Believe it or not, your physical ability may well be predicted by the length of your fingers.

What’s known as “digit ratio” measures the difference in length of the second finger (the first one after the thumb) and the fourth finger (second to last before the pinkie).

There is a well described difference between males and females in digit ratio. Men have a lower ratio (the length of the 4th finger is greater than the 2nd finger) than women (both fingers are closer in length). This difference is fixed during development in the womb and remains relatively stable across the lifespan.

It’s been suggested that the length of the fourth finger is a sign of greater testosterone exposure in the womb. Elite athletes in a wide range of sports are likely to have longer fourth fingers. New research has now added strength to the list of characteristics long-fourth-fingered people. In teenage boys, irrespective of age or body size, those with longer fourth fingers (relative to their second finger) were stronger.

So, next time you’re struggling to lift weights, take a long look – it may be written in your fingers.

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