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Watson 3 Inch Thick Grip Dumbbell Handle vs 3 Inch Fat Grips by Iron Bull Strength


Decided to train today and test out my grip strength by lifting a 12" long dumbbell with a 3" custom thick grip handle by Watson.

UK company Watson Gym provide amazing custom gym equipment which can be shipped World Wide! They're not the usual dumbbell handles you would buy out of Argos, or a typical fitness equipment shop. These handles by Watson are custom made on ordering, manufactured to my own needs. They can be made to various lengths and grip thickness.

After I failed on my heaviest attempt I decided to experiment and repeat the process but instead using a longer (20 inches) dumbbell handle with only a standard grip size (1.25") but add 3" Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength (* Apply "strengtholdschool" at checkout to SAVE 10%!).

3 Inch Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength

The plan was to test out if there was a significant difference between using thick grip custom handles and fat grips. The end result was 'no'.

Here's the video:

Lifts went as follows... (no chalk was used)

  • Set 1: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 5 kg (11 lbs) - Success
  • Set 2: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 10 kg (22 lbs) - Success
  • Set 3: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 15 kg (22 lbs) - Success
  • Set 4: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 20 kg (45 lbs) - Success
  • Set 5: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 25 kg (55 lbs) - Success
  • Set 6: 3" Thick Grip Handle + 30 kg (66 lbs) - Fail with both hands
  • Set 1: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 5 kg (11 lbs) - Success
  • Set 2: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 10 kg (22 lbs) - Success
  • Set 3: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 15 kg (22 lbs) - Success
  • Set 4: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 20 kg (45 lbs) - Success
  • Set 5: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 25 kg (55 lbs) - Success
  • Set 6: 3" Fat Grip Handle + 30 kg (66 lbs) - Fail with both hands

I purchased my "Watson" custom dumbbell handles back in 2018. Here's a comparison between two similar dumbbell handles by Watson...Both are 12 inches long but differ in grip thickness. One measures 3 inches, the other is standard size i.e. 1.25".

Watson Custom Dumbbell Handles - 3 Inch Grip vs Standard Grip

I was browsing through files on my computer trying to find a video or photo which showed how heavy the 3" thick grip custom dumbbell handle was and luckily I found it. I knew I had it. The handle weighed roughly 3.3 kg (7.3 lbs).

How Heavy does a Watson 3 Inch Thick Grip Custom Dumbbell Handle Weigh at 12 Inches in Length

I'm still in two minds whether it's worth buying thick grip implements likes axles, custom thick grip dumbbell handles etc given that it's probably much cheaper and much easier to simply slap on some Fat Grips to regular dumbbell and barbell handles. You can even simply and quickly add fat grips to the handles of cable machines and pull up bars etc, their brilliant.

Alpha Grips attached to a Pull Up Bar

Alpha Grips attached to a Cable Handle


My Collection of Fat Grips

At this point in time I won't get rid of my custom thick grip axles and dumbbell handles but it's something to think about.

My thoughts on Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength...

Iron Bull Strength 3 Inch Alpha Grips

These Alpha Grips by Iron Bull Strength are just as good as Fat Gripz. Different shape to Fat Gripz which I suppose is meant to suit the natural grooves of the hand better.

Fat Gripz or Alpha Grips

The thick Alpha grips are slightly shorter in length also which I find better fits certain gym equipment handles. I own a set of standard dumbbell handles which unfortunately the Fat Gripz did not fit. Thankfully the Alpha Grips do.

Fat Gripz Warning

I own three sets of Alpha Grips... 2" grips, 2.5" and 3". The photo displays the 3" Alpha Grips. Surprisingly, Fat Gripz do not offer a 3" set which I don't understand.

Alpha Grips are extremely handy to have to transform regular gym equipment exercises into more demanding and challenging work. They would easily fit into your gym bag for convenience. These bad boys will save you money buying thick grip barbells and thick custom dumbbell handles which can easily cost between £100 - £500+ depending on which company you buy from.

The only negative I have is the friction generated from doing higher reps which tends to burn the skin slightly due to the rubber material. I don't feel this friction with regular steel barbells and dumbbells. This is not a deal breaker and I'm pleased I purchased these thick grip training tools. Definitely makes training more fun and stresses the fingers, hands, wrists and forearms very well which according to science, produces better gains in muscle and strength. Whether that's true or not, I'm not 100% sure but there's definitely more stress placed on the muscles and in a good way.

Whether you buy Fat Gripz or Alpha Grips, they will last you a life time! They feel virtually indestructible. My advice...Unless you have massive hands, only buy the 2" Alpha Grips first and test them out for a period of time. Take your time to ease into thick grip training as I plunged straight into buying the 3" grips which resulted in hand and wrist pains which I assume was due to pushing too much weight too soon with such a large thicker grip. My hands just weren't used to it. As a result, I had to stop training for a period of time to let my hands, fingers, joints etc properly heal and recover.

* Apply "strengtholdschool" at Iron Bull Strength checkout to SAVE 10%!

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