best hand grip strengthener

Hand Grip Strengthener: Test & reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

With the hand grip strengthener you can build muscle in your hands, fingers and forearms. After reading countless tests, customer opinions and comparisons on the Internet, our team has combined ratings for weight, resistance, materials and other passages in our list of the best.

Questions to Consider Before Buying A Hand Grip Strengthener

What is a Hand Grip Strengthener?

Hand grip strengtheners are small fitness machines that demand your hand strength and train the fingers, hand and forearm muscles. Most hand exercisers are held in one hand while you apply pressure to the device. Some models (spring-grip dumbbells) are similar to pliers that you have to close with high grip force, while other hand grip strengtheners are designed as balls or rings. The strong grip trains different muscle groups of the extremities and can thereby improve strength and stability. The effect depends on the correct application, regular training and individual factors: There is no automatic guarantee of success.

How does a hand grip strengthener work?

Hand grip strengtheners are small fitness machines that demand your hand strength and train the fingers, hand and forearm muscles. Most hand exercisers are held in one hand while you apply pressure to the device. Some models (spring-grip dumbbells) are similar to pliers that you have to close with high grip force, while other hand grip strengtheners are designed as balls or rings. The strong grip trains different muscle groups of the extremities and can thereby improve strength and stability. The effect depends on the correct application, regular training and individual factors: There is no automatic guarantee of success.

Hand exercises also have the effect that the brain is also used and so its function can be improved. The movements are repeated regularly and can therefore have a very effective effect on the muscles.

Another method is a Powerball, which generates a high torque through rotation, which acts on the hand muscles and makes the application more demanding. Here the ball does not have to be pressed, but the hand has to react to the movement of the ball. A cord or string is pulled so that the ball inside rotates around its own axis. This creates the required gyroscopic movement, which is then increased or decelerated by the user’s hand movement. The power of the rotary movement reaches the fingers, hand and wrist at almost 16,000 revolutions per minute. This is comparable to the effort that a person needs to lift around 15 to 20 kilograms.

All methods have their advantages and can lead to muscle building and hand strengthening. Hand training can be accompanied by cold and warm therapy or a massage.

When used correctly, hand exercisers promote muscle building in the hands and arms. Simple hand grip strengtheners are, for example, special balls that you hold in your hands and press together or knead evenly. The unusual exertion signals the body that it needs to strengthen the muscles. The finger, hand and / or arm muscles therefore form new muscle filaments, which enlarges and strengthens the muscles.

How you use the hand exerciser depends on the model. Many ball-shaped hand exercisers can be kneaded or rolled back and forth with the fist, fingers or between thumb and index finger. Some balls are also suitable for heating and cooling applications. You cool or warm the ball and then massage the desired part of the body. However, not every kneading ball is suitable for these applications; You should therefore strictly observe the information provided by the manufacturer and only use the hand exerciser as is permitted.

Other hand grip strengtheners consist of a solid base and several buttons that use metallic springs to resist the pressure of the fingers. These hand grip strengtheners are particularly suitable for training individual fingers independently of one another. They may improve coordination because not only the muscles but also the nerves that control them can benefit from the repetitive movements. Spring-grip dumbbells and finger trainers with buttons are available in different strengths and some are adjustable.

Still other hand grip strengtheners are similar to pliers that you can close with either or both hands: the spring grip dumbbells. Some of the hand grip strengtheners with the greatest resistance have this pincer-like shape. Hand weights also fall under the generic term hand grip strengthener in the broadest sense. They can be used, for example, while running and, if used correctly, they can strengthen the muscles of the upper torso and arms – which in turn can have a positive effect on arm technique.

Some hand grip strengtheners, such as kneading balls, also have rubbers that you can use to improve the pulling power of your fingers. These hand grip strengtheners are particularly popular among climbers: fans of this training extension point out that this form of movement comes particularly close to the strain on the hand when climbing.

Advantages & areas of application

Hand grip strengtheners can be used in different areas and improve your fitness through good training:

  • Weight training and bodybuilding
  • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation
  • Climbing, running and other sports
  • Office work and sedentary activities

Hand grip strengtheners are interesting for strength athletes and bodybuilders because they specifically influence the stability and strength of the hands. Strong fingers, hands and forearms tend to make lifting free weights easier and can also have a positive effect on training on large machines.

