We’ve all trained against that guy with the beastly grip strength. He latches on to your gi and for love nor money, you can’t shake him off. It’s like his hands are the lion and your poor gi is the gazelle. He ain’t letting go.
It’s time for the weekly no-gi class and you think it’s finally your time to shine and get the better of him. Until he grabs your wrist. It’s like a vice grip and yet again, there’s no breaking free.
We all want to be that guy. And the good news is that you can become him. As you train, particularly with the gi, your grip strength will increase. But it will increase slowly, building up over years and years.
Luckily, there are quicker and more efficient ways out there to build grip strength. As you know, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all about efficiency. If you want to build that fabled grip strength, using a dedicated grip strengthener tool is the way to go.
A grip strengthener, or gripper, is a small hand-held tool that you can use anywhere to increase your grip strength. Most of them have adjustable strengths so you can start small and work your way up. No need to overdo it and/or injure your precious hands.
The Best Grip Strengtheners
MummyFit Death Grip: Adjustable Grip Strengthener
Perhaps your grip is already tight. Maybe you’ve used grip strengtheners in the past but none of them have been anywhere near tough enough for you.
Enter: The MummyFit Death Grip.
It features a maximum tension of 154lbs, almost double that of most other grippers on the market. This is for the hardcore trainee who is seeking a tougher challenge. It’s adjustable like many others, but it starts at 55lbs.
MummyFit have forged the death grip with the strong, solid materials of steel and thermoplastic nylon. You don’t have to worry about the device breaking, no matter how hard you brutalise it.
It is almost silent to boot, so you can use it anywhere without annoying the people around you. No squeaking or creaking.
4Gear Hand Strengthener Kit
Norse Strength offer a bargain 3-in-1 package here. It comes with the standard hand grip strengthener and two silicone squeeze rings.
Like most grippers, it features an adjustable tension. It starts out with 22lbs of tension and can be tightened up to 88lbs.
You can start off easy and work your way up slowly and steady. No risk of jumping up in weight too quick and injuring yourself.
The silicone squeeze rings came in strengths of 50lbs and 60lbs. These rings are ideal to throw in your gym bag and use pre-training as a warm-up. Whilst using the gripper at home on your off-days. You could even keep a ring by your computer to ease your hands when they become strained from typing.
Epitomie Fitness Finger Master Hand Strengthener
This gripper targets individual fingers rather than the hand as a whole. Your entire hand is getting a workout, not just certain parts.
With some grippers, you only end up using part of your hand to grip. This can lead to injury and un-even strength when some areas aren’t up to scratch.
Epitomie currently sell 5 different standard options of this strengthener, varying by tension-per-finger. They start at 1.5lbs of tension per finger at the lightest, all the way up to a mammoth 9lbs of tension per finger.
We would recommend purchasing either the light tension (5lbs) or the medium tension (7lbs) model. Anything less will be a waste of time and you may have build up to the heavy tension model.
ProCircle Hand Grip Strengthener and Finger Strengthener
ProCircle have created something a bit different from the other grippers out there. Their basic set comes with 3 silicone squeeze rings… and 3 finger stretchers.
The silicone rings are pretty standard. You squeeze the rings with your hands to increase the grip. When one ring becomes too easy, you move onto the higher-tension rings.
But the finger stretchers could be quite revolutionary for the BJJ practitioners.
You place your fingers in the corresponding holes so the rubber fits snug like a ring. A larger, outer rubber ring connects the others together. You then stretch your fingers outwards rather than inwards.
This helps increase finger flexibility and dexterity. It’s also useful to if any fingers are lagging behind in strength. Perfect for preventing injuries.
Yifi-Tek Hand Grip Strengthener
Fitness Insanity provide the cheapest gripper in our list but it is still incredibly effective.
It is a clamp model, similar to the Norse Strength hand gripper and likewise comes with an adjustable tension between 22lbs and 88lbs.
It comes in a vibrant lime-green colour wth light grey handles. The whole package includes the gripper, 4 online e-books filled with exercises and workouts for you to use and a waterproof carry case.
The gripper has solid steel hinges and enhanced springs so it will hold up to intense and frequent use.
