Lifting straps can be a contentious subject among weightlifters and trainers alike. So what’s the answer, are they a must or a hazard? Well, neither really, because the answer is both. There is no simple answer, as it depends on who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Ultimately, they are a must, if for no other reason than because they are so inexpensive (some go for less than $10 U.S.) and can help address certain issues which may crop up during your training. Simply put, the cost-benefit ratio makes lifting straps a must have. You by no means have to (or should) use them all the time, but they can serve as a useful aid.
Some, including many trainers, argue that using lifting straps is at best a hindrance to increasing grip strength and forearm size, and at worst a piece of equipment that could precipitate an otherwise unnecessary injury.
Others are proponents of lifting straps, including many casual and amateur lifters who merely seek to build strength and metabolism. Those training for competitive weightlifting may eschew straps for the reasons given by trainers. Still, there is no denying that lifting straps accentuate your ability to grip and lift the barbell.
A bar can fall out of a person’s hands for a number of reasons, including fatigue, sweat, using a bar without knurling for grip, weak grip or small hands. Lifting straps address several of these challenges.
Function and Design of Typical Lifting Straps
Weightlifting straps function by wrapping around the wrists, usually through a Velcro strap, and then wrapping around the bar itself. You then grasp the loose end of the strap that has been wrapped around the bar in your palm. Effectively, your hands are strapped to the bar.
Now if you need to drop the weight, don’t think that you’ll do a nosedive into the mat as a result. The straps will merely unwrap off the weight, leaving perhaps some minor rope burn to admonish you.
Because of their design, lifting straps can help you lift more weight more often by solving problems with grip and hand fatigue. And the beauty of this piece of equipment is that it is optional and inexpensive.
Using lifting straps does not necessitate using them all the time. But during certain exercises, straps can provide the difference between one extra disc on your bar or not. Perhaps if you are moving to the heaviest weight in a set of exercises, you will want to employ the straps for the most strenuous weight if you find yourself having a grip problem.
Know the Value of Straps
It’s also important to use lifting straps for the correct exercises. These straps aid your grip on a bar when doing a range of workouts that fight against gravity (chin-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, et al.). What this means is that you have no reason to wear lifting straps for an exercise like, say, any kind of press.
When used correctly, straps also offer a versatility across a range of workouts, regardless of whether your grip in underhand or overhand. All these factors combine to make at least owning a set of lifting straps worthwhile. They are inexpensive and can serve as a very helpful tool when you find that you need a little assistance.
You can grab a pair of lifting straps online for below $10. As is the case with this pair.