Hand Strength TipsLearn how to increase hand or grip strength. Barbell collars are a good way to make your hands stronger.
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Hand Strength. Hands are important. They let you grab stuff. How can a muscle man increase his hand strength? I review special tools (hand exercisers). But using an Olympic barbell, with metal collars, is a simpler and better approach.

Gripper. When I first started lifting weights, I bought a hand gripper to improve my hand strength. These grippers have "buttons" you push down with your fingers. The device has springs to provide resistance.

However I did not find my hand exerciser gripper useful. It sometimes hurt my fingers, and did not seem like a natural movement.

After a year, I threw out my hand exerciser. I decided it did me no good, and an isolation exercise for my fingers was not helpful. Focusing on heavy, compound exercises might help hand strength more.

Tip Compound exercises, like squats and deadlifts, make the entire body stronger. They would likely even affect the fingers.

Thus I do not recommend a "hand exerciser" or gripper tool for bodybuilders. It seemed like mostly a waste of time.

Olympic collars. An Olympic collar is another option to improve your grip strength. Each time you load up a barbell, you can put a collar on each side to secure the plates. This is sometimes hard to do. Some collars offer a lot of resistance.

Bonus After you get hand exercise by using the collar on the barbell, you can lift the heavy weights too. This is a compound exercise.

With this kind of collar, you are getting great hand exercise while lifting weights. So you do not need a separate hand exerciser tool. These collars are cheap: they are often included with Olympic barbell sets.

Deadlift hook grip. The grip you use while doing deadlifts is important. With a hook grip, you grab the barbell in an opposite way in each hand. This sounds like it would twist your arms around, but it is fairly comfortable.

And The barbell does not slip as you lift. You do not need extremely strong hands to grab a barbell loaded with weights.

So With the hook grip, I realized that hand strength was not a limiting factor for my lifting. I could lift heavier with this grip.

Gloves. I wear no gloves when lifting weights. But I used to, when I started. Gloves don't impact your muscular gains in any way. They tend to get dirty, covered in smelly sweat, and then tear apart. They often need replacement.

Tip As a lifelong lifter, I am comfortable with having callouses on my hands. This makes me not feel pain when gripping a barbell.

However Gloves may be important depending on your profession or your hobbies. If you are a musician, gloves might be worth wearing.

When you start lifting weights, gloves may make it easier to lift heavy things. This is because you have no callouses yet. But over time, as years pass, the gloves become more of a burden. I recommend giving them up as soon as possible.

Callouses. A lifter's hands develop callouses. These thickened patches of skin form on the distal (far) parts of the inner palm. These make you more of a rugged person, less of a computer or video game person. They may be undesirable for women.

Deadlifts My thickest callouses form when I do deadlifts with hundreds of pounds. With squats, I don't get thick callouses.

Dumbbells With dumbbells, I get fewer callouses than with barbells. I mostly just do curls with dumbbells, and these cannot be done heavy.


Barbells Olympic barbells are the king of callouses. The bars have thick "ridges" that damage the hands.

Story. In retrospect, buying an Olympic barbell was the best bodybuilding decision I made. It allowed me to lift the most weight, without bothering to go to the gym. It was fairly cheap. Its collars helped me increase my hand strength.

So With these barbell collars, I automatically get a hand workout when I lift heavy weights.

Thus I get the best of both worlds: compound, heavy lifts for full-body muscle mass gains, and also stronger hands.

Summary. Hand strength is important for lifting. But special equipment, like gripper tools, are not helpful for weightlifters. Instead, simply lifting regularly and using collars is a faster, less complicated, and equally effective, approach.

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