Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Lifting straps are a great tool that trainees of all sorts in the gym can make use of and utilize to enhance their workouts.
They offer some great advantages that can go a long way to helping lifters get more out of their training, and are a great accessory that most serious trainees in the gym would actually benefit from.
However, while they are so helpful and important for people to be using, many people do not actually understand their benefits, nor do they know the right times for them to actually be putting them on.
In this post I'll be going over exactly how lifting straps work, what they can help us achieve and when we should be putting them on. Plus, I'll help you make sense of all this along the way so that you don't have to face any extra confusion.
Everything You Need to Know About Lifting Straps
How to Use Lifting Straps
Like we mentioned above, lifting straps are a great tool that almost any serious trainee and lifter in the gym could be utilizing to enhance their training and get more results out of their hard work.
But how do you really put them on and use them?
Well, there are several different types of lifting straps to begin with. Each one is going to require you to take a slightly different approach when it comes to putting them on.
However the most common type of lifting strap in most gyms is likely going to be the lasso or loop strap.
It offers one of (if not the) most secure grips out of all the different types of straps.
To put your lasso or loop strap on:
Slide one end of the strap through the loop if it doesn't already come like that.
With one hand, grab an end of the strap and place it onto the bar.
Wrap the extra material or the remainder of the strap around the bar (starting from the bottom) in a twisting motion.
Once you've got a full rotation or wrapped the material around the bar at least once, you can leave the rest of it hanging. (Or you can continue to wrap it around if you prefer).
Tighten the strap by pulling on it and adjust accordingly until it fits comfortably.
You're ready to go!
You can check out this video below by RipToned to see a great demonstration of this!
What Benefits Do Lifting Straps Provide?
Lifting straps provide a wide range of benefits and advantages to users.
Reducing the involvement of the forearms
allowing you to work your target muscles more effectively
making your workouts friendlier on the hands
allowing users to lift more weight
We'll briefly break each one down below.
Reducing Forearm Involvement
When you use lifting straps, you place some of the weight onto the strap itself instead of your hands, which helps to reduce engagement of the forearms and reduce the grip element to your pulling exercises.
This might sound like a bad thing as you won't be building as much strength and muscle in your forearms, but it's not. Just keep reading.
Better Target Muscle Work
Often when we lift, we're going to be lifting pretty heavy weights.
Especially on our pulling exercises where we're working the muscles of the back (one of the largest muscle groups), our grips can quickly give out and become the limiting factor to these exercises.
Our backs are much, much stronger than our forearms. And often, our backs won't be able to actually get a good workout in if our forearms aren't able to keep up with the loads we're pulling or the repetitions that we're performing each set.
This issue is amplified even further when we perform an exercise such as the deadlift, where we engage pretty much the entire body. We're going to be lifting very heavy loads compared to the loads that our forearms and grip can handle.
By wearing lifting straps and reducing the need for our grips, we're going to be able to work our target muscles better and actually be able to take them close to failure.
We'll be able to build more strength and more muscle in those target areas than we otherwise would've been able to without lifting straps.
We want our target muscles to be the limiting factor of our exercises, not our grips.
Friendlier on the Hands
Wearing lifting straps also makes your workouts friendlier on the hands.
Since they go between your hand and the barbell, lifting straps can be an effective way to reduce calluses from lifting and also reduce friction/rubbing of the knurling or handle.
Allowing Lifters to Use More Weight
Once again, by reducing the engagement of our forearms, we're able to make our target muscles the limiting factor of our exercises.
And almost all of the time, our target muscles are going to be bigger and stronger muscle groups than our forearms.
By wearing straps, we're able to shift more of the load onto our target muscles, and not have then held back by our weaker grips.
This allows us to naturally lift more weight and build more strength in our target muscle groups.
How do Lifting Straps Differ from Wrist Wraps?
When you're shopping for your ideal pair of lifting straps, it's highly likely that you're going to end up coming across a pair of wrist wraps as well.
They do look very similar, but they actually serve rather different purposes and shouldn't be used interchangeably.
The key difference between the two is that wrist wraps are thicker and are meant to provide even more support for the wrists during pushing movements (such as the bench press and overhead press).
If you've been consistently training with pressing movements like the overhead press, you'll likely know that these movements place A LOT of stress onto the wrists.
And over time, it's quite common for injuries to develop in our wrists and cause us pain/discomfort.
