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How To Close The Captains Of Crush: Strap Holds

cocsqpkfIf you aren’t familiar with Ironmind’s Captains of Crush Grippers, they are like the plastic grippers you rep out with while watching TV. Except that the COCs are almost impossible to close. And they’re made of metal. And they’re really fun.

Yes! Grippers are a fun way to test your grip strength. As the world of competitive grip athletes has grown, grip has come into its own as a legitimate strength discipline. People will compete in anything possible, but how can you test yourself against others in the grip world unless there are standards everyone can be measured against?

Working on closing grippers is also a fantastic way to get stronger while you’re at work.

Enter the COCs.

There are 4 different levels of grippers, and a few in-betweens to help you make the jump from one to the other.

When I bought the #1, I was able to close it a few times with each hand as soon as I opened the package. I got the 1.5 two weeks ago, and it is kicking my butt. I can close it with each hand, but after a few, I’m done. Not done with grippers–done with everything for a while. As in worn out and drained.

Jumping to the next gripper can be hard if you don’t know how

One of the challenges in progressing with the Captains of Crush is the size of the jumps between grippers. You may be able to close a #1 20 times with ease, but the #2 might still be out of reach.

I am currently working towards the #2 myself and am looking for new ways to make progress.

There are different opinions and tactics that people use to make progress on the grippers. John Brookfield suggests that rather than spin your wheels with grippers you can’t close, you can figure out ways to make the grippers you can close much harder. Today we’re going to examine the strap hold.

The Strap Hold

Basically, you take a strap (I use a belt) and loop it around a bucket.  One of the good things about consistent kettlebell practice is that your belts get too big and you can use them to strengthen your grip.

The bucket can be filled with sand or water–or it can be empty if you’re just starting out.

Set the grippers in your hand. When you are ready, squeeze them shut, closing them around the end of the strap. You have to crush the grippers hard enough that they pinch shut on the strap. Now lift it. You will find that you have to squeeze a lot harder to keep from dropping that bucket.

You are learning how to generate crushing strength that will eventually be sufficient to close the next gripper. You can increase the amount of resistance you can generate, even though you’re still using the same old gripper that’s getting “too easy.”

I originally read about the strap hold in The Grip Master’s Manual. Here is a variation on the technique that is slightly different from what is in the book.

John advocates grip training on the cheap. It’s not about the tools you don’t have, it’s about how hard you can work with what you do have. It’s about how hard you can crush, not about the grippers themselves. The grippers are a fun way to test yourself, but they are not the only way to develop great crushing strength.  It’s all about getting into the habit.  Practice makes progress.

It isn’t as enjoyable to sit around and just make white-knuckle fists all day, though, is it? If you’d like to give yourself a fun little test, you can read up on the Captains of Crush by following this link:

Captains of Crush Hand Gripper – No. 1

Let me know how it goes! Soon you’ll be a captain of crush.


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ben Owens May 12, 2009, 10:17 am

    Those grippers are awesome. I will have to try the strap hold. The COC#1 is getting too easy, but I am sure that I am nowhere near close to closing the #2.

  • Josh Hanagarne May 12, 2009, 11:17 am

    Ben, I know how strong you are. You could probably close the #2 with your mouth.

  • flagmonkey May 12, 2009, 11:33 am

    I’m thinking about importing one of those. I got two cheap high-rep grippers at work.

    • Josh Hanagarne May 12, 2009, 1:10 pm

      Awesome. You’ll be amazed at how hard they are.

  • Ben Owens May 12, 2009, 7:49 pm

    My mouth? Perhaps. But not either of my hands.