Thick Bar Training To Strengthen Grip. Thick bar training is becoming more popular and is being recognised as more than just a tool for increasing your forearm size and grip strength.
Training with tools such as thick handled dumbbells and barbells increases motor unit activation which gives you bigger and faster gains in whole body strength.
Training with a fatter grip helps build functional strength as the increased diameter of the barbells and dumbbells more closely resembles the things we come up against in life and in the sporting arena such as the handle of a sledge hammer or axe or an opponent’s arm in grappling sports such as judo or MMA.
The benefits of thick bar training regarding strength and muscle are obvious but what isn’t often mentioned is the healing effect it has on injuries to the elbow.
Injuries in this area occur due to the strength deficit that exists between the upper and lower arms according to world renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin and fat bar training using a multitude of different grips has a positive effect.
Having used these kind of training tools myself I can tell you that the soreness you’ll experience is like nothing you’ve experienced from using normal diameter dumbbell and barbell training equipment.
I’ve had increased soreness in the thumbs, fingers and wrists which I didn’t experience when using normal diameter barbells and dumbbells – and this was caused through the increased effort of keeping a hold of the thicker handles.
One of my favourite exercises with a thick grip is pull ups with fat gripz. No fancy equipment required apart from a normal fixed bar to perform chin ups – which you can find in most gyms and a pair of fat gripz which are an excellent and relatively inexpensive grip training tool.
What I found when I reverted back to the normal diameter grip pull ups after training with a fatter grip for a while – was that I could perform 3-4 more pull ups.
This was because my grip and not my pulling power was the limiting factor before I began training with the fat gripz.
The use of thick handled dumbbells and barbells has always been a favourite of the professional strongmen of old.
Back in those days these lifters were more concerned with their performance than how they looked in the mirror.
And because grip strength isn’t always visible to the naked eye this type of training and the thicker handled training implements began to die out as men became more interested in appearance than performance – and the diameter of the training equipment became mostly the regular size that you see now.
But thankfully thick bar training tools didn’t die out completely and there are more and more places popping up on the internet that make and supply this excellent grip training equipment.
In buying dumbbells you should aim for a diameter of between two and two and a half inches thick – and your barbells between 2 inches and 3 inches thick.
The dumbbells and barbells with thick handles will feel awkward as well as much heavier than ones which weigh exactly the same but have thinner handles.
Thick bar training will transform not only the strength of your grip and forearms but the strength of your whole body.
Overhead presses, bench presses, bent over rows, pull ups, deadlifts and exercises like the farmers walk or simply tossing a dumbbell from hand to hand – all performed with thick handled dumbbells and barbells will transform your physique and your strength to new levels.
Performing these exercises virtually takes care of the much neglected area forearm training.
And I think you’ll be more than happy with the results thick bar training produces if you’re prepared to put the work in and hit your workouts hard and regular.
Persistence is the key word in this type of training as it is in life.
And if thick handled dumbbells, barbells and even fat gripz are out of your reach financially – make your own. Simply take the dumbbells or barbells you are currently using and add a layer of tape around the bar after each workout.
This will give you the same results in your grip strength improvement as if you had added more weight – I got that from the great little book by John Brookefield The Mastery of Hand Strength – so take heed.
I hope this short article has inspired you to give thick bar training a try because the results you can get from training like this is one of the main reasons why the old timers had such powerful hands and sinewy forearms.