Wrist wraps help to protect our joints and reduce the sheer force placed on them.
And I already explained what lifting straps do, but their main purpose is to reduce the engagement of the forearms and grip and allow lifters to work their target muscles better.
Lifting straps and wrist wraps are two different products, and each serve different purposes.
This picture below is a wrist wrap, whereas the first image you saw above is a lifting strap.
What Are the Different Types of Lifting Straps?
Like I said earlier, there are several different types of lifting straps that one might choose to go with, depending on his or her goals and preferences.
We'll show you a picture of each type and give you the pros and cons of each one as well.
Loop or Lasso Straps
The first, and usually most common type of lifting strap is going to be the loop or lasso strap.
Easy to find
Comes in multiple different lengths and materials to suit your preferences
Very secure grip
Can be confusing to use at first
Can be tough to let go of if you need to bail out of a failed lift
The speed strap is a different kind of lifting strap that's primarily only used for Olympic weightlifters as it's easier to bail out of a lift if you're using these.
Image credit: Rogue Fitness
Quick and easy to put on
Easy to bail out of a lift
Offers a slightly less secure grip
These are a different kind of strap that aren't like by many people. Since they literally have a hook, many people think that using this kind of lifting strap is 'cheating'.
But it's still worthwhile to learn about and know about this kind.
Image credit: Rogue Fitness
Very easy to attach and requires no wrapping whatsoever
Comfortable and simple to use
Many people do not welcome this kind of lifting strap
You can't squeeze tightly
Each lifting strap has its own unique design, advantages and disadvantages, and it's up to you to pick the right one to boost your own gains and enhance your workouts as much as possible!
What Are the Best Lifting Straps?
We won't go into too much detail in this section, as we do have a separate blog article outlining the 8 best weightlifting straps you must have.
In this post you'll find all the best lifting straps you can find, and for the best prices as well. These straps have been carefully chosen and are must haves if you want to boost your gains from your training in the gym!
We'll leave you with the number #1 pick on that list, which is the Gymreapers Lifting Strap.
Gymreapers Lifting Straps
Take your training up to the next level with the Gymreapers Lifting Straps. With these, you'll relieve some of the pressure off of your wrists and forearms, and be able to push harder in your heavy back workouts. These will provide superb support in your deadlifting, rowing, and general pulling exercises. Let your target muscles be the limiting factor, and not your grip.
The padded support allows you to grip your heavier weights without pain, slipping, or unwanted tugging. These are a staple accessory used by many advanced lifters, and you should be no different.
This premium pair of cotton straps are built with Neoprene padding to prevent discomfort and digging.
They're suitable for virtually any kind of weightlifting, whether you're a powerlifter trying to lift as heavy as possible, a bodybuilder who needs to push their limits regularly, a CrossFit athlete, or any sort of weightlifter in general.
They're the most versatile of any straps on this list, and that's why we've put them first.
Please note that this is an affiliate link.
Otherwise, you can click the link to the blog article and find the other 7 best straps to find your ideal pair!
When Should You Use Lifting Straps?
There are many, many reasons why a person would use lifting straps.
And there are also many instances where it would make sense for a lifter to be using his or her lifting straps.
Generally, you should look to be using wrist straps whenever you're trying to lift heavy and are wanting to build muscle with a 'pulling' exercise.
This includes exercises such as the deadlift, any form of a row, pull ups, and so on.
Remember, lifting straps reduce the engagement of your forearms and make it easier for you to work your target muscle groups.
It's going to be beneficial for you to be using lifting straps on pretty much any pulling exercise where you're trying to build strength and muscle. (Although please do not wear them when you're doing bicep curls. You'll look stupid and I've seen it before.)
Some examples of exercises where it makes sense to use lifting straps include:
Basically, if you're looking build strength and muscle with a pulling exercise, and you're not doing it for some kind of competition where you're not allowed straps, you've got no real reason not to use them.
And don't worry about your forearms falling behind or lacking in strength/size either.
You can simply do an exercise at the end of each 'pull' day such as dead hangs or a farmer's carry to build up some great strength and musculature in your forearms.
Lifting straps are a great tool that most people looking to build strength and muscle really should be using if they want to maximize their gains and ensure that they can get the most out of their hard work in the gym.
It's important that you do understand the uses of lifting straps and when you should be using them, and also know where to get them from if you do decide that you want some of your own.
I hope you found this post helpful and have enjoyed reading through it!
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