I might possibly be the least qualified person to talk about going to the gym. I haven’t been to the gym in years, I haven’t exercised on a consistent basis at least since the navy, I haven’t followed a health regimen since at least 2006. That is 10 years of sedentary activity.
But there is actually one thing that I did for a little while— Captains of Crush hand grips. For a long time I’d been somewhat keen to the idea that functional strength would mean an easier life. But those were really foggy days when it came down to actually understanding functional strength as it applied to the whole body and not just my hand strength. So what if I could open my pickle jars in my elderly years? If I can’t do sit ups, pull ups, or general body weight exercises, then what chance do I have getting up out of bed?
Luckily, it’s dawned on me that maybe I should get into shape. I’m able to do three pull ups… Well, actually, I’ve always been able to do at least two on a whim. I’ve never been unable to do a single one, save high school, when I literally did nothing to maintain my stick figure appearance. But suspending my body weight for anything longer than ten seconds is quite a task. I intend to improve that time.
Needless to say, that will take a bit of grip strength. The folks over at Ironmind have developed their own hand strength tools, including their Captains of Crush line of hand grippers. You see, when I first ran across their website, I thought it laughable to think that hand grippers could be a challenge. I was quickly brought to my knees when I discovered that I could not close the #3 gripper. My first time trying to close it, I had probably 3/4” of space between the handles (the point of hand grippers being to touch the handles together). I worked myself into closing it, but by that point in time I had no means of traveling to get certified.
Their hand grippers range from the Point Five all the way up to the #4. If you can successfully close the #3 gripper while being witnessed by an official, you get your name on an international list of Captains of Crush, showing that you’ve reached a very difficult benchmark. But everyone strives to close the #4, which is the true separator of men from boys! (Not really. The #3 is a monster to close. That alone does it for me.)
Ironmind are the industry benchmark for hand grippers. Everyone goes for these because they’re built in such a fashion that they do not “season” as quickly (seasoning is a term applied thus: the amount of torque required to close a gripper becomes easier. All grippers season, but Ironmind seem to not season very much before reaching a particular level of being fully seasoned) as other hand grippers on the market.
Besides hand grippers, though, they also make a smaller version for strengthening two fingers at a time called the IMTUG. This is particularly useful for getting your ring finger and pinky finger strengthened up to help you reach the next level.
But, overall hand strength is well and good, but exercise aficionados are well aware that for each muscle, there is one for performing opposite movements. For example, biceps move your forearm up. Your triceps move your arm down. Many people exercise both groups of muscles because it is easier to avoid injury if you balance everything out. The same applies to your hands. One group of muscles allows your fingers to curl up. Another group allows them to expand. Thus, improving your hand strength means to avoid injury by all obtainable means. Ironmind figured it out a long time ago. But it isn’t something that you can use a hand gripper to exercise, right? Right. So how would one go about exercising their opposing muscles?
Expand-Your-Hand Bands. Yup. These rubber bands are made in such a manner as to allow you to provide a balance of gripping strength and expansion conditioning, to keep everything running smoothly. Just as with the hand grippers, these increase in difficulty from the least to most resistance. This allows for you to maintain the highest level of forearm and hand health possible.