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Fat or Thick Grip Training

Updated: May 23, 2023

There is a basis in physiology for its effectiveness.


Does changing the diameter of a gripping implement really make a difference in the usefulness of an exercise?

Are there scientific studies or principles that support why a larger gripping surface will activate more muscle fibers and recruit a higher number of surrounding muscle groups during exercise?

The answer to both of these questions is yes.

To understand why, we must first look to a principle known as muscular irradiation.

Irradiation is not a new term. Coined by Charles Scott Sherrington, Nobel prize winner in  Physiology 1933, Sherrington’s Law of Irradiation states the following:

"A muscle working hard recruits the neighbouring muscles, and if they are already part of the action, it amplifies their strength. The neural impulses emitted by the contracting muscles reach other muscles and enhance the desired contraction."

(Learn more about Charles Scott Sherrington here:

Simply stated this law says that one muscle group working hard will begin to activate the surrounding muscle groups. The knowledge of this occurrence is especially interesting when choosing which pieces of equipment to use in your training protocols.

In regards to the grip, hand, wrist and forearm strength; having a wider surface causes the flexors and extensors to work harder to hold the object. 

As those muscles enter into a higher degree of contraction, the irradiation principle begins to come into play. The biceps, triceps, deltoids and more will begin to contract helping the principle actors get the task done. 

The famous strength and conditioning coach Pavel Tsatsouline has made this principle a bedrock fundamental o his teaching methods. He uses a famous testing strategy with students asking them to create force through an ever larger chain of activation and through more and more complex exercises. 

(Learn more from Pavel here:

Combing this principle with the extra work produced through Fat-grip equipment, a person can maximize their efficiency in training. The same length or volume of training becomes more useful by creating a new, harder stimulus. 

Charles Poliquin, eminent authority on all things strength has written numerous articles on the benefits and science behind fat-grip training. Most notably are the benefits to joints

The larger diameter of bars , dumbbells or other implements causing greater muscle activation have been shown to displace stress away from joints loading the muscles themselves to a larger degree. This creates a compounding effect where by we develop the results we want without the aches and pains associated with repetitive strength movements. 

Taking all of this into consideration, we here at Happy Fat Rings have developed the world’s first wooden gymnastic ring with an extra wide diameter to expressly promote these benefits. 

Now that you know, grab your pair of premium fat grip rings today at our shop. 

References and articles of interest. 

Robert Gannon is a Crossfit and Special Strength Coach with Crossfit Gala, Barcelona and Westside Barbell. He is also one of the founding partners of Happy Fat Rings, makers of the world’s only 36mm premium thick grip gymnastic rings. He has more that 20 years teaching experience and strives to help people from around the world get better.

Get your pair of the world's only FAT GRIP gymnastic rings today: CLICK HERE!

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