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Join any gym today and we guarantee that you will see them for sure. Long, usually black lifting straps. While weightlifter or athlete fasten them, he does something similar like when a rider is preparing for an 8-second adventure on a bull. When the lifting straps are fastened, the weightlifter´s muscles are tight and he easy lifts the barbells.
What are lifting straps?
In simple terminology – lifting straps are pieces of fabric or leather that you wrap around your wrists and dumbbells that will make it easier to lift heavy weights. They are commonly used by bodybuilders, but also by regular gym visitors, but appreciated are mainly by power lifters and other strength athletes.
However, this definition does not capture all the arguments related to lifting straps. What are they good for? What are they not good for?
Why to use lifting straps?
Jason Ferruggia once wrote: „No No straps, no traps.“ Probably no one has ever written more true words. All right. They wrote, but we wanted to exaggerate it a bit. Anyway, they are right.
Many tenacious people on the internet advocate the idea that lifting straps are scam and should not be used. From a certain point of the view they are right, because they are not allowed in power lifting, while in other strength sports they are allowed. If you use them correctly and selectively during preparation, lifting straps will help you to gain strength and muscle mass. As for non-competitive athletes, there is no doubt that they will help you gain strength and bulk.
One of their advantages is that they allow you to get tired of your muscle target group without having to worry about pinching failure. This is in direct accordance with functional and non-functional rules you should generally follow in the gym. You do not know this rule? It is about test when choosing an exercise. Answer two simple questions:
- What muscles is the exercise focused on?
- What muscles are tired first?
If the answer to each of these questions is not the same, your training is wrongly set up. The exercise has to be demanding. So if your intention is to increase bulk and strength of a particular muscle group and lifting straps are helping you with that, wear them!
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- One-arm or two-arm dumbbell rows
- Shoulder rotations
- Romanian deadlift (wide-grip deadlift)
- Deadlift from standing (partial deadlift)
All of these exercises focus on muscle growth and strength on the upper back, trapezes and hamstrings – unless you are training for a competitive stroke. So you do not have any reason not to wear lifting straps, if you can not keep the dumbbells long enough to get tired of the muscle target group.
How to use lifting straps?
To fasten the lifting straps to your hands and dumbbells do not have to be difficult. The wrapping technique can vary and depends on the length of the lifting straps and how they have a sewn loop. Everyone has their own favorite method, but we think the easiest way to attach it is this way:
Types of lifting straps and their advantages and disadvantages
There are three basic types of lifting straps – loop lifting straps, Olympic lifting straps and lifting hooks. We will describe advantages and disadvantages of these types.
Loop lifting straps
- It is the simplest type and can be found in different lengths and materials (fabric, leather).
- Loop design provides secure wrist wrap.
- Sometimes it may be more complicated to wrap the remaining hanging material around the dumbbell, especially with one hand.
- Hanging cloth can get stuck and spoil your dumbbell stroke. That is why they are not commonly used with Olympic lifting.
Olympic lifting straps
- Closed loop allows fast and easy attachment to the bar.
- If the lift will not happen as it should, it is easier to break free from the straps. Therefore, they are rather used for Olympic lifting.
- Less material means that the grip is less secure.
- You can not fasten them to your wrist too tight.
- No wrapping is required.
- Standard bar fits comfortable in hooks.
- You can not grip the bar firmly, which may have a negative impact on some strokes.
- It does not fit to special bars.
- Many people think that it does not look the best.
How to wrap different types of lifting straps
Different types of lifting straps require different wrapping. To wrap your lifting straps safely and get the most out of them, watch this video:
Wrapping the lifting hooks
Lifting hooks deserve a little more explanation, especially the second point. In the introduction we mentioned the functional and non-functional rule that grip plays an important role in the technical execution of many strokes. When doing deadlift and Romanian deadlift, your hands help you to adjust your widest back muscle and protect your back. When doing pull-ups, the grip of the bar as strength as possible helps you to exert more force in your hands and back. Does this mean that you should not use lifting straps for these movements? If is enough if you will keep these rules in mind:
- Do not always do all the exercises with lifting straps. Exercise without lifting straps until you feel that your grip is starting to fail or it is limiting your technique. Only then use them to complete what you started.
- If you do a lot of exercises with lifting straps, dedicate some training to forearm to build a stronger grip.
- You should not have a feeling that you need to use lifting straps to overcome a certain weight. It is all right if your grip tells you how much you can lift. You can still become stronger even without using lifting straps.
- When relocating, relocating in squats or other Olympic strokes, many people do not use lifting straps because of a potential wrist break or uncomfortable stroke. If you want to learn how ti do these strokes, learn ho to relive safety – it is more important than using or not using the lifting straps.
What is your opinion about lifting straps? Do you use them? Leave us a comment. If this article was helpful for you, share it.