The Best Grip Strengtheners for Wrists, Forearms, and More

Which grip strengtheners are worth the squeeze? We tested out the best in multiple styles.

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Having a powerful grip is one of the most beneficial attributes any athlete can have. Grip comes into play in just about every sport imaginable, from swinging a tennis racket or baseball bat, to grappling in martial arts or holding a heavy deadlift in powerlifting. Think of how much you use your hands throughout the day, and you’ll quickly realize how important grip is. That’s why it’s important to train your grip, too. 

Grip strengtheners are products that help train your grip, just like a pec deck trains your chest. There are a few different ways to do it, but most commonly, grip training involves squeezing against some resistance. You don’t even have to go to the gym to train with most of these products.

For a strength athlete, a monster grip can help improve the deadliftfarmer’s carry, or even pressing movements. A stronger grip thanks to a grip strengthener can even help regular people who aren’t athletes perform day-to-day tasks like opening heavy doors, carrying luggage, grabbing the groceries, or the ever-impressive, opening of a tough jar lid. Here are some of our favorite grip strengtheners on the market today.

Best Grip Strengtheners 

Best Grip Strengthener Overall

When it comes to strength training, most people focus on the major muscle groups like chest, arms, legs, and back, but few focus on grip. Grip is involved in nearly every exercise in some way or another, and often it can be the limiting factor (though you may not even realize it). Having a strong grip isn’t just helpful for lifting or sports, it’s a good strength to have for life. If you want to be the person everyone hands that extra-tight pickle jar to open, then grab a set of Captains of Crush grippers, our pick for best grip strengthener overall, and get squeezing.

Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

Widely recognized as one of the best grip strengtheners available with decades of successful grips built, the Captains of Crush Grippers are the real deal. Whether you’re just starting out or an advanced strength athlete, they’ve got a gripper for you. These grippers are available in levels ranging from 60 pounds all the way up to 365 pounds of resistance. They offer a guidebook to help you on your way to being King Kong strong. No need to worry about these grippers getting too easy either — to date, only six people have officially closed the number four gripper with 365 pounds of resistance. 

The Captains of Crush grip training tools feature knurled handles made from aircraft-grade aluminum with IronMind’s proprietary GR8 springs that give them their difficulty. Each level is affordably priced at $25.95, not including tax or applicable shipping. These can also be purchased in sets so you can work through progressively harder levels, just like working any other muscle group with warm-up and working sets.

IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper

IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper has two handles connected by a resistance coil. There are eleven different weight options that range from 60lb to 365lb and each is made of billet aluminium and alloy steel. 

Who Should Buy the Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

  • People who want to build their grip and want a strengthener they know they won’t outgrow. There will always be a level to work toward with these.
  • Those who want the feel of a knurled barbell to improve their grip for lifting will appreciate the moderate knurling on the handles instead of plastic or rubber.
  • Athletes whose sport relies on having a strong grip like powerlifters and strongman competitors.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

  • People who find knurling abrasive to their skin, and don’t like the feel of it may want to select another grip strengthener.
  • Those who are looking for more hypertrophy and muscle growth rather than strength in their grip.
  • Someone who wants a gripper they can do while watching tv or reading may want to look for another option, as these require concentration and focus for each rep.

For those of you looking to make some serious grip strength gains, the Captains of Crush grippers will always have something for you to work toward, and you can purchase the levels one at a time as you progress. You really can’t go wrong with these tried and true grip strengtheners.

Best Finger Grip Strengthener

Finger strength is often even more forgotten than general grip strength, and it shouldn’t be. It’s not just for those who need it specifically, such as rock climbers or professional thumb wrestlers — it can play an important role in all sports. When you’re clutching a tennis racket or getting some snap on that curveball, you’re using the strength of your fingers, as well as overall grip. To help with this often lagging area of strength, IronMind has the perfect solution in their Two Finger Utility Gripper.

IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper

The IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper, or IMTUG, allows you to train two fingers at a time and it comes in seven different strength levels. This gripper may not be the most conventional, but it works to target the fingers most commonly used in gripping — the index, middle, and thumb. Using this in tandem with a whole hand grip strengthener is a sure-fire way to develop your grip to its maximum potential. 

The IMTUG is conveniently sized so you can slip it into your pocket and take it on the go. The gripper itself is made from airplane-grade aluminum with ergonomically designed handles and patented GR8 springs to last squeeze after squeeze. The different levels allow you to train not only your index and middle fingers, but your ring and pinky fingers with the lower difficulty grippers. 

IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper
IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper
IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper

This unique grip strengthener focuses on developing the gripping power of two fingers at a time. Available in seven different difficulty levels, the IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper can help you reach your max grip potential.

Who Should Buy the IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper

  • Someone who needs strong fingers as part of their sport like rock climbers or strongman competitors.
  • People who want variety in their grip training instead of the same types of grippers that focus on the entire hand or forearm.
  • Those who need lots of knurling — the deep cuts offer a similar feeling to gripping a barbell.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the IronMind Two Finger Utility Gripper

  • People with more sensitive hands — the lack of padding and use of knurling on the handles here may cause discomfort.
  • Those who are on a budget may find more use in whole hand grip strengtheners since this is more of a niche product.
  • Athletes who are strapped for time may find it more expedient to focus solely on the forearm and whole hand grip strength.

The IMTUG is a unique product, but it does have an important role in improving overall grip. Just as you may do partial deadlifts like rack pulls to improve your deadlift lockout, you can focus on bringing up lagging digits with the Two Finger Utility Gripper for a more complete and stronger grip. 

Best Reverse Grip Strengthener

Reverse grip strengthening is likely the most forgotten aspect of full-body strength. Just like doing endless bench press and no back work can result in rounded forward shoulders and an unbalanced appearance, doing tons of repetitive gripping without doing the reverse can result in sometimes uncomfortable imbalances. There’s a solution to this with our pick for best reverse grip strengthener, The Xtensor.

Xtensor Grip Strengthener

The Xtensor by Clinically Fit is quite a unique product, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything else like it on the market. This grip trainer works to train the opposite of most other grip tools by training the extension rather than flexion of the fingers. Doing so may result in better grip and more power and stability in the wrist and elbows thanks to better muscular balance. The device fits around the wrist and bands are attached to each finger and the thumb. You can vary the resistance on each finger by placing the band closer or further away from the fingers for full customization.

The Xtensor may help to relieve muscle tightness in the palms due to repeated forceful gripping, and improve the range of motion in the fingers over time. This device also may be helpful in strengthening the stabilizing muscles and tendons of the wrists and elbows. Clinically Fit recommends using their product for a few minutes each day, several times a week.

The Xtensor
The Xtensor
The Xtensor

The finger-band grid system on the Xtensor allows for a more natural range of motion by using a “reverse-grip” design that provides resistance when you open your hand.

Who Should Buy the Xtensor Grip Strengthener

  • Athletes who want to train symmetrically, and ensure they train both agonist and antagonist muscles to prevent imbalances.
  • Folks who have tightness in the muscles of the hands or wrist may find relief with The Xtensor.
  • People concerned with making a lot of noise: This grip strengthener is very quiet since it’s just bands stretching with no metal to speak of.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Xtensor Grip Strengthener

  • People who don’t want to look like Doctor Strange after he had his car crash. If you’ve seen the movie, the bands attached to your fingers from the Xtensor look reminiscent of the scene when Strange is in the hospital following his car crash.
  • Those on a budget will get more practical grip strength from a gripper that focuses on closing the hand instead of opening it.
  • Athletes who are limited on time will find it more efficient to only train the closing of their grip if they don’t have time for training both closing and opening.

The Xtensor Grip Strengthener may not be what comes to mind when you think of grip strengthening, but they promote muscular balance. They may also offer some relief for those suffering from the effects of muscle imbalances and hard training already, like palm tightness and finger/wrist aches. To leave no stone unturned in your grip training, these are a great addition.

