If you've ever been to the weight section of your gym, you'll notice bodybuilders and powerlifters making use of lifting straps. If your grip strength has been letting you down, or maybe you want to take your training to the next level, then perhaps we might have the solution.
We will cover the essential question of "how to use lifting straps." We will also go through the different types of lifting straps available and suggested top-rated brands to look out for. The aim is to get you lifting heavier with good form while maintaining safety and preventing injury.
Table of Contents
- What Is The Purpose Of Lifting Straps?
- Different Types Of Weightlifting Straps
- Why Use Lifting Straps? (Benefits Of Using Lifting Straps)
- How To Secure Weight Lifting Straps (The Safe Way)
- How To Use Lifting Straps (Wearing Lifting Straps Correctly)
- How To Use Lifting Straps From Top-Rated Brands
- People Also Ask (FAQs)
What Is The Purpose Of Lifting Straps?
Lifting straps are a simple gym accessory that can achieve great results and breakthrough plateaus if used correctly. Lifting straps (often called wrist straps) are sewn pieces of cotton, leather, or nylon that wrap around your wrist and the bar.
So why do weightlifters need lifting straps? Well, with the added support and grip, lifting straps will allow bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts to lift heavier and attempt exercises that were just out of reach.
Breaking through plateaus and increasing your strength sounds amazing, but when should you actually use lifting straps? Well, when you're about to lift a ridiculously heavy amount of weight. For most of us, grip strength fails before our muscles do.
Therefore, you should always use lifting straps as a last resort or when you're trying to reach a new one-rep max. Additionally, lifting straps should only be used for pulling movements, so deadlifting, pull-ups, barbell rows, lat pulldowns, and rack pulls are the exercises you can look at to improve.
A quick note on safety, lifting straps should never be used in an attempt to improve pushing movements. If you’re a gym newbie about to attempt a 225lbs bench press for the first time, those lifting straps aren't going to help you in any way.
It’s also important to know that there is a difference between lifting straps and wrist wraps. Wrist wraps do not wrap around the bar and only support and stabilize your wrist.
Different Types Of Weightlifting Straps
Closed Loop Lifting Straps
If you’re looking for an improvement in grip strength and the ability to release the bar quickly, then the closed-loop lifting strap might be just what you’re after. It's a relatively simple design with a single loop that has a strong tail at the end to wrap around the bar. Keep a lookout for leather variants in this category for added support, durability, and an overall grippier feeling.
Closed-loop lifting straps are also easy to attach. You’ll need to wrap it around your wrist and then fasten the hanging end around the bar. This type of lifting strap is considered the least secure of all strap types and the best for Olympic lifts.
If you’re prepping for a goal in a short amount of time and you need to reach it without any assistance, then closed loop straps should be added to your training routine.
Lasso Lifting Straps
Lasso lifting straps are the most common and favored wrist straps for beginners and experienced lifters. There are a variety of choices in this category that can offer extra padding for comfort and stability, and extended length for a tighter grip around the bar.
Like its name, the Lasso lifting strap will fasten around your wrist, and then the tail will attach to the bar. This sounds very similar to the closed-loop lifting strap, but there is a unique difference. When using a closed-loop lifting strap, there is a preset/fixed length of loop available.
However, with the lasso strap, you will have the option to tighten the loop to your liking and secure it to a specific area of your wrist.
Figure-eight Lifting Straps
If you're looking to attempt a personal record, then look no further than the heavy-duty figure-eight lifting strap. The lifting strap gets its name from its design which looks like an 8. Figure-eight lifting straps will loop around your wrist, attach under the bar, and then loop around your wrist again.
Since they fit around your wrist twice, they offer maximum assistance and security. The downside is that they are not adaptable to many situations because of their limiting 'one wrap-around the bar' style. The figure-eight lifting strap takes a lot of tension off your hands, so you can focus on using the rest of your muscles for the pull.
Why Use Lifting Straps? (Benefits Of Using Lifting Straps)
Lifting straps connect your wrists/hands to the bar so you can fully focus on the set without worrying about grip fatigue. Since your form is no longer compromised, you'll be able to train longer.