Wrists are often a possible weak point; Hand grip strengtheners help you to work specifically on this weak point in order, ideally, to get the best out of your training. Hand exercisers have the advantage that they do not take up much space and are available from a very low entry-level price.

This makes them affordable even for amateur athletes and allows you to continue training in your free time and outside of the fitness studio or your home training room. It is important that you also give your muscles time to develop gradually while exercising your hands.

Excessive stress at the beginning of the workout can damage the muscles instead of building them. In addition, you must note that hand training – like all other exercises – should be preceded by a sufficient warm-up program.

The hand grip strengthener is not only used by strength athletes: hand grip strengtheners can also bring about useful improvements in physiotherapy and rehabilitation. However, after injuries and illnesses such as osteoarthritis or arthritis, it is particularly important that you follow the advice of your physiotherapist. In physiotherapy, the exercises are usually not aimed at achieving maximum hand strength, but rather at achieving a moderate and healthy average.

Athletes whose sport has little to do with the hands and arms can expand their training with the help of certain hand grip strengtheners. In general, runners, for example, can benefit from not neglecting the upper body during training and also contributing to their overall fitness through moderate training of the upper extremities.

Hand grip strengtheners in particular, which are lightly weighted, can have an effect on arm work during running training. The hand grip strengtheners have less of an effect on the hands than on the shoulder and chest area. The extra weight stimulates the muscles in these parts of the body and encourages the body to strengthen the fibers in the muscle tissue.

When training with hand weights, runners should make sure that they swing their arms correctly and that their movements are as smooth as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of injury. If you want to include hand weights in running training to improve arm work, you should warm up the muscles particularly well before training.

If you spend a large part of the day in the office, fiddling with files and doing typing on the computer, hand exercisers can not only provide you with a balance, but also help you achieve an even load on your hands.

One-sided stress can lead to joint and muscle pain and under certain circumstances promote bad posture, which in turn results in unpleasant sensations and further one-sided stress.
With hand and finger trainers, you can strengthen the muscles in your hands – and often in your forearms too – and improve your coordination. A kneading ball, for example, may also help you to relieve tension in the muscles, which may arise with rapid, permanent and one-sided strain on the hands.

The use of hand grip strengtheners is very versatile and is used in many areas. First and foremost, physical fitness is improved, which is particularly necessary for endurance, strength, rowing and climbing sports. Holistic training can then take place through hand training and concentration can be promoted.

Push-ups, pull-ups or training on the weight bench require very strong hands and forearms. Hand training is used as a support so that the weights or the pull-up bar can be gripped better and more firmly. Since the muscle parts on the hand and fingers are very fine and varied, the wrist can be a weak point for bodybuilding and must also be built up. Training with a dumbbell or a hand gripper is particularly intense.

This also pays off in office work and other sedentary activities. The opportunity to briefly relax or switch off with a hand exerciser while at the same time loosening and strengthening the muscles in the hand is enriching and can prevent some discomfort. On the other hand, sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time can lead to the notorious mouse arm or other complaints.

A simple rubber ball can help here. If it is kneaded, the concentration increases while the tension is reduced. The hand grip strengthener should then be used alternately in both hands, since one-sided use can lead to strains or muscle pain. The training should not take too long either, as the joints can only tolerate a certain amount of force.

The wrist and finger joints in particular are quickly overloaded due to the heavy use and can wear out. Arthritis, gout, or osteoarthritis not only limit movement, but are also often associated with pain. Therefore, the hand muscles must be trained and strengthened again.

This is about moderate training that does not overuse the hand. Mostly, rubber and gripping balls are the suitable hand grip strengtheners to gently implement muscle building. In contrast to weight training and the use of special hand grippers, the aim here is not to generate maximum force, but to keep the fingers moving.

Popular hand grip strengthener

Hand exercisers have different strengths and resistances. Some hand grip strengtheners are adjustable and thus enable training with different resistances. Especially if you use a simpler hand grip strengthener, however, you have to switch between different small devices in order to use different strengths for the exercises.

