Grip Training Tutorial, Part Two

Posted: February 14, 2012 in Articles

Last time, we discussed the various types of hand and wrist strength, and how those could be expressed. Now, let’s go on to consider how we can develop strength in those movements.

Crush Grip Strength:

Any exercise wherein we squeeze a pliable object with our hands can improve our crush grip. You may remember the flimsy spring-loaded grippers of the past when you think of this type of trainer. In fact, the spring loaded grip trainer is an excellent mechanism for training your grip. The issue with many of these trainers is that we quickly become inured to their relatively low resistance, and though doing hundreds of repetitions will build muscular endurance in our hands and forearms, being able to implement greater resistance will allow us to work on increasing our maximum and working strength more efficiently. Luckily, there are grippers today that feature greatly increased spring tension, and they will allow us to go from “granny” grip all the way to “Beowulf” grip levels. The most highly-touted of these grippers is marketed under the name “Captains of Crush” by They are heavily built out of spring steel and knurled aluminum, and you’ll be hard pressed to wear them out. There are other, similar grippers out there, but the “Captains” are the gold standard.

Captains of Crush

Maybe metal isn’t your thing, though. Spring grippers are not the only way to go. In fact, for the average person just starting out, they may not even be the best way. If you want to do it yourself, simply find a very hardy cloth like cordura nylon (or leather) and create a pouch that will fill your palm. Now fill the pouch with a pliable substrate like dry beans or very small pebbles. Sew it up, and you have yourself both a hackey sack and a grip trainer.

Okay, if that’s a little too involved, the very beginner can just find one of those “stress balls” or “stress eggs” at the store, and use that until you find that it’s too easy to squeeze steadily, for repetitions, over the course of a minute with each hand. If your hands are either a)weak; b)hurt; or c)very small, this might be the best place to start.

But wait, there’s more. One of my favorite grip tools is one that is shaped like a donut, and available in multiple different levels of challenge. It’s called the Grip Pro Trainer. It’s friendly to the hands, can be used in a variety of different ways, and the three levels are applicable to people anywhere from below normal strength to, well, me! I’d recommend getting all three levels, and I only paid something like $12 for them when I did so. The green is very easy, the black moderate, and the red fairly challenging. They’re great fun, and because they’re soft and non-metallic, you should be able to carry them anywhere without arousing the ire of the Federales.

Grip Pro Trainer

Finally, there’s another metal thing: if you have access to kettlebells, there’s a method for using them that calls for mighty crush grip strength and wrist toughness. If, while doing a kettlebell clean or snatch, we clamp our hand down on the handle and stop the rotation of the weight at its uppermost point, we perform a “bottoms up” clean or snatch. This is hard. Not only does it take great hand and wrist strength, it also takes timing, balance, and coordination. This isn’t a beginner move. That said, you can see what it’s about in the videos section of the website.

Next time, we’ll move on to Pinch Grip Strength!


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