Do Hand Grippers Increase Forearm Size?

Do Hand Grippers Increase Forearm Size?

Forearm and grip strength are important to overall physical fitness. Not only is it great to have while lifting progressively heavier weights, but it’s also great in real life too. Carrying groceries, suitcases, work bags, and other objects gets easier. You don’t need to tuck your tail and ask your spouse to pop open the pickle jar. While many lifts and exercises help build forearms and grip, very few specifically target those muscles.

Hand grippers are incredibly helpful for building forearm size and strength. Using hand grippers regularly will strengthen forearms, grip, and wrists. They are portable and light, so sets can be done at the gym or on the go. It’s a great activity to do intermittently during the day, but structuring sets will provide the best results.

Want to know how you can use a hand gripper to get bigger forearms? Read on and find out!

Can Forearm Size Be Increased?

Forearm size can be increased.

Like any other muscle group, you can specifically target your forearm muscles during exercise. By regularly incorporating lifts and exercises that engage your forearms, you will build bigger and stronger forearms over time.

The easiest way to do this is by challenging your grip. Hand grippers are designed specifically for this purpose. They’re great for building forearms and grip strength after workouts, at home or the office, or on the go.

Grippers are great but holding any heavy object will do. Regular lifts using barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells engage your grip and help build forearms. You can isolate them further by incorporating carries into your routine too.

With a little know-how and effort, you can definitely target and build bigger and stronger forearms through exercise.

Do Hand Grippers Make Your Hands Bigger?

Hand grippers can make your hands thicker, but not wider or longer.

Inside your hand and fingers are many tiny muscles. Just like other larger muscle groups, consistent exercise and recovery from exercise will inspire growth. Squeezing a hand grip with a crush grip, for instance, will strengthen the hand muscles. Regular use of fingers in a pinch grip will strengthen the fingers.

The result will give you thicker hands and fingers. However, your skeleton is not affected. Just because you have built a group of muscles does not mean you have stretched the bones.

For that reason, your relative hand size is unaffected, even if your hand and fingers are thicker and stronger.

Do Hand Grips Tone Forearms?

Absolutely. Hand grippers are one of the best things for toning forearms.

Here’s how to use them effectively.

Use a full range of motion.

It’s easy to sit there and do-little pulses. Sure, you’ll get some results this way, but you’re shortchanging yourself. For the best results, squeeze them completely shut during the rep and open completely at the end.

Hold it shut for 1 to 2 seconds.

It’s not required that you hold the contraction, but it helps. Think of chest flies. You push your arms together to complete the rep and then return to the starting position. However, you can also hold your arms close for a few seconds and really squeeze the contraction. This provides extra benefits. The same principles apply while using your hand gripper.

Push your limits.

What do you picture when you imagine using a hand gripper? Are you picturing someone specifically completing sets of increasingly difficult resistance? Or are you imagining someone on the phone or watching TV squeezing away mindlessly?

Hand grippers are convenient, and you can pair the work with other passive activities. For the best results, however, you’ll want to really push your limits as you would with any lift or exercise. Get a gripper that provides some challenge and try squeezing hard to really get a solid rep in.

The results will be significantly better this way.

How to Build Your Forearms Using Grippers

As discussed, you could pick up the hand gripper while on a call or on the couch. You’ll get better results if you really focus on what you’re doing and structure your sets.

Here are some great ways to start building your forearms using grippers now.

1. Drop Sets

You may be familiar with drop sets at the gym when “cashing out” at the end. Basically, start with a challenging resistance level and perform a set. Let’s say 20 reps. As soon as you’re done, grab a less challenging resistance level and do 20 more.

Do 3 to 5 drop sets for a quick but effective routine.

2. Isometric Holds

Holding the contraction provides more benefits than simply squeezing and releasing.

Try squeezing the hand gripper shut, hold for up to 20 seconds, then release. When performing sets with long reps such as these, do smaller sets of 5 to 10. Try 5 sets of 5 reps at first and work your way up.

3. Slow Eccentrics

Have you ever tried a negative pull-up? Essentially you jump your chin over the bar and slowly lower yourself back to the bottom of the movement. These are amazing for building strength for performing actual pull-ups later on.

