|The Valeo Adjustable Grip Strengthener|
You might recall that I took a Practical Pistol class back in September. One of the fundamentals taught in the class was grip. I had a little bit of trouble with this so I made a small investment in a Valeo Adjustable Grip Strengthener from Hibbett Sports. I must say, it has helped. The best part about it is that it’s adjustable, so I can adapt it to suit me.
After the class, I knew I needed to work on my grip strength. Shooting the M&P45, recoil management was crucial, and the best way to improve that was grip. I had seen an article by another blogger for a grip trainer that had four individual “buttons” so each finger could get its own work out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the blog I saw this on when I wanted to buy it. I tried to use my Google-fu to find it, but never did. So, I hit the sporting goods stores that we have here in town, which is all of Sears, Dick’s, and Hibbetts.
Sears and Dick’s had the old fashioned kind with the spring loop that all of us older folks are familiar with. I really had my mind set on the one with the buttons though, so I headed off to Hibbetts with my fingers crossed. They also had the old fashioned kind, but they also had this one from Valeo. I was thoroughly surprised by the price tag, too. I was expecting to pay up towards $30, but it was only $15. I figured if it was a $15 mistake, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings as bad as a $30 mistake.
The Valeo wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I liked the fact that it was adjustable. According to the package, it’s adjustable from 25 to 90 pounds of resistance. I probably started out around 35 pounds. It’s difficult to judge what exactly it’s set at, but you can get a rough idea with the little scale on the side. It would be really nice if it was more precise in the setting so you can change it and go back to an older setting, but no such luck. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the fact that it is adjustable. I like knowing that as my grip strength increases, this does not have to just get easier and do me no good.
|The resistance scale - Not the most intuitive|
Another good feature about the Valeo is the grips have ridges to get a secure grip. If your hands get a little sweaty during a workout, they will probably still slip on these grips, but it won’t be much. If you have a dry grip, it may take a trial squeeze or two to get the grip you want. I’m in this category, and I have trouble adjusting my grip with this under tension.
If you actually know me, you know I’m no strength trainer or body builder, so I just kind of developed my own workout regimen. Every other day, I do 3 sets of 10 reps and hold it for 3 seconds on each rep. Sometimes I mix it up by doing a slow 3 second squeeze, holding for 5 seconds, and then easing off over 3 seconds. Other times I squeeze it completely, hold for 10 seconds, and then release it. I do these until it feels “easy”. That’s usually about 2 weeks if I stay at it and don’t get lazy. Then I increase the adjustment knob ¼ turn and start all over again. I do this for both hands. I wonder if I should be working up to holding the grip for 30 seconds to simulate shooting a stage at a USPSA match.
In the 5 months I've been using the Valeo, I can tell the difference in my grip and recoil management. Am I "there" yet? No, I don't think so, but I may never be totally satisfied with my grip. That's just the way I am, I think.
Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. If the scale was more precise, I'd give it the 5th star.
If there are any weight training shooters out there with any experience, I’d be happy to hear it.