Best Heavy Duty Grip Strengthener

If you want to build a massive grip, you’re going to need some heavy-duty grip strengthening equipment. A lot of grip strengtheners are made to perform endless reps and manufactured using plastic or suboptimal parts — that’s not the case with our pick for best heavy-duty grip strengthener, the Captain of Crush grip trainers.

Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

We’re not saying that these are guaranteed to have you crushing apples with your bare hands in no time like Mark Felix, but we’re not not saying that. The Captains of Crush, otherwise known as CoC grippers have been around for over 30 years, and they’re made from heavy-duty airplane-grade aluminum with a patented GR8 spring to make them extremely tough. 

The knurled handle will help you build some thick skin on your hands, so you can grip whatever comes your way. Moving some stones? No problem. Helping a friend move because you’re the strongest person they know? You’ve got a handle on it. These grippers come in varying levels of difficulty from the guide (60 pounds) all the way to the fabled number four (365 pounds) that only a handful of people have managed to close. The CoC grip trainers are engineered to build maximum grip strength for heavy-duty crushing power.

IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper

IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper has two handles connected by a resistance coil. There are eleven different weight options that range from 60lb to 365lb and each is made of billet aluminium and alloy steel. 

Who Should Buy Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

  • Athletes who want to develop the strongest grip possible will appreciate that these are designed to build maximum grip strength and power with a 365-pound max resistance.
  • Those who find most commercial grip tools to be too weak or flimsy won’t find that problem with the Captains of Crush, as they are made with airplane-grade aluminum.
  • People who like to challenge themselves and compare with others will enjoy that there’s a fairly large community to be found online of grip trainees who compare and share CoC accomplishments.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

  • Anyone who’s just looking to build more forearm size from their grip strengthener may want to look for something more focused on repetitions than strength.
  • Those who have sensitive skin may find the knurling to be irritating and abrasive.

These rough and ready grippers are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and steel alloy, have a patented resistance spring, and knurling to help you hang on. They may not win any beauty contests, but they’re heavy-duty and have helped countless people improve their grip over the decades they’ve been around.

Best Grip Strengthener with a Barbell

Adding a bigger grip extension to your barbell while lifting can help build up grip strength while also adding extra stress to your arm workouts for enhanced muscle growth. If you’re training for strongman events, or just looking to mix it up a bit with some different feels for the barbell or dumbbells, then this pick might be for you.

Fat Gripz Extreme

The Fat Gripz Extreme are three-quarters of an inch larger than the standard Fat Gripz, which are designed to convert any barbell into a thicker bar for better muscle stimulation in the arms and hands. They’re made of a rubber-like military compound that features a slit to wrap around any standard bar.

The idea behind Fat Gripz is that by enlarging the surface area of the bar, you’ll have to work harder to grip. Constantly squeezing the Fat Grip will engage more muscles in your forearms, hands, and arms. One downside is that you won’t be able to lift as much weight, so those who are looking to get a lot stronger in areas other than grip may want to limit their Fat Grip use to just grip training days. 

These are great for targeting weak links that you may be able to power through with a normal sized bar. While working to keep the bar in your hands, you’ll have to move slower through the range of motion, which can highlight weak points and positions. Fat Gripz can be used for tons of exercises from dumbbell movement, to deadlifts, to rows, and even pull-ups for a different feel and stimulation. They’re made not to compress, even under extreme loads.

Fat Gripz Extreme
Fat Gripz Extreme
Fat Gripz Extreme

Strap these onto any barbell, dumbbell, or pull-up bar to activate more overall muscles in your arms.  These allow you to get more done in less time by training your grip while getting your regular workout in too.

