Fat Gripz Review: Why & When to Use Them
updated June 6, 2018
What Are Fat Gripz?
The Fat Gripz product is an instant thick bar handle. You use them to instantly make you dumbbells, barbells or pull up bars thicker. When you add Fat Gripz to the handle, it will increase the width that you are gripping by about two inches.
Fat Gripz were the first product of its type in the commercial market that allowed people to mimic thick bar training. Now there are a number of companies that offer similar products.
Why Use Fat Gripz?
When the handle is larger it will tax your hand differently. It requires you to use your thumb tip and your finger tip more to get more engagement in your grip. When you grab a normal dumbbell or barbell handle your finger tips don’t have to do much work. Using Fat Gripz is one of the best ways to strengthen your grip.
One of the big plusses about Fat Gripz is that they are far more cost effective than purchasing an axle grip bar or getting loadable dumbbell handles. Fat Gripz will work on virtually any bar that you have in the gym. They can even be used on kettlebells, though they will not lock all the way around the kettlebell because of the design of the handle of the bell. You need to place it so that the opening is in toward your palm. That way, the kettlebell won’t fly out of your grip.
When you use the Fat Gripz you are displacing the spread of the weight over a larger gripping area. This will take pressure of your joints, while also placing more stress on the target muscle, especially when working the biceps and triceps. The Fat Gripz people, in fact, market the product as a way to build bigger arms.
How They Affect Your Workout
Adding Fat Gripz to your workout is going to make any exercise you do that much harder. It will make your grip, wrist and forearms work a lot more. As an example, if you use the Fat Gripz when doing pull ups and could previously knock out 20 reps without them, you will be lucky to get to 10 reps with them. And after your set, your forearms will be ultra pumped.
If you are using a barbell, dumbbell or weight machine with the Fat Gripz, you will have to lower the weight when you start out. It will feel as if you are holding a log when compared to a regular barbell or dumbbell. Most people find that, when working with dumbbells, they need to lower the weight by about 20% than what you were using prior to introducing the Fat Gripz. For the larger barbell compound movements, such as the bent-over row, shrugs and deadlift, start off by decreasing the weight by 40%. Of course, this will vary from person to person, and will be determined by hand size, strength, and previous grip work.
The good news is that your strength will rebuild very fast once you regularly use the Fat Gripz. In fact, many people will be able to return to their pre-Fat Gripz weights within a couple of weeks.
Many users of the Fat Gripz have made a special note that the Fat Gripz produce a far greater pump in the biceps when doing barbell curls. Of course, it also produces an awesome forearm pump, so the combination will be pretty intense.
You will also notice an increase in DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in all muscle groups.
How to Use Fat Gripz
The great effects that you get from the Fat Gripz may cause you to want to use them in every workout. That is definitely NOT a good idea as it will lead to severe overtraining of the forearms. You will not be able to hold a pen outside of the gym if you use these things every time you train!
When you start out, you should just use the Fat Gripz when you are training your arms. Then, after a couple of months, add them in when doing Pull Ups or Chin Ups. That will be enough to get great results in terms of increased grip and forearm strength to translate into all of your non Fat Gripz exercises.
Why Strengthen the Forearms
Strengthening your forearms is vital if you are going to continue making strength and muscle gains. The forearms are more than just another body-part. They are the link between you and the weight. When they give out, then your set is over. This is especially important when you are doing heavy back exercises, such as deadlifts, lat pulldowns and bent over rows. Weak forearms will stop your back training dead in its tracks.
Developing the strength of your grip, you will have much greater hand endurance. This will allow you to carry a heavy weight for longer. In addition to benefitting you when you are doing such exercises as the Farmer’s Walk, you will be far more functionally strong. As a result, you’ll be able to carry your groceries or suitcase for longer. You will also be improving your individual finger strength and dexterity. If you do a lot of typing, or play a musical instrument, this will directly benefit you.
In addition to the practical benefits of having a strong grip, there are few things that look as impressive as huge, veiny forearms, especially if they lead up to an impressive pair of biceps and triceps.