Balls

Balls are believed to be the simplest form of hand exercise and are usually very inexpensive. They are small enough to fit comfortably in the hand and are often made of a slightly elastic plastic. Some contain a soft filling or granules that have to give way when squeezed and thus create more resistance.

With balls as a hand grip strengthener, you can do various exercises. For example, you can knead the ball in one hand and vary the position slightly: Press the ball together in the middle of your fist, or alternately focus the pressure on the inner and outer areas of the ball of the hand and fingers. Some balls have knobs that stimulate blood circulation in the hand and additionally stimulate the deep muscles with a light massage.

As a hand grip strengthener, balls have the advantage that they are easy to transport. In this way, you can also make good use of the time in public transport or in the doctor’s waiting room. Kneading balls are also suitable for patients with restlessness, recurring feelings of anxiety and general symptoms of stress. Even movements can have a calming effect. For this reason, such balls are even used as a skill in behavioral psychotherapy – for example in the treatment of traumatic stress reactions, anxiety, panic and obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as to reduce impulses for self-harm.

While kneading balls can be very handy, they also have their drawbacks. Compared to other hand grip strengtheners, they often offer less resistance and have a fixed strength that you cannot change. If you want to increase your workout, you will need to get another ball that offers more resistance. In addition, balls make it difficult to specifically target individual finger muscles.

Strengthener with Buttons

Finger trainers with buttons are among the more complex hand grip strengtheners in terms of their construction. When doing strength training, hold the hand exerciser in one hand and press down one or more button-like elements. They make it possible to train fingers in a targeted manner and, when used correctly, promote coordination of the individual fingers.

Hand exercisers that demand the whole hand and that you can compress like balls in your fist, on the other hand, place more even strain on the hand. Such hand grip strengtheners allow little differentiation between the individual finger muscles and rather strengthen the hand as a coherent unit. In this way, however, you also avoid forgetting or skipping individual muscles during training because the muscles are too weak and therefore it is more difficult to perform the exercises.

Hand weights

Hand weights tend to stimulate less the muscles of the individual fingers than the muscles of the arm as a whole. One area of ​​application is running training, where they can be used to improve arm technique during training. If you use hand weights while running, you also increase your energy expenditure: Your body burns more calories over the same distance at the same speed. Of course, the training under these conditions is then associated with greater effort.

In addition, hand weights are suitable for making classic strength exercises such as squats more effective. Light biceps curls challenge the muscles in the upper arms and stimulate the body to strengthen or maintain these muscles. In contrast to dumbbells and other devices, lighter hand weights are more of interest to health-conscious people and amateur athletes who do not want to achieve high intensity training.

Some hand weights are filled with liquid. Although you are not very heavy, you can offer the muscles more resistance for a short time: If you swing a hand weight filled with water forwards, the liquid inside starts to move. When you then swing your arm in the countermovement, a fundamental physical phenomenon comes into play: mass is inert. The inertia of the water in hand weight ensures that it will still move the liquid forward if you want to change the direction of movement. As a result, you have to work over against the resistance, which is composed of the weight of the hand exerciser and the resistance of the inertial mass. Therefore, do not be fooled by the low absolute weight of a hand weight when it is filled with liquid.

What do I have to look out for when buying a Hand Grip Strengthener?

Before buying a hand exerciser, it is advisable to think about what you are looking for in a hand exerciser. What are your requirements and what exactly do you want to achieve with hand training? If you only want to increase your hand strength moderately or if you are looking for a small fitness device that will help you relieve stress, you are probably looking for a hand exerciser with low resistance, such as a kneading ball. With balls you can also strengthen the muscles of your fingers and hands while you are out and about, while waiting or in front of the TV.

However, if you are looking for a hand grip strengthener that helps you with strength training and with which you can train with enormous resistance, you probably cannot train with the same device, but should tend to look for a more sophisticated hand grip strengthener. If you are clear about your goals beforehand, you reduce the chance of a bad buy or exchange.

Quality

Assessing the quality of a hand exerciser doesn’t have to be easy. At first glance, a product can appear sophisticated and of high quality, but it can break after a short time.

