So you’ve been improving your grip strength through focused warm-ups and stretches, increasing your grip strength by mixing up training holds on the bouldering wall, and finally working all those grip strength exercises into your routine, now it’s time to test your forearm muscles and hand strength with a grip strength tester.
Do you need a grip strength tester to tell you how all those farmer’s walks and plate pinches are paying off? No. Just like I don’t need a Fitbit to tell me I got a good run in today.
What I can tell you is that seeing my mile times get shorter over time makes me want to keep running and makes me want to see if I can make those mile times even shorter. It’s about what keeps us motivated. A grip strength test shows us where we started and how much we’ve progressed.
Like I said, I need motivation, so I took some time to explore the internet and see what made me want to drop everything to do my grip strength exercises (so I would have something to measure when my new grip strength tester arrived).
I discovered what is known as a dynamometer or a dyno for short. On a small scale the dyno let’s you measure your grip strength but on a larger scale can be used to measure the power of an engine. I looked at quite a few different brands and styles of dynos in my research and narrowed my focus down to four options that accommodate different preferences, goals, and budgets.
With 19 user profiles, you can pit your strong grip against your climbing partner’s (and, really, anyone else you’d like to challenge). You can also save your data in your profiles and inspire each other as you progress through each week’s hangboard and grip strength exercises session.
This dyno comes with a set of AAA batteries and it does all the work for you, giving you a maximum grip value display as well as weak, normal, or strong power levels. Save and recall your stats for comparison, so you can taunt your climbing partner with your stronger grip!
Your GRIPX comes with a 5-year warranty, won’t break the bank, and weighs less than a pound. This option can be both serious and fun, so toss it in your pack and take your challenge to the crag!
Kind(er) to the Earth
No batteries are required because it has no digital components. If you are the pen to paper type or if you just want to avoid plastic and batteries, the Baseline Smedley is made for you. Simple and durable, this instrument will help you fill out your new “Climbing Goals” notebook with measured progress for all your climbing years.
For the Nerd in All of Us
Out of all the products I researched, I was most excited about this one. This is probably, in part, due to the fact that I am a teacher and this one comes with classroom experiment options as well…BONUS!
Vernier’s hand dynamometer comes with a free app that lets you analyze the data you are producing with your grip. According to the Vernier website, this strain-gauge-based isometric Hand Dynamometer can be used to measure grip strength, pinch strength, and to perform muscle fatigue studies.
I like this one the best because of its ability to take a snapshot of your strength and fatigue over time and then compare it to your previous results. For me, this makes the most sense for climbing because we demand that our bodies not only have a strong grip but that our good grip has stamina and lasts over the duration of multiple climbs. This product also has the additional capability of measuring your pinch strength in the same way. Bring on the tiny holds!
Hard Core and So Metal
Rogue offers us strengthening and measurable progress all in one and at an excellent price. I’m also pretty sure I’ll just feel like a total badass rocking this one, which is motivation in its purest form.
Like Baseline’s Smedly, this one is low-tech. Using a carabiner and chain from your local hardware store, you attach the Hub to weight plates, swapping plates out as you get stronger. There are no pinpoint measurements to take here. Rogue keeps it simple, stating “If you manage 30 LBS, you’re doing alright; 50 LBS is excellent; 80 LBS and up is world-class.”
Thank y’all for joining me on this grip strength tester adventure. I hope my research has turned up a good fit that motivates you to keep working at your grip strength and crushing your projects. You are strong, you are beautiful, you are a badass, and sometimes it’s nice to see that reflected in the numbers!
McKenzi Taylor founded Rock Climbing Women in 2013 after moving to a new city as a new climber and looking for more climbing partners.
“I got my first taste of climbing with a friend in Spearfish Canyon, SD…5 years later got a consistent partner and have been climbing ever since, even going so far as to move to a climbing destination – Red Rock Canyon! I started out all trad, all the way – with trad there is always an adventure to be had! But long moderate routes weren’t always a realistic option depending on schedules and partners, so I’ve become a lot more open to sport climbing and bouldering as well. I now spend time just getting out when I can, no matter what style of climbing it is!”