How Often Should You Use Fat Gripz?

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How Often Should You Use Fat Gripz? Fat Gripz are an excellent tool that can help you increase grip strength and recruit more muscle fibres in the arms but they shouldn’t be used every workout. Use them on select exercises for upper body workouts once a week to provide a different stimulus. 

Fat Gripz are an excellent accessory that will really bring up your arm development and grip strength just by adding them to a select few exercises. There are however some obvious drawbacks to getting carried away and using them on too many exercises that they are not well suited to (heavy pulls where the focus is on the back muscles and not grip strength).

Fat Gripz are also only relevant to upper body work and in particular pulling and curling exercises, they can also be used on pressing movements but this would be at the expense of strength so again it’s something that you can use from time to time to mix up your training stimulus however it shouldn’t be the standard. 

How Often Should You Use Fat Gripz?

With the above in mind you should not use Fat Gripz every workout as they are a specialty accessory that should be used with a specific purpose or to change the training stimulus every so often. 

Therefore I recommend programming Fat Gripz into only a few of your exercises on a regular basis (2 – 3 exercises per week) and occasionally use them on some compound movements in order to change up the training stimulus. 

This was a very easy recommendation to make however if you are past the beginner stage of training and looking for some intermediate to advanced training techniques that come with thick bar training then read on I’ll cover thick bar/Fat Gripz training in more depth.

What are Fat Gripz

If you are reading this then you either already own a pair of Fat Gripz or are weighing up whether or not they are worth purchasing. 

Fat Gripz are a training accessory that can easily be attached to most standard and olympic weightlifting bars (this also includes most dumbbells and machines) in order to increase the diameter of the bar which increases the girth and makes it more challenging to grip. 

Thick grip bars are specialty bars that are custom made with a larger diameter so Fat Gripz are not revolutionising the method of thick grip training, this has been a hardcore training method for years and to my knowledge Charles Poliquin is one of the most well known adopters of this training technique. 

What Fat Gripz do however is offer a portable and versatile way to add thick bar training to exercises that would have otherwise needed to have been specially made for this purpose. They therefore allow more selection in your training methods.

What Are the benefits of Thick Bar Training

As mentioned most of what I know about thick bar training came from reading Poliquin’s training principles, the main benefits behind thick bar training in no particular order are:

  • An increased grip strength
  • Greater neuromuscular strength in the hand and forearms
  • More muscle fibre recruitment in the upper arms, particularly in the biceps
  • Less stress on the elbow and shoulder joints

As you can see training with a thick bar and a more open handed grip has multiple carryover and benefits when it comes to training performance and ultimately physique development. Just because this training variable shows benefit however does not mean that you should prioritise it. 

Improving grip strength will have multiple positive benefits including the ability to handle more weight and recruit more muscle fibres when pulling, what you do need to consider though it that training with a thick grip is more challenging and as a result. 

It can’t all be beneficial otherwise bars would come with a thicker grip as standard, the key drawback being that you won’t be able to handle as much weight as you normally would which would not be ideal when using it on heavy pulling exercises like the deadlift and rows. 

It’s ideal for using these exercises to quickly bring up grip strength however when targeting your larger pulling muscles you’ll want to stick to the standard size bar (for most and myself personally straps are usually required for maximal pulling sets where your grip gives out long before your back fatigues).

What Exercises Are Best for Fat Gripz

Now you know thick bar training and the use of Fat Gripz is beneficial for increasing grip strength and recruiting more muscle fibres of the forearms and upper arms. Due to the neuromuscular demands of grasping something with a wider grip the exercises that you want to use Fat Gripz on primarily are those for arm development. 

Do Fat Gripz Build Bigger Arms

Creating maximal muscular tension is one of the keys to muscle growth alongside progressive overload, a calorie surplus and adequate rest and recovery. This is therefore one of the factors that you need to consider when training all muscle groups though and not only the arms. 

For arms however you really need to focus on creating as much mechanical tension as possible because getting the biceps for example fully contracted and fully lengthened requires a number of different exercises to achieve. 

Your arms will need to be overhead when curling for maximal contraction whereas your arms would need to start behind your body (incline dumbbell curl) to fully lengthen the long head of the bicep. With this in mind you want every exercise that you do to involve as much muscular tension as possible and Fat Gripz will certainly help you with that and contribute to building bigger arms as a result.

Forearms

The number one focus for Fat Gripz should be to focus on grip strength and forearm work however you don’t need to use them on every exercise. The key one that you will want to use Fat Gripz on is a heavy dumbbell hold or farmers walk. 

