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How to use Hand Grips - Hand Grips for Beginners

Grip Training for Beginners - How to Train with Heavy Grips

The following is step-by-step instructions on how to get the most out of your handgripper training. The program is designed for beginners, but adaptable for more intermediate and advanced grip trainers.

Beginner Program

Congratulations on your purchase of hand grippers (aka hand grips). Hopefully you purchased one that challenges you and isn't too easy - but also isn't too hard.

If it feels too hard so that you can't even squeeze them for 10 times consecutively then you purchased hand grips that are too difficult for you to use properly and you should set them aside for now and use easier hand grips.

If you can squeeze them easily and hold them indefinitely without problem then they are too easy and you need something harder. Try to find out what weight your current handgrips are and use a set which is several pounds of pressure more difficult.

In this post I am going to be giving you tips, tricks, techniques and pictures to help you get the most out of your grippers and develop stronger hands and forearms. The sample training program is the same basic program used by many professional and amateur grip enthusiasts, athletes, bodybuilders and weightlifters. Followed correctly and you will see good results.

With time you will build up such strength that people will find it unbelievable that you can squeeze together heavy duty hand grips with ease while they themselves struggle and can't squeeze it together at all or barely at all.

Why Train With Grippers?

If you’re an athlete, you need strong hands. Many professional sports in the world involves moving something with your hands or transferring your body’s power through the hands. Thus having strong hands and strong forearms becomes very important for sports like football, wrestling, baseball, weightlifting, martial arts, tennis, golf, archery, fencing and many other sports that use your arms. Many athletes - male and female - can gain a competitive edge over the competition by having a stronger grip and stronger forearms.

Higher strength in your hands and forearms also gives you more motor control and dexterity when trying to accomplish something which is physically straining. Tasks like unscrewing a bolt using a wrench at an awkward angle becomes an easier task for you because your hands and arms are better matched to the task at hand.

Setting Your Grip on the Hand Grips

Setting the gripper basically means that you are using your other hand to help position the gripper in your open hand. Your goal will be to close the gripper far enough so that you can wrap your pinky around the handle and put it in a good position to close the gripper. It may take you a few days or a few weeks to completely grasp the “feel” of setting the gripper but once you do you will reap the benefits faster. Essentially this is a matter of maintaining proper form during your gripping exercises otherwise you will be doing it improperly and not seeing the same fast results.

With time you will be able to recognize a "sweet spot" in the palm of your hand for the handle to rest and you won't even need to use your other hand to adjust it slightly. Finding that sweet spot allows you to get the best possible leverage.

When I set a gripper in my right hand, I use my left thumb to press one gripper handle firmly into my right palm, while at the same time using my left index finger to pull the other handle closer so my pinky can wrap around it better. Even people with short fingers will have an easier time closing grippers if they set the grips properly in their hand. See the photos on the above right and below.

When setting them upside down (so you can exercise different fingers more) you will need to repeat the process, but setting it differently. See photos below. These types of closes are known as "Inverted Closes".

Note! Under no circumstances would you want to set the gripper any further than parallel with your fingers. At the same time there is no reason to grip the grippers so that the bars are further than parallel either. Closing it further than that will garner less benefit because it becomes easier to hold them steady in that position. Why not do this if it easier? Because if it is so easy it won't be developing stronger hands. The whole purpose here is to build stronger hands and you need to embrace the idea that this will be difficult to squeeze together because difficulty builds strength.

No Set Closes

 If you want to develop truly strong hands, work on using a very shallow set and practicing "no set closes". No set means you don’t use the other hand to set the gripper at all and you squeeze the gripper completely closed using one hand only. These types of squeezes are much tougher and will make your hands stronger faster. However if you don’t have large hands, this can be difficult for you to accomplish because of your smaller fingers so no set closes may be too difficult for you to do properly.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt them however. Don't let small hands become an excuse. Attempt to do no set closes anyway on a regular basis just to see if you can do them and eventually you should build up your strength so that you can do them even with small hands.

Advice to New People Interested in Grip Exercises

#1. Correct your pinky placement on the handle. Having your pinky halfway off the bottom of the handle puts your hand in a slightly better leverage position. You still want your pinky involved in the crush and not slipping off the handle though.

#2. During squeezes you will begin to crush the handles together. The best advice is to simply squeeze hard and fast! The closer the handles get to touching, the more your pinky and ring finger come into play. Try to determine which is the hardest angle for you to squeeze to and focus on the squeezing around that angle range. Doing it faster builds more collective brute strength in this case. Where in normal weightlifting it is better to go slow if you want to build brute strength, with grip exercises you want to do it quickly instead.

#3. More on Inverted Closes. Since Inverted Closes makes up half the number of grip exercises you should do I think it is important to note the difference in setting the position in your hand. Setting a gripper in the inverted position is a little more tricky than the standard position, but take your time with it. Like above you will find the "sweet spot" soon enough. Don't forget to also do no set inverted squeezes too.

Recovery after Grip Exercises

Human hands have a remarkable ability to recover quickly from the workout you give them. I recommend working with hand grippers 3 times a week if you are a beginner and then start to slowly increase the frequency and volume of your workouts over the course of several weeks. This will give you adequate time in between exercises for new muscle growth periods (every 48 hours) and to fix any damaged muscle tissue. If you still feel pain after 48 hours then you are doing the exercises too frequently and / or using hand grips that are too powerful for you and you need to use an easier set.

Below is a sample training program for people who are just starting out. You can adjust the program to your individual needs.

Warm Up

6 to 8 repetitions on a very easy gripper each hand. This gets the blood flowing to your hands. Rest 1 minute.

6 to 8 repetitions again, but this time do it inverted. Rest 1 minute.

Your Intermediate Hand Grips – 3 each hand, and 3 more inverted. Rest 1 minute.


Your Heavy Hand Grips – 5 each hand, and 5 more inverted. Rest 1 minute.

No Set Closes with your Intermediate Hand Grips – 5 each hand, and 5 more inverted. Rest 1 minute.

If you are more advanced you may also try Negatives, Braced or Choked Attempts - but I am not explaining those today.

Cool Down

Fill a big bowl with cold water and the sink with hot water. Plunge your hands into the sink filled with hot water. Then stretch and flex your fingers before removing your hands. Then plunge your hands into the big bowl of cold water and repeat the process of stretching and flexing your fingers in the bowl.

Note: Don't make the water ridiculously hot. "Hot" will do. Scalding or anything that hurts your skin is too hot.

Notes and Progression

Remember to rest in between each set of grip exercises.

If you are feeling ill or have low energy and not up to 100% strength, you can reduce the number of squeezes during the warm-up so the bulk of your energy and strength go into the goal gripper squeezes.

Stick to each progression of your program for 3 weeks before advancing to a more difficult routine. Use your own judgement to decide how much more difficulty to add each time you change your routine. Common changes include adding an extra day per week, doing more squeezes by increasing the volume per set, changing to heavier grips and doing less squeezes, trying new types of squeezes like Negatives, Braced or Choked Attempts.

Building grip strength can be very rewarding and can take your hand and forearm strength to new levels you only dreamed of before. As you get more experienced, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas on grip training and different kinds of grip exercises that don't use hand grips.

Also sometimes you just need a longer break to build new muscle. Don't be afraid to take a week off once every 4 weeks and then resume your training the next week.


Training with Hand Grips Every Day

Building a Stronger Grip using Grip Exercises

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