November 13, 2020

So you want forearms to match those upper arms and a grip ready to crush some skulls. Fat bar training is your ticket there. Fat bars aren’t a readily available piece of equipment in most gyms. Fat Gripz very easily turn a regular barbell into a thick bar that you can perform any traditional exercise with.

However, there are three different sized Fat Gripz to choose from. So how do you know which one to buy? Here is a quick summary before we dive into the details.

Fat Gripz OneBest for those with a hand size <7 inches from the wrist crease to the top of the middle finger.

Fat Gripz OriginalsBest for those with hand sizes between 7-8.5 inches from the wrist crease to the top of the middle finger.

Fat Gripz ExtremeBest for those with hand size 9+ inches from the wrist crease to the top of the middle finger.

I personally love my Fat Gripz Originals and really started frequently incorporating fat bar training after reading Brooks Kubik’s Dinosaur Training which I would highly recommend to any training enthusiast.

They also make great grip training tools for grapplers.

To help you decide on your Fat Gripz purchase, I decided to do some original hand research to come up with the above sizing. You can see how I got there below.

Which Fat Gripz Should You Buy?

You may read that certain Fat Gripz models are better for some lifts than others. For example, the website states that Fat Gripz Ones are best for deadlifts while Fat Gripz Originals are best for arm training.

I personally don’t agree with this categorization. For me, it ultimately comes down to hand size. I often use my Fat Gripz Originals for all sorts of lifts like Power Clean & Press, Rows, Deadlifts, and many more.

Finding the Fat Gripz that suits the size of your hand is the most important criteria for choosing which Fat Gripz to buy rather than which exercises you will perform with them.

I did my own hand size research so I can help you when deciding which Fat Gripz are best for you. To do this, I measured my own and my wife’s hand.

Wingspan Hand Female
Wingspan Hand Male
Our hand wingspan are very similar at around 8 inches. However, if you look at how our hands wrap around the Fat Gripz when placed on a 28mm bar, my fingers and thumb are much closer together than my wife's.

The space between my finger and thumb is about 1 inch while my wife's is about 2 inches.

Fat Gripz Benefits
Holding Fat Gripz 2
So I also measured from the crease of the wrist to the top of the middle finger. Turns out my length is 1 inch longer than my wife’s. Mine is about 8 inches and hers is about 7 inches. So this is probably the best hand measurement to go by.
Hand Length Female
Hand Length Male
I would consider my hand average-sized and I’ve found the Fat Gripz Originals do the perfect job for all exercises from pressing to pulling to arm exercises.

My wife on the other hand struggles when performing pulling variations with my Fat Gripz Originals. She would likely be better off using the Fat Gripz Ones.

Being female likely also plays a role where females generally have smaller hands altogether. So Fat Gripz Ones make the perfect model for females with hand sizes <7 inches. Males that have a 7-inch hand size may still be fine with the Fat Gripz Originals due to thicker hands and better overall grip strength.

The Fat Gripz Extreme are reserved for those with large hands. I would say hands that are about 9+ inches in length from the wrist crease to top of the middle finger.

I say this because there is about a 1-inch gap between my finger and thumb with my hand wrapped around the Fat Gripz Original when attached to a 28mm bar.

That is another point to consider. Your bar size. Standard Weightlifting bars and most CrossFit bars are 28mm in diameter. Some bad quality regular gym barbells can be up to 30mm which dramatically increases the size of your Fat Gripz when attached to the bar.

So if you only have the option of 30mm barbells, take this into account with your Fat Gripz choice. You may decide to size down depending how close you are to the ends of the hand measurement recommendations I provided.

Fat Gripz One vs. Fat Gripz Original vs. Fat Gripz Extreme

Features

Outer Diamter

1.75 in/4.45 cm

2.25 in/5.72 cm

2.75 in/6.99 cm

Color

Black

Blue

Orange

Length

4.75 in/13.2 cm

4.75 in/13.2 cm

4.75 in/13.2 cm

Hand Size

Small

Average

Large

Material

Military Grade Rubber

Military Grade Rubber

Military Grade Rubber

Knurling

Yes

Yes

No

Weight

1 lb

1 lb

1 lb

I've done the research for you and have found Rogue Fitness to be the cheapest price for buying Fat Gripz. You can also buy Fat Gripz Extreme there. However, Fat Gripz One has to be bought from Amazon.

Fat Gripz Benefits

A 1999 doctoral dissertation had subjects train 4x a week for 6 weeks with one group performing all exercises with a 0.75-inch fat grip [1]. The fat grip group doubled their handgrip strength compared to the control group with a similar trend seen in 1RM chin-up and bench press.

A recent study in Division I golfers found that performing their training program with Fat Gripz Originals improved ball speed, ball carry, and driving distance whereas the control group who trained with regular barbells saw no change [2].

Finally, a 2019 study found increases in forearm muscular activation when using Fat Gripz Ones compared to a regular barbell [3]. They concluded Fat Gripz may be advantageous for those targeting grip strength.

How To Use Fat Gripz

Using Fat Gripz is as simple as placing them on the barbell or dumbbell handle. To do this, simply open on side of the Fat Gripz, put it around the bar, then do the same for the other side.

How To Use Fat Gripz
When performing any kind of pulling movement with the Fat Gripz, point the opening towards your palm. It will keep the Fat Gripz secure and you won’t get the feeling of the bar slipping out of the Fat Gripz.

When pressing, I prefer to have the opening facing away from my hand as it’s more comfortable to have no gaps when it’s sitting in your palm.

Fat Gripz Exercises

Here is a list of some exercises you can add your Fat Gripz to:

  • Deadlifts
  • Power Cleans
  • Press
  • Rows
  • Pull-Ups
  • Curls
  • Tricep Extensions
  • Bench Press
  • Press Variations Off Pins

After my extensive use of Fat Gripz, I managed to pull 135 kg with a fat bar which isn't bad for a fat bar deadlift!

References

1. Kruger, M. J. (1999). Effects of thick-bar resistance training on strength measures in experienced weightlifters (Doctoral dissertation).

2. Cummings, P. M., Waldman, H. S., Krings, B. M., Smith, J. W., & McAllister, M. J. (2017). Fat grip resistance training improves driving performance in Division I male golfers. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

3. Krings, B. M., Shepherd, B. D., Swain, J. C., Turner, A. J., Chander, H., Waldman, H. S., ... & Smith, J. W. (2019). Impact of Fat Grip Attachments on Muscular Strength and Neuromuscular Activation During Resistance Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

About the author 

James de Lacey

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.


Tags

grip training


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