That’s exactly what a slow eccentric movement is. Close the hand gripper at a normal speed but release your grip slowly over 2 to 5 seconds. Count them out to yourself as you release. As with isometric holds, these reps are more taxing than a simple open and close.

Try smaller sets. 5 sets of 10 reps should do just fine in the beginning.

4. Supra-Maximal Eccentrics

Are you ready to really take it up a notch?

Get a hand gripper that’s well beyond your ability to close with one hand. Squeeze it closed with both hands, then release one and fight against it reopening. Since you’re really challenging yourself, do small sets at first and work your way up over time.

Start with 3 sets of 5 reps. If you feel your form deteriorating, stop and rest.

Do Hand Grippers Build Biceps?

Hand grippers do not directly build biceps but can help improve your bicep curl.

Keep your arm where it is now and squeeze a fist. You likely feel the tension now in your hand, wrist, and forearm. Primarily, those are the muscles you are engaging with this one simple act. When using a hand gripper, that’s where your focus is.

Your bicep remains unengaged unless you specifically choose to squeeze that muscle. If your goal is to squeeze the hand gripper, there’s no need to squeeze your bicep too. You can accomplish your goal while your bicep stays at rest.

However, hand grippers improve your grip strength. You will need a strong grip to hold progressively heavier weights without them slipping. Therefore, regularly using a hand gripper will make holding heavier weights possible, and help you curl more weight.

The hand gripper does not engage your bicep, but the benefits of its use contribute to a better bicep curl.

Do Hand Grips Give You Bigger Wrists?

Hand grippers will not give you bigger wrists.

The wrist is one of the body’s main joints that bridges the hand to the forearm. Strong wrists are crucial to great athletic performance, and many exercises will strengthen them. However, unlike your arms, there are no muscles in the wrist itself. What you’re really doing when strengthening your wrist is strengthening the surrounding muscles that support it.

Hand grippers may build bigger forearms and thicker hands, but you’re unlikely to get much growth in your wrist. They will become stronger as your grip strength increases, but the size difference will be nonexistent or negligible.

Do Hand Grippers Give You Veins?

Regular use of hand grippers will make your forearms appear more vascular.

Of course, you already have all the veins you’re going to get. Regularly using your hand gripper will build forearm strength and tone the arm. As your arms become more toned, your veins will pop more and give you that veiny, vascular look.

If you have excess body weight, the results will be less noticeable. Leaner individuals will notice more popping, and it may even seem like the veins are bigger. In fact, studies do show that regular use of a hand gripper will increase radial diameter of arteries and veins.

Not only will your veins pop more from using a hand gripper regularly, but the veins will also actually increase in size too.

Using Hand Grippers Everyday

Using hand grippers regularly is a great way to improve your forearm, wrist, and grip strength. Most people pick them up and idly squeeze away while on a phone call or while watching TV. That’s fine to do and something is always better than nothing, but you’ll get better results by completing structured sets.

Here’s a great breakdown for using hand grippers daily.

Day 1

  • Supra-Maximal Eccentrics – 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps
  • Isometrics – 5 sets of 10 second holds

You want to start with those gut-checking supra-maximal eccentrics. This is basically starting the work heavy and making things progressively easier as you go. The routine finishes with isometrics to further challenge grip.

Gradually increase your holds to 20 seconds as you get better and stronger. Once you can hold 20 seconds reliably, increase resistance and scale difficulty further.

Day 2

  • 5 sets of 10 reps
  • 2 drop sets – rep to failure

Get some good work in with some regular no-frills reps to start. At the end, cash out with drop sets. Do reps to failure at your max resistance, then pick up an easier hand gripper and repeat to failure again.

If you are able to do approximately 100 reps and still not reach muscle failure, you have likely gone too light. Don’t do past 100 reps. Instead, use a more difficult gripper next time to start.

Day 3

  • 5 sets of 20 reps
  • Slow eccentrics – 5 sets of 10 reps

Get in some volume at the start of this routine, then slow things down and focus on eccentrics. Aim to return to an open position over 2 to 4 seconds when releasing your grip.

