IronMind Captains of Crush Gripper Challenge

IronMind Captains of Crush Gripper 1 and 2 Challenge

Captains of Crush Grippers: Trainer, 1 and 1.5.
Captains of Crush Grippers: Trainer, 1 and 1.5.

I have decided to take a serious stab at closing the Captains of Crush 1 and then 2 grippers. This may not sound like a big challenge, but I am taking it one step at a time. Grip strength has not been a strong point in my long 40 years of weight training, and now seems like a good time to make it so! The IronMind Captains of Crush Grippers are world famous in the grip strength arena.

Brief Background

First, I am 55 years old and have been bodybuilding as a hobby on and off for about 40 years. I am 5’10” and 215 lbs.

I started weight lifting at 15 years old, in order to add muscle because I was pushed around a bit at school and was extremely skinny. I made decent progress over a few years and never looked back. There were a lot of years that I stopped lifting for a while, and then there were years that I went all out for months on end and made really good gains.

In 2020, in between peaks in the COVID-19 pandemic (so tired of hearing those words, I promise that will be the only time), I had both of my knees replaced the first in February and the other in July. As a result, I did very little in the way of weight training. Consequently, I lost quite a bit of fitness, strength and muscle mass.

Fast forward to March 2021. I am back in the weight room and starting to recover the strength and muscle mass I lost last year. However, my grip and forearm strength has never been great, and I want to change that. Having purchased a set of Captains of Crush grippers a while ago, I decided to use these in my quest for superior grip strength!

Also see my article: Build your own Wrist roller

I just wanted to give a little background there, but now it is time to make this happen.

Captains of Crush Challenge Starts Now

I am going to start with the Trainer and see how many reps I can do. The goal is to perform 100 reps per day for 30 days, but will change this goal as needed.

My plan is to do the sets throughout the day, not necessarily all at once. I will likely do most while I am working since I work at home providing technical support on the phone.

Also going to measure my forearm and record any gains in size. I will update this page each day to report my progress and anything I am learning along the way. The progress diary will start today, Day 1 at the end of this post. It is 3/11/21 today.

**Update after 6 Days

This is harder than I thought it would be, but this is good as I am already seeing great progress.

My grip turned out to be worse than I thought so I am really pumped to see it get stronger!

I found out that putting this much effort into a challenge like this results in irritation of the skin on my hands and mostly fingers. It will take a few more days for my skin to toughen up a bit and adapt to the daily effort.

Remember that nothing worth doing is easy!! I will update again in a few days or so. Meanwhile, below i am keeping a diary and nots of each day’s efforts.

Join in the Fun!

Please join me if you want to improve your grip strength as well. You can get any of the grippers here:

IronMind Captains of Crush Grippers

The grippers I purchased are the Trainer, The Number 1 and the Number 1.5. According to the Official Literature, they correspond to 100 lbs for the Trainer, 140 lbs for Number 1 and 167.5 lbs for Number 1.5.

My Captains of Crush Grippers
Captains of Crush Grippers

How to Choose the Best Captain of Crush Gripper

The chart below will help you choose which gripper you should start with. My choice was to buy 3 at once, so I had a good range of choices. I figured if the easiest one was too easy, I could still use it for warming up. I also wanted to be sure I had one that was above my ability to work toward. It worked out good for me as I have the Trainer that I can do 10+ reps with, and have the 1 and 1.5 to work towards.

Here is the entire list of available Captains of Crush grippers:

Captains of Crush
Model
Pounds of
Resistance
Best Use
Guide60Beginners or for Rehabilitation purposes
Sport80Warm-ups or general conditioning
Trainer100Strong guys should start here
.5120Bridge to Number 1
1140Experienced guys should start here
1.5167.5Bridge to Number 2
2195Life Saving grip Strength. Great goal
2.5237.5Bridge to Number 3
3280World Class level: get certified!
3.5322.5Bridge to Number 4
4365Be like the World’s Strongest Man!

30 Day Progress Diary

Captains of Crush Warm-Up Video.

Here is a quick video showing what I mean by partial reps when I am warming up before the working sets.

Day 1:

After warming up with a few dozen easy, partial reps in order to get the blood flowing and the arthritis warmed up, I was able to close the Trainer gripper all the way for only 10 reps on my right and 10 on the left. The next couple sets were easier, but then it got real hard.

Wow, I have a ton of work to do!! (I am left handed and the left was easier). I did not do all the sets at once and spread some of them out over a roughly 3 hour period. OK, so 100 reps a day may be a bit ambitious for the first few days. I did not want to tear up my hands too much out of the gate. I will get there. See you tomorrow!

Reps per set on Right Hand (6 total sets): 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 9. Total Day 1: 59

Reps per set on Left Hand (6 total sets): 10, 10, 15, 15, 15, 12. Total Day 1: 77

Day 2:

Warmed up with partial reps. I am hoping to do more total reps than yesterday! The knurling on the grippers has irritated my skin because I am not accustomed to it yet, so this will be painful. Here we go:

Reps per set on Right Hand (3 total sets): 5, 5, 5. Total Day 2: 15

Reps per set on Left Hand (3 total sets): 10, 10, 10. Total Day 2: 30

Ok, so the fingers are not cooperating as well as yesterday. I am not going to risk injury so I will try again tomorrow!

Day 3:

Warming up again with partial reps in order to get the blood moving. I took the weekend off as I was super busy with other things and did not get much time to work on this! It it now Monday, Mar 15 and I am anxious to see how I do today! Here we go:

Reps per set on Right Hand ( 6 total sets): 10, 10, 12, 12, 12, 10. Total Day 3: 66

Reps per set on Left Hand (6 total sets): 10, 15, 20, 20, 18, 15. Total Day 3: 98

Looking stronger already! My numbers are up a bit, although I did all those sets in about a 35 minute window. It was a lot of effort. See you tomorrow for more!

