The utilization of weight lifting straps has been prominent in the weight lifting world for decades. It was found that a strong grip will aid in the displacement of heavy weights. The use of straps allows for an individual to temporarily increase their grip strength and lift heavier weights by offloading part of the stress from the hands to the wrists. Lifting straps are available in a variety of materials ranging from nylon, leather, and cotton. Some include padding on the inner portion of the strap to provide additional comfort.
It is important to understand that prolonged use of weight lifting straps may result in a weakened grip. When one becomes dependent upon them, their forearm strength can lessen as the stress of the weight is placed on the straps rather than the muscles of the forearms. Any negative effects from overuse of lifting straps can be countered with forearm exercises or by increasing the total amount of weight lifted.
The most common use of lifting straps are for a variety of back exercises; especially compound pulling exercises like deadlifts and bent-over rows (with barbell). These exercises all involve the back muscles allowing the body to lift a large amount of weight. Straps can also be used on machine equipment like lat pull-downs but this is less common as the previously mentioned exercises.
Lifting Straps Demonstration
How to use lifting straps
No matter what material the lifting strap is made of, it will be highly durable as it must withstand a great deal of weight. All lifting straps are basically the same structure and involve the same kind of preparation. Below are instructions to properly using lifting straps:
- Step 1: Thread your hand through the loop end of the strap.
- Step 2: Pull the tail end of the strap and wrap it tightly around your wrist.
- Step 3: Taking the tail you just wrapped around your wrist, wrap it around the barbell or dumbbell handle you'll be lifting. Be certain to not allow the strap to overlap or become tied in a knot as this can lead to a great deal of discomfort or injury.
- Step 4: Holding the tail you just wrapped around the barbell or dumbbell, tighten your hands around bar/strap forming a solid grip.
- Step 5: Execute the desired exercise with the same technique and form as if lifting without the straps.
- Step 6: When finished, place the weight down and allow your grip to loosen. The straps will unwind from the barbell or dumbbell by themselves.
Weight lifting straps are similar to using a weight lifting belt: use them only when you have to. Do not become overly reliant upon them as the muscle growth from using them results in the reduction of other muscle areas.