So I’m at the Arnold Classic recently and saw the FatGripz booth; another one of those  “why the hell didn’t I think of this?!” simple products that adds so much potential value to a workout for the cost, it’s a ‘no-brainer’ to own them. While at the  booth, I did a few sets of chins ( see minute 3:20 of  Arnold Classic Vid) and as usual, I could feel it in my grip, and arms much more so then if doing it without the FatGripz. They are one of those uber simple cost effective products that simply works in an increasingly overly complicated world, but more on that shortly…

Here’s a simple fact of life: if your back and legs can dead-lift 700lb, but your grip ends at 300lbs, your dead-lift is 300 lbs. Thus, your grip is truly the final link in the chain that dictates what you can pull off the ground or what you can hold onto in general, be it a chin up bar, barbell, or other objects. Your grip is your ultimate contact with the weights. For strength athletes, such as power lifters, strongman competitors, and others, grip strength is king. Without it, you are no place. When it comes to strength, you are only as strong as your weakest link and most strength athletes know that fact all too well.
Grip strength is also a key factor in various martial arts, especially MMA. If you grab onto someone’s sweaty forearm and they easily pull away from your grip, it will make a big difference in the outcome of that MMA match.
Various athletes from places one might not expect, from golf, the shooting sports, and others, know a strong grip plays either an important role – or a key role – to their success. That’s why the worlds top strength & conditioning coaches, and knowledgeable strength athletes – such as Dave Tate, Joe DeFranco, Charles Poliquin, Jim Wendler to name a few, focus on functional grip strength, often using fat grip/thick handled barbells and dumbbells. Problem for most people is, their gym has few if any thick handle dumbbells or barbells (usually 2.5” in diameter) as they tend to be both expensive and a “niche” product to your average health club or gym.

What of Bodybuilders and Increasing Arm Size?

Perhaps less appreciated, but no less important, thick handled dumbbells and barbells also stimulate the forearms and muscles of the upper arms to boot, so they have real utility to those looking to add size and strength to the entire arm, not just increasing  grip strength. As Charles Poliquin has said
“… as much as possible, train with thick bars when training the upper body … Can’t add size to your biceps? Try working the forearms!
Your standard barbells, dumbbells, chin-up bars and cable attachments are only about 1” or so in diameter, which of course makes them easy to grip. That’s well and fine for beginners, non-serious trainers, and bodybuilders (more on that issue in a moment…) but it’s not optimal for everyone else serious about maximizing their functional strength and muscle mass.
For purely visual/ aesthetic athletes (e.g., bodybuilders) the issue of grip strength can be a paradox, as a need to isolate out a weak part of a movement to get additional stimulus to a muscle, is often the goal, thus why bodybuilders will wear straps for dead lifts, bent rows, and other back movements: to take out the weakest link in that particular movement, which is their grip.

Enter FatGripz…

hopefully I have convinced you  of the value of thick handled bar work for both grip strength, arm strength, and upper body work, but you don’t have access to the equipment. This not the same as sitting there squeezing some silly rubber ball or spring loaded gizmo to improve grip strength, this is interacting with the real world performing movements that greatly improve gripping strength on actual objects. Fat Gripz
allow you to get all the benefits of thick handled training at a fraction of the cost.


For strength athletes of all kinds, the Fat Gripz
are a ‘no-brainer.’ To not have them in your training arsenal, is to short change yourself, period. For MA/MMA athletes, law enforcement  (who are often trying to hold onto someone who does not want to be held onto!) and others, again, a ‘no-brainer ‘must have’ product in my view. Finally, for bodybuilders, there’s clearly a value, as a new stimulus to the arms is always going to help with growth in the long run, and the improved grip strength, is an added plus to other movements that work larger muscle groups, such as the back, legs, etc.  However, the optimal way for bodybuilders to use FatGripz may be to use them at selective spots in their programs. For example, there may be a week per month  where the FatGripz are used, or it may be that one exercise per muscle group is using them, or it may be during an arm specialization phase of your program, and so on. As bodybuilders often need to remove the weakest link (often the grip) to the movement to achieve added stress on a muscle or muscle group, some experimentation will be needed and the specific goals and experiences levels, as well as other variables, may need to be taken into account to find the optimal way to incorporate FatGripz into the program.
For More info: Fat Gripz

See You In The Gym!

