Have you ever had a friend (or foe) try to take away an object from you only to give up shortly after realizing that there is no way they can break your iron grip? A strong hand grip is one of the most functional and badass strength flexes.
Additionally, if you are a strength training aficionado but cannot hold onto a barbell or dumbbell for the duration of your set, can you expect to make gains in the gym long-term?
Do you ever wonder about the greatest invention of all time? I would give the award to the human hand. I know what you’re thinking and agree with you. Our hands are not the result of some overnight invention. Human hands are an outcome of millenniums of a slow and subtle evolutionary process.
If it weren’t for the shape and structure of our hands (along with the development of our brains), it’d be hard to say if we would have had the same success — as a species — as we did. The things we have built using our hands are remarkable.
The complex structure of the human hand is one of the hardest things for scientists and engineers to copy. The greatest minds on our planet have been trying to emulate the functioning of the human hand in robots and are finally closing in on their goal. Notably, the advancement in this field has sparked debate on the threats of AI and an eventual AI takeover of the earth.
However, this article is not about tech or the human desire for power. We are here to discuss the importance and benefits of hand grip strengthening exercises and how you can build a vice-like grip.
Related: How To Build A Cast-Iron Grip
Hand Grip Strengthener
For a strength athlete, a strong grip can improve their deadlift, farmer’s carry, and any pressing or pulling movement. Apart from weightlifting, a powerful grip can help non-gym goers perform daily chores like opening jammed water bottles for the pretty ladies at the office, carrying heavy suitcases on vacation, and avoiding the extra grocery trip.
Using a hand grip strengthener is one of the most effective ways of building a solid grip. A hand gripper is a portable handheld device that helps you improve your grip and forearm strength.
Benefits of Hand Grip Strengthener
Hand grippers have been around for a long time and are incredibly efficient at helping train your lower arm optimally. Using a hand grip strengthener entails the following benefits:
1. Builds Muscular Endurance
If you cannot hold onto a dumbbell or weight plate for long enough, your muscle strength is rendered useless. For many people, grip strength is the weak link when it comes to resistance training.
Using a gripper will help you build grip and wrist strength, which can translate to better performance in physically intensive exercises that demand muscle strength, endurance, and stamina for longer durations.
2. Works Your Forearms
Forearms are indispensable in strength training. You are leaving gains on the table if you are not working on your lower arms. When you use a hand grip strengthener or other grip strengthening training equipment like a fat grip, you’ll experience a nasty forearm pump.
Furthermore, incorporating grip strengthening exercises in your training regimen can help enhance your performance in sports like tennis, golf, and rock climbing which require greater lower arm engagement.
3. Are Light and Portable
Grippers are light and portable. You could carry them with you wherever you go. Most grip strengtheners come with adjustable resistance settings that make them a piece of must-have training equipment for both beginners and experienced lifters.
The grip training equipment is also a great way to warm up your lower arms before a workout or finish your training session with a muscle-ripping forearm pump.
4. Improves Mental Well-Being
As per a study conducted on 4,314 subjects, individuals with lower hand-grip strength had higher odds of having depressive symptoms. A related Harvard study concluded that an individual’s grip strength is strongly correlated with their visual memory, reaction time, number memory, and prospective memory. 
Who would have known that working on your grip strength can help fight depression? Also, a change in an individual’s grip strength could be a reliable indicator of their mental health and could be used to identify problems before other symptoms become noticeable.
5. Hand Grip Strengtheners are Effective Stress Busters
Hand grip strengtheners are low-intensity training equipment that can be used at any time of the day, even while multitasking. You could use them as an alternative for fidget spinners, stress balls or cubes.
It is no secret that fidgeting and keeping yourself busy can help relieve stress and anxiety while improving motor control. Grippers give you an opportunity to unwind and relax while increasing the isometric grip of your forearms and wrists. 
6. Reduced Age-Related Strength Decline
Sadly, humans do not age like fine wine. Among other things, we lose mobility, overall strength, and bone density as we grow older.
Hand exercises can help keep surrounding muscles strong and prevent joint damage while performing physically intensive tasks. According to a study, hand grip exercises can help improve overall function in people dealing with arthritis. 
7. Helps You Perform Better at Daily Chores
Whether moving furniture, playing sports, or carrying luggage, a strong grip can help you perform better at daily activities. You’ll notice a big difference in your daily functioning a few weeks after including hand grip strengthening exercises in your daily routine.
8. Improves Grip, Forearm, and Muscle Strength
Your grip strength is determined by the strength of your fingers, forearm, thumb, and wrist. A forearm or hand movement requires the involvement of 35 muscles. Most of these muscles are involved in gripping activities as well.
Most people never experience optimal muscle fiber activation during their push and pull workouts as their grip strength gives up before they can achieve muscle failure.
Strong forearms help improve your grip and wrist strength, which spill over in your workouts in exercises like the pull-up, lat pull-down, farmer’s walk, etc.
Furthermore, a study conducted at Ball State University confirms that a strong hand grip can help predict a person’s muscular strength and endurance. 
9. Greater Dexterity
Dexterity refers to your ability to manipulate your fingers. Some specialized grip strengtheners help improve your finger strength. These hand strengthening equipment are great for athletes who depend on individual finger strength, like climbers and boulderers.
Some of these specialized hand training equipment use a reverse-grip design that provides resistance when you open your hand. You stretch the elastic bands by extending your fingers out, which creates constant tension on the muscles in your hands.
