The next time some wise guy shakes hands with you and you feel all the bones in your hands and fingers crunch and crackle, don’t get mad. The guy’s probably been exercising with a “Gripper” and has developed that well known vice-like grip. Make one yourself and pulverize his pinkies the next time.
The Gripper is a neat little device you can easily make and one that permits you to use a short barbell as an adjustable, strength-measurable grip device.
To use the Gripper, place a bar lengthwise through the slots formed by the four uprights. The bar will be 3/4 of an inch above the base forming a space for your fingers. Place the heel of your hand on the handle and grasp the bar with your fingers (your fingertips should just hook the bar). Close your hand, bringing the bar up until it touches the handle. Sounds easy, but to use a heavy poundage you need a strong grip and a good batch of forearm muscles.
You can use the Gripper on the floor while kneeling, or standing alongside of it after placing it on a bench. If you use large plates you will have to place the Gripper on a bench, otherwise the bar will not rest on the end boards.
You will require a piece of 1″ x 2″ dressed pine 36″ long; a piece of 1″ x 4″, 10″ long which you will have to trim to size; a piece of 1.25″ x 4.25″ x 8″ and a piece of 1.25″ x 1.25″ x 8″. You also need 12 standard flat-head wood screws 2″ long and six 4″ x 1/4″ carriage bolts with washers. You could use all wood screws but the carriage bolts will give you a stronger construction and one that will last. There are no moving parts on the Gripper, it is simply a frame to hold the bar in and steady your hand on.
A few sets every training session of pulling up a heavy barbell on this device will work wonders for your forearms and grip over time. You’ll be squeezing milk out of coconuts in no time!
The “Gripper” by Gord Venables (1962)
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