Lifting Straps are New for You? Start Here
- What are Weight Lifting Straps – What are they & their purpose – Learn how do they work
- When, Why & How to use Weight Lifting Straps – Beginners & Experts, Recreational & Professional athletes
- The Best Weight Lifting Straps – What are the best possible weight lifting straps that you can get
- Adding variety/ Choosing different styles of Weight Lifting Straps – Different tools for different tasks
Supporting grip is your forearms, hands & fingers ability to maintain a static hold on object of your choice for a period of time. It is used when holding on to something such as a hammer, a rock, a suitcase, a baseball bat, a shopping bag.. you name it!
..& of course, free weights.
In other words, your supporting grip is also almost inseparable part of your everyday tasks. Developing & improving supporting grip strength enables you to maintain a static hold, which in turn greatly supports your ability to lift heavier weights for longer periods of time.
The supporting grip entails lifting objects with the fingers taking the brunt of a load in an isometric fashion. It applies to deadlifts, rows, pull ups & kettlebell work.
It should be also noted that true supporting grip entails your fingers wrapping well around the bar. It’s referred to as open hand supporting, if the handle or bar is large enough that there is a space between the fingers & thumb.
#1 Lifting Straps – What are they & their purpose
Essentially, lifting straps are grip strength accessories that applies to your supporting grip strength – In a nutshell, it’s a piece of strap (18″ to 25″ long & 1-1/2″ to 2″ wide, made of nylon etc) tied into noose from one end, that you can wear around your wrists.
The other end of the lifting strap will be wrapped around bar, dumbbell or kettlebell for supporting grip. Lifting straps are specifically designed to support your grip for lifting weights & to maintain static holds.
As lifting straps are meant to support your grip, we can compare & see that they act very similarly by having the same purpose as ordinary gym chalk, but in their very own unique ways.
Meanwhile, both seem to be two completely different things – One being equipped for repeated use, the other applied on hands, that is being washed off later – They actually share & serve the very same purpose:
Technically, not to make directly your own gripping-muscles stronger but to support your grip for a great deal through creating a frictional force. Simple physics but huge difference.
Including to this, both of these can be used very successfully in conjunction to achieve the same supporting grip goal, but with the increased effect, making it even more powerful. This combining-forces type of situation becomes possible due to fact that both, lifting straps & chalk, can deliver their own unique abilities.
For chalk, the goal is to straightforwardly increase friction, surface resistance (palms of your hands) against another surface (lifting bar), meanwhile directly not taking any load off from your forearm muscles/grip strength. In other words, it’s giving you the edge for better grip & control for lifting & holding the weight, but your own grip-strength related muscles still have to generate the power to lift the actual weight.
For weight lifting straps, the goal is also to increase friction, creating surface resistance against another surface, but unlike chalk, due to its mechanical nature lifting straps will take a tremendous load off your palms/forearms muscles/grip strength & redirects it to your wrists, where your lifting straps are being firmly attached to.
In short words, weight lifting straps will partially negate your own grip, which turns them into very interesting & definitely an advanced grip accessories that creates a whole set of pros & cons for using them. Meanwhile they’re very easy to use, practical & extra useful, they’re not recommended for beginners unless you know exactly when, why & how to use weight lifting straps.
#2 When, Why & How to use Lifting Straps
What is your goal? Before you start using lifting straps & trying to fit them in to your workout routine ask yourself that one simple question. By answering that question to yourself, you have much better idea about everything that you’re trying to achieve.
- Beginner Lifters: It’s recommended to train at least 1 year until you have developed some basic grip strength. As beginner, regardless of your additional tools, you are rapidly improving & greatly benefiting from almost every exercise & don’t need to add any fancy tricks to it yet. Take your time, you’re getting there.
- Intermediate Lifters: You can use lifting straps in warm-up sessions on various pulls & deadlifts. You should own a pair, no matter what. If you’re taking Olympic lifting more seriously & you’re snatching more often, you may find that the straps allow you to train longer & harder, than without them. A simple recipe for success.
