Captains of Crush Training - training tips

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Now you’ve bought your grippers, it is vital you use them correctly to avoid injury, over training and most importantly increase grip strength over the next few months.

Using your grips
Using hand grippers is a very simple form of training. The gripper is held in the hand between the fingers and thumb pad with the spring above the index knuckle. The idea is to squeeze on the handles and try to get them to touch.

clampsetting.jpg

The grippers come in several graded strengths and when you have conquered one gripper you can either work on closing it for a certain number of reps or start with the next level- just like adding another plate on the bar after a new PB lift. However, the weaker gripper is far from redundant and ready to be discarded! You can work inverted reps and isolation work for strengthening the close action, use strap holds, finger closes, pinch closes, thumb squeezes, timed holds, speed reps and much more- all with the aim of closing that tougher gripper which is your new target. Just like a good deadlift- train at a % of your max for a few weeks then test yourself on the weight you want to lift- the same is true for grip training.

lkb-muscle-bulletin-grip-guide-inverted.jpg

Suggested routines
If you are serious about grip training then it is quite similar to a good gym workout or powerlifting/Olympic weightlifting; meaning you do not just pick them up, squeeze a few times then put them down again. You should thoroughly warm up the hands- either with partial reps on a weaker gripper or by making a fist for several small sets. After the warm up progress to some light sets- maybe singles or doubles. Then once fully warmed up give it some 100% squeezes, a few timed hold and then finish with a burnout on the reps. Even if you do not close all or any, try to add a couple more next time. Say you closed 3 and then got 7 more near misses after that; aim to close 4 next time, or close 3 and up the misses to 8-10 for endurance training. Having a strong grip is good; having the balance of grip strength and grip endurance is crucial. This is where the times hold, speed reps and endurance reps help.

Beginners hand grip routine

General warm up
Warm up using fist clenches and either towel wringing or cloth squeezing

Session specific warm up
Use the gripper for alternate singles of ½ reps (usually a light squeeze action) to engage and prepare the hand muscles and tendons. Swap left and right for 10-20 reps. Work the same reps but at a much slower speed again for 10-20 ½ reps.

Training session
The hands should now be warmed up and not fatigued and ready for the training session with minimal risk of strain or injury. If you like it tough and want maximum results, feel free to follow my “Clamp” routine. Here we will start with a light beginner session.

Full effort close attempt left and right
5 each hand speed reps
Full effort negative with slow open left and right
10 alternate inverted reps
Full effort close attempt left and right
10 alternate slow close attempts
Full effort close attempt left and right
Alternate reps to burn out

This is quite a brief routine but will certainly show improvement in a matter of weeks if followed properly and progressively.

Cool down
Here you can finish with either ½ reps alternate, towel rolling or some hand massage for faster recovery.

Active recovery
If you are new to specific grip training and really enjoy it, chances are your hands will be stiff or feel a bit jelly like for a few days after your initial workouts. There are a few ways to aid the recovery process here. Relax them in hot water (bath); massage them, do some extensor work with an elastic band over the finger and thumbs- aiming to open the hands by extending the band; use some active recovery training items such as the snowball or putty or squashing a tennis ball or stress ball.

If you are a competitive strongman or climber then grip training is probably some of the most important training you can do. However, specific grip training is additional to the events you train. Farmers walk is the same action as crush grip, but walking with cylinders will pay off better than just training with grippers and having the aim of increasing your farmers walk load. Climbing requires some amazing grip and finger strength but most of the strength you need will come from actually climbing, hanging and fingerboard work- with specific grip training being a supplement to that. The only people that should place grip training first and foremost are those that compete in grip competitions or just love it for the sake of it - you know who you are! If you want to improve your golf drive, tennis, squash, etc… obviously it will be supplementary and getting to level 1 and 2 will make your grip strength very strong compared to others.

Not into Captains of Crush yet? Buy one here for only £18.50 and start crushing.
Plus a FREE Captains of Crush book worth £14.95 when you buy a set!

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