The Gripmaster (Pro Hands) range of hand / finger strengthening tools have been around for quite a few years now. They are highly recommended for increasing grip and finger strength. In terms of appearance, they look much different to the much more well known 2 handle design hand grippers that are available in their hundreds. The difference in how they look isn’t the end of their dissimilarities when compared to the others. Take a look at this list of different models.
Gripmasters are much more focused on increasing the strength and usability of individual fingers, which is one of the main reasons why they are not only very popular with those recovering from hand, finger and forearm injuries, but just as popular with people who actively work, compete or play a lot with their fingers, such as rock climbers, Judo players and musicians (Piano, Clarinet, Guitar, Saxophone players etc). And, anyone else who wants to work on improving the strength and endurance of their weaker fingers when positioned at certain angles.
Gripmaster’s, while focusing more on each individual finger than many of the alternative hand grippers currently for sale, they do also provide just as much benefit and resistance to the hands and forearms as the other products do. The only difference compared to the standard 2 handle coil / spring loaded grip products being that Gripmaster’s complete range comes with different resistance levels.
This is a blessing for some people, but can be a bit of a downfall for those who want to buy just one cost effective tool that has a very hard resistance level, like a set of really strong captains of crush grippers, that they can train with and master over time. Of course, products like captains of crush grippers do also come in various models with different resistance levels, but with Gripmasters there are so many different models that its probably best to instantly buy a model that has a fairly heavy resistance level to help keep the costs down. That is, unless you have an injury or a fairly weak grip to begin with. In that case you probably won’t need to upgrade more than once or twice.
With the Gripmaster from Pro Hands, the different tension levels are colour coded (light, medium, heavy, etc), and there are PRO and non-PRO versions. So, if you buy the medium resistance level to begin with, you might get used to that and want to upgrade to heavy. This is the only negative. It can be fairly expensive if you want to own the whole Gripmaster range of mini hand machines. Other than that, they are a great set of products for training the hands, fingers, thumbs and forearms. Great for making them stronger and able to withstand a higher level of endurance.
The Cando Digiflex hand exercisers could be considered as alternatives, but they are basically the exact same design and cost around the same price, so they’re not really a good alternative product. Of course, an alternative to the Gripmaster will always be the standard design two handle grips, but another one that also works really well, and is perhaps just as good, or even better for exercising individual fingers, is squeeze / stress balls. They are soft, offer considerable tension, and can be used in so many different ways. They can be positioned at so many different angles in order to work certain areas of the hand, and can also be used to effectively isolate and exercise individual fingers depending on where the user places them on the ball.
I’ve been using stress balls for a long time and find them much more versatile than any other hand grip products. Other than just crushing it completely to work the hands, fingers and forearms, by turning the hand from the conventional way a person grips something, so that the thumb is located at the top, with stress balls the user is easily able to give the thumbs a great workout. This is the one area where many other products fall short (excluding the Gripmaster’s).
Furthermore, by moving the hand around slightly, with squeezable balls, and of course Gripmasters, you can also very easily exercise each finger on an individual basis. The difference between balls and the Gripmaster range other than appearance, is the price. Squeeze balls can be picked up in sets of 3 different sizes for a couple of pounds. Gripmasters are potentially much more expensive, especially if you want to own the complete range.
It would be great if Pro Hands brought out a new set of products that have a fully adjustable resistance level (like all their different resistance levels incorporated into one gripper), but as of writing this post I don’t believe they exist yet. However, it might be something to watch out for in the future. I would imagine they would be very much in demand. Looking for something a little different that focuses on developing forearm / twist strength? Checkout The Wringer.