How good is your grip? Can you explode cans of spinach like Popeye? Crush apples or pop beer cans? Amazing as these feats sound, some people can! Awesome grip strength has always been the marker of true strength. I’ve never seen a big powerful guy with a weak wet fish grip.
Grip strength goes much further than just crushing someone’s hand when shaking it. It makes you a better sportsman in many areas. Those playing golf, squash, tennis and many other rackets sport know that super strong grip strength is vital for big powerful shots. Climbers have some of the most powerful grips out there. They have to - their very lives depend on it. Did you know that all top arm wrestlers train grip strength. It’s what makes them win. It allows them force their hand over yours into the over position and put your wrist a weak position, allowing them whack your arm through the desk. Once you’ve developed strong powerful grip strength, you’ll bin those wrist straps, doing heavy back or trap exercises, like lat pulldowns, rows, shrugs or pull ups will be effortless. I personally stopped using wrist straps years ago, my grip strength allows me to.
So how do you increase grip strength? There are several ways but my favourite are grippers. I don’t mean those silly plastic ones you can buy for a few pounds that even a 5 year old can squeeze together, but a serious meaty metal pair designed to really increase grip strength.
By far the best hand grippers in the world today are the world famous ‘Captains Of Crush’ aka CoC. These are the ‘daddy’ of grippers. They are built to last forever and come in many different strength levels to allow you to warm up, intriguingly called G (for girl?) all the way up to the incredible level 4 grippers, that only 5 people in the world have ever closed. The first guy ever to close the number 4 gripper was a guy called Jo kinney, a normal guy like most of us from the USA, who weighs about 12.5 stone of average height, yet can explode beer cans with one hand and do what I used to dream about when I was younger and that is pop a spinach can with one hand. It truly is amazing to see. He has such phenomenal pinch power also. He can force his thumb straight through a sealed can of coke like it was butter. He wasn’t born like this. He used Captains of Crush grippers over about 2 years to go from level 1 grippers to superman level 4 grippers.
I remember when I was at a fitness exhibition a few years back and a good friend called came on the stand. I had been working the Captains of Crush grippers for about 6 months and could close number 2 for 1 rep. He tried but failed and frustratingly couldn’t even close the number 1, but god was he mad. This was a guy that could squat 900lbs and couldn’t close number 1 grippers.
There’s another story of a well known Mr.Olympia guy that could just nearly close number 2. I laughed when I beat him at that too. And yes, I sold many grippers on that day to all these big guys that had girly hand strength (no offence to the girls!). No surprise the powerlifter guy bought the whole set and 6 months later he showed me how he could easily close number 2 for 4 reps and how how he could now deadlift 600lbs for reps without wrist straps.
Another funny story was a black cab friend of mine who is only about 11 stone and had a really wet fish grip. I showed him my grippers and he could barely close the trainer one (lower than level 1). Needless to say he bought the whole set and 6 months of using them nearly every day in his black cab, whilst stuck in traffic, he can now close level 2 for 3 reps and nearly broke my hand the other day when I unsuspectingly shook his hand, just to say hello. I was impressed and we spent the next hour talking about grip techniques over dinner - sad, maybe…but not really, because after a while it becomes kind of fun and a big talking point and ego leveller to whip out your gripper at dinner parties to mates who think they’ve got good grip strength or a strong handshake. At one party, my wife could close the trainer (she’s been training with them for 3 months as she’s into tennis) and her friend’s husband couldn’t - gosh that was a funny night. He was redder than than the tomato soup I was serving.
So what level grippers should you buy, well here’s a guide to the different levels
G = Is for training and warming up on and great for the girls
T = Is for those that can close G. Most people can’t close the trainer first time without a few weeks training.
1 = Very few people can close level 1 first time, full time tennis players and climbers, sometimes can and those that do loads of deadlifting.
2 = Even some of the strongest guys can’t close these. However I have met a few stocky builders, especially those that do road work, who have got crazy grip strength and can close them, but it’s rare.
3 = Fun to keep in the bag, as only around 200 people in the world have ever closed these. Once you can close these you can get officially certified and entered into the level 3 captains of crush hall of fame.
4 = You will have become a living grip strength god - only 5, yes 5 people have ever closed these. If you can close these, you will have become a living Popeye, that can genuinely crush cans of food, beer, etc.. with ease. People’s hands will literally crush in your handshake should you wish. Your grip will be certified as a dangerous weapon.
Here’s the specs of each gripper and how to order them.
click on any of them to order:
Guide @ 60 lb - Perfect warm-up for weekend warriors
Sport @ 80 lb - The bridge to serious grip training
Trainer @ 100 lb - Most people who lift weights can’t close this gripper
No. 1 @ 140 lb. - Ease into the No. 2
No. 1.5 - Success here means you’re exceptionally strong
No. 2 @ 195 lb - A stepping stone to the No. 3
No. 2.5 - The universal standard of grip supremacy
No. 3 @ 280 lb. - wow: the No. 4 is in sight
No. 3.5 - on the way to the summit
No. 4 @ 365 lb - you’re reached Everest (but many more have reached Everest, than have ever closed number 4)
If you’re serious and want to order the full set you’ll get the Captains of Crush book thrown in for free - click here to take up the offer
Once you bought the grippers, click here to take you to my training tip article: or click on one of the videos below:
Yours, in training,