Our home gym has a small but respectable collection of grip tools. A few Iron Mind Captains of Crush grippers, an Iron Mind Rolling Thunder revolving deadlift handle, pinch-gripping block and 15″ loading pin, and my favorite, the Ivanko Super Gripper. While all of them have their place, if I could only keep one it would be the Ivanko.
The biggest advantage of the Ivanko over spring grippers is the ability to adjust the resistance from about 45 up to 345 pounds in over 50 steps. This exceeds the range of the first nine Captains of Crush grippers, from the 60 pound Sport to the 322 pound number 3.5. Only the Captains of Crush number 4 is harder to close than the Ivanko at it’s hardest setting, requiring a massive 365 pounds of force. This should be of little practical concern to most people, however, since only five people have ever officially closed the number 4
The Ivanko Super Gripper’s handle geometry provides a more optimal range of motion for all the fingers than spring grippers which pivot on the side of and close to the index finger (and the handle length helps when assisting little grip enthusiasts in their workouts).
While not as compact or portable as other spring grippers, the Ivanko still fits easily in a gym bag, and since it is made of aluminum it won’t rust. At around $30, it also costs far less than the number of spring grippers you would have to buy for less than 1/5th the resistance levels. For more money some companies sell a variation with a knurled grip attachment with a feel similar to Captains of Crush grippers, but I’ve never had any problem with slipping on the one I have.
The grip and forearm muscles receive considerable work during compound pulling movements, but if you want the strongest grip possible I recommend incorporating direct grip work in your workouts. If you do, make sure to always perform grip exercises at the end of your workout so fatigue doesn’t limit your ability to grip during other exercises.