The factor of comfort also links in here; if your wrists are supported or the lifting strap absorbs additional sweat, the result is more confidence when lifting heavy.
Fewer injuries and bruises
New lifters are prone to injuries because of their lack of gym experience. A common mistake is not knowing how to grasp the bar properly and, in some cases underestimating the weight of the bar. That's where lifting straps come in.
The added grip support reduces your chance of dropping the bar and injuring various muscles. Just make sure you're still using the correct form while lifting!
Affordable and durable
Many gym trinkets promise to take your training to the next level and make you stronger. From supplements to equipment, there is always something new coming to the fitness industry. Lifting straps are relatively cheap, and they're somewhat guaranteed to improve your lifts.
Another great thing is that they last a long time if you buy from an established brand. These might be gym accessories, but they are value for money.
How To Secure Weight Lifting Straps (The Safe Way)
Before attempting any lift, it is crucial to know how to correctly secure your weight lifting strap.
- 1Start by making a loop and slipping one end of the strap through the other
One end should have a hole on it, so you'll need to stick the non-looped end through. When you're done, the lifting strap should look like a large loop approximately 4-5 inches across.
- 2Slide your non-dominant hand through the loop
Close your hand and slide it through the newly made loop. When your hand is through, place the strap around the base of your hand. The strap should be hanging over your palm and past your fingertips. Remember, if the crossed strap is on the back of your hand, you need to flip it over to your palm.
- 3Fasten the loop around your hand
When you're ready, tug at the hanging strap and tighten it around the base of your hand. The lifting strap should be snug and secure but not to the point of cutting off circulation. Tightening should also result in the strap hanging relatively low. The lifting strap should be positioned between your wrist and the base of your thumb.
- 4Repeat the same steps while securing your lifting strap to your dominant hand
We always advise you to start by fitting the wrist strap to your non-dominant hand. It makes things easier, especially for those new to weight lifting straps. One final note on safety, do not tighten the strap around your wrist. This could lead to serious injuries while lifting with high tension on the wrist bone.
How To Use Lifting Straps (Wearing Lifting Straps Correctly)
Remember that lifting straps are for pulling exercises, so you'll get the most benefits from exercises such as deadlifts, rack pulls, shrugs, and rows.
For this section specifically, we will focus on using lifting straps while deadlifting. So whether you're a bodybuilder, powerlifter, or gym newbie, this applies to you.
1. Place your dominant hand over the barbell
Following the steps of how to secure a weight lifting strap, begin by making sure that the barbell is resting stationary on the ground.
Place your dominant hand over the bar while allowing the strap end to dangle below. If you have done this correctly, there should be approximately 2 inches of space between your wrist and the bar.
2. Wrap the dangling strap end around the barbell
Now that your hand is in the correct position, lift it slightly so that you have enough room to loop the dangling strap end from beneath the bar. You can use the other hand to do this by lifting the strap end up and around the bar.
Alternatively, you can also use your dominant hand’s thumb and finger to wrap the strap around the barbell. You should be able to loop the hanging end around the barbell 2 to 3 times.
3. Tighten the loops on the barbell
Every time you loop the strap end around the barbell, make sure that you are also rotating your grip on the barbell so that your knuckles are moving toward your body. This method will make sure that the loops are tight and secure.
The loops should also be on top of each other so that you can grip them together when you perform your pulling movement lift. If this step is still confusing, think of tightening the loops like you would rev up a motorcycle. The same motion applies to tightening weight lifting straps.
4. Repeat the same process on your other hand
As we previously mentioned in step 2, your dominant hand will now be strapped to the barbell, and you'll need to use your thumb and finger to wrap the strap end around the barbell.
This is also why it might be good practice to wrap the weightlifting straps without any secondary hand assistance the first time. Once you have tightened the loop and performed your lift, you can remove the straps by letting go of the bar, and the straps should unravel themselves.
5. Lift safely and avoid injuries
When lifting, be careful that you don't accidentally make your wrists do all the work. Weightlifting straps should help you maintain your grip, not hold the entire weight when attempting your set.