These style of grip strengtheners are perfect for using absent-mindedly when chilling out in front of the TV.
What are Hand Grip Strengtheners?
Grip strengtheners have far more benefits than just improving your Jiu-jitsu grip strength, they can have a real benefit on your day-to-day life also, whether it’s simple holding a phone, driving, moving furniture or just gardening, the ability to grip onto something is something that we can take for granted and something that we shouldn’t lose out on. To combat the degenerative effects of ageing, people have been turning to hand grip strengtheners for years. Grippers have the added benefits on not only increasing the load your hands can carry, but will also have added benefits through strengthening your wrist and your forearm. Ultimately greater hand strength means being able to pick up heavier weights, climb ropes and hold onto that collar for a little longer.
Grip strengtheners also have the added benefit of improving not just your grip but your hand endurance. When you are applying forceful pressure on the grip handles you are doing much more than just developing hand strength. By holding on for long periods, you can develop endurance over time, meaning you can not only grip things better but you can hold on for them before your hands start to fatigue. But Endurance isn’t all about gripping, if you work at a keyboard all day, finger endurance and dexterity is a must.
Grip Strengtheners have been around since the early part of the 20th Century, so they are still quite a modern invention, but even in that short period of time they have evolved quite considerably. The earliest versions were made of wood, however modern grippers are made of plastic and metal and can also be adjusted depending on what type of workout you’re doing or how hard you want the workout to be.
Overall grippers can come in varying strength levels, you have low load grip squeezers for beginners, all the way up to the monster captain of crush grippers, used to develop hand crunching grip. They can also come in a variety of different styles and complexities.
How to Choose The Right Grip Strengthener
When it comes to choosing grip strengtheners, there are a lot of options available. Some maybe right for you, some not so much. So if you’re a hardcore gripster or just making sure you don’t drop your mobile phone, it’s important to know what type of grippers are available on the market.
Choosing the correct resistance for your grip strengthener is one of the most important things when choosing your own grip trainer. If you’re just looking for something which has the ability to rehabilitate your hands, then opt for a relatively low resistance level.
A grip strengthener can be a very easy process, or difficult depending on the amount of resistance you choose. If you’re a beginner gripper than a medium strength gripper should be fine since you already have a day-to-day base level. If you’re already a seasoned grappler or weight lifter, we would recommend something a bit tougher.
Adjustable or Fixed Hand Strengthener
There are two types of strengtheners available on the market these days. Adjustable grippers or fixed grippers, both have their own benefits.
For beginners who are unsure about their upper weight limit, an adjustable grip strengthener is a good option, that way you can tune it to your strength and then adjust as you get stronger. While great for beginners these aren’t as good for experienced gripsmen. While you can buy some specialised adjustable grippers they tend to be more expensive than a set of fixed grippers.
This is the real benefits of fixed grippers as they are generally cheaper than their adjustable counterparts. Made from a single spring with plastic of metal handles, you can squeeze these to your heart’s delight. Another benefit of a fixed gripper is that over time the adjustable spring’s tension will loosen and wear over time. If you do choose a fixed gripper, make sure it’s a strength you can manage.
Finger Strengtheners or Squeeze Grippers
If you’re looking for more finger dexterity and endurance then finger strengtheners maybe an option for you. These grip strengtheners come with numerous springs designed for training individual fingers. These are perfect for climbers or grapplers looking to improve their pinch grip and work on gripping fatigue. Squeeze grippers are the every day hand strengtheners you see. These will build an overall crushing power to your grip, handy for every day life.
Finger extensors and flexors
When you train you’re grip, you are mostly training your finger and thumb flexors to close your hand. However if you want really fit fingers, it is also recommended that you train your finger extensors also. A lot of finger extensor training devices are essentially rubber bands with finger loops. Here you can expand your hand with resistance to give your hand a full work out. These are also perfect for anyone who needs to rehab their fingers after an accident.
Any of the above grip strengtheners will serve you well on your journey to a vice-grip hold. Pick any of the five and you cannot go wrong.
With consistent use and effort, it won’t be long before you’re the guy in the gym who’s rag dolling everyone with his superior grip.