PS, as always, feel free to leave me some comments, thoughts, questions, etc below in the comment box!

  1. Andre 13 years ago

    Nice, Will! My college gym recently got two five-pound, hollow thick bars. I haven't used them, but I'm going to check them out now that I read this. Great stuff.
    Do you think there's any benefit to using thick bars for pressing movements such as benching and overhead pressing? I feel like they'd only be useful for pulling, but I'd like to hear what you think.

    • odie stewart 13 years ago

      Well its bout time that someone came from the rafters with this info….for years when ive been asked why i wrap washcloths around those lil sissy bars, I say well, its simple, the more the diameter of the bar any bar the more stiration that comes into play hope that the idiots at the yca in niles mi reads this

  2. John 13 years ago

    Good job Will. I wonder how durable they are?

  3. Author
    willbrink 13 years ago

    Obviously the major benefit is to the pulling muscles, but it's been reported by many their seems to be some benefit to pushing also, probably due to a small change in recruitment patterns would be my guess.

  4. Author
    willbrink 13 years ago

    They are made of some very dense rubber. My guess is they will outlast the user by a long shot. They have a warranty anyway, but mine don't look any different then the first day i started using them.

  5. douglas 13 years ago

    I have been using them for the past 3 weeks and notice a difference. I use them for rows, pull ups, presses, bicep curls. for deadlift I had to significantly decrease the weight. my concern is the musculature of the back and chest and shoulders may lose size and strength with the decrease in weight, even though the exercise is challenging. Any truth to this?

  6. Author
    willbrink 13 years ago

    Doug, depends on your goals, etc. Decreasing weight to other muscles might be an issue, so you have to have a plan on how to incorporate them, per some of the ideas I outlined above for bbers, etc. Like anything, not to be used exclusively but inclusively to a well designed program, and that program depends on what type of athlete and the goals, etc.

  7. don 13 years ago

    im having some issues right now with my tendons in my arm, golfers elbow…. ive been lifting lighter till they get better… will this possibly help or would it not be a good idea to strain them further using this larger grip???

  8. Author
    willbrink 13 years ago

    I'm not sure, as it depends on which tendons are inflamed and such. I do know one person with bicep tendonitis who found the larger width of these grips helped actually.

  9. Freddy Bielke 13 years ago

    This is the kind of information I’m looking for. I just started working out with weights for the fist time. I want to do things the proper way, and that includes which supplements to take. I am a 17 year old male, and about 165 pounds. Thanks in advance!

  10. Big 13 years ago

    did you check out the grip4orce at the arnold as well… if you did whats the difference between the 2…??? one better than the other?

    • Author
      willbrink 13 years ago

      I didn't see that product at the show, so I can't comment on any differences. Wat ever differences there may me, you can't go wrong with the fatgripz in my view.

      • Walt Harris 13 years ago

        I have both sets. I got me a pair of FatGripz about a year ago- yes they're awesome to achieve more thickness on a bar. I bought a pair of Grip4orce about a month ago online b/c I also saw it at the Arnold- their booth was too packed to get me a pair. They both give you the thickness but the difference is that Grip4orce is a way bigger challenge. There's something inside the device that makes it harder to keep squeezing, so it's a whole different workout. I might give my fatgripz to my little brother b/c it's like I can get what I need out of grip4orce.

  11. TheDude 13 years ago

    Saw both products at the Arnold. Fat Gripz are MUCH better quality.

  12. DC 11 years ago

    I’ve moved up the challenge with grip4orce now. I felt using the fgz made my grip lazy in some lifts.
    I do suggest the younger not grip guys to start with fgz then move up to g4s.

  13. Sam 11 years ago

    Great stuff and love the fact you guys have Pantera on in the background. I’ve heard listening to Pantera can result in a 30% increase in strength as well! 😉

  14. ravnesh 10 years ago

    these books and the informations are interesting, i have learnt a lots ofn stuffs from these information booklet, thanks mate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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