Grip Training - Beginner
Grip Training - Beginner
How to Train with your Heavy Grips™ Hand Grippers
Heavy Grips™ Beginner Program
By Clay Edgin—#1
Certified Gripper King and Grip Monster
Congratulations on your purchase
of Heavy Grips™ hand grippers. In this article I’m going to show you some tips,
tricks, techniques, pictures, and videos to help you get the most out of your
grippers and develop stronger hands, as well as give you a sample training
program based off of my own program which I have been using with good results.
Out of all my grip toys, I like my grippers the most because I can take them
anywhere and I love to watch the expression on people’s faces when they try
them. These are not your ordinary grippers that you can squeeze all day!
Why Train With Grippers?
If you’re an athlete, you need strong hands.
Nearly every sport in the world involves moving something with your hands or
transferring your body’s power through the hands. Developing stronger lower
arms will help you in any athletic endeavor you aspire to do. Football,
wrestling, baseball, weightlifting, martial arts, and yes, even golf all rely on
a high degree of lower arm strength and working with grippers is a key element
Let’s get down to business.
“Setting” the gripper basically
means that you are using your other hand to help position the gripper in your
hand. You are also closing the gripper far enough so that you can wrap your
pinky around the handle and put it in a good position to close the gripper. It
may take you a few days or a few weeks to completely grasp the “feel” of setting
the gripper but once you do you will reap the benefits immediately. You will
soon find a ‘sweet spot’ in your palm for the handle to rest. That allows
you to get the best possible leverage. When I set a gripper in my right hand, I
use my left thumb to press one gripper handle firmly into my right palm, while
at the same time using my left index finger to pull the other handle closer so
my pinky can wrap around it better. Despite having 8” long hands, I have
relatively short fingers and don’t have an easy time closing grippers without a
set. See Figures 1 and 2 below, and Figure 3 of the “set” gripper.
Under no circumstances would you want to set
the gripper any further than parallel, and in fact if you were interested in
certifying on the HG400 or HG500, you would only be allowed to set the gripper
enough to get your hand around it a little. That is, you don’t want to use your
other hand to help you squeeze it so far that the handles are nearly parallel
with each other like in Figure 4. It makes the rest of ‘the close’ easier
because you can get some added leverage. Why not do it then, if it’s easier?
Because it doesn’t develop stronger hands, and didn’t you buy the grippers to
develop stronger hands in the first place?
If you want to develop truly strong hands, work
on using a very shallow set and practicing ‘no-set’ closes. ‘No-set’ means you
don’t use the other hand to set the gripper at all and you squeeze the gripper
completely closed using one hand only. These types of squeezes are much tougher
and will make your hands strong. But if you don’t have large hands, this can be
difficult. Figure 5 is a video of a no-set close of the HG300. However, don’t
use hand size as an excuse for you not to use ‘no-set’ closes in your training.
If you can no-set close the HG100, then you have the hand size to no-set close
the HG150, 200, 250, and 300. All feats of grip strength rely on hand strength,
not hand size. One of the unique things about Heavy Grips™ is that all the
grippers have a standard handle spread of 2.5”, allowing more people to be able
to close the gripper with a shallow set or no set at all.
When I meet with someone new and interested in
grip and they ask my advice on the grippers, 9 times out of 10 the first thing I
suggest they correct is their pinky placement on the handle. As awkward as it
sounds, having your pinky halfway off the bottom of the handle puts your hand in
a better leverage position. You still want your pinky involved in the
crush and not slipping off the handle though.
After the gripper is set, the other hand is
taken away and you begin to crush the handles together. There isn’t much
explanation necessary for this part and the best advice I can give is squeeze
hard! The closer the handles get to touching, the more your pinky and ring
finger come into play.
Anyone familiar with the use of dynamic
resistance in weight lifting, such as using large rubber bands or chains to add
additional tension on a barbell, will recognize that gripper springs are also a
form of dynamic resistance. The idea behind using bands and chains is that it
teaches you to lift the weight explosively to blast through sticking points that
you would normally encounter. As such, a gripper should be closed as fast as
possible. If you don’t explosively squeeze the handles together, you will not
get nearly as close to closing them than if you had crushed them quickly and
will find yourself at the same frustrating sticking point.
Because squeezing the gripper in a standard
position with the spring pointing up as shown above really works those last two
fingers, if you want strong hands you should make it a point to include some ‘inverted
closes’ to focus on strengthening your index and middle fingers.
Inverted just means that the spring is pointing towards the ground. Setting
a gripper in the inverted position is a little more tricky than a standard
position, but take your time with it. No-set inverted gripper squeezes
are also great. Figures 6 and 7 show an inverted set and close.
As I mentioned in the
article, the hands have a
remarkable ability to recover quickly from the workout you give them. I would
recommend working with grippers no more than 2-3 times a week if you are a
beginner and then start to increase the frequency and volume of your workouts
over the course of several weeks. Below is a sample training program for people
who are trying to close the Heavy Grip 150, which we will call the goal
gripper. You can adjust this program according to what your goal gripper
6-8 repetitions on a very easy gripper each hand. I do
this just to get a little blood flowing to my hands. Those cheap store bought
grippers work fine for this.
6-8 repetitions with a very easy gripper each hand, but
this time do it inverted.
HG100 Closes – 3 each hand, and 3 attempts inverted
HG150 (goal gripper) Attempts – 5 each hand, and 5 inverted
Negatives* with HG200 – 3 negatives each hand, holding for
3-5 seconds each time
Braced or Choked Attempts* on HG150 – 3-4 each hand
depending on how tired your hands are
*Negatives and Braced/Choker Attempts are explained in
the Intermediate/Advanced article
Contrast baths – one bowl filled with hot water and another
with cold water. Put your hands into one bowl, slowly stretching and flexing
your fingers and then put them into the other bowl and do the same. Repeat
Routine Notes and Progression
If you are feeling “off” and not up to 100% strength, you
can reduce the number of squeezes during the warm-up so the bulk of your energy
and strength go into the goal gripper squeezes. I take no less than a minute in
between gripper squeezes so my hands can recover a bit. Keep to this program 3
times a week for 3 weeks, then add in another workout so you are using the
grippers 4 times a week. The next week, add in another day per week. From
there, use your best judgment as to how often you should train. If you are an
advanced grip enthusiast, you may choose to work your grip every day for a week
and then take a week off. I’ve done this many times after slowly working back
up in volume and it has helped a lot. As you increase the number of workouts
you do per week, also increase the number (volume) of gripper squeezes.
Closing your goal gripper can be very rewarding
and can take your hand strength to new levels. As you get more experienced,
don’t be afraid to experiment with any ideas you have on training. And if you
get stuck at that last 1/8” and aren’t making any noticeable progress, take a
week off and then close that sucker!
Good luck and train hard!! If you're ready to take
your gripper training to the next level and learn more about it, check out the