Should You Use Thick Grips for CrossFit Workouts?

muscular man with thick grips for crossfit workouts

Made from a durable rubber material, thick grips convert any dumbbell or barbell into a tool for thick bar training.

Thick bar training provides several fitness benefits with an emphasis on improved grip strength. But very few gyms carry thick bars; in particular, CrossFit boxes.

This is where thick grips such as Alpha Grips come into play.

Let’s take a closer look at thick grips and their benefits. We’ll also explore whether using thick grips for CrossFit workouts is a good idea.


Benefits of Thick Grips

As mentioned above, using thick grips during your training can provide a number of performance and physique benefits:

Stronger Grip

We cannot overstate the importance of grip strength. No matter what your fitness goals are, if you’re not able to hold on to the weight, you won’t get far.

A stronger grip ensures you can lift and hold your target weight to achieve your goals. During CrossFit, grip strength is especially useful due to the high-intensity nature of the workouts. You’ll need a strong grip if you expect to move fast and push a lot of weight.

Surrounding Muscles Get Stronger Too

The strength and endurance gains you’ll notice in your grip will impress you, but you’ll quickly notice that other muscles are reaping the benefit too.

Go ahead and make a fist. Now extend your arm out and squeeze as hard as you can. Did you notice the muscles in your wrists, forearms, and upper arms start to flex?

These same muscles are activated during thick grip exercises. When used consistently, thick grips can increase the strength from your hands to your arms.

Lean Muscle Growth

By focusing on grip strength training with a pair of thick grips, you increase lean muscle growth in one of the most neglected muscles: the forearms.

For CrossFitters, this lean muscle growth will complement your overall physique. You won’t have a rock-solid body of muscle with a set of T-Rex arms. Instead, you’ll have a symmetrical physique with forearms that are going to get as much attention as your legs, abs, and back.

Protect Your Connective Tissue

Ever notice how the muscles from your hands to your elbows are involved in most exercises? We put our hands, wrists, and forearms through the ringer and they keep going.

With that said, if you don’t take the proper precautions, you increase the risk of injuring yourself.

The elbow and forearm are especially vulnerable to tendonitis and other overuse injuries during CrossFit workouts. One of the best ways to prevent injury is to strengthen your grip and the surrounding musculature with thick grips.

Speaking of wrist issues: Another piece of gear to help you prevent injury is a pair of wrist wraps.

Ideal for On-the-Go

Thick bar training tools such as thick barbells might not be available at your local CrossFit gym. They aren’t a part of the typical CrossFit lineup. Thankfully, thick grips are a space-friendly and convenient piece of fitness gear.


How to Use Thick Grips for CrossFit

Does it get much simpler than slipping the Alpha Grip on to the dumbbell or barbell of your choice?

Depending on which thick grip you use, you’ll get up to 3.0 inches in diameter.

Simply toss them in your gym bag and head to your local box.


Thick Grips and CrossFit Exercises

Here’s our list for the ideal CrossFit exercises that you can pair with thick grips.

  • Farmer’s Carry
  • Bench Press
  • Push Press
  • Front Squat
  • Push Jerk
  • Deadlift
  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Thruster
  • Lunges
  • Pull-Ups

One thing to remember: When using thick grips during overhead exercises, be extremely careful. If you don’t feel confident lifting the barbell or dumbbells overhead with the grips, either choose a smaller set of grips or take them off.


Thick Grips CrossFit Workouts

We’ve selected several WODs from the official CrossFit website, and you’ll be able to incorporate thick grips into some of the exercises. We’ve labeled all of the exercises in which thick grips are an option as “TG.”


21-15-9 Reps For Time:

  • Thrusters (95/65 lb) (TG)
  • Pull-Ups (TG)


3 Rounds for Time:

  • 32 Deadlifts (185/135 lb) (TG)
  • 32 Hanging Hip Touches (alternating arms)
  • 800-meter Running Farmer Carry (15 lb dumbbells) (TG)


5 Rounds of:

  • Max Bench Press (bodyweight) (TG)
  • Max Pull-Ups (TG)


10 Rounds For Time:

  • 200-meter Farmers Carry (55/35 lb) (TG)
  • 10 Weighted Pull-Ups (35/25 lb) (TG)
  • 20 Dumbbell Power Snatches (55/35 lb), alternating


10 Rounds For Time:

  • 11 Chest-to-Bar Pull-Ups
  • 22 Front Squats (75/55 lb)


Will You Use Thick Grips for Your Next CrossFit Workout?

Want to increase your grip strength? Which thick grip-friendly exercises will you start to incorporate into your CrossFit workout? Let us know on our Facebook!