Who Should Buy Fat Gripz Extreme

  • Anyone looking to change things up a bit without having to buy brand new equipment and bars will enjoy that all you have to do is slap these on any bar or dumbbell, and you’re ready to lift.
  • Anyone who trains for strongman or powerlifting where grip plays an important role can make good use of these for improving grip strength.
  • Those looking to convert almost any exercise tool into one with a grip twice the size — Fat Gripz can wrap around barbells, dumbbells, pull-up bars, and cable attachments.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Fat Gripz Extreme

  • If you haven’t used any Fat Gripz before, Fat Gripz recommends starting with the regular sized gripz before moving on to the extreme series.
  • Anyone looking to train their grip on the go might want to look at other options on this list that are able to be used anywhere.

Making efficient use of your time is paramount when you’re on a tight schedule, and adding in grip training can sometimes fall by the wayside in favor of larger muscle groups. Adding a pair of Fat Gripz to your training can help you accomplish multiple things at once, and might even help you spot some weak links in your training that need to be addressed.

Best Grip Strengthener on Amazon

Sometimes convenience and quickness are the most important thing. When that’s the problem, often Amazon has the answer you’ve been searching for. In the case of grip strengtheners, Amazon has a great option that’s accessible via free Prime shipping.

GD Iron Grip Hand Strengthener

The GD Iron Grip utilizes a unique design to strengthen the grip with ultra-compressed steel springs to resist from 55 pounds all the way up to 198 pounds. The handles are knurled similar to a barbell, but cut more moderately, so they don’t cause as much discomfort for those who aren’t used to knurling. The resistance is easily adjustable via a knob, as is the range of motion with a lever, so you can focus on progressing through different ranges of hand closure. 

GD boasts that their product is completely silent without any squeaking like you may get on a pair of Captains of Crush after a while. The product comes with a five-year warranty, so you know you can make some serious gains in grip strength. The easy adjustability of these grip strengtheners allows you to jump quickly from maximum effort closes to timed holds and over to rep for endurance seamlessly. These are pricier than many other grip devices, but if you value versatility, then the cost may be worth it.

GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener
GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener
GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener

The GD Iron Grip EXT 90 Hand Strengthener is an A-frame design that uses a solid steel compression spring to resist from 55 to 198 pounds when squeezing the two handles together. The range of motion is over a full inch and the handles are knurled similar to a barbell.

Who Should Buy the GD Iron Grip Hand Strengthener

  • Anyone who wants to do different types of grip training with one device will like the versatility of this product.
  • People who want a product they can buy once and grow with. The ability to adjust the resistance widely here is a big plus.
  • Athletes who need to get their product in a hurry will enjoy that this item is eligible for Prime shipping.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the GD Iron Grip Hand Strengthener

  • Anyone on a budget may want to look for the more affordable options on this list.
  • Those who want to be able to work other body parts while hitting grip will want to look at the other options available, as this is strictly for training grip.
  • Someone who doesn’t have a very strong grip to begin with may find the lightest setting of 55 pounds still quite challenging.

If you value versatility and have the extra cash to spend to get it, these are a great choice. Being able to get them delivered through Prime’s quick shipping network is all the more reason to spring for the GD Iron Grip Hand Strengthener.

Best Forearm Grip Strengthener

Having a great grip is awesome, and being able to show it off is even better, but there’s something about having big, strong forearms that’s even more appealing. If you’re trying to get on Popeye’s level of forearms, then you might want to grab a pair of Fat Gripz Extreme, our pick for best forearm grip strengthener.

Fat Gripz Extreme

If you want extreme levels of forearm strength and size, you’ll need to train with something extreme, like the Fat Gripz Extreme series. They can convert nearly any bar or dumbbell into a grip surface that’s more than twice as thick. Measuring 2.75 inches, they’re 0.75 inches larger than the standard Fat Gripz, and made for even more forearm blasting workouts. All you have to do is slap these on whatever you’re working with and get gripping.

