Grip Strength Equipment Reviews 2018 – Best tools to build a stronger grip
Grip strength and training to increase it should be a priority for lifters. If you want to know exactly why it’s important and how you can increase it, check out my in-depth guide to grip training. Knowing how to build your grip is one thing, finding the best grip strength equipment is another.
Luckily, this article will guide you through the very best tools you can buy to build superhero grip strength.
There are a few different types of grip strength and each requires a different tool to train it. Throughout this article, you will learn the different categories of grip strength, how they work and how to make them stronger.
Best Grip Training Equipment - Quick View
Types of grip Strength
This will be a bit of a recap if you have read my grip training guide article that I linked to earlier.
Nevertheless, it’s good to refresh your mind. So, here are the three different types of grip strength and their functions:
The grip between your palm and fingers is known as a crush grip. It’s like crushing something inside your hand depending on the strength you are applying. It is the most common type of grip and often used while you are handshaking with someone. Breaking a beer can in your hand; a bone-crushing handshake, etc. are some examples of strong crush gripping.
The grip using the just your fingers and thumb is known as pinch gripping. It’s like pinching the skin while crushing it between your fingers and your thumb. The basic use of pinch grip is to pick a piece of paper in between your fingers and thumb. While using this grip one must be careful about muscle cramping so make sure to use it carefully and with adequate pressure.
The combined use of your thumb, palm and fingers give rise to support grip. Holding a shopping bag in a fisted hand is a good example.
Pull-ups, rows and farmer’s walks are some of the activities that use support grip inside the gym. This grip is sometimes called carrying grip with the basic function of holding something in your hand.
Support grip will be stronger, when maximum force is applied, and engages more muscles than the other two types.
Grip Training Considerations
This will likely be a rather brief section. But, I do feel it’s important to touch upon a couple of things to consider for your grip training endeavours.
Firstly, just like with any exercise you include in your program, you need to decide the specific purpose of your grip exercises. Don’t go buying all the latest grip strength equipment and throwing in any old exercise just because you heard it makes your hands strong.
You need to think about the overall goal of your training program and then decide exactly how grip strength falls into that. This will mean looking at the specific types of grip strength and putting the most focus on whichever type has the greatest impact on your goals.
For example, a powerlifter would want to put a lot of effort into improving support grip strength for deadlifts.
This isn’t to say that you should ignore the other variations of grip strength. Just that you should prioritise based on your individual program goals.
The second thing to consider is how to plug it into your training plan. Grip training usually becomes a bit of an after-thought and gets thrown in anywhere or tagged on to the end of a workout.
Here are a few suggestions from multiple winner of world's strongest man, Brian Shaw:
Training your grip is just the same as training any other movement or muscle. You should be treating it the same and planning your program accordingly.
One final note here is to be mindful of how often you implement grip training exercises. You will be training your grip to a certain extent almost every time you lift weights.
Therefore, overdoing the dedicated grip training could cause some injuries or inflammation of your forearms or elbows. Start slow and listen to your body.
Your muscles still need to recover from the grip training, they can become sore and tight if your programming is inefficient. for more info on muscle soreness, I have written a guide on DOMS.
Best Grip Strength Equipment Reviews
Finally, this is what you came here for. Below I will be listing my top picks for equipment in each of the three grip-type categories. I am only going be choosing my favourite piece of grip strength equipment from each category, I don’t feel you need to buy dozens of gadgets in order to build your grip.
Note that this list includes my favourite specialised grip strengthening gear. Barbells, dumbbells and the like can obviously be grip training tools but I won’t be mentioning them here.
Best Crush Grip Training Tool
The Captains of Crush grippers. These aren’t the flimsy grippers you see on infomercials that are designed to be pumped in one hand while you watch T.V with a beer in the other.
These grippers, made by IronMind, are a serious piece of grip strength equipment. High quality and hard work.
I love the fact that there is a whole series of different difficulties. This means that there is room for proper progression, which is key in a good training program.
My recommendation is for people to buy both a lighter gripper and one that is a stage or two heavier.
For example, when I first started, I bought the Trainer and level 1 grippers. Back then I think my deadlift was only around 160kg and I would say that my grip strength is naturally pretty average, just to give you a rough idea of my starting strength levels for you to compare.
If you were to follow what I did or something similar, you can then practice with the trainer and use it for rep work when you get strong enough. While you are using the trainer gripper for reps, you can implement lower rep work and some assisted closes, where you use your other hand to help you fully close the gripper, with the level 1 tool.
There could be better ways to use them but that’s just how I went about it and my grip certainly improved. I have never once had an issue with grip strength on deadlifts. I attribute that partly to using the captains of crush early in my lifting journey.
Best Pinch Grip Training Tool
Pinching heavy blocks or the ends of dumbbells is a tried and tested method for building jaw-like fingers.
In my opinion, this is the most difficult style of grip training. I have endured many cramping fingers and thumbs while pinching blocks so beware of that.
I like the Rogue pinch blocks because you can add different amounts of weight to them. This takes out the need to buy different blocks as you progress over time. You can even attach them to a pull-up bar for a serious challenge.
Props to you if you can do a set of pull-ups while clinging on to these, vice hands!
Rogue have recently put a lot of focus into their grip training equipment and now have an entire range of different devices. Check out the rest of Rogue's grip training selection here.
Best Support Grip Training Tool
I really like farmer’s walks, barbell holds and bar hangs for building support grip. In fact, farmer’s walks are one of my favourite all round exercises.
Those exercises alone are great for grip building but you can take them to the next level by using thick bars or handles.
A thicker bar means you will have a harder time holding on to it since your thumb is unable to lock around your fingers properly. You have to squeeze your hands even harder and recruit more muscles in your forearms in order to hang on.
Unfortunately, buying thicker bars is not the most convenient option. That’s where Fat Gripz come in, you can throw them in your gym bag and attach them to pretty much any bar or handle that you want to turn into a “fat bar”.
They can turn farmer’s carries, deadlifts, barbell or dumbbell rows and pullups into extreme grip training exercises very easily.
You can get them in a couple of sizes. The original blue ones, that are about 2 inches thick, have always been enough of a challenge for me. They should be fine for you as well unless you have extraordinarily large hands.
That’s it. Three pieces of inexpensive and easy to use grip strength equipment for building an all round super-human grip.
Implement some of the tools and techniques here and feel your grip strength levels and forearms explode. Just be careful when shaking hands, you may cause harm!