Two people, often two men, shake hands. One of the men grips harder than the other one, and the other guy might start wincing or showing signs of clear discomfort. The guy delivering the Crushing Handshake might grin about it, having shown off his superior strength or "manliness". This could be done to show off just that, or as a hint that the other guy doesn't like you, or wants to intimidate you—for instance, if he's a rival for a love interest. Or it could be that he Does Not Know His Own Strength. When both parties attempt to do this, the results can be embarrassing for one or both, which can be played for laughs.
In animated works, expect the victim's hand to be red and pulsing afterwards. The squeeze itself would remind one of a tube of toothpaste: the palm area gets basically empty, all the volume migrating to the fingertips.
Can be related to Bear Hug.
- ''Happy Cafe': Uru's stepfather greets Shindou in this manner, all the while giving him a "Don't-Touch-My-Daughter" Death Glare.
- In the first episode of Monster Rancher some big guy tries this on Genki, but, he being the Super-Strong Child he is, he just grins and crushes the hand of his much bigger and surprised opponent.
- Strike Witches: In episode 3, while introducing herself, Shirley playfully squeezes Yoshika's hand.
- Pokémon: The Series:
- In one episode of the first season, Brock and James seem to be doing this during an Enemy Mine moment.
- Female-to-male example in Journeys. When Ash meets Elite Four Drasna prior to their battle, the two shake hands and she tells Ash that his winning streak ends today, all while keeping a smile in her face. Ash's hand shaking implies she had a pretty strong grip.
- In DAYS, Usui delivers one to Himura with the most nonchalant smile on his face after a match, scaring the living daylights out of his opponent.
- In The Voynich Hotel, the assassin Mamiya breaks the hand of the Voynich's owner with such a handshake when they first meet.
- Golden Kamuy: When Sugimoto and Ushiyama meet, they shake hands. The narration indicates that masters of judo can determine the other guy's strength. Sugimoto comments that Ushiyama's strength scares him, while Ushiyama likes Sugimoto from the spot because Strength Equals Worthiness.
- In Slam Dunk, after the practice match with Ryonan, Sendoh approaches Sakuragi for a handshake, telling him that if he wants to beat him, he'll have to train much harder. Sakuragi grudgingly accepts the handshake, and afterwards we see Sendoh's hand completely swollen, much to his discomfort and Hikoichi's horror.
- Captain Tsubasa: In the Golden-23 arc, at the start of the Japan vs. Danmark practice match, Matsuyama finds himself on the receiving end when Haas decides it'll be fun to provoke the Japanese this way. Jito sees this and decides to retaliate in kind, to show the Danish striker who's boss.
- An Archie Comics story had this happen to Mr. Weatherbee when congratulating substitute hall monitor Maria Rodriguez for teaching the other students not to run in the halls. Maria is actually a lot stronger than she looks so she crushes the bee's hand while giving him a handshake. The last panel shows Mr. Weatherbee getting his hand bandaged by Miss Grundy.
- The Adventures of Tintin: Tintin and Captain Haddock get their hands crushed upon meeting a Boisterous Bruiser type archeologist. It's noted that he's not being competitive or mean spirited, he just has a very strong grip.
- In the first Asterix book, after the first time Asterix takes the magic potion in the franchise, he shakes Getafix's hand, resulting in Getafix complaining
- In Superman: Secret Origin, Sgt. John Corben does this to Lois Lane's new co-worker to intimidate him, but considering this is Clark Kent, it doesn't work.
- Clark Kent's Jerk Jock coworker Steve Lombard tries this on Clark when the two first meet (in Steve's first appearance); Clark of course doesn't really feel anything, but fakes pain anyway to keep Lois from getting suspicious.
- In Who Took the Super out of Superman?, Clark Kent confirms he has been mysteriously depowered when Steve Lombard visits him in the hospital, wants to test his grip, and Clark is unable to crush his hand.
Steve Lombard: Hey, man— you feeling steady yet? Let's see how your grip is! (shaking his hand) Thought so! You've still got the grip of a jellyfish! Just kidding, Clarkie-baby!