You don’t have to be limited to a barbell with these though. They can easily slide onto dumbbells, cable attachments, pull-up or chin-up bars, and more. You can also use them to increase comfort like when you’re doing dips. The larger surface area to grip tends to be easier on the wrists and hands. We think the most common complaint with these may be that they make your biceps look small because your forearms are getting bigger.

Fat Gripz Extreme
Fat Gripz Extreme
Fat Gripz Extreme

Strap these onto any barbell, dumbbell, or pull-up bar to activate more overall muscles in your arms.  These allow you to get more done in less time by training your grip while getting your regular workout in too.

Who Should Buy Fat Gripz Extreme

  • Anyone who wants to train their grip and forearms while also getting their normal workout in. Just slip these on whatever implement you’re using and go.
  • People who have large hands and find that certain bars can cause discomfort because of the small area. These can help distribute the weight over a larger area, and ease some of the pain.
  • Athletes who are on the go and may not have specialized grip training equipment wherever they’re at. These are rubber and easy to travel with.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Fat Gripz Extreme

  • Someone who is just starting out with grip training may find these too difficult to use — you can opt for the standard Fat Gripz instead in this case.
  • Those who want to focus only on grip strength may want to look at other options on this list that focus solely on improving grip.

The Fat Gripz Extreme can help kick your grip game up to the next level, especially if you rely on grip as part of your sport or profession. If you’re a beginner, it may be best to start out with the standard Fat Gripz, but if you’re looking for serious forearm and grip gains, these are the way to go.

Best Wrist Grip Strengthener

When training grip, most people focus on forearm strength and a lot of people also focus on hand strength, but the forgotten link is what connects the two — the wrist. Just like in conventional lifting, a weak link can break down the entire system. If you’re deadlifting and your legs and glutes are strong enough, but your low back isn’t up to the task, then you’re likely missing the lift or risking injury. Get a more complete grip strength with our pick for best wrist grip strengthener, the Twist Yo Wrist from IronMind.

Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener

The Twist Yo Wrist from IronMind is simple in design, almost like a yo-yo, that allows you to train both concentric and eccentric movements of the wrist. This portable tool is a cord wrapped around an omni-directional base, which you can wind up to train one direction and then lower under control to train the other direction. The twisting action is similar to opening a well-sealed pickle jar, which is why we’re all training grip strength anyway — to open any jar we come across with ease. 

The awesome thing about the Twist Yo Wrist is that you can use pretty much anything for resistance. Simply wrap the climbing-grade accessory cord around a weight plate, milk jug, resistance band, or anything else you like and secure the small snap clip, then you’re ready to twist. This unique design works not only the wrists, but fingers, arms, and shoulders too since you have to hold it out in front of you. Or, if you’d rather, you can also rest your arms on a bar. 

Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener
Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener
Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener

Don’t have any weak links in your grip by strengthening your wrists with the Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener from IronMind. This unique grip device allows you to train with just about anything for weight and makes gains using both concentric and eccentric movement.

Who Should Buy Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener

  • Anyone who wants to train their grip and forearms while also getting some shoulder work in from holding this product out in front of them.
  • People who often have wrist discomfort when lifting may find relief by strengthening their wrists with this pick.
  • Athletes who need to have strong wrists as part of their sport, such as tennis, golf, or baseball players.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Twist Yo Wrist Grip Strengthener

  • Someone who’s got sensitive skin may find the knurling-like texture on this product to be irritating.
  • Those who want to focus only on grip strength may want to look at other options on this list that focus solely on improving grip, rather than strengthening the forearm and wrist, as well.

The Twist Yo Wrist is unique, even in the grip training space, and something that seems more akin to a gadget or toy at first glance. Once you use it once, you’ll realize this thing’s the real deal, and can give you a serious forearm pump and improve your wrist strength and stability. Some people have even commented that it helps with elbow tendonitis. 

Best Core and Grip Strengthener

Strongman style training has become more popular recently, and for good reason. There are tons of benefits from doing these sorts of unconventional exercises, and they tend to carry over to real life. The farmer’s walk is one example that gymgoers have begun to do and adapted from strongman. You don’t need crazy implements to do farmer’s carries, just our pick for best core and grip strengthener, the Spud Inc Traveling Farmers Walk Handles.

