Compact design that's easily portable. Challenges each finger individually so stronger ones can't compensate for weaker ones. 5 different strengths. Ergonomic base sits in the palm of your hand.
The design of this product may be too small for large hands.
Comes in 11 different strengths ranging from 60 to 365 pounds. Made of durable metal that won't break or weaken over time. Large grip.
Not everyone enjoys the rough metal grip. Prone to squeaking.
Adjusts to 4 different levels of resistance. Suitable for large and small hands. Sturdy plastic casing. Easy to adjust if you follow the instructions. Quiet hand gripper that won't squeak.
Plastic handles can get slippery.
Choice of 6 different resistance levels. Knurled, aluminum handles are non-slip and don't rip or tear like foam. Comfortable size.
Not adjustable. May start squeaking with use.
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Hand muscles aren’t usually our highest priority at the gym. We rarely aspire to have well-proportioned thumbs or toned palms. And yet, so much of our workout depends upon having a good grip. You can’t clean-and-press your way to a new personal best with weak hands.
Even if you’re not a gym rat, there are other reasons to improve your grip. Maybe you’ve developed a touch of arthritis or grasping a screwdriver isn’t as easy as it once was. But you don’t need a gym membership or a personal trainer for strengthening. You need a hand gripper.
Hand grippers are small exercise devices that you hold in your hand and squeeze against resistance. They come in different designs and varied resistance levels. Which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn more. If you’re ready to buy, check out our recommendations for the best hand grippers on the market.
When choosing a hand gripper, you’ll need to decide on your goal. Here are a few questions to consider first.
Different manufacturers may use different resistance rating tests. Make sure you understand the scale before you make a purchase, or you might be disappointed.
If you’re strength training for the gym, you’ll want to increase your resistance level over time. You can achieve this by purchasing a hand-gripper set that includes multiple resistance levels, buying one that has adjustable resistance, or investing in stronger grippers over time.
If you simply want to increase functional hand strength or if you’re recovering from an injury, a hand gripper with a single resistance level might be best for you. Once you reach your desired level, you can then decide to buy a stronger gripper or maintain at the same level of resistance. Of course, if you’re not sure where to start, you can always buy an adjustable gripper, too.
Hand grippers feature a number of different resistance mechanisms:
Hand grippers actually strengthen more than your hand muscles — they work everything from your fingertips down to your elbows.
Inexpensive: If you don’t have precise goals but just want to improve hand strength, you can buy inexpensive hand grippers for under $10. At this price, they may or may not be adjustable. Even if they are adjustable, it’s hard to read the setting, unless it’s on the minimum or maximum. They may have grippy pads, but the handles are not likely to be very ergonomic.
Mid-range: In the $10 to $20 price bracket, you’ll find both single-resistance and adjustable-resistance levels. You’ll have more variety in handle styles, from gym bars and ergonomic grips to grips that let you work individual fingers. The handles may not, however, be designed well enough to keep your hands from slipping at higher resistance levels.
Expensive: High-end hand grippers have worked out most of the kinks, but you’ll pay for that level of detail, with prices ranging from $20 to $40. You’ll find solid, durable single-resistance trainers as well as textured, ergonomic, adjustable models. They’ll get the job done quietly, with quality components and well-marked settings.
Be careful of how high you place your fingers on the grips, or you may catch a finger in the springs.
Most bar-style hand grippers aren’t adjustable, but the GD Hand Grip Strengthener is an exception. Solidly in the “recreational” gripper camp, its resistance level starts at 55 pounds and increases all the way to 176 pounds. Keep in mind that its range of motion might not be as large as grippers with round wind springs. Those who need something smaller or a little gentler on the hands should consider these Vive grip-strengthening rings. Made from silicone, the rings won’t toughen your hands like metal or hard plastic grips and include several common lower-resistance levels.
Q. How do I know when I need a higher resistance level?
A.Generally, if you are able to fully close a gripper for 20 to 25 repetitions, it’s time to move up. However, you don’t need to wait that long before getting a start on the next level. Once you can complete ten to 12 repetitions, you can try your hand at the next level. If you have an adjustable hand gripper, simply adjust your level. If your hand gripper has a single resistance level, once you master ten consecutive repetitions, it’s time to place an order for the next resistance level. Don’t leave a level entirely behind, though, until you can complete two dozen reps.
Q. My hand gripper has started squeaking. Do I need a new one?
A.Many hand grippers claim to be silent, but in reality, most start making noise over time. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a structural problem — it’s most likely the metal edges lightly rubbing against each other. If the sound bothers you, lubricate the area where friction is occurring with some oil. This should alleviate the problem, and it won’t affect the tension or your workout.
Q. I’m starting to see rust on my hand gripper. Is it ruined?
A. Probably not. Many steel items will show surface oxidation if you’re in a humid climate. It’s mainly a cosmetic issue, but if you don’t like the look, it’s an easy fix. You can simply wipe off the rust with a light polishing cream. This should make it look as good as new. After that, give the surface a light treatment with oil or car wax to block future moisture. Stay on top of the treatments to keep the oxidation at bay, and repeat the whole cleaning if you see any more rust.
Q. Can left-handed athletes use standard hand grippers?
A. For the most part, yes. Many people train both their left and right hands with the same gripper. However, some lefties say they can feel a difference. It may be a matter of hand positioning, or they may also feel a difference because their hand is sensitive to the wind spring’s geometry. If you’re a southpaw and find standard-design grippers don’t feel quite right, there are grippers available that create a more natural motion for lefties.
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