Clark Kent: (thinking) I'm in big trouble! I squeezed Steve's hand as hard as I could... and I couldn't even wipe the smirk off his face!
- One occasion had Lombard attempt this only for Clark to troll him by ignoring it, no matter how much obvious effort he was making. Lombard stops when it's implied Clark returns the favor, without changing the audacious curt smile on his face.
- A team-up between Superman and Captain Marvel ended with them both attempting this and refusing to admit the other was having any effect, while Mary and Freddy rolled their eyes in the background.
- A Richie Rich comic has Cadbury do this to Richie's uncle, Olympius Van Sporting, who winces with "E-gad, what a GRIP!" (Unknown to Cadbury, the uncle had dismissed Cadbury as a "sissy butler.")
- Kajko i Kokosz: The two knights are sent to meet the duke's big brother, Wojmil. Wojmil and Kokosz are both examples of Stout Strength and squeeze each other to a standstill. Kajko, being much smaller, saves himself from injury by kicking Wojmil in the shin.
- In an issue of the Dell Comics Ben Casey comic book, an intern's brother accidentally does this to Dr. Casey, foreshadowing that he's not just some random guy in a loud suit. At the end, he offers to shake again, but Dr. Casey wants to be able to operate soon.
- The French comic Les Rugbymen has two team captains shaking hands before the match, and naturally both try this on the other. As a result, they both have to sit out the match with their arm in a sling.
- In the Lucky Luke episode Going Up the Mississippi, when captain Lowriver hires the notorious brawler Hardhead Wilson to delay his rival, Hardhead confirms the deal with one of these. Lowriver's hand is painfully red and swollen in the next panel.
- Dick Tracy: The Brow does this to the Summer Sisters, actually cracking their wristbones to establish the pecking order in his gang. And also because he kind of gets off on cruelty.
- In the boxing fic Well-Matched, the event that's depicted started with each matchup getting introduced prior to the first fight. Kate Kane, the protagonist, and her opponent Sophie Moore are described as having done this to each other during their introduction, as a mutual intimidation tactic.
- Fate DxD AU: When Koneko Toujou shakes Ritsuka Fujimaru's hand, she deliberately squeezes with her Super Strength, but he uses Reinforcement Magecraft to match her strength. He comments to himself that his super strong Servants did that to him all the time, so Reinforcing himself became second nature.
- In Chapter 43 of BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant, Yang and Penny do this to each other. Yang, initially thinking Penny and Ruby are on a date, does this to Penny when introducing herself to intimidate the girl away, but it has no affect on her besides mild confusion due to her greater Super Strength and Super Toughness. Penny, due to a misunderstanding from Ruby, does this to Yang in the same interaction, and unlike Yang's attempt, it actually crushed her hand.
- Superman II. General Zod thinks that Superman has lost all of his powers. He demands that Superman take his hand and swear eternal loyalty to him. Superman takes Zod's hand and crushes it, breaking bones. It turns out he hadn't actually lost his powers. Zod and Ursa did.
- The Master of Disguise: Pistachio receives one when Jennifer first introduces him to her boyfriend, Trent (who already suspects and accuses Pistachio of trying to put the moves on her).
- In High Anxiety, Dr. Charles Montague does this to the main character when they're formally introduced, and during the handshake he says "I was the one in charge before you came". Complete with teeth-clenched tone of voice and forced smile.
- From Predator: When Dutch and Dillon meet after many years apart, they crush each other's hands in an competition of alpha male superiority. After the camera lingers on their bulging arms for a few seconds, Dillon finally surrenders.
- Dr. No: Averted—"Forgive me for not... shaking hands ..." Dr. No later demonstrates his mechanical hands' impressive strength by crushing a gold statuette.
- In The Party, Bakshi receives a crushing handshake from the cowboy actor.
- Ocean's Eleven: Bernie Mac's character does this to a car salesman in order to get a discount.
- Parodied in the film The Quiet Man, where what is meant to be a friendly handshake after a fight between John Wayne's and Victor McLaglen's characters turns into each of them openly trying to crush the other's hand for ages, at the end of which they start fighting again.