Also Read: How to Build a Stronger Grip at Home
How To Use a Hand Gripper
There are multiple ways of using a hand gripper. However, if you are a beginner, you should adhere to the following steps to make the most of the grip strengthening training equipment:
- Begin by adjusting the resistance of the gripper to a suitable level.
- Place the bottom handle at 45-degree in your palm. The device should be placed just above the base of your thumb.
- The gripper should be in a position where it is easy to position your pinky finger on the end of the top handle.
- Place your pinky, ring, middle, and index fingers as low on the top hand as possible. It will allow you to squeeze the gripper with all your might.
- Make sure your fingers are placed as close together as possible on the top handle.
- Slowly squeeze the handles until they are in contact with each other.
- Pause and contract your hands as hard as you can at the bottom.
- Return to the starting position in a slow and controlled motion.
- Repeat for reps.
Types of Grip Training Exercises
To make the most of your lower arm training, you need to incorporate the following three types of grip exercises in your regimen:
- Crush Grip: It involves a handshake-type grip where the object being gripped rests against your palm and fingers. The crush grip is the most common type of gripping exercise.
- Pinch Grip: In a pinch grip, your fingers are on one side of an object, and the thumb is on the other. As a rule of thumb (no puns intended), an object lifted in a pinch grip does not touch your palm. Overloading your hands in a pinch grip can cause cramps.
- Support Grip: A support grip involves holding something for a long time. Farmer’s walk is a type of support grip exercise.
Your grip training should include a balance of heavy, short, and explosive grip exercises and a mix of the three types of grips mentioned above to enhance your grip strength and endurance.
Hand Grip Strength-Building Workout
While the hand gripper is a great standalone lower arm training equipment, you could take your hand grip strength to the next level by incorporating it in a grip strength-focused workout.
Hand Grip Strengthening Workout
- Hand Gripper: 3 sets of 10 reps (each side)
- Plate Pinch: 3 sets of 20-30 seconds
- Towel Pull-Up: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Reverse Wrist Curl: 3 sets to failure
- Dead Hang: 3 sets to failure
- Farmer’s Carry: 3 sets of 20-30 seconds
How to perform the exercises:
- While standing upright, hold a couple of weight plates in each hand using a pinch grip.
- Place your pinky, ring, middle, and index finger on one side of the plate and your thumb on the other.
- Start with the lightest weight plate in your gym and only increase the weight if you can hold the plates for longer than 30 seconds.
- Place a large towel over a pull-up bar or an elevated surface.
- Adjust the towel so that the ‘handles’ are shoulder-width apart and grab them with an overhand grip.
- Rotate your shoulders outwards to engage your lats and begin to lift your body towards the pull-up bar using your back.
- Your chest should be at the pull-up bar level at the top.
- Pause and contract your lats and forearms.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for reps.
Reverse Wrist Curl
- Sit on a flat bench with an upright torso and feet placed shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing the floor).
- Lean forward and place your forearms on each leg.
- At the starting position, your wrists should be hanging off your knees.
- Using your wrist alone, curl the weight upward.
- Pause and contract your forearms at the top.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat for recommended repetitions.
- Grab a pull-up bar at shoulder-width with an overhand grip (palms facing forward).
- Use a step or bench so you can easily reach the bar. You don’t want to jump straight into a dead hang.
- Move your feet off the step or bench so you’re hanging on to the bar.
- Keep your arms straight and elbows extended throughout the exercise.
- Hang for as long as possible until your grip gives out.
Related: Dead Hangs Guide
- Place a set of dumbbells or kettlebells on the floor, one next to each foot.
- Stand upright with a shoulder-width stance and arms resting at your sides.
- Squat down and grab the weight in each hand.
- Return to the starting position.
- Begin walking.
- Keep your head up, shoulders back, and core muscles engaged throughout the exercise.
- If you can hold the bar for longer than 30 seconds, go heavier in the next set.
Next Read: The 7 Best Grip Variations For Bodybuilding
Incorporating the hand grip strengthener in your training regimen comes with a host of benefits, including enhanced muscle strength, better mental health, and improved daily functioning.
The best part about using a hand gripper in your daily routine is that you do not have to set aside a special time in the day to use it. You could use it while watching TV or eating your breakfast. Now that you know everything there is to know about using the hand gripper, it is time to put the knowledge to test. Best of luck!
- Fukumori N, Yamamoto Y, Takegami M, Yamazaki S, Onishi Y, Sekiguchi M, Otani K, Konno S, Kikuchi S, Fukuhara S. Association between hand-grip strength and depressive symptoms: Locomotive Syndrome and Health Outcomes in Aizu Cohort Study (LOHAS). Age Ageing. 2015 Jul;44(4):592-8. doi:10.1093/ageing/afv013. Epub 2015 Feb 21. PMID: 25712514.
- Cohen EJ, Bravi R, Minciacchi D. The effect of fidget spinners on fine motor control. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):3144. Published 2018 Feb 16. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21529-0
- Cooney JK, Law RJ, Matschke V, et al. Benefits of exercise in rheumatoid arthritis. J Aging Res. 2011;2011:681640. Published 2011 Feb 13. doi:10.4061/2011/681640
- Trosclair, D1; Bellar, D1; Judge, L W2; Smith, J1; Mazerat, N1; Brignac, A1 Hand-Grip Strength as a Predictor of Muscular Strength and Endurance, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: March 2011 – Volume 25 – Issue – p S99 doi:10.1097/01.JSC.0000395736.42557.bc