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Getting my hands on some ‘Fat Gripz’

Fat Gripz are a training implement designed to do one thing: strengthen your grip. Very recently I had the honour of trying these bad boys out for the very first time! 

They’re made from tough rubber-like material and they sleeve either a barbell, pull up bar or even dumbbells. By using these, you’re forced to grip a larger circumference which in turn puts your grip at a mechanical disadvantage. This disadvantage causes more direct stress and overload which can only result in positive adaptation.

You get a stronger grip and maybe even some bigger forearms!

                     Popeye forearms

I tried these out on my favourite movement; pull ups. And even with a thumbless grip, there was an appreciable amount of forearm involvement – plenty more than usual. One can only imagine what these would be like on true forearm exercises like wrist curls, reverse barbell curls, farmer’s carries and dead hangs from a pull up bar.

( – Fat Gripz on a variety of equipment

The practicality of Fat Gripz is not to be ignored either. They take up precious little space and can be thrown in any gym bag, and they don’t break the bank. You can get a good pair on Amazon for less than £30.00 and I can’t see durability being an issue; they’re well reviewed and hard wearing.

What exercises are they best used on? 

They shine most when used on any movement that involves the forearms/grip by default. Generally any pull pattern – deadlifts, rows, curls, pull ups and carries. Using them on these will make your forearms beg for mercy and you may even end up with some actual forearm growth!

What about pressing? Can I use Fat Gripz for presses too?

You might assume doing so to be pointless, but according to various sources of research, even using Fat Gripz on presses has been shown to have positive effects on grip strength. I should point out that it’s upper body pressing and not lower body pressing. Don’t put Fat Gripz on the bar for back squats. That would be silly and dangerous. You’re smarter than that.

Shall I use them indefinitely? 

It’s not necessary or even that sensible. If you’re using them on a deadlift variation, you will NEVER be able to lift as much weight with the gripz as you would with straps or a hook grip. As a result, your ‘power muscles’ such as the glutes, hamstrings, spinal erectors and traps will never get maximal stimulation.

Using these for 4-6 week phases where your sole purpose is building grip and forearm strength seems like the shrewdest approach. You temporarily accept your overall poundages may regress, but you come back with superior grip strength which can only lead to greater poundages in the future.

These are a fine tool. Use them when appropriate.

As I am a sucker for experiments, maybe I should run a full 4 week block of using these on all upper body movements/lifts? Maybe I could document my progress in terms of grip strength/endurance and dare I say it…….forearm growth?

Approval or not, I think I will.  



JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

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