There is one simple way to check how athletic you are without even getting up from your seat. Look at your hands. If your ring fingers and index fingers are similar in length, congratulations! You're probably quite good at sports. There is one caveat, though. It only counts if you're a teenage boy.
Father and son duo, Grant and Jordon Tomkinson, compared the digit ratios and muscular strength of 57 adolescent boys. The results, published in the Journal of Early Human Development, show a moderate correlation between having a lower digit ratio and greater muscular strength.
To work out your digit ratio, measure the length of your index finger and the length of your ring finger from palm to tip. Now, divide the first number by the second number. Typically, males have longer index fingers, whereas females have index and ring fingers of a similar size.
It's possible this relationship between finger length and sporting prowess comes down to the hormones you were exposed to as a fetus. There is some indirect evidence that the more testosterone in the womb, the longer the ring finger and, therefore, the smaller the ratio.
"Testosterone is the natural steroid hormone," says Grant Tomkinson, professor of kinesiology and public health education at the University of North Dakota, in a statement. It "enhances sport, athletic, and fitness test performances."
The study found that the boys with lower digit ratios had a stronger handgrip than their peers. This is the case regardless of age and body size. Not only is muscular strength a sign of good health, Tomkinson says, it is an important skill for many youth sports and athletic activities.
While Tomkinson's research focuses on adolescent males, one of his graduate students (Makailah Dyer) found similar results in women when comparing digit ratios to athletic abilities. The women with lower digit ratios proved to be better basketball players.
Of course, take this research with a pinch of salt – there is more to athletic prowess than just finger length.