Let's touch on grip strength.
I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago where the hosts disagreed on whether using squeeze exercise equipment was harmful. The topic was how to strengthen your grip for shooting.
There are countless variations of the specific squeeze equipment they were debating. Nearly everyone has seen the little squeeze-o-matic scissor grippers that you clutch the piss out of in order to build strength in your hands:
One host said he'd used the grippers in the past and had some hand complications/injuries, so he doesn't use them anymore. Another host said he uses them once a week and has enjoyed benefits like more stamina for dry fire, as well as a firmer grip when shooting.
The last host in the podcast had never used grip strengthening equipment. He suggested that recommending the use of such equipment to other shooters would be irresponsible due to the potential for injury.
First, I purchased some of these hand grips and began using them once a week.
After just three weeks, I noticed a difference. I'm confident that they've allowed me to grip the gun more securely, and longer during dry fire. I feel like I have a more controlled grip.
The primary way that the grippers have helped me is my grip seems more positive and engaged. The feeling was similar to what happens to muscles when you take a long break from exercise and start back up again. You're simply more aware of your muscles and how they feel and contract.
I don't feel the grippers have significantly increased my grip strength so much as they've "activated" it.
Tips for success
To help anyone that is planning on using them, I only use them once a week and are pretty easy to squeeze. I use a very lightly weighted gripper and I go for a high number of reps/squeezes, or I'll do more of an isometric hold in the closed position.
I felt like using a light gripper was a good way to keep the possibility of injury to a minimum. When I'm more confident with my progress, I'll go heavier.
You should treat it like most other exercise:
- start easy
- give plenty of rest time (especially if dry firing daily)
- work your way to a heavier setting/gripper (mine is adjustable 20-90 lb)
I think they can be beneficial, but aren't for everyone.
These are my personal findings with using grip strength exercise tools, but keeping yourself from injury is definitely most important here. If you think you might be feeling even a little bit of a bad pinch between your knuckles or in your forearm, I would hang the grippers up and give it a week or two before trying again.
Be persistent and consistent, folks!