Spud Inc Traveling Farmers Walk Handles

Farmer’s walks are a great full-body exercise to build core strength and grip strength at the same time, while also working out your legs. The compact straps from Spud Inc allow you to ramp up your training above walking with dumbbells, to using plates. The Traveling Farmer Walk Handles is a set of two eight-inch heavy-duty nylon straps that run through rubber-coated, 1.5-inch handles with a steel core. They have a convenient slide buckle that allows you to customize your height preference too. 

The straps themselves can be looped through olympic plates of any weight, depending on strength and goals. Just hold the handles, and take the plates for a walk. The fact that you have to stabilize the weights while walking activates the core in all directions, getting a complete core burn with just a few carries. Of all the strengtheners on this list, these are the most practical. You’ll be carrying all the groceries in one trip in no time. 

Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles
Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles
Spud Inc Traveling Farmer Walk Handles

Pack these two durable nylon straps in your gym bag and use any pair of plates for grip-building farmer walks. You can train your core, legs, and grip all at once with these convenient farmers handles from Spud Inc.

Who Should Buy Spud Inc Traveling Farmers Walk Handles

  • Anyone who wants to train grip while also getting a core and leg workout in.
  • Athletes who train for strongman or other functional fitness sports will find the full-body workout these provide to be beneficial.
  • Those who are looking for a more practical approach to their lifting will appreciate the real-life carryover that these provide. Carrying things is a part of life, and these will help you improve that skill.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Spud Inc Travelling Farmers Walk Handles

  • Anyone whose focus is solely on grip strength and nothing else will want to look at the other options on this list.
  • People who don’t need to or can’t perform heavy farmer’s walks may find more benefits from another product on this list.
  • Someone who already has a set of full-sized farmer’s walk handles may not need these.

The Spud Inc Farmers Walk Handles offer a simple and budget-friendly solution to full-sized, barbell-style farmer’s walk implements that can cost hundreds of dollars. This product is portable, easy to set up, and can use any olympic plates or weights you can pass the loop through. If you want to blast your core while training your grip, these are the way to go.

Best Old-School Grip Strengthener

The legends that inspired us to get into the gym seemed to have a simpler way of doing things, and there’s something to be said about the old-school method of getting strong. Nostalgia aside, some products stand the test of time and one such product is our pick for best old-school grip strengthener — the Captains of Crush. 

Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

These grippers may not look like anything special on the surface, but they’ve been helping people get crushingly strong grips for decades. The patented GR8 springs provide a steady amount of resistance throughout the range of motion and the airplane-grade aluminum means these will last for years to come. The moderately cut knurling can also help you achieve the best grip possible, similar to what you’ll find with a power bar. 

The Captains of Crush Grip Strengtheners come in 11 different levels of difficulty, ranging from 60 pounds through 365 pounds — although they’re sold separately. Be warned, these may be rough on your hands if you’re new to grip strengthening, but if you want to get an old-school strong grip, there are few options as good as the Captains of Crush.

IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper
IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper

IronMind Captains of Crush Hand Gripper has two handles connected by a resistance coil. There are eleven different weight options that range from 60lb to 365lb and each is made of billet aluminium and alloy steel. 

Who Should Buy Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

  • Anyone who wants to get the strongest grip possible. You’ll always have a level to be working toward with these as they max out at 365 pounds of resistance.
  • Those who are motivated by competition will find that there’s a sizable online community dedicated to grip training with the Captains of Crush, and can challenge themselves to compete with the people there.
  • Those looking for a grip solution that you can take on the go. These are easy to slide into your suitcase or pocket and go.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Captains of Crush Grip Strengthener

  • Anyone whose focus is on building their forearms, as well as grip strength, may want to look for a more hypertrophy-focused option on this list.
  • People who have sensitive skin may want to opt for a gripper that has rubber handles, and is less abrasive.
  • Someone who wants better grip endurance may want to look at other options as these are focused on building strength, not endurance.

