Best Lifting Straps
To strap, or not to strap, that is indeed the question for fitness fans working with heavy weights. The answer really boils down to how important developing grip strength is to the individual. When it comes to the big, posterior chain lifts, the grip is often much weaker than the hamstrings and glutes. And so while the rest of the body may have all the muscle needed to deadlift 315 pounds, the lifter’s hands may just not be strong enough to hold it. Enter the lifting straps. With a simple wrap around the hands and bar, many lifters find they can increase the poundage used considerably. For lifters with smaller hands, this may be ideal. If hand size is the issue, then that shouldn’t be a barrier to using heavier weights to stimulate growth down below. But even the bigger lifters may eventually run into a plateau when cleaning or snatching, and lifting straps might be the answer. The key is to use them properly, as the goal is never to hang the weight dangling from the straps. Instead, the wrap-around should provide an additional degree of leverage by placing the loop positioned around your wrist, so the end of the strap extends across the palm, and then wrapping around the bar by looping it underneath. Using weightlifting straps thus allows more hypertrophy and central nervous system training in the key muscles targeted, while minimizing the importance of the hand strength.
Best Lifting Straps
Using straps can be a great strategy when seeking bigger numbers. The only real counter-argument to straps is that while in use, the hand- and grip-strength isn’t activated as much. Yet there are innumerable exercises which target that lower arm-to-hand strength, from wrist rollers to plate-pinches. But every long-term lifter understands tendinitis and inflammation, which can be a problem in movements which place undue stress on the wrists. Simple pull-ups can result in tendinitis of the wrist if done too frequently, and it’s easy to understand why. You’re placing your entire body’s weight onto the relatively thin muscles wrapping the wrist. Enter the lifting straps. Keep in mind, the straps are not for hanging. The straps simply wrap around the hands and bar to offer increased leverage, and therefore less direct stress, on the hand and wrist muscles. The same is true with power cleans and deadlifts. The value to the Central Nervous System and target muscles in hitting higher weights is clear. Your body simply doesn’t get as much benefit from sub-maximal efforts. And yet, there comes a point at which your hands just can’t hold certain weights. Again, it’s a wise move to shoot for the max lift so as to benefit the primary muscles worked, and then use separate exercises for grip strength.
The Long and Short of It
Strap length requirements vary by the individual. The primary advantage to longer straps is they provide more leverage by wrapping further down the arm, or more times around the hand. The disadvantage is that for shorter athletes, this could leave a long section of strap hanging off their hands. That’s not just annoying, but could in fact interfere with the lift. The shorter straps are significantly less expensive and can make for a tight grip, but depending on the size of the lifter, might not be quite enough. If you know anyone with straps, give them a try so as to get an idea of the fit you’ll need in advance. The good news about the products themselves is that they’re typically good for years of lifting, and if you get the right strap, it can last for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Proiron weightlifting straps
The innovative design of the Proiron weightlifting straps includes a rubberized dot outside and anti-slip rubber inside for a vice-like grip around the bar. The 23.622-inch long straps themselves are made of high-quality, 100% cotton and microfiber leather, for long-lasting wear. Colored reddish-orange on the rubberized portion, and black on the cotton and leather, the straps offer an attractive look. Padded neoprene provides a comfortable zone around the wrist. Strap length is sufficient to wrap up alongside the forearm and provide as a guard from lower arm stress when using heavy weight, or when performing weighted pull-ups.
2. Gym Maniac GM Lifting Straps
Bright orange and black attack the barbell with full fervor in the Gym Maniac GM Lifting Straps. Soft, neoprene pads cushion the wrist for force, with tough nylon, acrylic straps to support heavy lifting. The straps are 5.5 inches long, 2.7 inches wide, and feature a unique three-strap system which is rated up to 1,500 pounds. The adjustable grips are fitted with metal wedge for added grip value. The Gym Maniac GM Lifting Straps are ideal for pull ups, deadlifts, kettlebell work and dumbbells. Given the significantly shorter length, users won’t have to over-wrap themselves, or be bothered with the length hanging.
3. Rogue Treated Leather Straps
For lifters seeking durability and less friction on the hands, Rogue’s Treated Leather Lifting Straps are manufactured from 100% genuine premium belly leather. Colored tan, the straps break in quickly and are gentle on the skin while affording all the tightness of a belt. Stamped with the Rogue brand across the 1.5-inch wide, 24-inch long strap, there is plenty of length to generate the leverage necessary for big, overhead Olympic lifts like the power clean. The Rogue Treated Leather Straps provide an old-school look to the gym and perhaps a scent of leather mixed with sweat and oil.
4. Hustle Athletics Wrist Straps
Cotton straps with wide-padded neoprene, the Hustle Athletics Wrist Straps are often seen onsite at CrossFit games. Designed for comfort, the black cotton straps measure 7.7 inches by 4.1 inches by 1.3 inches and come with a lifetime guarantee. If the artificial fibers of other straps are a concern, or perhaps leather a bit much, these cotton-based items might just be the right feel. Designed to take a beating, the 7.7-inch length offer sufficient length for large hands, but not so much that there’s overhand dragging. Low-cost units, the straps come get the job done. CrossFit participants like them because of the high repetitions used and subsequent sweat, with cotton being easier on wet skin.
5. Harbinger Big Grip No-Slip Pro Lifting Strap
The Harbinger Big Grip No-Slip Lifting Strap features 5mm neoprene pads to keep the strap secured in place while providing cushioning and support. For long sessions of hard hand-work, such as rack pulls, this can help prevent callouses. The fully adjustable strap is designed for use with either hand, while the Dura-Grip rubber strips grip the bar so as to prevent slipping while maximal weights go upwards. Colored black, the straps contain nylon, neoprene, rubber, and are 11.5 inches in length. The total weight of the individual strap is only .44-pound, meaning it shouldn’t inhibit the lifted weight. Harbinger Big Grip No-Slip Pro Lifting Straps roll easily into a coil for transport in gym bags or storage in a locker.