- Chozen from The Karate Kid Part II greets Daniel La Russo at the Okinawa airport with a long handshake, complete with shit-eating grin and Daniel's look of disgust. The scene in question is also an example of Not My Driver, since unbeknownst to Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, this is Sato's nephew driving them to meet his uncle.
- X2: X-Men United: Iceman does this to Wolverine by freezing the older mutant's hand when Rogue introduces them. Bobby is aware that Rogue has a crush on Logan, so he wanted to subtly assert his position as her boyfriend. At another point in the movie, Deathstrike shakes hands with Senator Kelly (Mystique in disguise) and seems to be giving a minor one of these. It's unclear whether it was a Does Not Know His Own Strength situation, or if Deathstrike could sense something was up.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Clark Kent does this (probably accidentally, as he's just had a tense conversation with Bruce Wayne) to Lex Luthor when they first meet. Luthor knows exactly who he and Bruce are, and is almost certainly trolling them when he delivers the line below.
Luthor: Wow, that is a good grip! (to Bruce Wayne) You should not pick a fight with this person.
- In Boar, Bernie gives one to Robert on first meeting him. Bruce tells Robert he should regard it as his 'welcome to the family'.
- Hobbs does this to a security officer in Fast & Furious 6 to threaten him against continuing to aid the bad guys.
- In Dog Days (2018), Liz breaks up with Peter following a Bedroom Adultery Scene. Later, when she and Jimmy run into Peter and his lover in the dog toy store, Jimmy takes his hand, squeezes hard, and won't let go until Peter apologizes for cheating on Liz.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2022), Knuckles does this to Robotnik, Agent Stone and later Sonic himself. Interestingly, it's neither a case of Does Not Know His Own Strength nor Knuckles trying to be intimidating; he's just told by Robotnik that firmly grasping the hand of someone is how you make an alliance on Earth and Knuckles, well... Firmly grasps the hand of whoever he agrees to ally with from then on, unaware that most people do not have hands as sturdy as his.
- Ciaphas Cain's augmetic fingers have given him the upper hand (ha ha) in regards to this trope. This has become something of a running gag, since genuinely stronger characters keep trying to intimidate him this way only to be surprised by him effortlessly winning. Major Broklaw is shown to also be fond of this, although he too was blindsided by Cain's fingers.
- In the Harry Potter books, the Slytherin Quidditch team captain tends to do this when he shakes hands with the Gryffindor captain at the beginning of a match. In the first few books, Oliver Wood was able to give as good as he got, but Angelina and Harry (during their respective stints as captain in Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince) had to keep themselves from wincing.
- In the Goosebumps book Monster Blood II, bully Conan Barber does this to protagonist Evan Ross three times, and each one is even more painful than the last.
- And in Ghost Camp, upon meeting Uncle Marv at the camp arrival, Alex Altman get this from him. His brother Harry knows that this happened, because he heard a crack as the hands shook and Alex gasp in pain.
- Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot: In the sixth book, this is how Ricky's Uncle Freddy shakes hands, with his reasoning being that "Nobody likes a wimpy handshake." The Robot, who is as big as a house, ends up doing this to him in return.
- Skip Tyler, Jack Ryan's good friend, was described as giving overly powerful handshakes of the Does Not Know His Own Strength variety.
- Alluded to in Take A Thief — when Skif and Deek agree to work together, Skif is impressed that Deek doesn't try this.
- Subverted in Unseen Academicals, when Andy squeezes Nutt's hand so hard it makes Andy's hand sore, with no discernible effect on Nutt.
- In Raising Steam, Vimes gives Moist a painful handshake because he secretly approves of Moist's latest shenanigans. Moist infers that Vimes isn't actually trying to hurt him, but just doesn't do anything by half.
- In Will Of The Empress from the Circle of Magic series, when the mages in Berenene's court introduce themselves to Briar, they play macho games by trying to knock him over with their magic as they shake his hand, which is essentially meant to parallel this trope.
- Fevre Dream: The burly Captain Abner Marsh likes to conclude business arrangements with a crushing handshake as a show of dominance, but finds himself quite outmatched by the slender and mysterious Joshua York.
