So, why aren't many weight trainers using them?
Other than the reason they're much more difficult to use, thick bars are not cheap. Some would cost hundreds of dollars. That's the reason they're so hard to find in gyms. Even the commercial thick bar handles (or fat grips), which are basically adapters affixed to the bar cost more than $40.
Improvised Fat Grips for Thick Bar Training
Here's a simple DIY project that will allow you to make a couple of homemade thick bar handles or fat grips. The are made mostly from ordinary materials. In fact, I was able to get the materials while cleaning out the garage. The only store bought items were a couple of pvc couplings and they cost less than a dollar.
The parts of these improvised fat grips do not require any glues or messy adhesives. They're easily washable and can be assembled on most exercise equipment.
- EVA or Foam Rubber Floor tile (interlocking mats), 1' x 1', 1/2" or 3/4" thick - 1 pc.
- PVC pipe, 2" diameter, 6" long - 2 pcs.
- PVC coupling, 2" inside diameter - 2 pcs.
hard rubber foam handles, hose clamps, velcro straps
The photo below shows 2 pieces of 6" PVC pipe and a PVC coupling on top of an EVA floor tile.
- With a hacksaw, cut 2 pieces of a PVC pipe that's 2" in diameter. The length of each piece is 6" (or longer for larger hands). Each piece will become one thick bar handle.
- Cut each PVC pipe lengthwise along the middle. You may need a bench vise to hold the pipe as you saw or ask an assistant to hold the pipe securely as you cut along its length.
- With a hacksaw, cut off both ends of the PVC coupling. Each piece is 1" wide. Discard the middle part of the coupling. Do this also for the other coupling. The two pieces for each coupling will become the 2 locking rings for one thick grip handle.
- With a coarse or bastard file, bevel the outside edges of the thick bar handles (pvc pipes). Also bevel the inside edges of the locking rings (coupling pieces) with a round file or rasp. This step is optional, but it will allow you to quickly slip on and remove the locking rings on the thick grip handles.
- With a flat file or sandpaper, remove all burrs and smoothen all rough edges. Do this for all the PVC pieces.
Shown below are two halves of a PVC pipe and the two pieces cut from a PVC coupling.
- With a heavy duty pair of scissors, cut 4 rectangular pieces from an EVA floor tile. Each piece is 2 3/4" wide and 5 1/2" long. Two pieces will form the interior lining for one thick bar handle.
The photo below shows the two pieces of interior lining (right) for the two halves of the thick bar handle (left).