I've been getting a lot of questions lately about how to train with the Strongman Grips Hand Grippers, so I will post some training advice here.
For those whose only experience with hand grippers is the type that comes from a sporting goods store, you should make the switch to Strongman Grips to develop mind-blowing hand strength. These grippers offer nine levels of resistance: 100 lbs, 125 lbs, 150 lbs, 175 lbs, 200 lbs, 225 lbs, 250 lbs, 300 lbs, and 350 lbs.
Training with Strongman Grips is an absolutely outstanding way to build serious hand strength. However, to really maximize the results you get from your grip training, you need a grip workout. Believe it or not, training your grip is not that different from training your bench press. Along those lines, I will lay out some training rules for grip training on the Strongman Grips.
Rule 1: Warm Up Carefully! You wouldn't try to max out on your bench press without warming up first, would you? Of course not, because the risk of injury is just too high. Training on the Strongman Grips is no different. A failure to warm-up properly could cause serious injury to the ligaments and tendons in your hands, leading to a major setback in your training. Think twice before picking up the Strongman Grips 250 or 300 "cold" and squeezing it as hard as you can!
How should you warm up properly? There are several options. You could pull out a tennis ball and squeeze it for a few minutes, starting with light squeezing and slowly working up to heavier squeezing. Alternatively, you could pull out a "sporting goods store" gripper and crank out a couple hundred reps, or even pull out the Strongman Grips 100 and crank out a couple of sets of 50. But the bottom line is that what you do to warm up really doesn't matter so long as you've loosened up your hands. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes for a good warm-up.
Rule 2: High Reps Do Not Build "High" Strength. Just as was stated previously, training your grip is not much different from training other parts of your body. Just as if you want to bench press 400 pounds you would not train by doing 100 reps with just the barbell, if you want to be able to close the Strongman Grips 300 you should not train with high reps on a sporting goods store gripper.
How heavy should you go? After warming up, you should aim for your sets to be in the 6-10 rep range. Use whichever gripper you can perform this number of reps with.
Rule 3: Pyramid Training Works Wonders. While there are lots of ways to train, one that many armwrestlers have found to be especially successful is a half (or full) pyramid. This gives you the training volume you need to make gains quickly. For example, a person who was trying to close the 300 pound Heavy Grip would perform the following workout:
- Set 1: 25 reps with the SG 100
- Set 2: 20 reps with the SG 150
- Set 3: 10 reps with the SG 200
- Set 4: 3-6 reps with the SG 250
- Set 5: 3-6 reps with the SG 300
- Set 6 (optional): a burnout set with the SG 150 or 200
Rule 4: Don't Overtrain! Grip training can be contageous in that you can be easily tempted to squeeze the gripper on your desk next to you. However, this can lead to overtraining, which will actually set your progress back significantly. A good rule of thumb is that you should perform grip training no more than three times per week for 15-20 minutes per session. This allows for proper recovery between workouts, which is especially important for grip training because of the extra stress it puts on the tendons and ligaments in your hands and fingers.