T Nation

Captains of Crush: Which One?


Wt: ~160
Squat: 325
Bench: ~175
Power Clean: 185
Deadlift: ~315
Times closed in succession with the "Trainer" CoC (100lbs): ~20 (each hand)

So i'm wondering if i should jump to the No.1 (140lbs) or the No.2 (195lbs). Keep in mind that i'm on a budget (i'd rather not pay more money than i need to even if it means i can only close the No.2 a few times at first).

Thank You,
Miller Williams


IMO, if you only close the trainer 20 times, I doubt you'll close de no.2, get the no.1 and work with. Anyway, you should drop a line to ironmind, their customer service is one of the best I've ever seen.


I can easily close the trainer many times, but the No. 1 is pretty tough to close completely for more than a few reps. Granted, I don't trained with CoC consistently, but the jumps between gripper levels are quite challenging.

I actually think that their new product, the Hand Gripper Helper, might be a worthy investment:



your other numbers have no relation to COC.

I have the trainer, 1,2,3
To compare I just closed the trainer 40 times, have done up to 9 on the 1, but still cannot close the 2, and the 3 cannot even close with both hands


Thanks for the quick responses, I'm gonna go with the No.1.

Also I know my other numbers weren't really relevant... But I was curious to see some other people's numbers at around the same bodyweight and which gripper they use. (to see a possible correlation between grip strength and, say, deadlift) where grip helps alot.

Miller Williams


It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me to train for reps with grippers. There's no situation in life or in grip competitions that I can think of that will have you using crush grip strength for reps. Much better to train supporting grip strength, especially if your primary goal in grip training is to increase deadlift numbers.


Damn, the 3 is that hard? I don't know how any of the 4 or 5 guys can close the 4!!


I don't see the point in using high reps for the grippers for grip strength, but I have to laugh whenever someone brings up the 'situation in life story.' :slightly_smiling:


OneEye, could you elaborate more on this? Do you mean I should buy a No.2 even if i can't even close it once, but do partials? Or do you mean that i should use some other form of grip training like plate pinches or...

I know that you are a grip guru around here so I'd like to hear from ya.

Miller Williams


That's a heavy clean and jerk compared to your squat and push press numbers! I haven't ever maxed out on the lift but I don't think i could do more than my powerclean max of 185lbs. 110kg = 242.50lbs...wow.


Here's EXACTLY what you need to do if you want to improve your grip:

  • Get the #1 and #2
  • Get the 'KTA grip program' at Cyberpump.com.

After training with the CC grippers for awhile with traditional 'reps' type training, my grip stalled when I could only close the #1 and was about 2/3" away from closing the #2. THEN I tried the KTA program and BOOM I almost closed the #2 after just one week's worth of training(!) I can now close the #2 with ease and have gotten the #3 about 1/2" apart.

I developed a problem with the middle knuckle on my right hand that gets sore when I hit the grippers hard so I probably will never get the #3 closed but I am a solid #2.5.



I like how you explain exactly what you mean so there is no question in anyone's mind. Thanks so much for your insight.

I'm far from being a grip guru in any sense of the word.

I think that if your goal is to increase how much weight you can hold for deads, you should do support grip work such as timed BB holds, heavy farmer's walks, wrist rollers, Rolling Thunder lifts, thick bar work, maybe some plate pinching, etc. Pick a few that you have access to (definitely timed BB holds and farmer's walks) and work the hell out of them once or twice per week.

These will carry over to the deadlift more than grippers, which train crushing grip, and not supporting grip. This isn't to say that you shouldn't incorporate grippers into your routine, because grippers are great for general hand strength, but if you have a specific goal in mind (i.e. increasing deadlift) then you should choose exercises that will have more carryover.

That said, I'd recommend getting both the #1 and the #2. The #1 may be harder than you expect, and it may take a bit before you can close it every time. But you can do negatives with the #2 (cheat close it with both hands, then slowly allow it to open with one hand), which will go a long way in helping you close the #1.

Of course, if you get bitten by the grip bug, you'll want to own all of the CoC and HeavyGrip grippers, along with a few BeefBuilders and RBs. It's much easier to move up in grippers if you have several strengths in between say, the #2 and #3 CoC, rather than making one big jump (and trust me, it's a HUGE jump).

