This is a combo article from me and my buddy, Mike Rinderle. Mike is Mash Monster Level 2 Certified, and rarely trains grippers due to all the bending he does, YET, has found that he maintains his gripper strength very well, again, because of all the bending he does.
**IMPORTANT** Be smart about your training. If these are new tactics, work them into your training slowly and don’t go overboard. Everyone is at a different stage of development with their CRUSH training, so be sure to train wisely, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Isometrics for Gripper Strength
What we are going to look at today is Isometric and Near-Isometric Work that you can do with your Grippers in order to strengthen the end range of the close, or the Finish.
Training the Finish of the close is important. You can have a strong set, and monster sweep strength, but if you die at the end of the range, then none of that really matters.
After all, the objective is to close the gripper, not sweep it down to 1/4 inch…
What Are Gripper Training Isometrics?
Isometric exercises involve ranges of motion during muscle contraction which are very small or non-existent. They permit maximum exertion over a very short distance (or statically). They build stronger tendons, the ability to fire your CNS more efficiently, and increased time under tension, driving strength gains.
The three types of isometrics used to increase gripper strength are static, short concentric (positive), and short eccentric (negative).
Overcrushes (static): Use a gripper that you can close and hold for at least a few seconds. Close the gripper and squeeze as hard and as long as you can.
Take note that the objective here is to squeeze like you are trying to flatten the handles together, using more force that is necessary to hold the handles together.
When you hit 15 seconds, it is time to move up a gripper level. Do no more than 3 of these per hand to prevent over-training.
Don’t just touch the handles together – squeeze with everything you’ve got until the gripper starts to open up. This is not a negative! Doing a negative after a hard overcrush can injure you, so do not try to resist the handles as they open.
Choker closes (concentric/near isometric): This technique is done with the purpose of shortening the stroke of the gripper handles and focusing just on the last portion of the range. These are also generally done with explosive power in order to train the CNS to power through until the handles touch.
Get a sturdy hose clamp, tape the tops of the gripper handles and clamp your goal gripper to parallel or closer (whatever width you need to close it). Remember to perform explosive singles with this technique. Explode into the close and click the handles as fast as you can.
Wait until you recover and do another one just as hard and as fast as the last. Once the closes start to get a bit slow, or you can’t touch the handles anymore, STOP. PERIOD. This means your hands are fried and going further with this technique will teach you to be slow.
If you can get more than 5 – 7 of these then it is time to open the clamp up slightly wider or use a harder gripper next time. My gripper was too light to be effective for my crush, BUT it was the only one I had with a choker on it, so I used it for the demonstration)
Bounce Force Negatives
Bounce Forced Negatives (BFNs) (eccentric): Use a gripper one level higher than your goal gripper. Use your leg, or off hand to cheat close it and then fight to keep it from opening. When it gets to parallel, use your other hand (or leg) to force it back shut and fight again to keep it shut. Repeat one more time when it gets to parallel. That’s one set of 3. Do no more than 2 sets.
Also, this will be a bigger gripper than you are used to and if it has sharp knurling you need to not just let it spring open after the last negative gets to parallel, or you could lose some skin. Open it slowly.
These three gripper techniques are much more demanding on the CNS and the soft tissues of the hand, so we advise to only perform one of these gripper training techniques per workout. In other words, don’t do three sets of over-crushes, followed by some BNF’s and top it off with some choker work. That is a sure-fire way to make your progress go backwards, or worse yet, get you hurt.
Also, alternate these high-intensity techniques for best results. Each movement trains the muscles, tendons, and CNS in a slightly different way. To get the most out of these techniques, you can incorporate one of them at a time on a regular basis and see how your Crush improves, then try the next technique.
Of course, these are advanced gripper training techniques. If you don’t already have a solid grip on the basics of gripper training, then you might not be ready for these techniques.
In that case, check out my Gripper Training DVD, CRUSH, Total Gripper Domination.
CRUSH will show you how to develop a good base of training with your grippers, a solid foundation on which to build upon for the future.
There’s no reason why you, yourself, can not one day certify on Grippers. You just need the right information to get you going in the right direction.
Start out on the right foot with the solid information you need to excel with Grippers, which you will get in CRUSH.
All the best in your training,
with my Definitive Gripper Training DVD, CRUSH: Total Gripper Domination.