The Finger Test
Hold your right hand up in front of you as if you were trying to protect your face in a food fight. Now look at it. Is your ring finger (the fourth finger, counting the thumb) considerably longer than the finger you point with (the second finger)?
If it is, consider yourself lucky. It seems that finger size, or more specifically, finger ratio, correlates strongly with not only testosterone levels, but to success in a variety of sports, including football, soccer, basketball, fencing, rowing, rugby, handball, running, slalom skiing, sumo wrestling, swimming, volleyball, and tennis.
You Gotta Be Kidding, Right?
It's not as crazy as it sounds. In most men, the ring finger is longer than the finger you point with. The ratio between them is known as the 2D:4D ratio. For instance, if your index finger is 2.9 inches long and your ring finger is 3.1 inches long, you have a ratio of 0.935.
Oddly enough, the ring finger seems to have a higher number of receptors for testosterone and during early fetal development, the ring finger grows in proportion to the amount of testosterone produced. The more testosterone produced, the lower the eventual 2D:4D ratio.
Studies have shown that men who have a lower ratio are more likely to succeed in a number of sports. The largest of such studies was conducted in 2001 on soccer players. Professional ballers had, on average, the lowest ratio, and first-team players had lower ratios than reserve players. Continuing on, soccer players who played for their country more often had lower 2D:4D ratios than those who played less often.
Another study, this one conducted in 2011, showed that British athletes with lower ratios were mentally tougher, more confident, more optimistic, and more determined to win.
What About Women?
Generally speaking, women's index fingers and ring fingers are roughly the same length, but those females who do have a lower 2D:4D ratio seem to have higher testosterone levels and do better in sports.
As confirmation of this, a 2015 study showed that female rowers with lower 2D:4D ratios rowed considerably faster at the Australian championships than women with higher ratios. And while it's certainly not as definitive as a rainbow flag bumper sticker, women with lower 2D:4D ratios are also a little more likely to skew lesbian.
How the Hell Does This Make Any Sense?
A longer ring finger is merely a biomarker of high levels of fetal testosterone, and this early surge of testosterone is instrumental in influencing the growth of not only the brain and heart, but also muscle and bone, all of which are vital to sports performance.
Interestingly, the 4th digit of the right hand is more sensitive to fetal testosterone than the ring finger of the left hand, so use the right one to appraise your T levels.
- Tomkinson, Grant, Dyer, Makailah, "Finger Length Could Predict Athletic Ability." LiveScience, September 7, 2017.