Gripper Advice

This is a classic post originally on The Gripper Superstore page in 2011…
Q: Could you give me any advice on forearm/wrist/grip training in general, and towards closing the CoC #3 in particular? I am about 1/8″ away from getting it and have been stuck there for over a month. I think my finger length is causing problems as my hand completely engulfs the gripper. My had measures 10-1/2″ in spread, and that last little bit has been a sticking point on every gripper I have closed to this point. I have been doing 3 sets of 10 reps each with the trainer to warm up then 4 sets of 10 reps each with the heaviest gripper I can get 4×10 with which is currently the 2.5 for the first one then the 2 for the next three sets. I have been resting two days between workouts

A: It sounds like you have the same problem I do with finishing grippers. With a big hand that last bit is really hard to develop. The stronger you get overall the stronger that finish will get but it comes slow. Some things you can try:

  • increase gripper workout frequency – up to daily or even twice daily workouts
  • no-set workouts in the morning before your heavy workout at night
  • negatives with a regular or extended handle gripper
  • negatives on a plate loaded gripper – two hands up, one hand negative down
  • negatives with the secret weapon
  • “beyond the range” sets with 5/8″ or 16mm diameter gripper handles from Beef Builder and Robert Baraban

I am a big believer in a high volume of low reps. I don’t work reps at all except the 1-3 rep range.

I have a lot of grippers and know how they stack up in difficulty. When I am training for a big close I will do 8-10 sets of no-set work in the morning ususally ending with a gripper that I can just get closed. These are low intensity workouts at my desk and with no chalk, M-F. Then in the evenings on MWF I will do heavy grippers to failure starting with something fairly hard. I will burn out after 4-5 singles usually. I will follow this up with either 5-10 negatives with a gripper or 10 negatives on either the ironmind go really grip or the secret weapon. The other variation I will put in is singles with a choked gripper. I don’t recommend this as it is dangerous so proceed at your own risk when using chokers.

I hope this helps.

Wade Gillingham, founder of Gillingham High Performance and the GHP Brand, is world-renowned for his incredible grip. Wade answers hundreds of questions a year on the subject of grip strength. Ocasionally we will share some of his answers in this column. If you have a question for Wade please send us an email at

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