BEST GRIP STRENGTHENER – THE SAMURAI WAY

A Samurai’s Power is in his Little Finger. His grip! Not his Samurai Sword.

As far back as the 12th century. The shogunate was formed.

The shogun was at the forefront of the hierarchical structure.

Beneath him came the ‘Daimyo’ or ‘dukes’.

Beneath the daimyo came the infamous samurai.

If a samurai displeased his daimyo.

He would be honor bound to undergo the punishment known as ‘Yubizume’.

The 1st joint of his little finger would be amputated, thus reducing his power-wielding his sword.

Displease his master again, and the second joint would be taken and so on through the fingers.

With each joint taken, the samurai would become weaker and more dependant on his master.

What is the Best grip Strengthener for the Money?

After analyzing the 7 products below. And trying the Dometool Super Gripper.

I have come to the conclusion that the super gripper is the best and only grip strengthener you need.

Coupled with a solid dynamometer.

You have the tools to build a herculean grip and leave your wallet intact.

Dometool Super Gripper

dometool super gripper

This is my favorite and primary piece of equipment.

The Dome tool super gripper is all you need. Click To Tweet

To build a strong grip for casually crushing peoples hands.

When meeting them at parties and events.

PROS:

  • Multiple springs allowing resistance adjustments from 50 – 1000lb !!!
  • Good range of motion.
  • Incredibly well made and durable.
  • The angle of handle feels more comfortable than conventional torsion spring grippers (Captains or Crunch)
  • Provides over 44 more levels of resistance vs Captains of Crush grippers for around 10X less in cost.
  • Can be used to work accentuated eccentric only Training. *
  • Can be used to work accentuated Isometric training. **
  • Low cost (for the build quality and resistance profile).

CONS:

  • The only improvement I would like is more room for increasing ROM (range of motion).

Someone with a large hand may find they are not getting a big stretch. But from what I can see this is a flaw with all devices.

Summary:

The Dome tool Super Gripper.

Provides all the resistance you will ever need in one piece of steel and the 5 springs they include.

Unlike other brands like Captains of Crush.

The Super gripper saves you a ton of money compared to lousy single resistance grippers.

It is comfortable to use, sturdy and very effective.

* See the below video for a demonstration.

** See also below, the 2nd video.

 

2. CAMRY Digital Hand Dynamometer

The 2nd piece of equipment that you absolutely must get.

Is the CAMRY Digital Hand Dynamometer. It worth every cent.

The importance of accurately measuring and tracking your progress.

Can not be understated.

Doing so allows you to stop plateaus dead in their tracks and get back to making progress.

I have written below about the importance of having an accurate way of measuring grip strength.

image of electric hand dynamometer

Pros:

  • Allows for multiple user accounts.
  • Saves testing details.
  • Provides accurate digital readings within 0.2lb
  • Up to 90kg resistance reading which is enough for most mortals.
  • A dynamometer can gauge periods of recovery and adaptation post workout
  • Comes in a beautiful box 🙂

Con’s:

  • I would love a few other strength measurements.
  • Pre-set time ranges to measure strength. I.E 5 seconds for maximum strength reading. 10 seconds for endurance/metabolic strength. 

Summary:

The Camry is an accurate digital strength tester.

That allows for saving multiple user settings.

It will save your previous measurements.

Then display the difference once you release.

It’s described as a grip strengthener.

Yet, I would only use it for measuring strength for record keeping.

It is not rugged and does not offer resistance through a decent range of motion.

But used in conjunction with the super gripper.

You have two excellent tools.

Note: Remember using a dynamometer as a tool to test for recovery post workout is probably the best feature and will be discussed below

3. Captains of Crush

Captains of crap, sorry, crush.

Are the most recommended and popular grip strengtheners on the market.

Pro’s

  • Well made, strong and durable.
  • You can build a collection of them and hang on your wall to look cool

Note: I really tried to think of more Pro’s.

Con’s

  • Each crusher comes in one set resistance meaning you will need to spend a small fortune.

If you want a choice with varying resistance.

  • Expensive.
  • Very basic design offering nothing more than simple squeeze.

Summary:

This company is excellent at marketing.

Captains of crush represent the most expensive option when it comes to the tools necessary to crush a carp in your hand.

4. Sidewinder

The Sidewinder is a substitute for the age-old.

Rope and plate grip builder.

But at around 10x the price.

It does, however, come with some unique benefits.

Coupled with a build quality that would survive any level of meathead.

In fact.

