Old time strongmen would train with homemade equipment. This stuff was made from whatever they could get their hands on, and came in varying grip diameters and shapes. Thick bar, or fat bar training was born. The world’s elite strength coaches have caught on, and professional athletes, bodybuilders, and strongmen have known about fat bar training for years. You will develop not only greater grip strength, but improve your overall strength as well. You’ll also increase stability and improve structural balance in your upper extremities, possibly reducing pain from tendinitis or other repetitive use/imbalance injuries.
A muscle can contract harder when the muscles around it contract. This happens automatically. Make a fist. Squeeze it hard, and notice as your forearm contracts. Squeeze harder. Notice as your biceps and triceps contract. The effect carries all the way up into your chest and back. Then try to make a tight fist without tensing all of those other muscles. You won’t be able to squeeze as hard. In this way, a more intense effort in your grip allows greater overall muscle activation in any lift, and impressive results.
Thick bar training will give you more functional grip strength. You will be able to pull more weight towards you, because you will be able to hold on to more. You will have greater control of weight when pushing away from you.
There are several studies out there to support the science behind thick bar training, and I can tell you from personal experience that I saw huge strength gains when I started training with thick bars and dumbbells. I’ve seen clients benefit in sports performance, building muscle, and daily functioning. Women benefit from grip training just as much as men, too!
The mainstream fitness industry hasn’t caught on to thick bar training yet. Plus, thick bars can be expensive; so most gyms don’t have them. If you’re not one of the lucky few who have access to this equipment there’s still hope. Fat Gripz are a portable solution available at FatGripz.com that can easily be tossed in your gym bag to turn almost any bar into a fat bar. I also love GripsFears. They are like rubber balls that will clip over your bars to convert them to a fatter grip, with a unique shape and challenge. These are available in the JoeToProAthlete.com online store.