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Eliminating Squeaks from Hand Grip Strengtheners (draft)

  1. #fitness
  2. #hand-grip-strength
Written by Chris Thornton

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I recently purchased a Captains of Crush hand grip strengthener to work on my grip strength for barbell exercises. The gripper was silent for half a day but by the end of the first day it had developed a slight squeaking noise audible at the beginning of each contraction. The squeaking was not annoying—at least not yet—but it did bother me enough that I figured I would see what I had around the house to silence the squeak.

Determining the source of the squeak

Before attempting a fix, however, I spent a few minutes troubleshooting to determine exactly where the noise was coming from. I turned my head to the right, I held the gripper up near my left ear, about an inch away, and level with the midpoint between the top of the gripper’s handles and the spring coils. I then slowly contracted the gripper. I could hear an audible squeak just after the first five or so degrees of contraction. On each subsequent contraction the squeak continued to occur at approximately the same point.

Use common sense if you decide to test your hand grip strengthener this way. Do not press the spring coils against your ear, head, skin, or any other body part while contracting to the gripper. You will pinch yourself, and regardless of the strength of the gripper, it’ll hurt.

I figured the spring coils are the most likely culprit for the squeak but that this assumption should be tested first. I repeated this test but began listening to different parts of the gripper. I held the gripper up near my ear with spring about an inch away from my ear. I slowly contracted the gripper and I heard a squeak. It sounded louder than before which indicated to me that the spring coil is indeed the source of the squeak. I listened to the handles again, then the spring. Same thing, the spring sounded louder than any other part.

That's it I said to myself.

Lubrication choice

You could use WD-40, or any other lubricant you have lying around, to apply on the squeaky spring coils. For this application, however, I prefer

NLGI #2 white lithium grease. While you're not likely to submerge your gripper in water, it may get wet due to sweat or if a water bottle is spilled on it. White lithium grease is not considered to be a water-resistant grease, but NLGI #2 grade-greases have a consistency of peanut butter, it won't wash away if it gets a little wet. This is the primary advantage of NLGI #2 white lithium grease over WD-40 or other lubricants you may have on had: it does not rub off or wear away easily. In order to remove white lithium grease you'd need run the sink faucet on high pressure and/or with hot water. Even then, without any soap or scrubbing action, you'd still likely have some residue left.

If you use your gripper outdoors then white lithium grease is still a good choice. You can use your greased up gripper outdoors in the summer in the desert and the grease will not liquify—the dropping point of white lithium grease is approximately 345°F (173.8°C). This grease is also good at low temperatures too: most white lithium grease is rated for use down to 0°F (0°C). White lithium grease is not perfect though, it does have a mild tendency to attract dirt but I cannot see this being an issue with a grip strengthener.

Greasing the coils

To grease the spring coils I used an old toothbrush that I repurposed for applying grease. Sometimes I do work around the house and I prefer to apply grease with some kind of brush rather than slathering on a huge oozing mess and just assuming it’ll work its way between the parts I am trying to lubricate. Both approaches work but I use less grease and make less of a mess when using a brush and applying it directly.

** paper towels

I worked from the top-down and outside-in when applying the grease to the spring coils.

I squeezed out a pea-sized amount of grease onto the end of the toothbrush and then slightly contracted the gripper. In this position you should be able to see small gaps between the spring coils when looking down at the top of the gripper. Apply the grease with your brush. Work the bristles in between the coils. Wipe off the excess grease from the top. Don’t bother cleaning it up completely, you’ll do that at the end. You just don’t want gobs of grease on the top of the gripper because you’re going to flip it upside down next and do the same to the bottom of the spring coils.

Set the brush aside and contract the gripper a few times to work the grease in.

Take a shop towel and pinch the toothbrush bristles between your fingers to get most of the excess grease out. Maybe do this a couple times if there seems to be a bit of grease. Afterwards, apply dish soap and a splash of water to the toothbrush bristles and scrub the toothbrush up against something, such as your hand. Your trying to scrub the remaining grease residue out of the brush. It doesn’t take much scrubbing action to clean out the brush. Rinse the brush.

Label grease on the brush, and throw it in with your tools. Now you also have a grease brush.

One week update, February 6

I initially applied the grease to two different grippers. The grease on both is still working as expected.

Two week update, February 13

The grease is still working on both. Ocasionally the grippers are lying down on the floor or on an exercise mat and I still haven’t seen a spec of dirt, sand, or even a cat hair between the coils. I white lithium grease is has hardly even attracted any dirt or dust.

One month update, March 3

The grease is still working. Additionally, I purchased another another hand grip strengthener, and that grip strengthener has now been greased with WD-40 Specialist White Lithium Grease that comes in a spray can. All greases are working.

Two month update, April 4

The grease is still working fine.


I used Lucas Oil's White Lithium Grease NLGI #2 and applied a pea-sized amount to an old toothbrush. Take the toothbrush with the dab of grease on the bristles and work the grease between the spring coils by slowly contracting the gripper while brushing. As you contract the gripper, the spring coils will slightly open up leaving gaps for the the bristles of the toothbrush to leave a thin coat of grease in between. A little bit of grease goes a long way. Wipe away excess grease with a paper towel (or better, use a shop towel, since they tend to be a little bit more durable and low-lint).

I will periodically update this post on how this well or poorly this approach is working.

© 2023 Chris Thornton