I bet you could whack a meathead over the head with this and it would survive.

PRO’S:

  • Build quality is exceptional. As it should be for that price.
  • Eliminates possible shoulder fatigue due to suspending less weight in mid-air. The resistance comes from an internal torque mechanism.
  • Eliminates the need for weight plates. I believe this is why they charge so much.
  • Good for travelers as it is lightweight and compact.
  • Excellent for building on wrist extension.
  • Excellent for building on wrist flexion.

CON’S:

  • It’s expensive for what it is. An adjustable resistance, wrist extension/flexion grip trainer.

The Sidewinder is a cool piece of equipment hand made in the USA, I like that.

Look, if you don’t have any weight plates and don’t plan on investing in any.

Then this would constitute a good reason to justify the expense.

Or if you travel a lot and don’t visit gyms (to borrow the weight plates).

Then heck, the “Sidewinder” could be a necessity for you.

It also has the added benefit of allowing.

Both wrist flexion and wrist extension with a comfortable ROM (range of motion).

5. Regular Winder/Wrist Roller

The good old fashioned regular winder or wrist roller.

It’s been around for ages and for good reason.

It is a simple but effective bit of kit.

So simple in fact, you can make your own (check out the below video).

Although if you don’t have the parts lying in the garage and would need to go and buy them.

You would be better of paying the extra 5-10 dollars and having a factory made one.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Effective for grip and forearm development.
  • Lightweight and portable (excluding weights of course).
  • Excellent for building wrist extension.

CONS:

  • Can be uncomfortable to use with an underhand grip (palms towards the ceiling) which targets the flexor muscles.
  • Requires weight plates (or some serious messing around)*

*Instead of weight plates you could hook onto a water jug handle and use water as the resistance. Just mark up lines at 5cm points and use that as your progression model. You may need to stand on a platform so the rope can travel further.

Summary:

The regular winder is very effective for the extensors.

Mainly because the exercise requires an individual to remain under constant tension.

Which isn’t something most trainees do effectively.

It delivers the best stress on wrist extension (winding with an overhand grip).

Although it is possible to work in flexion (underhand grip).

It’s less comfortable.

NOTE:

You may want to consider in place of the standard regular winder.

Multipurpose arm and forearm builder

6. Fat Gripz

You may have heard off studies. Demonstrating greater EMG (Electromyography) readings.

For the lower and upper arm when using a thicker bar.

This is true.

Using a thicker bar will, of course, require more effort from the muscles of the hand and forearm.

This will also mean you are forced to use lighter loads on all pulling and gripping exercises.

The lesson here is knowing when to use Fat Gripz.

PROS:

  • Incredibly Durable and built to last.
  • Have the largest number of overall reviews and positive reviews, as they bloody well should for the price.
  • Very effective at exhausting forearm and hand muscles. Because you can combine another exercise whilst simultaneously training your forearms. You are able to distract yourself from the pain in the forearms.
  • Will fit most bars.
  • Nice way to diversify your workouts and add a unique element to your arm workouts.

CONS:

  • Expensive, its bloody rubber man.
  • Only works muscles isometrically.*

*Unlike a Super Gripper.

Which works the lower arm and hand muscles both.

Concentrically (lifting).

Eccentrically (lowering)

and

Isometrically over multiple possible ranges.

Fat Gripz only work Isometrically.

Summary:

Do you really need this product if you already have a super gripper for example?

No, you don’t.

Is it a worthwhile investment?

With evidence suggesting it increase the muscular activity of the lower arm and hand muscles.

I believe it’s a worthwhile addition.

The forearm burn is phenomenal.

Note: There is a cheaper alternative here. 

The reviews aren’t impressive and have nowhere near the total review number.

The main thing to check is what size dumbbell or barbell you will be using.

Bars are normally around 2-3 inches.

Although some smith machines and training bars maybe less.

Dumbbells will vary and adjustable dumbbells will vary even more.

With adjustable dumbbells, you also need to check the length, not just thickness.

7. Air Island Finger Strengthener

So far I have only addressed forearm flexion/extension, and hand flexion.

None of the above pieces offer an effective solution for hand extension (opening your fingers from a fist outwards).

When was the last time? You had an opportunity to effectively load your hand/forearm extensor muscles?

Probably never.

Literally never.

This is not only important for people rehabilitating syndromes such as carpal tunnel.

Also, post hand surgery patients will benefit massively.

If you are concerned with developing the hand/forearm muscles in a balanced fashion.

For the price. The air island finger strengthener is a great one to add to the basket.

