Product Review: Fat Gripz
Training grip strength with odd lifts, thick bars, and strong man equipment often makes such training exclusive to those with access to specialty equipment. Fat Gripz is an exercise tool that makes the functionality of wide-grip pull up bars and thicker barbells as portable and user friendly as your water bottle.
Most literally, Fat Gripz, which retail for $39, are made from a “military-grade high-density compound” that is both durable and easy to hold onto. These portable, royal blue rubber grips can latch onto nearly any standard barbell, dumbbell, or pull system grip. Though they are completely portable, they do stay in place during aggressive training. One can kip on the pull up bar with them, as well as cycle through heavy deadlifts, for example.
The utility of Frat Gripz is remarkable, especially considering how well they are made. They are rubber, but you could make a good argument to add a few pounds to your workout log when training with Fat Gripz on your barbell. If training with a thick bar is a priority, Fat Grips will absolutely save you the cost of a new specialty barbell that will likely be more expensive and used less than your standard barbell. The intended use for the product is most notably in the pull up and in lifts like the bench press, deadlift, bicep curl, etc.
How then does Fat Gripz have relevance in Olympic weightlifting and other modalities, you ask? Fat Gripz makes reference to Canadian Olympic weightlifting champion, Bryan Marshall, who describes experiencing improvement in his Olympic lifts after utilizing Fat Gripz for his supplemental work (i.e. chin ups, pulls, and deadlifts). So, the results Fat Gripz have to offer may show up in lifts and exercises that don’t directly utilize the grips to train with.
Building grip strength has a huge carry over affect across exercises and modalities. Fat Gripz recognizes this as a "weak link" for many athletes who with proper training could access abilties untapped due to deficient grip strength.Will Brink, a strength trainer for US SWAT teams, describes it well when he says, “If your back and legs can dead-lift 700lb, but your grip ends at 300lbs, your dead-lift is 300 lbs. When it comes to strength, you are only as strong as your weakest link.” For many athletes, this does ring true, and if grip strength is a problem area, Fat Gripz is a very logical solution.
One should be careful, however, before they drink all the Kool-Aid that Fat Gripz has to offer. Will Fat Gripz provide an easy, affordable way to train grip strength without buying new equipment? Absolutely. Can grip strength prove to be just as valuable as anything else when completing a lift? Sure. I am hesitant, however, to recognize the gains available with training thick grip lifts extends far beyond the body’s ability to adapt to the wider grip.
I firmly support that any athlete who is training with a thicker pull up bar/dumbbell/barbell for the first time will see gains, especially when returning to a standard grip training tool. However, that curve of improvement does have an end, and as soon as grip isn’t the issue and strength is, then it’s back to strength training as we know it, Fat Gripz or not. So, all the areas where Fat Gripz claims to unlock gains for those who are stuck in a plateau may in fact see improvement only to be met by another plateau. Those plateaus, however, are the responsibility of the athlete or trainer, not Fat Gripz.
Grip is a huge factor for my training and I think many people can benefit from the Fat Gripz product. I won’t be able to tell you I’ve unlocked the key to my first 300 lb snatch, however. I’ll use Fat Gripz the same way I used a donut in the on deck circle in my baseball career. It’s a quality, useful tool with a time and a place.
Fat Gripz retail for $39.00 and are available on Fatgripz.com.