Do Hand Grippers Work the Forearms?


Hand grippers are a type of resistance tool that you squeeze with your hands. With these, you may work your hands, wrists and forearms just about anywhere. All those areas work together when you squeeze your hand. Grippers that allow for independent finger movement help you develop additional strength around your entire forearm.

Independent-Finger Hand Grippers

Instead of being V-shaped with a single spring in the middle, independent-finger hand grippers, also called hand and finger exercisers, are shaped like rectangles with four small spring-loaded buttons on top and a large one on the bottom. Hold the hand gripper in your palm against the base of your thumb and place a finger on each top button. You may try several squeezing options -- close all your fingers at once or one at a time, depending on the workout you desire.

Gripping and Your Forearms

Independent-finger hand grippers don't contain weights, but they still offer a resistance workout. They're available in different resistance levels. Always start with the lowest resistance and work your way up to prevent injury. Squeezing your hand requires more than just your hand muscles. The muscles on all sides of your forearm and wrist contract to help control your finger movement and provide power behind the squeeze. This makes hand-squeezing exercises particularly effective for working your forearms.

Forearm Workouts

Alternating between different moves helps you build stronger forearms. For the basic move, place your fingers on the buttons of the hand and finger exerciser and squeeze them all at the same time, compressing the gripper from the top and bottom. Hold the squeeze for about 10 seconds and release. Do 10 repetitions. When you are more comfortable using the gripper, try pushing in with one finger at a time and hold for 10 seconds. Push with each finger for 10 repetitions.

If you place your other hand on the forearm that's working, you'll feel different areas being activated as you push with individual fingers. Change the position of your thumb so it hooks around the bottom of the palm bar for a more difficult squeeze. Also, removing the palm bar lets you stand the independent-finger hand gripper on a table. For another effective forearm workout, place your hand flat on top of the gripper, which lets you depress the top buttons by bending your wrist slightly.

Why Grip Strength is Important

Without strong forearm muscles, you won't have a strong grip. This affects your ability to effectively play sports and lift weights -- you're limited by what your hands can hold, not just by what your other muscles can lift. In the February 1999 issue of "Journal of the American Medical Association," Taina Rantanen, Ph.D., and several colleagues reported findings from a grip-strength study. According to the study, grip strength is an indicator of overall strength and can help predict your functionality as you age. The men who had better grip strength walked faster and were able to get out of chairs more easily than those with poor grip strength. They also exhibited better self-care abilities, including tasks such as bathing and eating.