comparisons, which often seem heavy on generational pride and short on substance, but the research here looks pretty sound. If true, it could buttress the idea that our society is creating "soft men."

Is the apparent weakness of millennial males (at least those in college) evidence that we’re witnessing "the emasculation of men"? Or is this yet another example of bad, headline-driven social science?


Jon Miltimore

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.

Add a Comment


Join the conversation...

You are currently using the BETA version of our article comments feature. You may notice some bugs in submission and user experience. Significant improvements are coming soon!


Account Photo
I think it’s probably more likely due to the fact that things that were once only attainable by working labour, have been replaced by some sort, or assortment of automation. It doesn’t excuse people from being unhealthy, and there’s lots of room for debate on that, but I’d wager that has a large part in it. “Weak Men” is a shitty term for stereotyping men that have been around since recorded history. I’d also wager that the female grip strength is down too, but alas, I can’t find those numbers. Quite simply. Most don’t do the work that the last couple of generations did because they had no other choice.


I read that the U. S. Army had to change their standards because so many recruits were incapable of throwing a grenade thirty yards. Thirty yards! I guess we could just have them run it up to the enemy or at least have three or four of them manhandle it up to them at a brisk walk.