TRAINING GADGETS AND GIZMOS
By: Dave Samuel
Alright, it’s that time of year again; the Arnold Fitness Expo. I’ve lived in Columbus my whole life and have been attending for the last 22 years. Although the excitement of being teenager and seeing my first bodybuilder has long worn off I still am drawn to the event. Over the years this event has transformed from about a ¼ of the size it is with just a few events to the monster it is today. For instance 22 years ago you could walk through with your arms completely out and you wouldn’t touch anyone. You could actually have conversations at a normal decibel level. One thing that hasn’t changed is that the expo is still home for marketing new training gadgets and gizmos for strength training. As an infomercial junk this is my Nirvana.
This year I went to the Arnold with a slightly new agenda. Part of my trip was strictly business, reviewing different supplement companies and speaking with their management about sponsorship. The most enjoyable part of the trip, as always, remained the same; checking out the newest training tools. The only difference is that I’m going to share the experience with you, the reader, and hopefully show you something interesting along the way.
The first item I actually had owned in the past. Unfortunately, I had forgotten it at a hotel while out of town. The Versa Gripp is not your typical wrist strap. It gives you a much better grip than a standard wrist strap. It straps to the bar securely, but doesn’t tug on the wrist joint. These help a great deal and probably added about 5-10% on most of my pulling exercises. For instance in the week that I started using these again I hit a new PR on dead lifts.
Another advantage Versa Gripps have over regular wrist straps is that if you need to dump the bar the portion of the device that goes around the bar is shorter and doesn’t anchor you to the bar, so if you need to let go of a weight it’s much easier. The shorter strap also makes it easier to latch onto the bar quicker with out all of the fumbling you may do when you’re working intensely and trying to wrap a normal wrist strap to the bar.
They have several options available. They offer the Classic Series, which was the first pair that I owned. They retail for about $40.00. This wrap part of this model is a rubber type material. The next step up is the professional series and the Fit Series. Theses wraps have a tacky leather-like material instead of the rubber that the Classic Series uses. These wraps retail for about $52.50. The tacky material actually sticks to the bar and gives a slightly better hold. I ended up buying the Professional Series.
Versa Gripps also claim that the material they use is anti-bacterial. I don’t know how much of an issue this is, but with most cloth wrist straps that many of us use I can see how they would absorb sweat and dirt.
I have to say that I’m glad I opted for the more expensive model. Although it might not be a huge difference I really like the way the tacky material grips the bar. Although the extra grip may be the biggest advantage of this tool I am probably more of a fan because of the way that they don’t squeeze your wrists like regular wrist straps do. When I switched to these in the past I noticed less issues my carpal tunnel syndrome and lifting was much more comfortable.
The company also mentions how you can put the wrap portion in your palm and use it like a glove for pressing exercises. I have done it both ways, and although I prefer to use my bare hands I could see how people would like this option. To order the Versa Gripp go to www.versagripps.com
Now here is the junk version of this item. Without naming names several companies have come out with wrist straps that look similar. They have Velcro wrist straps and a cloth wrap. Here is the problem. The cloth strap will not give the same hold about the bar. In several of the versions the wrap is too long and does not evenly wrap around the bar, making a tight fit impossible. In these companies defense I don’t know if they came out before Versa Wrap or after so I can’t say they are copies. The bottom line is that although they may cost ½ the price of the Versa they are also about ½ as effective.
Reviewed in www.intensemuscle.com