In a petrol engine, springs keep the valves closed. If you want to work on those valves, you have to keep the spring compressed. To have the hands free, one uses valve spring pliers. Her jaws are forked to fit on the stem of the valve. The mouth opens when you press on the arms. In some models, the jaws always remain parallel to each other. A rack and hook prevent it from closing.
Valve spring pliers are to be distinguised from battery clamp pliers. [MOT]