How to use lifting straps (A useful guide for bodybuilders)

Lifting straps for weight lifting

Using Wrist Straps For Weight Training

What are lifting straps?

Lifting straps are an essential piece of equipment for weight lifters, bodybuilders, and athletes. who want to lift more weight than their regular handgrip can provide. 

If you want to deadlift heavy, you are going to need good wrist straps. By wrapping the strap around your wrist and around the barbell bar, you can take the strain away from your forearms and focus on lifting rather than gripping. 

Some lifters will opt not to use them as they prefer to enhance their grip strength but they are limiting the load that they can handle. In most cases, especially with rack pulls and shrugs, your grip will give out before your target muscles meaning that you are not training them to failure. 

How to use Wrist Straps for weight training

Step 1: Thread the end of the strap through the loop

To set up the wrist strap, take the end of it and thread it through the small loop at the other end. Make sure the straps are mirror images of each other so that the end is threaded through the opposite way on each one. this way you will be set up with a strap for each wrist. One facing left and one facing right.

Step 2: Putting the strap on to your wrist

Place your hand through the loop that you have just made on the strap so that the loose end is between your middle finger and your thumb. Pull on the loose end so that the strap is tight on your wrist and will not slide off.

Step 3: Connecting your wrist to the bar

Lay the loose end over the barbell bar and then rest your hand on it. Set your grip width and wrap the loose end around the bar. Once it is fully wrapped around, place your hand on top of it.

There is a bit of a knack to this and it can take a few tries to get it right. Especially on your second hand as your assisting hand is already fastened to the bar. 

Step 4: Get ready to lift

Before you lift, twist your hands towards you to tighten the strap and give you a secure grip. Keep twisting as if you are revving a motorbike and make sure that you are firmly connected with the bar. 

Step 5: Lifting the bar

You are now ready to lift. Make sure your hands are keeping pressure on the straps and they will take the load of the bar. 

Once you have completed your lift, release the pressure that your hands are placing on the straps and they should just unravel as you pull away. 

What are the Benefits of Wrist Straps for Weight Lifting?

The main benefit of the wrist strap is that it allows you to train your pulling muscles to absolute failure. The lats, rhomboids, traps and biceps are all very strong muscles and will often keep going long after your grip strength gives out. 

Unless you have insane grip strength, you will benefit from using wrist straps, especially for heavy rows, deadlifts, rack-pulls and shrugs. 

How to Choose the Best Wrist Straps for Weight Lifting?

There are two main different types of lifting straps:

The standard lifting strap:
These are the most common lifting strap for bodybuilders as they are cheap, very strong and very easy to use. The standard lifting strap has a hoop at one end and is loose at the other. 

You will find that there are a few different variations of this strap, some with padding, some with longer tails etc.. but they all essentially work the same way and offer the same benefit. 

Types of lifting strap

The figure of 8 lifting strap:
The figure 8 lifting strap is popular amongst strongman competitors as it allows easier adjustment and is quicker to set up. They are not as common as standard straps but are still relatively cheap. 

Wrist Wraps for Bodybuilders

Wrist straps are beneficial to bodybuilders that like to train to failure with heavy resistance. To build bigger lats, traps, hamstrings and rhomboids with progressive overload, you need to go heavy. The heavier you go, the harder it is to grip the bar for too long. This is where wrist straps are essential.

Using wrist straps is not a form of cheating, it is a way of making sure that you can fully activate the target muscles to their maximum potential without having to focus on your grip. this means that your mind can be fully connected with the muscles that you want to improve. 

Wrist Straps for Strength Trainers

Some strength trainers see the wrist straps as a sign of a weak grip, but these lifters are probably not lifting to their full potential. Don't get me wrong, grip strength is an important part of strength training and there should be an element of lifting without assistance, but there should also be assisted training to help strengthen the lats, traps, rhomboids and hamstrings. 

Wrist straps for deadlift

Wrist Straps for CrossFit

Wrist straps are not typically used in CrossFit as they are not required for the gymnastic elements (muscle-ups and pull-ups) and most of the weight training is Olympic lifting. With Olympic lifting, the emphasis is on technique and explosive movement. Pulling the bar up to your hips is the easy part,

Although wrist straps are not commonly used in CrossFit, you may see a lot of athletes wearing wrist wraps. These do not enhance your grip but they do offer stability to the wrist which can be helpful for certain movements. 

Conclusion: Start Using a Wrist Strap Today to Improve Your Performance & Safety

A wrist strap is a simple tool that can make a significant difference to your safety and performance.

Considering how cheap they are and how easy they are to use, they should be part of any weightlifter's arsenal along with a lifting belt and knee wraps. 

How to use lifting straps


Can I train without wrist straps?

It is absolutely possible to train without wrist straps and if you are a beginner, you will not need them. As you advance and train with heavier loads, you will find them beneficial.

Are wrist straps essential for deadlifts?

Wrist straps are not essential but they will certainly help you with training and performing PB deadlifts. If RDLs are a part of your routine, wrist straps are going to help you attain higher reps. 

What exercises are wrist straps beneficial for?

Wrist straps are good for any pulling exercise that tests your grip strength. this is essentially heavy rows, shrugs, all variations of deadlifts and lat pulldowns. 

Are wrist wraps the same as wrist straps?

Wrist wraps are different to wrist straps as they do not wrap around the bar and offer assistance with lifting. Wrist wraps only wrap around the wrist and offer stability to the joint. This is useful more for heavy pressing movements than heavy pulling movements. 

Where can I buy wrist straps?

You can buy wrist straps from any good gym wear supplier, sports shop or just good old Amazon!

Are wrist straps used in competition?

Wrist straps are used for standard deadlifts in many strongman competitions and deadlift competitions. Olympic lifting competitions do not allow wrist straps

Are wrist straps considered cheating?

If you are using a wrist strap in a gym to assist you with your goals, it is not cheating by any means. It is simply giving you the ability to really work the target muscles without being concerned about holding on to the bar.  It also allows you to push for extra reps or higher weight. 

People that train without wrist straps, especially when it comes to hypertrophy training, are missing out on gains and not pushing the target muscles to their limits. 

Gymenix offers a selection of free training programs to suit all abilities and goals. Click on the links below for FREE access. 

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