- Advanced Lifters: Be careful if you’re competitive Olympic weight lifter! Do not use straps 1-2 weeks out from competition. Lifting straps are great, allowing you to train harder & longer but they also might have a little impact on your lifting technique & provide “different feel” on weight. Find balance between using & not using straps & you should be well off.
- Competitive Strongmen: Everything you do pretty much has written HEAVY all over it. Compared to Olympic weight lifters, you should use lifting straps even more often if close to competition – To maximize your training efficiency meanwhile reducing the risks of getting injured as much as possible. It’s absolutely vital to keep you 100% on track & also injury free.
How to use Lifting Straps:
Ironically, this is one of those things that is easier to be shown than to be explained.
..& it’s even easier if you try it by yourself – Before you even know it, it will be your second nature!
As you start equipping lifting straps, your hand goes through the space created by a looped strap so that the lifting strap can rest on the back of your hand just below your wrist.
For the most common version of lifting straps, the rest of the strap goes over & outside your thumb on one side & outside of your hand (below your wrist) & down your palm (slightly beyond your fingers) on the other side.
You’re ready to go! Wrap the lifting straps around the barbell by going underneath & around the bar, tighten your straps by twisting your hands on the bar like the throttle of the motorcycle.
Now you are gripping the bar with the lifting straps wrapped around it so that it will not slip out. Once you have your lifting straps in place, you can rotate the bar to tighten the straps to the bar & secure your grip to begin the lift.
- Firstly – Wrap the lifting straps around your hands.
- Secondly – Wrap the lifting straps around the bar.
- Thirdly – Grab the bar & tighten the lifting straps around it.
It takes a little bit practice & time to learn how to position the lifting straps correctly & get your lifting straps tight enough. Also, there is no need to use a hook grip when you’re using lifting straps, but if it feels good for you, then do it.
Why Should You Use Weight Lifting Straps?
The 4 Main Reasons
- Recovery from injuries – Lifting straps should always be used if lifter has a hand injury that prevents them from grabbing a barbell. Whether it’s torn callus, sprain or dislocated finger – Every once in a while your grip-work might get too tough & you have to take time to recover – Instead of getting burnt-out or staring at ceiling – You can keep working out by using lifting straps while giving your poor palms of your hands a break from the beating they get from the bar.
- Assistance work – You can lift considerably bigger weights & do much more repetitions where your grip strength becomes a limiting factor. Your overall body strength progress doesn’t have to suffer, or to be cut off, due to fact that your grip strength is limited by various reasons: Rehabing an injury/ is currently in progress to catch up in strength/ needs to be compensated for your muscle imbalances/ difficult to perform exercises that would normally be awkward without straps/ needs help to stabilize isometric exercises.
- Purposefully targeting different muscle group – Our grip is the very first link & inseparable part of most exercises. In other words, whether you’re doing rows, pull-ups, deadlifts, pull-downs, you are using your grip. Always! Your goal might be to train your entire posterior chain that includes exercises for upper back, lats, lower back, traps, or quads, but not doing it simultaneously with grip-work. If you want to train your grip, it can be done separately on its own time. You don’t have to sacrifice everything else at the expense of your grip.
- You’ve already trained grip enough – Weight lifting straps will be excellent if you have already completed your grip training workout & you want to carry on with different exercises. In that case lifting straps can be highly beneficial, not only by taking the load off from your fingers, hands & forearms but also preventing possible injuries & over training that can easily happen with your hands. Remember, your forearms are one of the smallest muscle groups in your body, it’s easy to get inflammation if you over do it – Use straps to balance training.
Despite the good & sound reason of using lifting straps, don’t become dependent upon them – Always find the balance.
At the end of the day, regardless how big of a masterpiece the tool is you’ll receive, you’re still your own boss.
There’s always the other end of the specter of the trainees..
Those who tend to be too lazy, “free riders”, that simply won’t like to put in effort & are experts at conjuring excuses for everything.
Again, there’s an inevitably simple truth..
Be aware of, what you’re doing & why you’re doing it.
So, it’s important to keep in mind, there’s a lot of scaremongering going on about using lifting straps. It’s all over the place. If you haven’t already encountered any yet, prepare yourself, because more than likely you’ll eventually come across of that.