If you don't use your own grip strength in conjunction with the straps, then you may be putting yourself at risk for wrist injuries/sprains in the future.
How To Use Lifting Straps From Top-Rated Brands
Gymreapers Olympic Lifting Straps
Gymreapers lifting straps are a great choice for those looking at weightlifting with the advantage of a quick-release system. The closed-loop design is made of cotton with reinforced triple stitching.
To use these straps, you'll need to feed your hand through the loop and wrap the end around the bar. These straps in particular do not wrap entirely around your wrist, and the hanging end will go around the bar once.
If you're attempting Olympic lifts and want to let go of the bar instantly, then these will suit you nicely.
- DURABLE & SOFT STRAP FABRIC - Get rid of...
- BUILT TO LAST WITH IMPROVED STITCHING -...
- EFFECTIVE OLYMPIC LIFTING STRAPS (PAIR) - Get...
- IMPROVE TRAINING PERFORMANCE, SUPPORT, AND...
Harbinger Lifting Straps
The Harbinger lifting straps are a lasso design built for comfort and endurance lifting. How to use Harbinger lifting straps? Like most lasso-type straps, the Harbingers will wrap around the wrist once, and the remaining looped end can be tightened 2-3 times.
The Harbinger lifting straps also provide an additional cotton padding that is great for absorbing sweat and preventing wrist chafing. In terms of versatility, these lifting straps can be used with both barbells and dumbbells, so they will probably be a favorite amongst bodybuilders.
- Pair of padded cotton lifting straps for...
- NeoTek pads cushion wrists for heavy lifts,...
- Extended length (21.5 inches) provides a...
- Use on barbells, dumbbells, bumper plates,...
Serious Steel Fitness Figure 8 Straps
The Serious Steel Fitness Figure 8 straps are made with heavy-duty webbed cotton. They also have double/cross-stitching for seam reinforcement and durability.
The reasoning behind the design is that figure-eight lifting straps are designed for deadlifting and strongmen in particular. They're the most secure lifting strap available, and we would advise that only experienced athletes try them out.
How these straps work is that you'll need to guide your hand through the first loop, attach it under the barbell, and then loop it around your wrist again. Although they will provide great support, you should proceed with caution. If you drop the bar, your wrist and hand will still be bound.
- Figure 8 Lifting Straps are the #1 choice...
- TO SIZE: Measure circumference of wrist with...
- Ideal for max deadlifts, shrugs, and reps.
- Extra stitching for seam reinforcement.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can you make DIY weight lifting straps?
Yes, it is possible to make your own lifting straps. A simple method would be to buy strong nylon webbing and a hot knife (heated blade).
Start by cutting the nylon webbing into 25 inches using the heated blade while utilizing a board for support. Next, loop the webbing around and tape the ends together. Do the same for the second strap.
Are leather lifting straps good?
Yes, leather lifting straps are a good choice for comfort and durability. Leather straps are often softer than other variations and prevent the skins from chafing. Additionally, leather is also strong in that it doesn't stretch when overloaded with weight.
Where can I buy lifting straps?
The best place to buy lifting straps would probably be online at retailers like Amazon. This way, you'll be able to read reviews and find out which model best suits what you're looking for.
If you're still unsure about the actual feel of lifting straps, head over to your nearest sports store and try a few on.
Is using lifting straps cheating?
No, lifting straps are not considered cheating outside competitions. If you're competing in a strongman, powerlifting, or weightlifting competition, the rules may prohibit lifting straps.
However, lifting straps isn't cheating in terms of personal goals. They can help users break through plateaus and improve grip strength.
Lifting straps are affordable gym accessories with a range of benefits that will improve your current workout. Whether you choose closed-loop, lasso, or figure-eight lifting straps, you'll need to wrap them around the bar, which will add support to your wrist.
The main thing you need to decide is whether you want a quick release, secure, or versatile lifting strap. Whatever the case may be, lifting straps will add strength to all your pulling-type exercises.