Fat Gripz...or just thick grip training
It's easily been years since I've done anything resembling a normal-diameter bar for pull-ups with any regularity. I've avoided them like I had an allergy to them...if I've even used a bar at all. Venture far enough into this blog and you'll find numerous example of me using towels, balls, ropes, suspension rigs, or just a plain thick bar to do pull-ups with. Early on in my training I developed a rich respect for training with some sort of grip challenge and couldn't conceive of a week going by without one.
While I love adding grip challenges into my training, I only do grip training only when I can do no other form of work (ie: CoC training when I'm in a plane or car). At this point of life, I've got a house falling apart and a child to make sure doesn't turn into a misbehaved, rabid baby gorilla in the manners department grip training-only isn't the most judicious use of my precious training time.
I've been asked in the gym before how to train my grip. Too many go out of their way to avoid using their hands in any meaningful manner and then ponder why they can't do shit when they're not sitting on comfortably-padded piece of a machinery.
The antidote is simple: get some fat gripz. I long avoided buying these because I never actually had a pair in my hands. On their web site, they look like some sort of cheap shit, even when not deforming under the pressure of weight plates.
|Yes, they are tougher than they look|
That was a horrible misconception. I tried a pair in Florida and loved them so much for months that I bumped up to the Extremes as soon as they became available. They recommend these only if you have a lot of experience with standard fat gripping work (2-2 3/8" diameter) and I cannot disagree with that. The big boys are brOOtal! They sliced my Pull-ups from 20 reps on a 2 3/8" bar down to 13! They also make a barbell curl with a set of plates stupid-difficult. The latter makes a great stupid human challenge in a gym.
|Frankly, they are so humiliating to use that I refuse to be photographed with the stupid-small amounts of weight I can use while working out with them.|
Or if your gym has a thick bar, then use it. Look for ways to add grip work in anywhere you see an opening for it.
25 lbs Plates
Next to using a stack of 5 lbs bumper plates on a barbell to hide the fact that you're weaker than a prepubescent girl, using 25 lbs plates when you could use 45's is the most reliable manner to look like a gym-douche. Still, that's exactly what I did for the bulk of my squat work after coming off my ACL rehab work.
...and I was picked on in a corresponding manner for using them.
My choice squats these days have been belt squats and Zercher lifting (Deadlift-to-zercher squat...and back again). For both of these lifts, I use a prodigious stack of 25 lbs plates for one simple reason: they're shorter than 45's. While the few true adherents to squatting (and generally shun off the leg press as an acceptable squat substitute) can't seem to step away from the squat cage, I enthusiastically start my barbells on the floor. The shorter plates start everything lower, thus adding much-needed depth to belt squatting and creating a deficit for the deadlift portion of the Zercher lift. I've also used these for lateral/hockey deadlifts and barbell hack squats as well.
|Belt squatting. This actually made my knee feel good while getting some quad strength back!|
What is comprehensible to me about gyms is how needlessly dogmatic everyone can be about how they train and what they train with. There is as little deviation from norms as there is hell to pay for straying from those norms.