Back to the Crush: Gripper Workout

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Workout Reports

I have been doing sporadic gripper work of late. I have a COC #1 gripper at my desk at work, and squeeze it most every day, at least a few times. That said, I haven’t been doing full workouts for the last few weeks. Though I have been sick, I had enough “pop” to get a crush grip workout in last night.

Using my “adjustable” COC #3, I put in a quite a few reps of heavy gripping. For those of you who missed my video and/or my explanation of this phenomenon, I’ll do a quick review.

“Crush Grip” strength is measured by our ability to close our hands against some form of resistance. Thus, it is dynamic, reliant upon a range of motion.  This type of strength is usually trained with exercise grippers for the hand.  The most lauded gripper on the market is Ironmind’s “Captain of Crush”.  I’m currently working up to closing the #3, which is 280lbs of crush strength.  Believe me when I say it is a big, tall mountain to climb.  I have strong hands, but the #3 still makes me feel like a boy in short pants.

Now, on to the “adjustable” part.  You see, it so happens that a few 4″ sections of flexible PVC were hanging around, and fit perfectly over the handles of the COC grippers.  By backing the segments of PVC outward, I can extend the grip and thus increase the length of the lever arm.  In so doing, I can alter the resistance of a very heavy gripper down enough to provide working sets at a variety of resistances.

As I push the PVC segments further up the grips, shortening the lever arm, more and more of the native weight is applied during the range of motion.  With the PVC fully drawn in, I would estimate that the grippers are at about 93% of their standard resistance.  (That’s a total guess, you understand.)  From there, you can remove the PVC altogether and work on closing the grippers “legit.”

I can close the #3 with the PVC about 1/2 inch out, at best.  This has not changed much over the last little while.  I seem to have hit a plateau.  This happens.  The muscle groups and ligaments involved in hand strength are small ones, and take some time to adapt to this kind of stress.  It may be that all the beatings that my hands have taken while tearing phone books has prevented me from making progress, also.  Except in the case of improvements based upon general structural improvement, such as strength gains made in the core lifts, it is not easy to see broad-spectrum changes to performance in the short run.

Anyway, that’s my wordy report of the day.


Happy Lifting!


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