Who loves variety and options? Everybody. Specialty bars provide variety AND options for your training. They were created to solve specific problems, and they can make training more fun. Some specialty bars are great for main exercises but offer limited uses outside of squatting or pressing. This is where you can add accessories like Fat Gripz to kill two birds with one stone. Fat Gripz transforms any standard barbell (dumbells, pull-up bars, and cable attachments too) into a thick bar. As you can see, the uses go well beyond max effort and dynamic effort. 

Now don't get me wrong, I love my El Gordo fat bar from elitefts. The aggressive knurling and pressing with the solid bar can’t be replaced. Fat Gripz can give you what the fat bar does yet has even more benefits. When used on a power bar, Fat Gripz provide a smaller deficit than a cambered bench bar but still provides an extended range of motion. The extended range of motion will require more speed to break through your minimax. The attachments also require you to squeeze extremely hard. If you get lazy and do not squeeze, you will be able to tell right away. I have not used the extreme version, but the bigger size will provide even more of a deficit, closer to a cambered bench bar. 

Shoulder Pain While Benching?

If benching with the cambered bar hurts your shoulders, set the bar in the J-hooks at the bottom of the rack and perform push-ups. These serve as a great finisher that'll provide a stretch to the pecs. They also serve as a great substitute to extend that range of motion. After your main work, you can still use them on lat attachments, dumbbells, and other barbell movements to build the muscles. 

Elbow or Forearm Pain?

I once was having some elbow/forearm pain, and Dave Tate recommended I use Fat Gripz. He told me to use straps if needed, but the open-hand position may relieve some of the pain from overuse. This small change in grip provided some relief. Remember, I am not a doctor. If you are in pain, you should consult a medical professional. 

Now that we have covered some Fat Gripz basics, here is the practical portion. Listed below are some cycles and exercises I have used. Understand, this is not an exhaustive list. When you know what problems you need to solve, you will be able to come up with many more variations. 

Fat Gripz for Max Effort

Any max effort exercise can be transformed with the addition of these handles. I tend to be drawn to more traditional max effort exercises like floor press, close grip, incline, and reverse band. You can double the number of max effort exercises available with a straight bar with this accessory. Every home gym owner should have a pair to expand their options. 

Dynamic Effort with Fat Gripz

I can’t say that using these for speed bench would be my number one choice, but go with it if it's all you got. I might even consider starting slightly lighter to make sure you don’t have any grip issues when trying to reverse the weight. Although these will work for you, you may want to save them for more repetition work. 

Speed bench with bands

40% bar weight and 25% band tension

Speed bench with chains

40-50% and 20-25% chain weight

Speed bench with bar weight only

60-70% bar weight

Dynamic effort clusters 

40-50% bar weight

Week 1 (9 total sets)

  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)

Week 2 (12 total sets)

  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 3 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)

Week 3 (16 total sets)

  • 4 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 4 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 4 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)
  • Rest 1 minute
  • 4 sets of 3 reps (15 seconds between sets)

This cycle can be repeated at a lower percent but with 5 reps per set. 

Timed Repetition Cycle

Choose a weight in the 50-75 percent range. Perform as many good reps as you can over 10 minutes. If your form gets sloppy, rest longer or stop. Set a rep record that you can come back to beat at a later date. This works well for many exercises. 


6x6, 8x8, 10x10 — Multiple Cycles

This is the starting point for those who need more mass and want to keep dynamic effort out of the mix longer. Begin with six sets of six reps. Start light enough to leave some reps in the tank but not so light that you will easily get all the reps on week three. I recommend a jump of 10 to 20 pounds per week. After three weeks, increase the reps to eight sets of eight and adjust the weight accordingly. After three weeks, move on to 10 sets of 10. After the 10x10 week, you can cycle back to six sets of six reps or move onto something different.

6x6, 8x8, 10x10 — Three-Week Cycle

Just like before, you want to choose carefully. Starting with six sets of six reps on week one, increase the reps to eight sets of eight reps on week two, and then 10 sets of 10 reps on week three. You can cycle back to six sets of six reps next week or change to something different. Keep track of your records on those rep ranges and try to break them by five pounds each time you come back to them.