- Honor Harrington: The series includes enough characters from high-gravity worlds for the occasional accidental hand-crushing, but it's known to happen deliberately as well. At the first meeting between Klaus Hauptman and Honor, she is surprised to feel him trying to apply a crushing grip since she thought he would be above stooping to such petty displays of power. Since he had forgotten that she is a heavyworlder, she is able to smoothly apply more pressure in turn.
- The Shahnameh: Esfandiar gives one to Rostam. Rostam does not flinch but his hand is so badly crushed it bleeds! It does nothing to intimidate Rostam though.
- Gone with the Wind. Scarlett's former slave Big Sam unintentionally does this when he sees her again, as he's just so happy to be reunited.
- A variant appears in Of Mice & Men; when Curly picks a fight with Lenny, the bigger, mentally handicapped and massively strong Lenny catches Curly's punch and then starts squeezing it as hard as he can in a mixture of fear and anger. Lenny breaks every bone in Curly's hand without even meaning to before his handler, George, can get him to let Curly go. Given the context, nobody blames Lenny for what he did at all.
- The Knight in Rusty Armor: An accidental example. After the court jester suggests that titular knight might be able to find the wizard Merlin to help him, he offers a handshake in gratitude. Naturally, since he's still wearing his full armor, he almost crushes the poor jester's hand with his gauntlet.
- In a memorable episode of I Love Lucy, Fred's grip was actually enough to bring John Wayne to his knees (the Duke was humoring him at Ricky's request), but when he tries it on Ethel, Ethel's grip actually brings Fred to his knees.
- During the M*A*S*H Olympics, Hawkeye and B.J. make a wager with each other, but when they shake on it, B.J. jokingly tries to crush Hawkeye's hand.
- Averted in the episode "Requiem For A Lightweight". Trapper agrees to fight in an inter-camp boxing tournament. When he meets his opponent, Sgt. "Killer" Flacker, Flacker offers a handshake to Trapper, but seeing how huge the guy is and fearing this will happen, Trapper holds up his hands and says, "Me, doctor. Need hands. Operate."
- In an episode of Bones, Booth meets Cam's step-daughter's new boyfriend. After greeting him enthusiastically, Booth throws in some not-very-veiled threats about treating the girl right, including mentioning that he used to be a sniper, and finishes off with a handshake that leaves the kid wincing and rubbing his hand.
- In The West Wing, this happens so often to presidential candidate Arnold Vinick that he ends up with a fractured hand, making handshakes of any firmness agonizing.
- In an episode of Go On, Bob Costas is revealed to do this all the time, and almost always wins.
- A variant in Game of Thrones with Lysa and Sansa. Lysa initially holds Sansa's hands gently as a gesture of affection, but her grip becomes hard and cruel when Lysa starts questioning if Sansa and Petyr are romantically/sexually involved.
- Lois & Clark: In the Pilot Movie, Clark does this accidentally to Perry White at the end of his first (failed) job interview. After Clark comes back with a well-written story and Perry hires him, Clark offers his hand again but Perry doesn't take it this time, patting Clark on the back instead.
- Veronica Mars: Keith Mars does this to every male romantic lead in. Doubles with Papa Wolf.
- Tony on NCIS receives one from a woman who comes in for a job interview—though in this case, it's non-threatening and more because she just has an unusually strong grip.
- A flashback episode of All in the Family depicting when Michael first met Archie, Michael attempted to give him a firm handshake after Gloria told him that it tends to leave Archie with a good first impression. Unfortunately, it turned into this. Things went downhill from there.
- In My Name Is Earl, a former gangster turned preacher does this to Earl twice, although it wasn't really a handshake as much as it was joining hands for a prayer.
Reverend Green: Lord, give me strength!
Earl: You feel strong enough already!
- In Saved by the Bell, A.C. Slater does this in the episode "Class Rings".
Mr. Diamond: What's the A.C. stand for?
A.C. Slater: (crushing handshake) Abnormally cruel.
- After he is revived in The Brittas Empire, Gordon Brittas becomes so strong that a casual handshake from him causes male members of staff to wince in pain and fall to the floor.