I keep a CoC #4 around for humility and for a good laugh. I can't even budge it.



Can you give us an example of how you would train your crushing grip with grippers? ie: a sets/reps scheme for a gripper 'workout'?

I'm kind of lost as to what I'm supposed to be doing with these damn things, but I know I'm not supposed to just bang out countless reps while watching TV.


Honestly, you have to treat your grip workouts the same as you treat your gym workouts. Set aside a time that you'll do grip work, decide what you're going to do, and don't let anything distract you.

I've found that the best way to increase strength on grippers is KTA. However, this will make your hands pretty much useless for anything else while you're on the program because you're doing a lot of high-intensity grip work 6 days per week. What I do is a slightly scaled-down version of the program, once or twice per week. A workout may look like this (goal gripper is BeefBuilder Super Master, between CoC #2 and #3):

warmup with a cheap store-bought gripper, a few sets of 10

1 negative with HG300

1 overcrush with CoC #1 or HG200

repeat 5-10 times, depending on how strong I feel, with 1-2 minutes of rest between reps

I may use a choked gripper occasionally instead of a negative. This is where you put a hose clamp around the spring of the gripper, right next to the handles, and tighten until the handles are at a width that you can close them from. Once you're solid at that closing distance, loosen it some, and so on.

An overcrush is when you take a gripper that you can close fairly easily, and close it as hard as you can (kind of like DE work), and hold it closed as hard as you can for 5-10 seconds. It's important to not just hold it closed, but to try to crush the handles together.

I generally do several different grip exercises in a workout. I do bending, block weights, bottoms-up KB work, pinch, etc. I work on supporting grip in the gym with timed BB holds, farmer's walks, and some plate pinching.

You'd really be much better off asking the guys at the GripBoard. It's the grip-world equivalent to having Magnus, Mariusz, Kaz, and Marunde all on the same message board. Richard Sorin himself (the first certified Captain of Crush) posts there, along with Greg Amidon, Dave Morton, Big Steve McGranahan, Clay Edgin, some of the Diesel Crew guys like Jedd and Smitty, etc. They're the friendliest group of guys you'll come across, and always willing to help.


What is RB an abbreviation of?


Sorry about that. It's Robert Baraban. More expensive than the others, but from what I've heard they're absolutely top quality. They're custom-made too, which is cool for the grip geek.


RBs are the best quality feeling grippers I have. The black handled + chrome spring versions (I have RB180, RB210 & RB240) look fantastic too.

BTW KTA works!



Get a #1 and maybe get their addon thingy or get one of those tiny thingys they sell as well.

I have COCs but I am not too fond of them in many ways for these reasons:

  1. the engineering sucks, the way the spring is setup, it should be butterfly symmetrical not a simple spring

  2. they are not pre-loaded with tension, it builds as you close them. Because it is a neutral spring.

  3. WTF is with the jumps in poundages? I'll tell you what, they are too damned lazy to do anything except coil the frikking spring once for each level instead of using different thickness metal for the spring etc..

I could go on but won't. I do like them and they set a standard that is somewhat comparable around the world, but they are not a quality product in my opinion.

What I do like is the Ivanko. It would be even better if you could quickly dial up the tension with a lever or something, so you could train one hand and with the other hand, change tensions during the squeeze. Man that would get results. I think I'm going off now to patent one.


That's how all handgrippers are. I don't think you're going to change such a huge tradition just because you have a preference.

Again, that's how they all are. And it makes them more challenging. Training different aspects of closing a gripper is like training lockout strength, off the chest strength, dynamic effort and max effort on bench press. And there's a lot of technique involved, like the bench press. I don't think any serious grip athlete would really like your suggestion to make the grippers easier (read: less effective).

WTF are you talking about? Each level is coiled exactly the same, with different sized springs. Exactly the opposite of what you said. And like I said, if you want grippers in between the CoC's, get some HG's, BB's, and RB's. Why is that such a big deal?

Sure, good luck. I'm sure you can change the face of grip competition. I mean, trying to make it easier is sure to be a big hit with the guys who take it seriously.


You don't have to go over to the GripBoard - I'M HERE, and can answer any questions about the grippers or grip strength you might have!