6x6, 8x8, 10x10 — Deloads

Every time you deload, you will skip dynamic effort and do rep work instead. The first deload will be six sets of six reps, the second will be eight sets of eight, and the third will be 10 sets of 10. Depending on how frequently you need to deload, this should cover you for 12 or more weeks. For more variety, use a special exercise like a board press or floor press in addition to the Fat Gripz.

Fat Gripz Push-up Finishers

The push-up finisher with Fat Gripz can be done multiple ways. Not only can these be done as a finisher on pressing days, but they make great extra workouts. You will still get an extended range of motion, a more open hand because of the size and the benefits of a close chain movement. 

Three Sets to Failure

Do as many push-ups as you can until you are near failure. Rest two to four minutes and repeat. Once you have a record, you can come back and try to beat that. Vary the rest times to have multiple records. You can also add chains, a band around the back, or a weight vest for even more variables. 

100 Reps

Rather than focusing on total reps, this one gives you the reps, and you try to work to one set. The goal is 100 reps in as few sets as possible. Rest as needed. The same options as above can be added once you can knock out 100 reps in one set.

Ladder Fat Gripz Push-ups

John Meadows made ladder push-ups famous, and now you can use Fat Gripz in place of the cambered bench bar. The Fat Gripz gives you a smaller deficit to work with, but the concept is the same. Stretch and then flex yourself up. The goal is not to press yourself up but to flex the muscles and squeeze yourself up. The goal is more muscle.

Set the bar in the bottom of the rack, and two J-hooks set eight to ten inches higher. Perform reps to near failure, then move the bar up to the next J-hook. Then repeat. Once on the top J-hook, go to failure. In this video, I used a band for added resistance. 

One-inch hole spacing makes setting up proper positions much much easier. You can raise your feet, add bands, add chains, perform band or chain drop sets, or use your body weight for even more reps to increase the difficulty. If you have a training partner, this is a great contest to get everyone going. 

Arm Work

Arm work is a given. Everyone wants bigger arms. Slap the Gripz on some dumbbells, a barbell, bands, blast straps, or on your beer for 12-ounce curls. Even more fun is the contrast between the Fat Gripz and a regular handle. Here are some blood-pumping variations for you to do in your rack. 

Drag Curls and Elbows Out Fat Gripz Extensions

Dead Stop Fat Gripz Barbell Extensions

You can do these from multiple angles. Keep the elbows high and the bar in the chin/neck area.

Band Exercises

Adding the grips to bands for assistance work isn’t necessary, but it does feel a little more natural. If you have a home gym, this is a quick way to add variety. 

Fat Gripz Palms-up Kick Backs and Curl Combo 

Fat Gripz Band Overhead Press with Forward or Backward Influence

I won’t lie. I was having a little shoulder pain that I was trying to work around. The version with the bands pulling forward is a winner. It will make the upper back and posterior work very hard. Add more freedom to your press.

Fat Gripz Band Fly

Band flys are a great addition to upper body work. Get a pump without getting in a compromising position with heavy dumbbells. Slap your Gripz on some bands, and you can get a great contraction at the top and lower the intensity when you are in the most dangerous position. 

You can use a single band under the bench, or you can do them standing. They have different feels, and you will need to figure out which one you like better. When standing, you can anchor the bands lower or higher to hit the chest differently. These are great for a warm-up as well as for extra workouts. Can your fat bar do that? 

JM Push-up with Fat Gripz

Here is one from Dave Tate. A one-set finisher. Set up the bar in the rack about knee height or slightly above. With a band around your back, do bodyweight JM presses. Like ladder push-ups, you will move the bar up six to twelve inches when nearing failure. Keep going!

As you see, Fat Gripz makes a great addition to any gym. Realize, they are not a direct replacement for the fat bar or cambered bench bar. Instead, Fat Gripz creates its own specialty bar that resembles other specialty bars. I think this product is well worth the investment and takes a pretty good beating. Now, go get fat!