The people behind Fat Gripz have recently come out with their Fat Gripz Extreme product, which is about twice the thickness of the original product. When you put this bar thickener on the bar, your fingers will remain at least an inch apart when you grab hold. This makes it much more challenging for your grip.
The fact that your hands have to squeeze harder makes the exercise much more difficult. Your entire arm and shoulder will be forced to do more work.
As with the original Fat Gripz, the Fat Gripz extreme is made from dense rubber material. They are very tough and hardy, and you would have to be trying hard to damage them in any way. As a result, they should last you for a long time. Although the Gripz will move if you twist it while it is on the handle, because you are squeezing tight as you lift, they will not move.
The Fat Gripz Extreme is thicker than most other competing products on the market. The only potential drawback is that the surface of the Fat Gripz Extreme has a texture, along with print and a seam that may interfere with your grip. However, you can position your hand so as to avoid these points.
Both versions of the Fat Gripz are very portable and lightweight. That means that you can take them with you on business trips or vacations in order to customize the equipment at any training facility that you come across.
To determine if you should go for the regular or the Extreme version of Fat Gripz, grasp your hand around the sleeve of an Olympic bar. If your hand easily fits around with plenty to spare, then you should opt for the Extreme version.
Fat Gripz VS Iron Bull
The major competitor to the Fat Gripz is the Iron Bull Grips. The Iron Bull Grips, come in three sizes, 2 inches, 2.5 inches and 3 inches. In comparison, the Fat Gripz only come in 2 and 3 inch versions.
Iron Grips are made from a similar rubber material to the Fat Gripz, but the Iron Grips have a little more rubber on the sides. This provides you with more cushioning so that they don’t squeeze down as much as the Fat Gripz.
The Iron Grips are contoured to fit your hand, as opposed to being straight across. This adds to your comfort when gripping the handles.
One thing that is not so good about the Fat Gripz is that it produces quite a strong smell. Even if you put them through the washing machine the smell will not disappear. So, as long as you can put up with the odor, the Iron Grips will provide you with slightly more comfort and a greater range of grip width options than you will find with Fat Gripz. However, they are slightly more expensive.
Fat Gripz vs Shark Grips
Another popular alternative to Fat Gripz is the Shark Grip. The Shark Grip has a similar straight profile to the Fat Gripz. However, it does feature more indenting along the surface in order to enhance your grip and hold.
The Shark Grip is made from 100% food grade silicone, making it both strong and safe. It is non toxic and the material makes it virtually indestructible.
The design of the Shark Grip provides a larger surface area to take the force of your hold. This greatly reduces the stress on your joints. It also puts your hands into a neutral grip, which is the most joint friendly hold.
This makes them especially beneficial for people who have pre-existing problems with their wrists or elbows, such as tendonitis or tennis elbow.
The straight profile of the Shark Grip is great for people who are training for a strength event and so need to exactly mimic the shape of the bar they are using (for example, if you are a Strongman competitor). The Shark Grip is a very competitively priced, high quality alternative to the Fat Gripz.
Fat Gripz vs Manus Grips
Another competitor to the Fat Gripz is the English brand Manus Grips. Manus have established a point of difference by being the only grip on the current market that have certificates for material safety which endorses the silicone used in their product to be 100% safe for human contact.
The Manus Grips have projected ends, as opposed to the flat ends on the Fat Gripz. This creates a mini barrier to prevent your hands from slipping off the handle half way through the workout. Manus Grips also features internal knurling, whereas the inside of the Fat Gripz are flat. The internal knurling allows the Manus Grips to create more friction with the handle of the bar, producing a more secure connection.
The outer surface of the Manus Grip is smooth, providing a more comfortable grip in the palm of the hand. Manus Grips also come in five colors.
Fat Gripz are the original instant bar thickener to improve the strength of your grip. They are an affordable way to immediately give any exercise a greater grip and forearm focus. Although there are a number of competitors that have come onto the market, you can’t go wrong with the original, which is available in a standard and an Extreme version. The few dollars you spend on Fat Gripz will be one of the best home gym investments you make.