Many of those who close massively heavy gripper -- or any gripper at all -- seem to "set" the gripper, which means partially close it using both hands to get a better grip on it before completely closing it.

Why isn't this cheating? It's like using two hands to get a barbell off the ground and then holding it a few seconds with one. I don't think that would count as a one-handed deadlift, but whatever. Anyways, I've never used grippers this way and just close them 100% with one hand never set them.

Why isn't the partially-assisting way cheating, but no props given to the harder way?

  • Cheating in what sense? Competition? Many people try to show off how strong they are so it makes sense that those people might use tricks to appear stronger than their fellow.
    – John
    Jul 25, 2017 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


It really depends on what you consider to be the primary part of the exercise, and whether someone is doing this for the exercise, or to show off. Most hand-grippers are essentially springs, which means resistance increases as it's compressed, which should make the initial setting easy to budge. However, at that uncompressed position, you may be forced to squeeze from a position of mechanical disadvantage, with your fingertips and thumb at maximum extension, increasing the risk of straining ligaments as you pull with them strained tight against bone and joints. In comparison, if the gripper starts out partly compressed, you're able to work with your ligaments in a better position.

Compare it to how, for benchpresses, the spotter often lifts the bar off of the rack for the person lifting. Sure, they could probably straighten their elbows and push it off themselves, but it's putting their body at more risk because they're applying a load when the limb is fully extended.

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