The ways of old-school training may have gone by the wayside with modern technology, but some things stand the test of time. The Captains of Crush Grip Strengtheners are one of those products. Take your hand strength from wet noodle to vice grip and beyond with these time-tested grip strengtheners from IronMind.

How We Decided on the Best Grip Strengtheners

Many different factors come into play when deciding what the best grip strengtheners are. SInce there are so many reasons for training grip, we have to find some common ground to compare the products. The type of grip that you hold onto when actually using the trainers is an important factor, whether it’s rubber, steel, or something else. The amount of resistance and what provides that resistance is another consideration.

Are you squeezing against a spring, holding weight plates, or another type of resistance — these factors all come into play. Finally, the range of motion (ROM) with which you train your grip with any given product is considered. Different products offer varying ranges of motion, and sometimes change the ROM to alter the resistance, which can lead to different results.

Grip

Grip is, without a doubt, one of the most important factors to consider when deciding between grip strengtheners. The first thing to be aware of is the texture of the handles. Occasionally, it won’t be super obvious. It may look smooth, but when you zoom in on the photos or get it in your hand, you’ll notice that it has knurling similar to a barbell. Most commonly you’ll find rubber, metal, or a combination of both for the grips. We take different needs into consideration when making our picks, which is why you’ll see a bunch of different options. 

Resistance

Resistance may seem like a somewhat obvious factor to account for, but it’s an important one nonetheless. If you’re leaning toward a grip strengthener that has the feature of varying the resistance, then it should be beneficial for beginners and advanced athletes alike. When selecting our picks, we’re mindful of the resistance that products have, which is why you may not see grippers that focus on endless repetitions ranked highly, because that’s not ideal for building strength, or increasing grip power.

Range of Motion

If we assume that the person buying a grip strengthener knows how much resistance they need, the range of motion (ROM) that a gripper allows is a key consideration to be aware of. Some grip strengtheners that have the feature of modifying the resistance do so at the expense of some of their range of motion. Those types of grippers may not rank as highly because they sacrifice range of motion for higher resistance, which might not lead to the most gains. Grippers that focus on keeping a full range of motion will generally rank better than those that compromise range of motion for resistance.

Before Buying Consider

All of the products on this list are meant to improve grip strength, but they’re all very different. Just as with all strength pursuits, there are many different ways to accomplish the goal, and you have to find out what works best for you. There are some important things to consider before buying a grip strengthener. You should identify your goals, and know why you want to build your grip in the first place. Along with that, the way you build your grip will be determined by your goals.

Once you determine your goals, it should be easier to figure out whether you’re looking to build true grip strength, or grip and forearm strength for overall athletic performance. If you can answer these questions with confidence, you’ll be able to figure out which product, or sometimes multiple products, best suit your needs.

Goals

The first thing to do before you purchase anything is to figure out why you’re looking to buy that type of product in the first place. Sometimes, the reasoning will be pretty straightforward, such as for those who compete in a specific sport, but other times it may not be so obvious.

When determining your goals, you should identify the main thing you are seeking to accomplish with the purchase of the product. If you want to improve in strongman, then getting something that focuses on training grip for maximum strength may be a good idea over something that’s going to focus more on forearm hypertrophy. Conversely, if your goal is to have bigger forearms and cosplay as Popeye, then a straightforward grip strengthener is likely not for you.

Shutterstock/AlekseiPotov

Those looking to improve athletic performance overall may need to try a few different products or use them together for a more complete grip training. Any athlete who swings something needs to have not only a strong grip to ensure the implement doesn’t rotate when it’s not supposed to, but a strong forearm to deliver and generate force. Athletes like tennis players, baseball players, cricket players, and golfers will benefit from products that improve grip, wrist, and forearm strength, so they may need to use a few products to get a complete training stimulus.

