Using a thick bar when shoving weights about has many advantages:
- Much harder to grip, so trains grip strength and forearm strength without having to do tedious little extra exercises at the end of a hard workout.
- You may find the weight you can handle is less at first, as the strength in the forearms and hands increases to come into better balance with the strength in the upper arms, chest and back. And then you’ll find you can shift more weight with less stress on the shoulders or elbows, for example, because now the strength is coming from the entire arm. Similarly with lifts like the deadlift or Roumanian deadlift, frequently it is the grip that fails, not the legs.
- In the real world you will also get stronger, because much of what we handle does not have a nice straight bar to get a good grip on, so a stronger grip and being used to struggling with an awkward hold trains the brain to deal with picking up a heavy weight that is difficult to grasp.
Pressing exercises are easier to do than pulling ones; chin ups or pull ups are much harder with a thick bar than the bench press, for example. The above video has many exercises. The only one I think looks dodgy is the very final one, where I have to confess to being very worried about the man hitting his chin on the bench. Not a good injury to get – and one that will take years to recover from. It also makes sense to build up the time working with a fat grip, rather than trying to blast a whole workout using a thick bar throughout, when only used to 1″ diameter bars and dumbbells.
Instead of a long tube as used in the video, it is possible to buy short grips, for example Fat Gripz, which will go round dumbbells, barbells or chinning bars.