Being the largest manufacturer, Iron Grip opens up about their specialty in free weights.
Member: Iron Grip
Michael Rojas, CEO of Iron Grip
What is Iron Grip?
Rojas: Iron Grip is a manufacturer of commercial free weights. We are largest manufacturer of commercial free weights in the industry.
When were you founded?
Rojas: Iron Grip was founded in 1993.
How many different products does Iron Grip manufacture?
Rojas: Iron Grip manufactures dumbbells, fixed barbells, Olympic plates and Olympic bars under the Iron Grip® brand. Iron Grip also manufactures group exercise equipment under the Group Strength® brand.
What is unique about Iron Grip’s products?
Rojas: Everything in the Iron Grip brand is manufactured in the US, by us, in our own factories. We are the only company that makes a complete line of free weights in the US.
Can you tell us a little more about your integrated handgrips and unique 12-sided design? How did you come up with this innovative idea?
Rojas: Like most good innovations, the best ideas are the simplest ones. When we started Iron Grip all weight plates were essentially solid round iron discs, typically with one flat side and one side with a raised flange, or lip. That was the state of the art at the time, and this design had remained essentially unchanged since the early 1930’s, when York Barbell, widely regarded as the first fitness equipment company, was founded. Putting integrated handgrips in plates was a simple innovation that made weights infinitely safer and easier to use, and more accessible to a wider gym population. Now nearly every weight plate sold (other than bumpers) has integrated handgrips. We also decided to improve the safety of plates further by adding a geometric shape, namely a 12-side anti-roll design. This innovation was carried through to our dumbbells as well. Since then we pioneered the use of urethane, which every manufacturer now offers, and we pioneered the engraving process to brand and customize equipment.
What stores are your products in?
Rojas: We only manufacture commercial equipment, so our products are not sold in stores.
What makes the Iron Grip brand authentic?
Rojas: We have been at the forefront of innovation since our founding, and have always manufactured our equipment here. We’ve also always manufactured just heavily engineered premium commercial free weight equipment, no retail equipment, no cardio equipment, no selectorized strength equipment, and no light duty accessories. We strongly believe is specialization and being experts in our field. We also strongly believe in quality and have been true to this credo for 25 years.
What overall trends are you seeing in the market?
Rojas: The market for free weights has been steadily growing over the last few years, propelled by the now widely-acknowledged and well-regarded benefits of strength training (vs. just cardio training). More specifically the growth in free weight usage has been propelled by the increased popularity of personal training, functional training, high intensity training and now small group training. Free weight usage features prominently in all of these training protocols.
Are you planning on releasing new products in the market?
Rojas: We continually review the market and our existing line to explore what new innovations the industry is looking for, and we add new products or improve our products and processes to respond to market needs.
Do you have any partnerships?
Rojas: We have many partnerships with a wide variety of companies in all channels, including the health club market, athletics, the military, non-profits, hospitality and residential.
Can you offer any client testimonials of what people are saying about Iron Grip?
Where do you see Iron Grip in 5 years?
Rojas: We expect the growth in free weight demand to continue and very likely accelerate, and we will expand capacity to meet that demand. We will be a far larger company in 5 years.