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How to Make Home Made Rotating Thick Grips

Today, Chris Smith breaks off another piece of knowledge and shows us how to make some homemade equipment that will let you get your grip training on!

Home Made Thick Grips

Fat Grip Pull-ups

Fitness can be an expensive thing, especially if you want to have your own equipment. Sometimes even a very well equipped gym can be lacking a piece of equipment that you really need or, more likely, want.


With the way the economy has been it is very likely that new gym equipment has been sent to the back burner in favor of paying your rent. Even if you aren’t in dire straights I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like to save a bit of cash here and there if possible.

The good news is that you do not necessarily have to choose between groceries and having a well equipped gym if you’re willing to do a little work.

If you are serious about your training then there is a good chance that at some point your grip has been a limiting factor for you.
Maybe you couldn’t hold onto the bar for a heavy deadlift or set of shrugs. Or perhaps you can’t do as many pullups as you would like to because you can’t hang onto the bar.

It’s also possible that you are just chasing some killer grip strength. Whatever your situation, you’ve probably seen or heard the great benefits of using thick grips.  Well now you can get all those great benefits without breaking the bank.

Here is what you’ll need to make two rotating thick grips:

• 1 foot of 2” PVC pipe
• 1.5 feet of 1 ¾” PVC pipe
• 2 18” long pieces of chain
• 2 carabiner clips
• A saw
• Approximate cost for 2 handles: $12

PVC Pipes

PVC Pipes

PVC pipe is very easy to find in any hardware store. Usually you will find two foot long pieces and may not be able to find a one foot piece. That’s fine. The two foot pieces usually cost around 4 or 5 bucks. Just get them and you will have extra, or you can double everything up and make four handles.

As far as the chain and clips go, make sure you find out the weight rating on both! Don’t skimp and buy some cheap novelty carabiner that is made for holding your keys: it will break. Suck it up and buy good clips and good chain.

I made four handles with chain rated to 800lbs and clips rated to 300lbs and it cost me about $24. That’s $6 a handle.


Miter Box for Sawing PVC Pipes

Miter Box for Sawing PVC Pipes

Cut the 2” PVC pipe into 6 inch sections and the 1 ¾” pipe into 6.5”. If you are using a hand saw for this it really helps to have a miter box so you know your cuts will be straight. If you don’t have one, try and clamp the pipe down as firmly as you can to a table. Do I even have to tell you to watch the fingers when sawing?

Sawing Using a Miter Box

Sawing Using a Miter Box

Honestly, cutting the PVC is the most difficult part of the entire process. Once you have the sections cut, put the 1 ¾” PVC inside the 2” PVC.

Revolving Fat Brip Handle

Revolving Fat Brip Handle

Run the chain through the 1 ¾” and close the ends with the carabiner.

Yes, it really is as simple as that. These handles can be attached to any cable machine via the carabiner, looped over a pullup bar for an incredibly challenging pullup variation, or the chain can be looped through the handle of weight plates or kettlebells for timed holds or farmer’s walks.

(A little note: if your plates do not have handles on them, you may need to use a longer chain to hold onto larger plates such as 45s. Just have a couple pieces of longer chain available to swap out if that is the case)

One of the best features of these grips, aside from their ease to make and low cost, is that if they are too difficult you can just remove the inner 1 ¾” pipe. The handles will no longer rotate, but they should be much more manageable in terms of difficulty. You can also just throw them into your gym bag and carry them back and forth. Give them a shot; I’m sure you’ll enjoy the challenge.  -Chris Smith-

Chris Smith is the owner and head trainer of Train Better Fitness, a performance training company based in New York City offering training services to people of all fitness backgrounds. He is a certified personal trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine, a martial artist and an overall fitness fanatic.

See Chris’s other posts on Diesel:

How to Start Nail Bending

Explosive Conditioning for Martial Arts

P.S. Want to learn how to build 8 other pieces of cool strength training equipment? Then check out the Home Made Strength Online DVD!

How to Bend Nails | How to Tear Cards | Feats of Grip Strength Explained | How to Build Your Own Equipment | How to Lift Atlas Stones | The Sh*t You’ve Never Seen | Sled Dragging for Athletes

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12 Responses to “How to Make Home Made Rotating Thick Grips”

  1. Josh Says:

    Simple yet awesome idea! I’ve been using just the 2″ pipe handle, but hadn’t thought of inserting the 1 3/4″ inside it for a Rollin’ Thunder type of gripper! Thanks for the tip.

  2. Adam L Says:

    That is a great tool right there! I am not quite there will the rolling thunder and these are way cheaper. Looks like I have my next weekend project. Thanks

  3. Jedd Says:

    These are a good cheap replacement for until you get the Rolling Thunder!

    Thanks to Chris for hooking us up with this interesting piece!


  4. Jerry Shreck Says:

    You gotta love PVC pipe!!! I have got a lot of it in my gym.

  5. Chris Smith Says:

    Thanks for the comments guys. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I hope you get a lot of use out of the handles if you decide to put them together!


  6. Shaun Says:

    This is exactly what I’m all about. Being creative with fitness equipment.

    Not only does it save you some cash, it will also spur innovation.

    I will give this a try for sure.

  7. Jedd Says:


    Let us know how it works out for you, bud.


  8. JJ Says:

    18″ of chain is too short. Use 24″ for each handle.

    Great apparatus!


  9. Kirby Ramirez Says:

    Thanks for a great blog, I am based in South Africa and would like to get start my own home gym shop. Do you reccomend any top brands, or places to buy equipment from? thanks

  10. Ben Edwards Says:

    Great idea, thanks for the article Chris!

  11. trading-point Says:


    […]Diesel Crew – Muscle Building, Athletic Development, Strength Training, Grip Strength » Blog Archive » How to Make Home Made Rotating Thick Grips[…]…

  12. shawn Says:

    Made these last night. If you go with 6″ outside rotating handle you’ll need 20″ or 24″ chain instead of 18″. Works great! Attached to bands on my armwrestling table and helps with working the hook.

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