DIY Grip Equipment
With professor Urban.
Lower arm strength is just as valuable as
lower back strength, and equally neglected by most people. But grip equipment is very specialized
and can get costly for how specific it is.
Luckily there are ways to build your own equipment for comparatively
little money. Myself, I have scraps of
pipe laying around, half empty bags of concrete or
sand, some resourcefulness, and a hardware store to fill in the gaps. Some things you should know beforehand:
I use standard plates at home. This means they have a 1” hole in the
center. Most people use Olympic plates
with (I believe) a 2” hole in the center.
I’d like to use Olympic plates but I have little money (hence the
creation of this page for people in my situation), and work with what I
have. The reason I’m mentioning this
is that the instructions below are fitted to standard plates (hence the
frequent use of ¾” pipe which has an outer diameter of around an inch). You can use adapt of these instructions
for Olympic plates but as of right now, I’m unsure what size pipe would be
without further delay, lets begin.
This is pretty simple. I started with a 36” piece of 2” steel
pipe (threaded on each end), stuck a coupler on each end, put a converter
to go from
2” pipe down to ¾” pipe (which fits 1” standard plates) then stuck about 1
foot of pipe into that to put the plates on. I’ve included a close up on the end.
Pretty simple eh? Some notes: I filled the whole
thing with sand and corked each end inside the ¾” pipe. This makes the whole thing weight around
35 lbs… at
least it did for me. You can epoxy
the some balled up newspaper in pace inside to make a suitable cork (that’s
what I did). Also, in the picture
there are end caps on the ends of the ¾” pipe that I used to use to keep
the weight from slipping off, but now it really doesn’t concern me it doesn’t
concern me since all I use my thickbar for is
deadlifts. If you want to do cleans
or something that has a higher chance of losing the plates, you’re going to
have to find something to keep them in place, cause the end caps don’t
really do shit.
Fat Handel Dumbell
Shown in the above picture is a DB with a 3.5 “ handle, but you could use this process with smaller or
larger (!!!) pipe if you are so inclined. Again, pretty simple, take a couple of
end caps and for your pip, and drill a hole in them big enough to slip your
¾” black pipe through. Now slip one
end on your 9” length of Schedule 40 3” PVC, and shove your black pipe
fill the 3” pipe with concrete. Some
will leak out around the black pipe, don’t sweat it. Now slide your other end cap on, make
sure there is equal lengths of black pipe sticking
out each side (around 6.625”) and let the concrete harden. Voila!
The concrete keeps the bar from rotating and from
moving from side to side. In addition
It puts less stress on the end caps themselves, but that’s much less a concern
than I thought it would be. I made
the space for the plate too large I think. I used a 24” piece of black
pipe, when a 18” piece might have worked ok (but
would have only given me 3.625” to put weights on. All you have to do now is cover the
handle in athletic tape stack some weight on and lift that sucker.
Loading pins are cheap to buy. So why did I make this one? Well cause I
didn’t feel like ordering one from Ironmind and I
had some scraps lying around. It’s
pretty simple, and self explanatory, you could use an end cap instead of a
coupler, but that was already rusted onto the pipe so I figured why bother. The eye I got from the hardware store and
is simply held into that converter with a single
nut. The converter is, of course,
never wrenched down otherwise you wouldn’t be able to add any weight. Also this allows me to screw on the hub
attachment to without having to use a caribeaner
or another eye setup with it.
This is very simple. Get a 2” end cap, screw it on a converter
to go from 2” female down to ¾” female, and screw it on to your loading
pin. You could potentially grind or
sand it smoother and take out the nubs and such, but I’m lazy and I just
need something to practice on.
Ok, again very simple. All I did was get
a piece of pipe and wrap a rope around it once and epoxy the fuck out of it
to keep it from moving. The APC tape
is on there because I was impatient waiting for the epoxy to dry and wanted
to use the roller. Why do I have two
ropes? I don’t know, probably some
anal notion that if I had two ropes as it coiled up it would be symmetrical. It’s not necessary. What is important to note though is that
by doing this without putting rope through the pipe you can now slide it
onto a barbell or safety bar in a power rack to keep from having to hold it
out in front of you as you roll it.
It’s a simple matter of drilling a hold through the pipe and tying
it the rope off if you don’t wish to do this. Attach it to your loading pin or weight
with a caribeaner and have at it.
Block weights are arguably the best way to develop your
grip. But finding and affording a
real blob or half a set of dumbbells to chop up is difficult. So this is what I did. Shown is a 40 lb block weight, I used a
piece of ¾” pipe that would stick out around a ¼ inch past each side of the
plates. I put the plates together smooth
sides out and wrenched down the caps to pinch the plates together really
well. Done, instant fake block
weight. I’m working on a way to give
the outside the curve of a real blob, but I don’t have anything yet.
To make block weights like this out of different plates
(like a 35 lb plate with 3 10’s and a 5) just make sure the same plates are
on the outside. Simple right?
Ok, so that’s all the grip stuff I have right
now. If I think of anything else or
create any more masterpieces, I’ll update this page with it! Enjoy!
Last Updated 1/22/05