Resistance

A common mistake when considering a grip strengthener is buying one with too much resistance, and assuming you’ll grow into it. It’s better to start lighter and progress more slowly and steadily. Being able to do 15 reps with a full range of motion with a lighter resistance is going to be way more beneficial than doing four or five partial reps with heavier resistance. 

Range of Motion

Before making a purchase, always ensure that you check if the range of motion stays the same when the resistance is changed. The ROM for most grip strengtheners on the market is around two to three inches from start to finish of the movement. Many options available highlight a static range of motion across all resistance ranges. If you’re unsure, the design may provide some clues. 

If the resistance is changed by moving the point of flexion on the coil or spring of a gripper, then the ROM was likely compromised. If the resistance is changed by moving the angle that the coil or spring is compressed, it’s likely the range of motion was left unchanged. 

Grip vs. Forearm Strengtheners

Once you’ve defined your goals and reasoning for purchasing a product, the next step is to determine what type of strength you need to build. If you’ve determined that you need to improve your forearm strength, then selecting one of the grip strengtheners that focuses on forearm strength and hypertrophy is a good option. 

If your goal is to have a stronger grip because you compete in strongman or powerlifting and need to hold onto heavy deadlifts or implements, then a pure grip strengthener is most likely what you need. There are also products that focus on finger strengthening with just one or a couple of fingers at once. Bowlers or baseball pitchers, for example, may want to focus on finger strength because it has a direct carryover to competing in their sport. Just be mindful of the different emphases that different products have on aspects of grip or hypertrophy.

Final Word

Whether you’re looking to perform better in the gym, on the field, or on the court, having a strong grip can pay dividends in athletic performance. Being strong is never a weakness, and having a strong grip can be beneficial for life as well as athletic performance. Improving your grip doesn’t have to interrupt your normal training routine, but it can become an integral part of it with some of the grip strengtheners in this article. Just remember to have an accurate assessment of your current grip strength and clear goals before committing to a particular option, and you’ll have a King Kong grip in no time. 

FAQs

Do you still need a strong grip even if you don’t compete in anything?

It’s hard to imagine a situation where being stronger would be a detriment. Being well-rounded in your muscular development, even if you just go to the gym because you like to workout, or do it to stay healthy, is important. Having weak links will inevitably lead to imbalance, which can cause injury or pain.

Another important note is that grip can be a limiting factor for some people when it comes to certain exercises like rows, pull-ups, or deadlifts. Without a strong grip, you may not be making the most of your available strength and getting the best gains possible.

What are the benefits of grip strength?

Grip strength has actually been well-studied, and there are some surprising benefits and correlations that have been found. Grip strength can actually be used to reliably predict cardiovascular risk (1), and those with better grip have been shown to have a lower risk of adverse cardiac events.

On the sports performance side, researchers found that those with better grip strength could move heavier weights with less effort than those with lower grip strength on a barbell-like apparatus (2). It seems fairly clear that there are a wide range of benefits to a stronger grip outside of just holding things better.

After I start using grip strengtheners, how long will it take for my grip to improve?

It’s hard to give a definite answer to a question like this, but most people will start to see improvements in a few weeks with just a few sessions per week. As long as you’re staying consistent and putting an honest effort in, you can expect to see good results. Remember that no matter how awesome the piece of equipment is, it’s only as good as the effort you put in. The products aren’t magic and can’t do the work for you, but they can certainly help target what you’re trying to achieve better.

References

  1. Mearns B. M. (2015). Risk factors: Hand grip strength predicts cardiovascular risk. Nature reviews. Cardiology, 12(7), 379. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrcardio.2015.84
  2. Ambike S, Paclet F, Zatsiorsky VM, Latash ML. Factors affecting grip force: anatomy, mechanics, and referent configurations. Exp Brain Res. 2014 Apr;232(4):1219-31. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-3838-8. Epub 2014 Jan 31. PMID: 24477762; PMCID: PMC4013148.