Recently, I posted an older video from last fall of me running through a deadlift medley at a strongman competition. The medley consisted of two lifts on a 2″ axle. A good friend asked how the 2″ axle compared to Fat Gripz on a standard barbell. I actually had no idea, so I set out to test it. A few months ago I had also posted a picture comparing the Fat Gripz and Fat Gripz Extreme on Facebook, but I think it would be useful to have archived here.
For the unititiated, Fat Gripz are cylindrical silicone grips that can be wrapped around a barbell, dumbbell, or any other equipment handle. The original blue Fat Gripz are approximately 2″ in diameter, while the new orange Fat Gripz Extreme are 2.75″, which may not seem like much but is an enormous difference in terms of difficulty. With the addition of these grips, a regular bell can imitate the strongman implements of yore.
They are, quite possibly, the cheapest and most useful thing you could possibly add to your gym bag. The amount of variety they can add to your training is hard to quantify. Want stronger and more healthy hands? Toss them in your gym bag, and rotate them into your normal movements on occasion.
I could go on and on, but I digress, because that’s not the point of this blog post.
Without further adieu, here are my numbers:
|2” Axle||Fat Gripz on Barbell||Fat Gripz Extreme on Barbell|
|Fat Gripz on Dumbbell||Fat Gripz Extreme on Dumbbell||Sorinex Bosco Bell|
|Best One Arm Snatch||100||85|
|Best One Arm Clean||105||90|
|Best One Arm Deadlift||150||125||135-140|
All the barbell lifts, and all the dumbbell lifts were done on the same day.
You can see that on the two-handed deadlift, while the diameter is essentially identical, the nature of the silicone grip makes it quite a bit harder than an actual axle. It’s hard to say what the transfer would be if someone trained exclusively with the Fat Gripz (whereas I have probably trained much more with the actual axle), but I think someone capable of a 300lb deadlift with Fat Gripz on a barbell would have at least another 20-30lbs in them on an axle.
On the single handed lifts, I think there is still a deficit compared to a solid handle, but it seems to be less. I don’t have Clean and Snatch numbers on the Bosco Bell (which is about 2.7″) yet because I’ve loaded it to 120, and that’s out of my reach for now. The Extreme size is every similar to the Bosco.
I hope this is useful to see how your training with the Fat Gripz compares to the implements they imitate.
As a D-2 strength coach and grip fanatic I will only use Grip4orce due the hand being engaged tight throughout the movements. So Grip4orce is much different then anything I’ve trained with. Axel bars still might be used on OH presses but that’s about it
Cav, thanks for your comment. I’m personally not a fan of the Grip4orce due to exactly the reason you describe. I don’t think that the hand being actively pried open the whole time is the most productive way to train the grip. I don’t have any direct comparisons, although I do know that Adam T. Glass felt the same way and makes it pretty difficult to argue with considering he is one of the best in the world.
Grip4orce is more direct with the hand being forced down. Squeezing, much more effective with athletes.
I disagree that it is more effective, but thanks for your comment!
Have you actually measured the diameter/circumference of the fatgripz while actually On the bar? The fatgripz are 2 inches in diameter when they’re sitting around, but they are pried open wider when they are on an actual bar because the hole is smaller than a barbell. You probably lifted less because the bar was wider and less because of the material (unless you have a particularly thin barbell). I’d actually like to find a fatgripz alternative that is slightly thinner so it’s actually 2 inches when on the bar.
It’s certainly possible, but the comparison still holds true. I’m not saying the specific silicon surface is what makes the difference, but the Fat Gripz, which will usually be on a bar and slightly wider like you point out.
I do like this article, but will agree with the above statement on Grip4orce. these are a bit more direct with always giving feedback when the hands are properly squeezing tight and also increases way more forearm and grip activation.
I try to do a comparison and shoot over man ;]
As I said before, I disagree. There aren’t many implements that are actually actively opening your hand up. Therefore it is non-specific relative to grip sport, and of debatable specificity for any other sport. But if you get better results from it, that’s great.
it seems G4 is the proven grip product. I want my athletes to squeeze than just lay there hand on a object. Wrestling is one, holding a football, baseball bat etc….you want more power you need stronger hands period. Why are hand held crushers so good? ,,,,because they are developing the hand to squeeze tight just like the G4.
Torsion grippers are great for developing one specific quality of grip strength. I know of many grip athletes that are great at crush grip but can’t lift an Inch dumbbell to save their lives. I don’t know any grip strength freaks who swear by grip4orce.
I like fatbarz better, coz they are more of like an actual axle compared to grip4orce.
Dwight Hasbrouck says
I have tried them all and my favs are from Iron Bull Strength.
I use the 2.5 model.
I have a 2″ axel bar and a 2.5″ as well.
Grips and bar use are both great!
Not a fan of G4 grips.
I was using Fat Gripz until I discovered IBS.
My personal vote for best grips are IBS.
My 2 cents with 45yrs of hardcore iron lifting experience.
I do like the Iron Bull grips as well.
dwight hasbrouck says
I forgot to mention that a hang clean,reverse curl and or curl movement are harder with an axel bar. These moves on an Oly bar with the grips have the revolving advantage. My Watson brand stubby 2.5″ bar is a beast when doing those moves!