Our hand grip strengthener comparison 2020 gives you an indication of the quality of a certain model. In the table above you can see at a glance which hand grip strengtheners were able to shine in which areas and where we can see possible weaknesses of a device.

Professionally tested Strength

Hand strength is a quantity that medicine and sports science use, for example, to look more closely at it as an indicator of a person’s health and fitness. Of course, hand strength isn’t the only factor that plays a role; however, it can provide a first impression.

Special devices are used to measure hand strength. A handheld force measuring device usually consists of two relatively firm handles that you press against each other – as hard as you can. Hold the device with just one hand and measure the hand force individually on both sides.

A professional hand strength or grip strength measurement can help you choose the right strength for the hand grip strengthener. This ensures that you are neither under- nor overstrained. Ambitious athletes can not only track their training success objectively through repeated measurements, but also gain motivational incentives for their training.

In many fitness studios, hand strength measurements are not yet part of the standard for assessing fitness levels; however, if you are interested in such a measurement, a friendly inquiry is worth a try.

Useful accessories

Bracelets

On some hand exercisers, you can attach bracelets and pull the loop over your wrist. If the hand exerciser slips out of your grip, it will not fall to the ground and suffer damage, fall on your feet or hit someone else.

Bracelets are particularly suitable as accessories for hand exercisers made of plastic, which are suitable for aqua aerobics: In water, it is a great advantage if the hand exerciser does not sink to the ground or drift away.

Training Manuals

Some manufacturers offer special manuals that are tailored to training with their respective product. If you want to increase your hand strength without professional guidance, such a training manual can be of use. You will find numerous suggestions and descriptions on the Internet, but not all instructions are applicable to all hand exercisers.

Before buying, however, you should consider whether the manual offers you added value. If possible, take a look at the table of contents and consider whether you need the information presented. When it comes to exercises and training plans, it is not necessarily the quantity that matters, but the quality. Are the exercises aimed at different muscle groups? Is the training plan suitable for your level of ability, for example for beginners or advanced, competitive athletes or recreational athletes, senior citizens or rehabilitators? Do the exercises build on each other and lead to a sufficient increase in hand strength?

Some training manuals are supplied with DVDs, which can sometimes support your training with helpful and clear exercises and help you to reduce uncertainties.

Storage Box

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When buying a hand exerciser, you should make sure that the scope of delivery includes a box for storage. If the hand grip strengthener is only being shipped in a box, well padded, it is worth taking a look at better storage options.

Some manufacturers offer bespoke boxes that you can use to store and transport your hand exerciser. This is particularly advantageous if you want to transport the hand exerciser to another training location or take it with you on trips, for example. Such boxes, which are tailored to the respective device, usually offer better support and optimal padding.

Good care is particularly important for more technically demanding hand exercisers: sweat and dust can form deposits that are difficult to remove and are not only visually problematic, but also not recommended hygienically. In addition, such soiling can shorten the service life of a hand exerciser. In addition to correct use and care, good storage is therefore also necessary.

If you tend to train with plasticine balls, you may be working with balls of different strengths. A storage box is also useful so that the balls do not roll away, are easy to find, stay clean and do not pose a safety risk through tripping or falling. Even balls that you are not currently training with should always be kept safe.

Hand Grip Strengthener Alternatives

Baking Bread & Dough

Kneading movements do not necessarily require a kneading ball that was only produced for this purpose. In the kitchen you can easily train your hand, finger and arm muscles while baking bread or cake, without having to buy additional equipment.

It used to be the custom to knead domestic bread dough with your own hands. This task was mainly carried out by women who, compared to today, probably had much stronger hands; because regular kneading is an excellent workout for the muscles and stimulates the body to strengthen the required muscle groups. Anyone who is not used to kneading dough by hand can even get sore muscles the first time.

This method of baking bread is also energy-saving because you completely avoid the use of the dough hook or a bread maker. You can find simple basic recipes on various portals and websites on the Internet. The larger the amount of dough, the longer your workout tends to last. If you want, you can also separate smaller portions from the dough and knead each one individually.

Before you knead the ingredients, you should wash your hands thoroughly. Gloves are not absolutely necessary. The dough may be dusty at first, but once you’ve roughly mixed the flour, this problem should be largely resolved. Be careful not to put too much pressure on your wrists or you can easily overload them. To include your fingers in the work, you can pull your fingers through the dough and knead the mixture between your fingers and the palm of your hand – as if you were using a dough ball.

