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Grip strength can be an important part of physical fitness. That being said, what types of equipment can you use to improve grip strength?
The way you build muscle in places like your forearms and hands is by straining and damaging your muscles. This may seem counterintuitive but this makes it so your body starts processes to repair them and build a little extra to be better prepared for similar efforts in the future.
Generally the more resistance you have to move, the easier it becomes to strain your muscles enough for muscle growth in a short amount of time.
These pieces of grip strength equipment work the same way. They make movements so challenging for your grip muscles that they get strained enough and come back stronger if you give them enough nutrients, sleep, and rest.
It is true that you train your grip strength with heavy lifts like deadlifts and bent-over rows. Even so, for certain types of athletes and training goals, it can make sense to add additional grip strength training on top of that. Luckily there are also types of equipment that allow you to train grip strength specifically.
1. Hand grip trainer
You can describe hand grip trainers more or less as pliers that are hard to close. These devices may not look that impressive but they can definitely be a great piece of equipment to improve your overall hand grip strength.
Some models come with changeable resistance, others require you to buy different ones if you want to progress your grip training.
2. Finger strengthener
The previous piece of grip strength equipment was focused on your overall hand grip strength, this next option is more focused on training individual fingers.
If your goal with improving grip strength is lifting heavier barbells, or hanging from pull-up bars for longer this may not be the choice for you. On the flip side, if you do something like rock climbing the strength of each individual finger may matter more.
3. Grip strength ring
The previous options don’t involve your thumbs a lot, grip strength rings allow you to train these to some extent anyway. One downside of these is that they may last less long than the steel options.
4. Stress ball
There are also types of stress balls with resistance levels made for improving grip strength. These tend to be slightly more portable than the previous options but in the end personal preference plays a big role in what type of grip strength equipment is the best for you.
One downside of these stress balls is that they generally have lower upper limits compared to the other options. This means that if you are more experience with grip strength training this option may not be enough to give you a real challenge.
5. One-handed free weights
One-handed free weights are basically the free weights category excluding the barbell, medicine ball, and EZ curl bar. Not everyone realizes this but you can use free weights in plenty of exercises that strengthen your forearms and grip strength.
Some examples of one-handed free weights are dumbbells, kettlebells, the right types of weight plates, certain sandbags for working out, wrist weights, etc.
One of the benefits of this type of equipment compared to the other options on this list is that you can actually use them in exercises for other body parts as well.
Another benefit of free weights is that they generally last an extremely long time. One dumbbell can potentially improve your workouts for many years and potentially even decades. On top of that, many free weights do not really lose their value.
A disadvantage is that free weights require a slightly bigger investment compared to the other grip strength equipment on this list.
6. Two-handed free weights
Two-handed free weights that can be used for grip strength are basically the barbell and EZ curl bar. If needed you can load the bars with extra weight plates. While you can use them in a few exercises these are generally not ideal since you don’t have the same wrist mobility as with one-handed free weights.
An advantage of these two-handed free weights is that you can use them in a wide variety of exercises for a wide variety of other body parts. Another thing is that similar to one-handed free weights, two-handed free weights generally last a very long time without much reduction in value.
A downside is that the barbell, EZ curl bar, and weight plates often require a slightly bigger investment compared to the other options on this list.
7. Pull-up bar
A piece of equipment many people forget when talking about grip strength training is the pull-up bar. Most of the popular pull-up bar exercises train your grip to some extent. But for these muscles to fatigue first, you may have to stick to a simple pull-up bar hang.
Even if you currently don’t have a pull-up bar or gym subscription, doorway pull-up bars are relatively inexpensive. On top of that, they can be used in other exercises for other body parts.
One downside is that a pull-up bar hang is a type of isometric exercise. In simpler words, this means that you engage your muscles in a more static way, without moving a lot. On the other hand, you have isotonic exercises where you engage your muscles in a dynamic way, by moving.
Isotonic exercises are generally more useful for building muscle. That means that the other tools that engage your grip muscles in an isotonic way are likely better pieces of equipment for improving your grip strength a lot.