Fat grips have become the all-new craze across the fitness industry. Well, across the strength training part of the industry. You’ll hear about how amazing and wonderful these fat grips are for improving your training, strength, and performance. And it’s all true! I became a fan this past year when I was training for my physique show and needed to kick up my arm size. Fat grips were my go-to and they worked. Unfortunately, I’m seeing many people throw fat grips onto barbells, dumbbells, and cable systems without a thought. Yes, they improve training but only when done correctly. So, let’s review a few “dos” and “donts” for fat grip training.
- USE MODERATE-TO-LIGHT WEIGHT
Your grip is going to improve whether you like it or not. But, if your goal is to stimulate growth of your biceps and triceps then don’t try to break world records. Lighter weight will allow you to 1) feel a greater muscle contraction and 2) relieve stress on you elbow flexors. This goes double if using a compound exercise like chin-ups.
- DON’T USE THEM PRIOR TO HEAVY POWERLIFTS
Yes, fat grips are great for improving grip strength and grip strength is vital for powerlifting, especially the deadlift. However, if you use fat grips on the deadlift you will be using more than 1/3 less weight in orde to pick the bar off the ground. This is NOT good if you’re trying to build a stronger back and legs for deadlifting. However, you CAN use them AFTER you’ve performed your hard work sets. Once those are complete, then, focus on your grip strength. Not before.
- USE THEM FOR WORKOUT FINISHERS OR HIGH REPS IN NORMAL WORK SETS
Muscles grow by gradually increasing the load and time under tension. Fat grips do a great job of this by forcing more muscles throughout the hand and forearm to contract and forcing muscles in the upper arm to work harder. More muscles worked equals more gains. A great way to do this is by 1) using reps of 12-20 in your work sets and 2) using the in a “burn out” exercise such as 10 sets of 10 reps for quick barbell bicep curls.
- DON’T USE THEM ALL THE TIME
Variety is the spice of life. The same concept is applied to training with fat grips. Yes, they help build muscle and improve grip strength. However, too much of anything is usually bad. The size of a grip has tremendous impact on your wrist, elbow, and even shoulder health. By varying the size of your grip you will train the muscles through the wrist, forearm, and upper arm differently. It’s not much but it’s just enough to help keep your joints healthy and not cause chronic pain or injuries (i.e. strained bicep tendon, torn labrum, tennis elbow, golfers elbow). Use fat grips throughout your training but take them off every other cycle.
Don’t worry about the brand of fat grips. Most athletic stores sell them for about $30. The first and easiest exercises to apply fat grips would be on any biceps exercise with a barbell, dumbbell, or EZ curl bar. Focus on feeling the muscles contract and you’ll be a fan of fat grips just like me. J
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!