Typically, this includes one end of the specter of the trainees: Those who have irrational fears of neglecting their grip – Lack of knowledge combined with ignorance & thus completely suffering from their own tunneled vision.
The downside is that they won’t keep their preferences to themselves but try to confuse you as well with their misconceptions.
It’s great to surround yourself with experienced lifting buddies & even better to have a personal trainer.. they can help you a lot, to give you a direction, but don’t always take their word for granted either because even they don’t know it all.
Word of advice: Always be vigilant, & never listen to everybody else too much. Strength sports are highly individual case – At the end of the day, combined with the correct knowledge, you & only you can decide what’s working best for you.
There’s also a simple example about using a kitchen knife: What can we tell about it? Yes, it’s multi-functional tool that can be used for preparing food, opening boxes, fixing things & so on, the list is pretty much endless..
What about, if a person picks up a kitchen knife & then cuts off their own fingers with it? Do we start a fear-campaign that kitchen knives are exceptionally dangerous & should be put out of use completely?
Of course not. We rather point out, that a person who used this particular tool, is not qualified enough to put it into practice.
The exact same thing goes with Lifting Straps, or in matter of fact, with everything in this life – It’s better idea to try to understand, what you’re using & why you’re using it. Gain the knowledge, master the tool & it can be put into great use.
#3 Adding variety/ Choosing different styles of Lifting Straps
Depending on lifting straps style, there are usually three different styles.
All three types of those lifting straps serve the exact same purpose – to support your grip for lifting weights & to maintain static holds. The difference is how they are built & who will benefit the most from each of them.
- One: With no sewn loop – Lifting straps with no sewn loop
- Two: With sewn loop – attached at the ends, sewn in to closed loop.
- Three: Sewn & looped over – Sewn to the strap & then the strap is passed back through the loop.
1 With no sewn loop – These are specifically designed for Olympic weightlifters.
These are very likely the hardest to use for beginners, because the ends of those lifting straps are tricky to manage & they come off from barbell very easily.
But that’s the trick itself & the whole point of those lifting straps – Quick bailouts for maximum safety.
You can perform the most technical of lifts without getting stuck under the bar & retain your mobility at the same time.
2 With sewn loop – These are attached at the ends, sewn in to closed loop.
The easiest of the three & fun to use. For everyone who don’t like to manage the ends of lifting straps with no sewn loop.
With sewn loop come off as quickly as they go on & won’t choke up your wrists. Excellent for any athlete.
Highly recommended for complete beginners – Lifting straps that are outstanding but easiest to handle.
3 Sewn & looped over – Sewn to the strap & then the strap is passed back through the loop.
These are Strongman-style lifting straps for maximum heavy lifts.
These are built to secure the weight you’re going to lift as much as possible.
These straps are very easy to use & inspires confidence.
Lifting Straps like these are specifically designed to give you the most secure grip on bar you could possibly have.
Why Should You Use High-Quality Lifting Straps?
To Avoid Injuries
It’s easy to break your body, almost too easy – Your first priority should always be avoiding injuries, no matter who you are.
If you’re serious about your lifting, whether you’re recreational or professional, & looking for high-quality straps that are extremely durable, you can never go wrong with IronMind’s Lifting Straps.
As they’re super strong, IronMind’s Lifting Straps are also very thin at the same time, which is a huge plus. It means you can feel the barbell & get much better control over it VS wrapping a fat-rope-type of lifting straps that messes up your grip & are too weak.
If you’re serious about longevity, being healthy & preventing injuries, you don’t want to invest into low quality lifting straps – Something that can possibly snap during a heavy lift, cause a major setback by pulling some of your muscles & in worst case rip your tendons as well. Avoid these situations at all costs.
It’s important to put your safety first. If you injure yourself, it means game over for you. Getting stronger is a marathon not a sprint – Investing into high-quality equipment goes a long way.
Thanks for stopping by!
I hope you enjoyed reading my article & learned a lot about how to use Weight Lifting Straps along the way.
Feel free to ask for assistance & share your thoughts by leaving a comment.