Newest Review: ... use the supplied string to get the gyroscope spinning, and you then hold it downwards in your hand, rotating your hand and forearm in a sm... more
You'll never beat it!!
Powerball - Grip Trainer
Member Name: Randal
Powerball - Grip Trainer
Advantages: Works the muscles in your forearm and wrist.
Disadvantages: Tricky to master and get started.
This is one of those quirky little gadgets that I've had for quite a while that I keep going back to. A long while back, I had an injury to my wrist and forearm, and my doctor suggested that this device would be useful to build the strength back up again. Hence I purchased one from Amazon, which I seem to recall being about the £30 mark. At the time, these Power Balls were all the rage, and came in a variety of colours and styles, together with optional counters and speedos, different speed ranges, and some even had flashing lights, and they are still available on Amazon now from about £9 upwards. Obviously the cost went up with each optional extra included, and I eventually opted for the one with the counter on the top because I thought it would be able to indicate to me if I was actually improving with use.
What is it? In simple terms it is basically a strong gyroscope (similar to a weighted spinning top) that is fitted inside a small casing that is about the size of a tennis ball. The idea is that you use the supplied string to get the gyroscope spinning, and you then hold it downwards in your hand, rotating your hand and forearm in a small circular motion to try and get the gyroscope spinning faster and faster. As the speed picks up, then so the resistance (caused by the spinning weighted gyroscope) builds up, meaning that you have to then work harder in order to increase the speed further, or to just hold the speed steady. So it effectively works the muscles in your wrist and forearm. As I said before, you can get models with flashing lights and go faster stripes, but all the models work on the same principle of getting, maintaining and increasing the spinning speed of the gyroscope.
The really good thing about it is that the better you get at it, the harder it becomes to maintain the technique because the resistance is always increasing with speed, and I would say that it is perhaps almost physically impossible to max this device out, meaning that either your technique or your muscles will give out first before this device does. In typical bravado fashion, that then means that you are going to keep coming back again and again to have another try, and that is exactly what I find myself doing, especially when my Powerball has the digital counter on the top telling me how fast I managed to get the gyro spinning, because I keep trying to better my score. I believe the max speed record is something like 16000 revs per minute, and there is a video on Youtube of the guy (with forearms like Popeye) actually achieving this, although personally, by the way he dances around, I think it looks like he's just been plugged into the mains socket.
Now a lot of my friends who have tried this have initially given up because they couldn't get the technique right, and that is the key to getting this device to work. The trick is to initially imagine that you are stirring a bucket full of treacle very slowly. When you get this process right, you'll hear the gyroscope begin to speed up. As the speed increases, you try to imagine stirring the treacle faster and faster, turning your wrist and forearm faster and faster in small circular motions, and so the speed of the gyro increases again. The key is to get a smooth spin going on the gyro and you'll hear this on the device as a low sounding whirr. Any clicking or knocking sound indicates that the gyro is not spinning smoothly, and hence will slow down. But get the technique correct and after a while it will start to get tiring on your wrist and forearms, and that is the exercise bit taking effect.
Does it help? Well for me, yes it did, and still does. It was surprising how quickly I got the strength back in my forearm and wrist, and I still regularly have a turn with it every now and then just to exercise those muscle groups. Another interesting offset of it is that I found that it seems to have also increased my grip strength. Ideally this can be to aid recovery and rehabilitation for muscular issues, such as arthritis, repetitive strain injury or tendonitis, but equally it would good for racquet type sports players to improve their muscular strength and grip.
In summary, whilst this may initially be seen as a toy, it does actually serve a useful purpose and in some ways becomes very addictive. Hence, worthy of a 5* recommendation.
Summary: Great little addictive device.