I have discovered an unknown (to me) aspect of my training: grip. Most often, people are content with one of two methods of grip training:
- Nothing at all
- Old-School Gripper
While the first is, obviously, no good at all, the second could at least be considered a half-hearted attempt at improvement. The trouble is, unbeknowst to most, those standard grippers are pretty much useless. They might be good for idle TV time, or even at work during moments of inactivity. Most people can perform 50 or more reps per hand though and that simply isn’t worth the effort. There’s just not enough resistance to really matter. They can even do this practically on command. If anyone knew any better they would stop buying these under the guise as a “strength” or “fitness” tool. They really provide neither. As far as I can tell, they’re mostly a waste of time. Still better than nothing, but not by much.
I’ve now been fortunate enough to discover a world of gripping tools that I’m hopeful will take me above and beyond what I thought were the only options. Enter the “Captains of Crush” grippers. These are products developed and manufactured by IronMind Enterprises. They are truly designed to provide an actual grip workout. Not the usual watch TV and squeeze a thousand times, no, these are hardcore tools for the strength trade. I recently ordered a couple different grippers in the COC line and I’m supremely impressed with what is on offer.
Thus far, with my weak, pathetic grip, I am only working with two of the lower levels: the 60lb Guide and the 100lb Trainer. The Guide provides the least resistance for the entire COC line. The most is somewhere in the neighborhood of 365lb. Obviously it’s going to take a while. As of this blog post, only 5 people have ever closed the top level #4 COC gripper sporting that maximum resistance number above. While I’m doubtful I’ll ever get there, it’s a nice thought to have.
No matter what, the two I currently possess are providing me with one hell of a challenge and ego check. I’m treating them as if they were regular weights really. Think of the equivalent barbell or dumbbell I suppose. Sets. Reps. Focus. Concentration. The normal ingredients that make a program. Right now I’m sticking with 10 reps, each hand, using the lighter Guide. After completing those I move to the stronger Trainer and complete 5 reps in each hand. Each of these is done for 5 sets in each hand. Needless to say, my hands and forearms are pretty spent at the end. This is definitely a taxing routine to try. My forearms actually get a little pump and feel noticeably hard after the fact. Just like a regular workout. Just what anyone should be looking for.
I would caution anyone that wishes to try these tools out though: be smart about it. You can injure yourself just like any other exercise. You can tweak your tendons, your fingers, your thumb, your wrist. Any number of things. So, as mentioned earlier, let your ego check commence. You won’t be able to jump right in and start cracking coconuts. Like all resistance training, take it slow, build it up. That’s what I’m planning on doing. Beyond injury, be aware of soreness as well. A day after doing a few sets of these and your fingers will be cramped right up. It’ll go away eventually, but you’ll wake up wondering what on earth you did to yourself. It’s the grippers.
So, if you’re interested in improving your grip, your deadlift, and a myriad other things, I would highly recommend checking out the COC gripper line of products. They’re available at Amazon as well as on the IronMind website. Amazon is a little bit more expensive in this case, but if you have Prime Shipping, you’ll get them right away. I think the difference is about $3 or so. No matter where you get them from, do some additional research to see if they’re right for you. Keep in mind they are well made, feel good in the hand, and have a nice weight to them. They really do seem to be an excellent product for the serious strength athlete. Maybe someday I can consider myself to be one… maybe.