- Slade Wilson and Roy Harper do this to each other in Arrow to test each other's Super Strength. Slade wins.
- One Life to Live. Sam Rapaport notes to Viki Buchanan that her ex-husband Clint "Pretty much just pulverized my hand" when they were introduced, indicating that he jealous about the two of them having lunch, though it's strictly professional/platonic.
- Occasionally on Match Game, a male contestant would win the audience match and then the big cash prize with Richard Dawson, who would then shake the contestant's hand and then Dawson feign having his hand injured from the shake.
- Janda Kembang: When introducing herself to Sri's annoying ex Jufri, Wulan grips Jufri's hand so hard Jufri feels pain, implicitly to show she doesn't like him either.
- Played with at WCW Bash at the Beach 1998. Stevie Ray faced Chavo Guerrero Jr., with the stipulation that if Chavo didn't win the match, he had to face Eddie Guerrero in a "loser gets their head shaved" match immediately following. Chavo, wanting to be fresh for the next match (and REALLY wanting to get to Eddie after weeks of abuse at his hands) offers Stevie a pre-match handshake.....and immediately taps out once a shocked-looking Stevie takes his hand. Chavo would proceed to lose to Eddie and shave his own head.
- In The Stan Freberg Show, in the interview between Stan Freberg and the Abominable Snowman, the latter gives the former a very painful-sounding handshake:
Stan: Would you mind squeezing my hand the other way to get it back in shape?
- In The Mikado, this is usually how Ko-Ko demonstrates "All persons who in shaking hands shake hands with you like that."
- The Rose Tattoo features a variation on this trope. Alvaro, approaching Serafina with seductive words, grabs her hand and presses it firmly against his tattooed chest, and she complains: "But, Mr. Mangiacavallo, that is my hand, not a sponge. I got bones in it. Bones break!" He politely relinquishes his grip on her hand.
- In Super Street Fighter IV, Turkish oil wrestler Hakan and Sumo wrestler E. Honda do this to each other before Hakan's rival battle after they disagree on which style of wrestling is the best (of course, it starts with a civil handshake as, choice of fighting style aside, they are very good friends).
- This is one of the possible humiliation moves in Bully against bigger opponents. After nearly knocking out his opponent, Jimmy will stop the fight and offer a handshake to his opponent, who will bite the bait and have their hand appropiately squeezed and twisted.
- In Aperture Hand Lab, during the handshake exercise with Business Bill, he, after the first handshake, urges the player to give him the stronger one, claiming he can take it. Unfortunately, the player squeezes way too hard, which results in Bill's arm breaking off. And then things go literally downhill, as the entire stage malfunctions and player falls into the chasm.
Business Bill: Aaagh! You broke my arm! You're still holding it, You Monster!!
- In Heileen 3, when Morgan first meets John, he delivers a strong handshake that makes John wince in pain.
- Demonstrated competitively by Zii and Angel of Ménage à 3, as seen above.
- The trope is demonstrated by Zadie of Pixie Trix Comix here when Aaron pushes his luck, transforming a business handshake into a crush.
- In Questionable Content #3513 Elliot the Gentle Giant bouncer literally (albeit accidentally) crushes Clinton's robotic hand in this fashion.
- Discussed in Three Panel Soul, noting how a counter is to grab around the other guy's fingers instead of palm to palm.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Triangle", as Gumball congratulates Darwin for getting the slide whistle solo in the school marching band, Darwin feels Gumball is being insincere because he's "kind of breaking my hand right now".
- The Flintstones: Fred's mother-in-law does this to Fred when she comes over for a visit.
- In the episode where Fred plays quarterback for Princestone U., he gets introduced to the players; one shakes his hand and crushes it into the shape of a football.
- In the Goof Troop episode "Leader of the Pack", Max rides into a drive-in restaurant in a "car" (actually a grocery cart with a cardboard car in front of it) and with a "babe" (actually PJ holding a cardboard girl over his face). Gang leader Duke comes over to meet Max's babe, and PJ introduces himself a Clarice. They shake hands, with Duke squeezing PJ's hand.
