I LOVE doing 30 day challenges, especially when it comes to bodybuilding. I think it’s just a great way to really see if something you’re doing in the gym gives good results or not.
Now, obviously, it isn’t the most accurate. As I discussed in my Smolov Squat Program and Smolov Bench Program posts, you ideally want to do something for 12 weeks to hit the ‘muscle hypertrophy phase’.
Regardless, my forearms have ALWAYS been a huge weakness in my physique, they’re so small!
So, I decided to start using hand grippers everyday for 30 days, and let’s just say the results were INCREDIBLE.
I have some progress photos, but first, I want to talk how using hand grippers everyday changed my gym life completely (and for the good!).
Grip Strength is The MOST Underrated Part of Bodybuilding
Everybody is always saying that the legs, back, calf, or trap muscles are most neglected in bodybuilding- but even those people forget the forearms and how critical they are to bodybuilding!
But even deeper in the forearms, comes the idea of grip strength. Some people say they are directly correlated (ie: the bigger the forearms, the stronger the grip), but this has been proven time and time again to be false.
Sure, building grip strength generally comes with bigger forearms. But time and time again people with smaller forearms have proven that they can be stronger than guys with a ton of meat on their arms.
For instance, mechanics usually have SUPERB grip strength compared to most people, but generally, they don’t have massive forearms. (Likely due to the fact they’re not bulking/eating 150g of protein a day)
Bodybuilder’s Poor Grip Strength Holds Them Back, Leading to Failed PRs and more.
All the time, bodybuilders ask, “why won’t my deadlift go up?” or “why can’t I do more pull-ups?”. Poor grip strength can even hold back your bench press!
Every other muscle in your body can be developed, but with no grip strength, nothing will ever happen.
A good analogy is having a super-strong truck, with a V10 6.7L engine- something like 700 horsepower right? But you have a bungee cord as a tow strap. You won’t be able to tow any car out of the ditch no matter how strong your tuck is because the tow strap will snap instantly! Same thing here, your tow strap is the forearms.
So, we need to make the tow strap stronger, by using hand grippers everyday.
Even the incredible powerlifter Kody Sanders agrees with me, and tells people all the time their grip strength is something they need to work on!
Using Hand Grippers Everyday Made my Forearms Bigger and My Grip WAY Stronger
My forearms have always been terribly small, and it’s certainly been a huge weakness in my overall physique.
It’s no secret to anyone that compared to my massive bicep/triceps, my forearms look like a pin needle in comparison. Truthfully, it just ruined my physique.
I really wanted a way to supercharge the growth, so, my friend recommended using hand grippers everyday for 30 days and seeing how it worked.
Here’s how it went.
First of all, my grip grew better than any other method I’ve tried.
As a serious bodybuilder, I’ve of course experimented with every exercise you can think of (Yes, even the dumbbell pullovers in Arnold’s Blueprint that nobody seems to do).
This means farmers carries, reverse/normal dumbbell forearm flexes, other weird forearm exercises, etcetera.
I think most of us can agree that not only are these grip/forearm exercises not fun, but it seems the progress on them is so far it’s not worth it.
That all changed when I tried these hand grippers. Within a week I was already seeing some progress, I was getting the hang of it all, but about 3 weeks in is where I REALLY noticed a difference.
I Felt Like Thor in the Gym, I Could Pickup Any Plates I Wanted
I was going to put some weight on the preacher curl for Calum Von Moger’s Arm Workout program, when I noticed something…
As I went to pick up the plates from the barbell rack, I grabbed two 25s. Now, old ‘weak’ Tommy would have a little bit of trouble carrying those two 25 plates in my hands. It was heavy, not gonna lie!
But, I noticed, it was super light. Like, I was able to hold them at chest height and not even worry or even think about dropping them.
It was such a weird feeling, like 50 lbs in my hands like that is actually a lot if you think about it. That’s like one of those full salt bags they have at gas stations, and I was carrying that in the palm of my hand…
I dont’ know, honeslty I felt like Thanos. I felt like I could break those weights in half LOL.
Point is- the grip strengtheners directly grew my grip strength, and they did a great job at it too!
My Forearms Also Grew!!
I think as a bodybuilder, it’s normal for me to try and want muscle growth- right? I’m all about that physique!
My forearms actually surprisingly grew well on this program. I took some before and after photos, and while they’re not THAT great- they still have their merit. I would estimate around .2 inches were put onto my forearms.
Also, given- I haven’t worked out my forearms basically my whole life. Sure, they get exercised on things like deadlift- but I haven’t ever seriously targeted them.
So, a lot of that growth is honestly to be expected considering it’s my first ‘real’ time targeting the muscle.
But, I’d also reason that many people looking to try this challenge are newer to grip training or forearm training and are looking to see potential growth right away.
Regardless, some muscle will be put on for sure. In these photos, you see a tiny bit of muscle growth even with my horrible imaging skills.
Every Other Lift Went Up Due To The Increased Forearm Strength and Stability
While I mentioned earlier that targeting forearms would help your other lifts, I was actually radically surprised by the changes.
First and foremost, my bench radically went up. I was able to load up way more weight on the bar and unrack it by myself.
Furthermore, when the bar was coming down I felt way more in control and the path was way more stable. Even when I failed the lift, I still felt way safer bringing the bar down and was generally successfully able to stop it from destroying my chest and sternum and life goals.
Also, bicep curls became way easier. While that was definitely a sign that I was using bad form on the bicep curls, it still became a win when it came to real life scenarios like picking someone up.
My Workout Program While Using Hand Grippers Everyday
I didn’t do anything way too crazy while using hand grippers everyday for 30 days, I kept it pretty simple.
- I did 3-4 sets of 10 reps everyday, on the maximum weight I could.
- Then at the last rep, I would squeeze and hold it as long as I could.
- I would then do ‘burnout sets’ where I try and do as many reps as I could in the shortest amount of time.
- Then I would do 3-4 sets of just holding the hand grippers together again, you really feel the burn.
Conclusion of Using Hand Grippers Everyday
All in all, using hand grippers everyday for a month did great things. It increased my overall lifts and stability, grew my forearms, and made my grip strength super strong.