If you have children or are young at heart, you can also use salt dough or children’s play dough.

Yoga

Yoga not only has the reputation of calming mind and body, relaxing the muscles and strengthening the psyche: the ancient body exercises from Asia are also excellent as strength training for the whole body, including the hands.

Yoga is a fitness trend that has been unbroken for several years: More and more people are turning to traditional exercises to improve their fitness. Modern forms of yoga do without the spiritual aspects of body practice and are therefore also quite attractive for worldly oriented people.

Thanks to the enormous popularity of yoga, you can easily find a yoga studio or fitness club that offers courses, especially in large cities. You can also look for suggestions for training at home online, for example on YouTube.

If yoga doesn’t appeal to you or if you want to expand your Asian physical training, you can also use classic exercises such as push-ups. These undoubtedly lack Far Eastern charm, but they are just as effective. The push-up not only demands the hands and arms, but also the torso and legs: It is a very good exercise for the whole body. When done correctly, you can keep your body weight with hands and feet. The feet are usually on the toes. Beginners can also do the push-up on their knees – possibly with a sufficiently large and soft pillow as a base. The trunk should remain parallel to the ground.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells are usually not part of the hand exercisers because they work a much wider range of muscles. Still, dumbbell exercises can help you build more strength in your hands and exercise your forearms. When using dumbbells or barbells, the finger muscles are active in that they keep the grip closed around the bar.

Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are one of those athletic exercises with your own body weight that are rather demanding. When doing a pull-up, you not only have to carry your own weight, but also move it against gravity and only by pulling your arms and shoulders upwards.

Some fitness studios offer their customers special areas for such exercises – and in some cases you will also find horizontal bars, usually made of metal, on which you can perform pull-ups. Often, smaller bars can also be found in playgrounds. A walk in the vicinity can therefore be worthwhile.

If you prefer to do pull-ups within your own four walls, a pull-up bar for the door frame might be of interest to you. You mount this fitness equipment on the door frame according to the instructions and can then carry out your pull-ups in peace and unobserved by strangers. Other pull-up bars are also suitable for mounting in other places within your own home. Before starting the installation, however, you should check whether your door is even suitable for installation.

Frequently Asked Questions: Hand Grip Strengtheners

Which muscles does the hand grip strengthener train?

Mainly, the hand exerciser is used to train grip strength and this is needed every day. Be it just opening a bottle or playing the guitar or other things. It is also important in sports, here it helps you climb or catch a ball.

Does a hand grip strengthener help against osteoarthritis?

Movement with the hands is very important, especially in older people with osteoarthritis. Even if this can be very painful at the beginning, muscles are built up with just small movements, which relieve the joints. Hand grip strengtheners are also used in rehab and are also an easy tool to use at home. The muscles are built up slowly and the hands become stronger and the pain slowly disappears.

Who can benefit from a hand Grip Strengthener?

The muscles of the hands and fingers are not among the most prominent representatives of the musculoskeletal system: Many people underestimate the importance of strong hands. Even athletes often only concentrate on the larger muscle groups and neglect hand training.

Good hand training is all the more important the harder you work with your hands – and who doesn’t use their hands for housework, manual work or working on the computer? Weightlifters and bodybuilders can also benefit from hand training because the muscles support the body and give the fine joints of the hand more support. In addition, strong hands are an important factor when training with barbell and dumbbell as well as various fitness equipment.

Elderly people and people who have to sit at a desk a lot can build and maintain muscles with regular hand training. This not only promotes your fitness, but also your coordination.

Do I need a specific diet for the exercise to be effective?

The body uses proteins as an important building material for building muscle. That is why a protein-rich diet is particularly important if you want to increase the strength of your fingers, hands and arms – but also for any other form of muscle building. A healthy and balanced diet usually already offers enough protein so that you do not have to take any dietary supplements or special protein products. However, if you have dietary difficulties, symptoms of deficiency, do targeted bodybuilding, or aim for a high level of performance in sports, you can benefit from a more coordinated diet.

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