Day 4:

I am starting earlier today so that I can stretch out the sets a little more if necessary. My goal is to get to 100 reps for each hand every day. Then continue with that until it seems easy enough to move to the Number 1 Gripper. I will do the normal warm-up with partial reps. Here we go:

Reps per set on Right Hand ( 9 Total Sets): 10, 10, 10, 12, 12, 12, 10, 12, 14. Total Day 4: 102

Reps per set on Left Hand (7 total sets): 12, 12, 15, 15, 15, 15, 16 Total Day 4: 100

Awesome! That was done over the course of 4 or 5 hours. I hope to continue with 100 reps minimum each day from here forward in fewer sets. See you tomorrow.

Day 5

I am starting today’s session late at night, so it will be quicker than normal. Here we go:

Reps per set on Right Hand ( 10 Total Sets): 8, 10, 13, 12, 12, 10, 8, 8, 10, 9. Total Day 5: 100

Reps per set on Left Hand (8 Total Sets): 10, 15, 15, 15, 15, 12, 15, 10. Total Day 5: 107

Day 6

After warming up and doing a few sets, my hand is just getting torn up by the knurling of the grips. I tried wrapping the gripper in a paper towel which does help a little. No broken skin or blisters, just a lot of pain from the heavy use of the grippers. My skin is still getting used to doing this every day. I am going to cut it short to avoid making things worse and try again tomorrow.

I have no doubt that once my hands get used to this, there will not be any issues. Here are the results from today:

Reps per set on Right Hand ( 5 Total Sets): 8,12,15,12,12. Total Day 6: 59

Reps per set on Left Hand (5 Total Sets): 10,15,15,15,15. Total Day 6: 70

Day 7

Started very late today so I was only able to squeeze in 4 sets before literally falling asleep! The reps per set was encouraging, although I did wrap the knurling on the handles with a paper towel to take the edge off the skin irritation. Here are the results:

Reps per set on Right Hand (4 Total Sets): 12,12,15,15. Total Day 7: 54

Reps per set on Left Hand (4 Total Sets): 12,12,15,15. Total Day 7: 54

Day 8

Today I am starting early in the day and will be able to put in as many sets as it takes to get to 100. After the last couple pathetic days I am ready to crush it!! Literally!

This ends the first full week of the challenge and as you can see, it was not as smooth as I had hoped. Never fear, as I am optimistic and the second week will be much better and smoother.

I will start with a warm-up as always. Here we go. (Today is Sunday, March 21,2021):

Reps per set on Right Hand (9 Total Sets): 10, 12, 12, 15, 10, 12, 12, 12, 12, 10. Total Day 8: 105

Reps per set on Left Hand (8 Total Sets): 12, 12, 12, 15, 15, 15, 15, 10. Total Day 8: 106

Day 9

Reps per set on Right Hand (9 Total Sets): 10, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 10. Total Day 9: 104

Reps per set on Left Hand (7 Total Sets): 12, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15, 15. Total Day 9: 102

Now that 100 reps is doable on a consistent basis, the goal at this point is to try to reduce the number of total sets. So tomorrow will be an attempt to do 1 or 2 more reps per set. See you tomorrow!

Day 10

Reps per set on Right Hand (8 Total Sets): 12, 13, 13, 13, 15, 15, 17, 10 Total Day 10: 108

Reps per set on Left Hand (7 Total Sets): 15, 20, 17, 15, 15, 15, 20. Total Day 10: 117

OK! Really good day today. I was able to crank out more reps per set and reduce the sets to 7 or 8. So far things are definitely improving so I will continue to attempt to decrease sets.

Day 11

Reps per set on Right Hand (8 Total Sets): 15, 15, 15, 14, 15, 12, 7, 7. Total Day 11: 100

Reps per set on Left Hand (6 Total Sets): 20, 20, 17, 20, 17, 12. Total Day 11: 106

Today was another good day! Goals are being reached as strength increases incrementally. Looking forward to see what I can do tomorrow!

Day 12

I will be taking a break today to let some sensitive areas of my ring and pinky fingers to heal a bit. They are starting to develop blisters and I do not want that to derail my progress. I think a day or two of recovery is in order.

Day 13

so, the days are not going to exactly line up, as I have taken the last 2 days off to recover a bit. I am ready to get back to it full steam today!

Here we go, after warming up:

Reps per set on Right Hand (7 Total Sets): 10, 15, 18, 17, 19, 15, 10 . Total Day 13: 104

Reps per set on Left Hand (6 Total Sets): 15, 20, 20, 20, 20, 20 . Total Day 13: 115

Day 14

Reps per set on Right Hand (6 Total Sets): 15, 20, 20, 20, 10, 15. Total Day 14: 100

Reps per set on Left Hand (5 Total Sets): 20, 20, 20, 20, 20 . Total Day 14: 100

Getting stronger! I have reduced the number of sets over the past couple days and getting excited! Going to keep it up and maybe in a week or so I will try the Number 1 and see how I do.

Closing thoughts

This will be a learning experience for me, as I am curious how much progress a 55 year old can make in the grip strength discipline. I believe the human body is extremely adaptable, even at this age, so I am looking forward to great gains! Also, looking to see what effect this has on mild arthritis. Mine is not bad at all but it does exist. Maybe this intense exercise will help alleviate the symptoms a bit, or make it worse! I will report my finding here as well.

Please leave any comments, suggestions below. I would love to hear how you are doing with grippers or if you have experience you can share!

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