A Week at a Glance

You want to make sure you have rest days in between, so every other day works. Here’s a sample way to structure your week.

MondayDay 1
WednesdayDay 2
FridayDay 3

You could feasibly do two days in a row and enjoy 3 rest days rather than 4. We recommend erring on the side of caution when first starting out. It’s better to start slow and scale up than it is to risk injury doing too much too soon.

Do Hand Grippers Increase Grip Strength?

Hand grippers are one of the best ways to increase grip strength. Most hand grippers apply the same principles as used in any kind of resistance training.

The gripper requires a certain degree of strength to squeeze it, and further strength to hold it closed. This challenges the muscle responsible for maintaining a strong grip and effectively exercises them.

Remember– your gains never come at the gym. You get gains from recovering after work at the gym. Regularly using your hand gripper and allowing time for recovery will gradually build grip strength. 

Keep this in mind. It’s easy to squeeze a hand gripper a few minutes every day but listen to your body. Rest and take days off as needed for the best results.

Benefits of Using Grippers

There are a number of great benefits to using hand grippers regularly:

  • Builds muscular endurance
  • Builds grip, wrist, and forearm strength
  • Targets forearms
  • Convenient, lightweight, portable
  • Reduces stress

Many lifts and exercises require forearm and grip strength to complete. However, most of them don’t specifically target these areas. 

Think of the chin-up. You use your arms to pull yourself up, but you also tighten your core and squeeze your biceps and back. Other muscle groups get worked, but it’s mostly your arms being targeted.

That’s what’s happening to your forearms during most other lifts and exercises. They’re getting some work, but they’re not the main target. Hand grippers isolate the forearm providing a specific, targeted workout for those muscles. And since it’s portable and can be done anywhere, it’s one of the best ways to improve forearm and grip strength.

You’ll benefit significantly from improving grip strength. Heavier lifts? No problem. You can hold the bar for days now. Dead hangs? Monkey bars? Rock climbing? All improvements thanks to your killer grip. Opening jars of pickles? Done. Carrying all the grocery bags in one trip? No problem. Your dog sees a squirrel during a walk and tries to bolt? That leash isn’t going anywhere. Your grip is solid.

There are numerous benefits you’ll notice both in the gym and in daily life.

Drawbacks of Using Grippers

When used in moderation, there are generally no drawbacks to using hand grippers.

Like any other exercises or lifts, doing too much too often or doing too many reps can have a negative impact. Your body needs time to recover. Simply squeezing a light to moderate hand gripper probably won’t overtax you. Going hard and heavy for an exorbitant number of reps, however, will wear you out. Holding a lot of resistance for very long periods of time may be another way of overdoing things too.

Remember that everything in moderation is always the best approach. Structure your hand gripper time or set a limit to your reps. Just as you wouldn’t walk 10 miles every day, don’t do 1,000 reps.

Overuse can not only leave you feeling tired but could contribute to tendon issues including carpal tunnel. Use hand grippers responsibly and listen to your body always.

Alternatives to Grippers

Hand grippers are a specialized tool, but you can get similar results using other conventional gym equipment.

1. Barbells

Barbells work great. Lifts like deadlifts, bent over rows, cleans, front squats, and overhead presses require great grip strength to complete reps. Regularly including these lifts in your regimen will provide ancillary benefits to your forearms and grip strength.

2. Dumbbells

Dumbbells and kettlebells provide the same benefits as barbells. They offer more versatility since you can hold one in each hand. Try any of the aforementioned lifts with dumbbells or kettlebells. In addition, bicep curls, tricep extensions, goblet squats, and kettlebell swings are all good grip builders. Dumbbells and kettlebells are also great to use for farmer walks and carries.

3. Pull-up Bar

A good pull-up bar will also provide benefits to your forearm and grip strength. Pull-ups are a no brainer all-encompassing exercise that will help immensely. Dead hangs and monkey taps are great too.

While hand grippers are a great tool, there are many ways to improve forearm and grip strength. Incorporate some of our tips and enjoy bigger, stronger forearms and improved grip strength now!

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