- In the Goofy short "The Art of Self Defense", Goofy's shadow comes to life and when the narrator demands that the rivals shake hands as a sign of sportsmanship, the shadow crushes Goofy's hand (through the boxing glove on top).
- In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), there is an episode where Man at Arms shakes hands with his brother. When they shake, the brother's mechanical hand can be heard clanking, implying he's applying more pressure than he needs to. Man at Arms doesn't scream, however.
- In the King of the Hill episode "Westie Side Story" when Hank meets Kahn for the first time he accidentally does this to him.
- In The Legend of Korra, after being pressed by President Raiko to develop some countermeasure to Kuvira's spirit ray cannon, Asami and Varrick shake hands to cinch the partnership... but Asami remembers the last time she partnered with him (he tried to steal her company Future Industries out from under her), and nimbly turns the handshake into a pressure point attack on his hand while warning him not to try it again.
- Bluto/Brutus does this to Popeye in several Popeye cartoons, followed by a shot of Popeye's red, crushed hand and a "wrumph-wrumph" sound effect. In one cartoon, the hand literally turns into a vise when he does this
- Potsworth & Company: In "When Bubba Rules", that's how the Nightmare Prince learned Bubba deserved being called "Bonebreaker".
- Apparently, Steelheart from Silverhawks doesn't know her own strength. Whenever she shakes hands, the person she's shaking hands with quickly crumples over from the pain. Fortunately, Commander Stargazer is smart enough to refuse her when she offers him one.
Steelheart: "Put 'er there, sir!"Stargazer: "Forget it! I read your file!"
- Spider-Man: The Animated Series: Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) tries to crush Peter Parker's hand while they are both in civilian identies. Peter realizes that his hand would've been crushed if not for his spider strength and that Norman seems to also be invoking I Know You Know I Know.
- In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Prototype", Corey Mills puts on Powered Armor and becomes a new hero. When Superman shakes his hand, Corey deliberately squeezes as hard as he can. It doesn't hurt Superman, but it is strong enough for him to notice.
- In Teen Titans in the episode "Sisters" Blackfire gives this to Cyborg crushing his fingers causing him to say "Little girl, big handshake!"
- In Droopy's Double Trouble, Droopy's super strong twin cousin Drippy crushes the hand of Droopy's superior, the mansion's head butler, upon extending it for a shake.
- Total Drama: After the elimination ceremony in "Runaway Model", Jo is moved over from the Mutant Maggots to the Toxic Rats. This means that she once again is on the same team as Brick, also a former Maggot. They did not part on friendly terms, but Brick's not one to hold grudges and holds his hand out to welcome Jo to his team. Jo takes it, pulls him towards her, counters that she's welcoming him to her team, and crushes his hand in a display of dominance.
- In the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Home Sick", Spider-Man shakes hands with the Hulk as the two of them part as friends. Once the Hulk is safely out of earshot, Spidey starts crying out in pain as his hand pulses and throbs from being on the business end of Hulk's handshake.
- This can be a source of occasional Cross Cultural Kerfluffles: there are many areas where it is considered rude not to return a handshake with a firm grip. This unfortunately results in some Values Dissonance when a person from such a region shakes hands with a person used to the custom meaning "briefly wafting hands in proximity". The person from the firm-handshake region is usually percieved as this trope, while the hand-toucher is in turn often perceived as standoffish, insincere, condescending, or even deliberately insulting.
- Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was born with a withered left arm, developed the strength in his right arm to compensate. Given that his job required him to meet-and-greet numerous officials, the Kaiser would do a cruel prank where he'd turn his rings to the inside of his hand, then give a crushing handshake until the official begged him to stop.
- Donald Trump has one that he combines with a jerking motion to put whomever he's shaking hands with off-balance. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made international headlines by holding firm and not letting Trump complete the power move. French President Emmanuel Macron also did the same thing before a NATO summit in Brussels, gripping Trump's hand hard enough to make Trump's knuckles turn white.
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi once gripped Prince William's hand so hard that the handshake left very detailed finger marks◊ on the prince's hand.