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fat gripz on pull-up bar

It’s kinda funny to talk about grip strength here, considering you’re supposed to keep your hands loose when running and just keep a loose grip on the handlebar when cycling. But building up grip strength (your hands and forearms) is very useful for everyday life, and who knows, maybe stronger hands are less likely to get sore during long rides?

So I’m going to review a product called Fat Gripz. These are really cool “gripz” that turn any bar (we’re talking pull-up bars, dumbbells, and barbells) into a fat bar.

What’s a fat bar? It’s a bar that is about 2″ in diameter, rather than the typical 1″ bar. Sometimes they’re called “thick bars.”

You use these bars in place of your regular bars, and they’re A LOT harder to hold. You really work your grip trying to hold on and push/pull the weight. The problem with fat bars is that they are very, very expensive!

Fat Gripz, on the other hand, cost $39 for a pair. Way, way cheaper than buying a single fat bar!

And think about the versatility – a set of Fat Gripz can turn your barbells, dumbbells, curl bar, pull-up bar, wrist roller, ab wheel, etc. info a fat bar version! On the other hand, buying a single thick barbell is going to run you $200+.

So yes, I think the idea is superb and the value is even better. But how do they work?

Fat Gripz Installation (Putting them on the bar)

This is simple and only takes a few seconds. You slightly pull the grip apart at the slit, and stick one edge on the bar. Then you just push the grip on completely, starting at that first corner. No sweat.

Testing the Fat Gripz

fat gripz

First up, I decided to use these for the deadlift. That’s probably the #1 lift to use these grips for, considering your grip plays a vital role in lifting the weight. And it’s also a great lift for runners and cyclists.

So I put the Gripz on my Olympic bar with a couple 45’s on, making for a 135lb deadlift. For anyone familiar with weight training, that’s not a whole lot of weight for the deadlift.

Well, I did three reps! My hands hurt!! I rested, then managed another three reps. Then after more rest, I was only able to do one final rep. My hands were killing me! So I called it quits after that. For the next couple days, my hands were hurting pretty bad!! And if I would even look at the Fat Gripz, my hands would ache!

Once my hands were back to normal, I stuck these grips on my pull up bar. I was expecting a challenge, but man, this blew me away! Just hanging onto these things is tough! I managed to do two pull ups, but I hardly count the second one, considering my hands were slowly sliding off the grips!

It’s unbelievable! If I’m in shape, I can do about 20 pull ups. With these grips, I barely do two!! It actually feels like my lats (the main pull up muscle in your back) don’t even come into play. There’s just so much stress on my hands that I can’t actually use my big muscle groups.

Just hanging on the bar holding these is a workout! It makes me think of the movies where a character is hanging off the edge of a cliff or tall building and they can’t hang on very long. I always though, “that wouldn’t be that hard.” But after using Fat Gripz, I realized my assumption was terrible!

You can also do exercises like bicep curls, bench press, etc. using these grips, and that’s a little easier on your hands, so I’ll probably do that for a while. But, I still plan to focus on deadlifts and pull-ups with these to get the hardest grip workout in minimal time.

Do they work your grip?

These really, really work your hands. It’s a whole new level. Even though I already do things like wrist roll ups, Bone Crusher grippers (those things you squeeze together,) and weighted pull ups, I was not ready for fat bar training!

I’ll need to use these for a while to see what kind of results I get, but I can certainly tell they work, so I’ll be sticking with them!

fat gripz on pull-up bar

How do they feel?

The grips are rock solid and won’t compress in your hands. They’re comfortable, though. The rubber material is a good combination of the solid feel of a metal bar and the comfort of a bicycle handlebar grip.

Also, using the Fat Gripz is a new sensation. They don’t let you get a solid grip on the bar. There’s a sensation that the bar will fall out of your hands since you can’t clamp down completely. (Well, maybe if you have giant hands you can.) But if you have normal size hands, it will be a whole new feel.

It’s almost like rock climbing where you can only get your fingers on a grip. You’re using your hands rather than your entire forearm to utilize your grip.

Homemade versions?

I’ve seen homemade “fat grips” made with PVC pipe and they are nowhere near as sturdy, convenient, versatile, or comfortable as Fat Gripz. I like to make my own stuff to save money, but in this case, the Fat Gripz are well worth buying!

fat gripz on dumbbells

My final verdict is…

Fat bar training is great for working your hands and grip. That’s very important for some athletes like wrestlers, grapplers, and rock climbers; it may be helpful for paddling, too. It’s kind of important for BMX and mountain bike racing, but not very applicable to running or swimming.

So as an endurance athlete, you probably don’t need to use these. But if you do want to improve your hand strength, this is a great way to do it!

Official website: www.FatGripz.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Fat Gripz
Product: Fat Gripz
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2011-07-20
Obtained Product: Gift from friend.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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  1. Why not just wrap duct tape or athletic tape around the bar until it gets really thick. That would cost only about $5.
    Also doing pullups using a square bar is also really difficult because you can only grip it with your fingers.

  2. @JRR

    Yeah, if you can find a square bar or a sturdy overhang (sometimes industrial door frames are nice,) that’s a great place to do pull-ups. Towel pull-ups are also great for improving your grip.

    Those are great free options, but as far as thick bar training goes, you can’t beat the Fat Gripz. Wrapping duct tape around the bar? Do you realize how long it would take? And all you get is a squishy, sticky grip. And you can’t remove it and replace it easily. That would just be a mess.

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