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.
So 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. FatGripz allow you to get all the benefits of thick handled training at a fraction of the cost.
For strength athletes of all kinds, the FatGripz 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 on FatGripz, Click Here
See You In The Gym!
PS, as always, feel free to leave me some comments, thoughts, questions, etc below in the comment box!