Within the community and sport of Grip Strength, the knowledge base continues to grow and the variety of training techniques are always expanding. With this article, I will tell you a little bit about the history of gripper chokers and how to use chokers to your advantage in your Gripper training.
Several years ago, PDA, Piedmont Design Associates, began selling a choker plate that could be put over the spring of a gripper in order to reduce the length of the sweep between the handles. This device is called the Ironhorse Choker Close Collar and can be found on the PDA website, FractionalPlates.com. I have had one of these chokers for many years and have used it on many of my grippers. As you can see in the image, the disc is slid over the spring, reducing the spread space between the ends of the handles.
If there is one downside to this type of choker, it is because it will slide off if the gripper is tipped upside down. Inverting a gripper like this is very good for training the last two fingers, which I have written about before in a previous article here on STTB. Check it out here.
After some time, I found out that athletes were using hose clamps to tighten down the handles of their Grippers. As you can see, hose clamps com in many sizes. It is important to get the correct size of hose clamp for your grippers, though. A hose clamp that is too small will not spread across the gripper far enough for it to be useful, and a hose clamp that is too big will not tighten far enough to secure the handles. In my training, I prefer to use a hose clamp labeled for 2-inches to 2 ¾-inches diameter. These fit over the handle well and will tighten down just right for a parallel handle choked gripper attempts or wider.
In recent years, Choked Grippers has become an event at several Grip Contests. The promoter tightens the clamp down on the handles of the gripper so that they are at parallel. The parallel set, or Mash Monster set, is the most common setting technique used in Grip contests, but it can be difficult for the referee to judge parallel handles during Gripper set for many reasons. The pre-closed choked set eliminates this uncertainty almost entirely.
I am currently preparing for an early-December Grip Contest, the Gripmas Carol, organized by Chris Rice in Crooksville, Ohio. In this contest, Choked Grippers at parallel is one of the events. To prepare, I have choked a handful of grippers at parallel. In my training sessions, I try for max closes with the hardest grippers I have choked. If I successfully close a gripper, I then open up the clamp just a touch and then try to close the gripper again. This has been working very well.
The ability to adjust the choked spread of the gripper is what sets the hose clamp apart from choker collars. You can tighten or loosen the hose clamp to almost infinite variety. The hose clamps are adjusted by turning a small screw with a flathead screwdriver, as you can see, in the image.
Correct application of a hose clamp to the gripper is very important. When I first started training with choked grippers, I ended up buying hose clamps that were too small and had to choke the gripper down by placing the clamp on the spring. Pictured here, you can see that the clamp gets bent and contorted on the spring. This twisting damages the hose clamp. The one pictured here will not re-tighten, or loosen, because the threads of the screw are too narrow to tie in with the threads on the clamp.
You can have much more success with your choked gripper training by simply placing the hose clamp on the handles of the gripper. The clamp may slide a bit during attempts but if you keep an eye on the clamp, you should have no problem.
With the clamp choked down on your gripper, you can easily perform closes with the whole hand, or with different combinations of fingers, as shown in my previous article, on Last Two Finger Training.
Best of luck in your training! Many athletes have reported over the last few months that they see the best improvement in their crush by attacking it from a variety of angles, finger combinations, and set depths and tempos. Choker training is another chapter you can toss into your own personal Gripper Training Memoirs.