The heavy hold with a fat grip is one of the easiest exercises that you can program, master and progressively overload with no way to cheat the exercises or use bad form. Place a dumbbell on a bench, attach the Fat Gripz and simply pick the weight up and hold it for time (hanging by your side).

If you pick up a 30kg dumbbell and hold it for 60 seconds then your next progression will be to increase the weight and try to hit 60 seconds again. You could also go heavy and test the 30 second range which would be a good split to do this twice per week including one heavy day and one moderate day. 

This is ideal for progressive overload because going from 30kg in 60 seconds to 32kg in seconds is unquestionable progress, you can’t cheat holding something by grip alone as you will simply drop the weight once you can’t grasp it for any longer so is a perfect grip strength exercise in my opinion.

Use Fat Gripz on pulling exercises from time to time including the deadlift and heavy rows in order to test grip strength and overload the forearms but be aware that your larger back muscle may be under-stimulated as your grip strength gives out first. 

If you are looking to progress further, it’s worth looking into some Fat Gripz Extremes which will further test your grip strength and recruit more muscle fibers.

Biceps

Fat Gripz on bicep exercises are a real game changer in terms of muscle fibre recruitment due to the neuromuscular stimulus and muscle tension created from the additional tensing/squeezing of the thick attachment. 

As a basic test grip your right arm around the bicep/tricep area with your left hand and curl your right arm (no tension), now squeeze your right hand into a fist as hard as you can. Once you do this you should feel the muscles in your right arm tense significantly and this is a result of muscle tension brought on from the kinetic chain of the arm. 

Therefore the more force you need to squeeze a bar and curl it the muscular tension you create in your upper arms, Fat Gripz will provide this tension perfectly.  

There are no special exercises that you’ll need to do for this, however make sure that you get a good mix of exercises to target all heads of the bicep. I’ll add a balanced routine towards the end of this section. 

Triceps

I’ve just preached about creating more mechanical tension when it comes to recruiting more muscle fibres and essentially just squeezing the bar as hard as you can. The motivation for using a thick grip when training triceps is however slightly different…

Tricep training and pressing in general for the most part is very demanding on your joints, tendons and ligaments and one of the main reasons is because of the weight placed on a joint when locking out the movement. 

The elbow joint takes a beating for most pressing exercises and it’s particularly vulnerable when training the triceps. Most people who will experience elbow or knee pain at some point, I’ve personally had this when overloading my overhead tricep extensions at a quicker rate than the tendons and ligaments could keep up with. 

By using a thicker diameter for pressing it distributes the strain of the weight more evenly across your wrist, elbow and shoulder joint more evenly and can be a real joint and training saviour if you are someone that struggles with the above. 

Example Arm Routine With Fat Gripz for Bigger Arms

The following routine is one that you can use if you follow a specific arm day focused routine, this can be cycled over a two week period. 

Workout A

Dumbbell hammer curl (non fat grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
Cable tricep pressdown (non fat grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
Seated EZ preacher curl (Fat Gripz) – 3 sets x 8-12 reps
Close grip bench press (Fat Gripz) – 3 sets x 8 reps
Incline dumbbell curl (non fat grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
Cable overhead tricep extension (non fat grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
Dumbbell hold (Fat Gripz) – 3 sets x 60 seconds

Workout B

Cable rope curl (non fat grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
Cable rope pushdown (non fat grip) – 3 sets x 12 reps
EZ bar spider curl (Fat Gripz) – 3 sets x 12 reps
Close grip dips (Fat Gripz) – 3 sets x 8 reps
Wide grip barbell curl (Fat Gripz) – 3 sets x 8 reps
Dumbbell overhead tricep extension (Fat Gripz) 3 sets x 12 reps
Dumbbell hold (Fat Gripz) – 4 sets x 30 seconds

The above workouts use a mix of Fat Gripz focused exercises to either get full muscular tension on an exercise or to alleviate the joint stress on a tricep specific exercise. 

This shows that for arms you can definitely get use out of Fat Gripz every workout however this is a specific example and it’s not for every exercise. In general you wouldn’t be using Fat Gripz every workout on a non specialised plan.

Are Fat Gripz Worth It

Thick bar training is something that is a great muscle building stimulus and is a tool that should be programmed for one reason or another into most peoples training routines. Not everyone has access to these specialty bars, Fat Gripz are therefore a game changer in this regard. 

Fat Gripz are a specific brand that have dominated the market so it’s a lot easier to reference these however there are many other brands that offer a similar product, the key takeaway is that these cheap rubber accessories are 100% worth purchasing for anyone past the beginner phase of training. 

They are so affordable, versatile and genuinely performance enhancing that there are no downsides to purchasing any set and testing them out for yourselves.

If this has caught your interest you might also want to check out 5 accessories for hardgainers

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