Review of the Heavy Grips Hand Grippers
In the interests of giving credit where credit is due, I’ll have to thank my range buddy Shayne for turning my on to Heavy Grips hand grippers for improving grip strength. He was recently telling me that several National and “Pro” level shooters use Heavy Grips to improve their grip strength, so he was starting to use them too. With increased grip strength, you can minimize recoil induced “muzzle flip” which in turn makes target acquisition easier and faster on your follow up shots.
Being about 5’7″ in height, with proportionately small hands, I don’t have the mechanical advantage which someone with larger hands has. So I was intrigued by the prospect of improving my grip strength. I whipped out my iPad, found a set of Heavy Grips on Amazon.com for a great price, and ordered them on the spot:
I’ve been using them (actually just one…I’ll explain) for a couple of weeks now. The set I purchased includes a 200, 250, and a 300 lb. gripper.
Have you ever used one of those el-cheap-o grippers that you can easily close? Some guys do reps without end with those, but doing so really isn’t helping much in the way of actually strengthening your grip. It’s sort of like doing bench press reps with just the bar – you can do 100 reps, but you’re not really providing the muscle any true resistance to overcome, so you’re not getting any stronger. So the rule of thumb with these Heavy Grip grippers is that you should move up to the next highest 50 lb. gripper increment once you can successful close one for a few reps. My buddy Shayne was telling me that he was very close to being able to close the 250 lb. gripper when I placed the order, so you can imagine my discouragement when I couldn’t quite close the 200 lb. gripper. Of course, Shayne is well over 6 ft. tall so he’s got some mechanical advantage on me and the average guy I suspect. My research online revealed testimonies of guys like myself who regularly work out with weights and were unable to close the 200 lb. gripper. So for the time being I’m doing the following routine three days a week: With my right hand I do 6-8 reps closing the 200 lb. gripper as much as I can, then I repeat with my left hand. Immediately following, I switch back to my right hand and do 6-8 reps with the gripper inverted, and repeat with my left hand. I then rest for a couple of minutes and repeat this series two more times for a total of three sets. I do this Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (I typically shoot on Tuesday night in league, and then some on the weekends so I avoid using the grippers on these days) and take the weekend off. Here’s something else I gleaned by comparing notes with Shayne: It might be counter productive to wait until you can entirely close (make the inside handles of the gripper actually make contact) before moving up to the next level. Shayne says he’s within a quarter to an eighth of an inch of being able to close the 250 lb. gripper. He can get to that point pretty easily and repeatedly, but isn’t quite able to close the gripper. Continuing to work out with the 250 lb. gripper for him may not yield any more significant gains – in fact, he may be unable to ever close the 250 lb. gripper unless he moves up and starts doing resistance training with the 300 lb. I’m pretty much at that same point with the 200 lb. gripper, so I may move up to the 250 lb. gripper in the next week or two.
If you’re used to those el-cheap-o weak grippers, the robust, quality design of the Heavy Grip grippers will be a breath of fresh air. The knurled handles provide an excellent grip, but may take a week or so to get used to if you don’t regularly work out with Olympic style knurled barbells or dumbells. They certainly provide an impressive level of resistance – you’ll be sore after you use them for sure. Again, I’m in my 2nd week and I’m already seeing significant gains in my grip and some size increase in my forearms. I’m thinking I’ll be ready to shift to the 250 lb. model in a couple of weeks. I actually went back and ordered a 150 lb. Heavy Grip gripper from Amazon so I’d have something to warm up with before jumping right in to the “heavy” gripper.
I’ll update this article in the weeks to come to show my progress. 🙂
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.