PROS:

  • One of the only effective ways to work extensors muscles of hand and forearm.
  • Effective Resistance curve that matches the natural strength of curve of the hand extensor muscles*.
  • Cheap, just get a set and test them, look at the price!

*As the fingers open outwards and approach full contraction.

The muscles get stronger and the resistance matches this by increasing.

Strong Grip = Strong Body.

There are multiple studies.

Demonstrating a direct correlation between lower all-cause mortality and stronger grip strength.

Dr.McGuff mentions this concept of physiological headroom in his video below. It’s a long one so I jumped ahead and you can watch as much as you need to grasp the concept better.

The point between the least you can do and the most you can do is the headroom that you are seeking to improve. Click To Tweet

Grip strength is one way to measure this.

Correct, effective strength training will naturally improve grip strength.

It’s no good only seeking to improve grip strength.

How to Accurately Measure Grip Strength for Recovery Readings?

One of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways.

To gauge your recovery and adaptive stages post workout.

Is to use a dynamometer daily and record the strength readings.

In case you would like to refresh your memory.

The 3 stages of the exercise stress are Stress, Recovery, and Adaptation that govern your training efforts.

Read here.

Here’s the gist.

image of the thre phases of exercise. stress, recovery and adaptation

Once you have completed the Stress that represents your workout, you have two further stages, Recovery and Adaptation.

The secret to maximizing your results in the shortest possible time fame.

Is understanding where you are on the curve.

This is practically impossible.

But there do exist some methods that might offer fairly strong insights as to where we might be.

For sure one of the best methods is to measure your grip strength everyday post workout.

In theory, you should see a trend form.

The following day after your workout your grip strength reading will probably be less.

But at some stage depending on many factors.

Primarily your genetics and stress levels (internal inflammation and external, environmental stressors).

You should see an increase in your maximal grip strength reading.

Time and experience will allow you to determine the best time to hit the gym again to restart the growth cycle.

You should see an increase in your maximal grip strength reading. Click To Tweet

The increased grip strength readings will be a strong indicator that you are ready to restart the growth cycle and hit the weights.

If you want to read more about the process of building muscle check my article about how to build muscle.

Measuring Grip for Endurance Activities:

It is also possible to use the dynamometer to assess your endurance strength.

Normally one would use the dynamometer to get a measurement of maximal grip strength.

To get an idea of the metabolic efficiency of your grip strength which would be important for rock climbers and martial artists, you can try this:

  • Get a stopwatch.
  • Set alarm for 15 seconds.
  • Take note of the reading at the 15-second mark.
  • Record on your spreadsheet.

Specific Sports and Martial Arts Grip Strength Test

The below table can be used as a reference for different activities and sports.

  1. ALWAYS APPLY MAXIMAL PRESSURE FOR THE GIVEN TIME
  2. You need 2 readings. 1st is maximal reading which you will get by default at the end. You also need to take a reading at the end of the time period listed in the below table.
Event Squeeze Time for Measure Dynamometer Setting
Rock Climbing 10 seconds Large Grip Setting
Judo 15 seconds Medium Grip setting
BJJ 10 seconds Medium Grip setting
Shooting 5 seconds Smallest grip setting
Olympic Lifting 3 seconds Large Grip Setting

 

How Strong Can YOUR Grip Be?

Notice how I emphasized ‘your’ above.

The reason is that your maximal grip strength is predetermined by your genetics.

The main limiting factor will be finger length.

Your fingers act as levers wrapping around the bar.

The longer the lever the stronger the grip will be.

The easiest way to understand it is like this.

The reason fat gripz work your forearms so hard is that they reduce the ability of your levers to close around the bar.

An individual with short fingers and will find a 3-inch bar much harder to hold than an individual with long fingers.

The main take home here is this:

So only compare your progress to your progress.

Remember that unless you are specifically training forearms.

Then using lifting straps will help you strengthen your weakest link.

And allow greater stimulation of the primary muscles you are trying to work in a compound exercise.

People who tell you not to use straps have long fingers. Click To Tweet

Conclusion:

Take grip training seriously.

Most individuals only ever train their forearm muscles isometrically.

Some also incorporate wrist flexion and extension.

Very few people train the forearms effectively.

If you like this content please consider purchasing the products through my affiliate links peppered throughout the article.

It helps me to keep this honest and almost unbiased (they are still, affiliate links) information coming.

If you need any help feel free to comment and I will get back you.

Your Training Partner

David Klein