Take a look at any serious athlete today, and you’ll notice they often wear various accessories. Things like belts, gloves, wrist wraps, lifting straps, knee braces, lifting shoes, etc. These are not here just for the show. These are called lifting aids, and not without reason.
Using them the right way can really help you step up your game. Besides preventing any injury from developing, this equipment can contribute to improving your weaknesses, provide additional strength and support to the muscles, make them hold more weight than your standard grip would handle, allowing you to perform heavier pulls and snatches this way.
If you just began lifting some heavier weight, and you want to strengthen your grip, lifting straps might be the way to go for you.
First things first.
These efficient lifting aids are strips of material, usually made with durable fabrics, designed as a loop and a long strap that are sewn together at the opposite ends. They wrap around both your wrists and the barbell to ensure a secure grip.
There are multiple types of material that lifting straps can be made of, but the most common ones are the following three:
Wrist straps made with cotton are probably the ones that are most used in weight lifting. They are great for all kinds of different exercises.
Cotton wrist straps can be thinner or thicker depending on the material, but cotton generally absorbs sweat the best, and it gives you exactly what you expect of a material like this one, a very comfortable and soft feel on the wrists.
Although these straps need a little breaking in, they sit on the wrist very good. Some cotton wrist straps even have added padding for additional comfort.
Leather does not absorb sweat that well and that’s probably why this material is the least commonly used one. Depending on the softness of the leather itself, these straps can feel a little harsh on the skin.
On the positive note, leather maintains shape, during all the exercises you could be performing, and it does not tear that easily, making it’s some athlete’s personal choice.
This material is stronger than the previous two, and it is often chosen by those who want to lift heavier weights. Nylon lasts longer than cotton, but like leather, it doesn’t absorb sweat that well.
The comfort of these straps depends on your personal preferences. For example, if you have sensitive skin, nylon could feel a bit rough on your wrists.
Although there are many types of straps, these are most common ones:
Single-loop straps are known as best for Olympic lifting because they are the quickest and easiest to strap in with. Their only flaw is that you cannot adjust the tightness.
These offer the most security and are made for holding maximum weights, but they do not have a quick release.
Loop straps are the most commonly used ones. They can be used for different sorts of exercises and come in various materials, lengths, and colors. Their design allows you to tighten the strap and secure the grip.
Hook straps are the least popular type of lifting straps. They have a metal hook that wraps around the bar beneath your fingers to secure your grip. They can also feel uncomfortable, but that again depends on personal preferences.
Wrist straps can sometimes be a bit tricky to wrap around, but we’re finally getting to that.
Make sure that you choose the best material, durable, sweat absorbing, one that will be holding place. You want to look for a tight fit but not too tight and search for something that is going to feel comfortable during all the exercises you will be performing.
When you take a set of brand new wrist straps, you will see that they are identical, there is no left or right. As you will be using them more and more, they will start forming to the palms of your hand and the bar, and it will be a better fit if you designated one for the left and one for the right side.
For the most common type of straps, the loop strap, you need to find the loop, thread the ends of the strap through them to form a circle at one end.
Use your least dominant hand first. Place the strap over your wrist (slide your hand through the ring) so that the strap’s end is going towards your thumb. It should go between the thumb and the index finger.
Secure the strap tight against your wrist. Make sure that the back of the strap is at the base of your wrist; it shouldn’t be higher up because that would be uncomfortable and wouldn’t support the wrist.
It would also make it slide regardless of how tight it is; you want the pressure to be on the base. This way, when it’s pulled tight, it’s not going to slide or go anywhere. They are called wrist wraps for a reason.
Place your hand on the barbell and start by wrapping the strap UNDER the bar from back to front, wrapping it over and under again the bar until it’s completely wrapped around it. Regardless of what kind of exercise you are doing, do not start by wrapping the strap OVER the barbell, you want it to be on the opposite side of your palm.
Once you do this, you can spin the bar towards you to tighten the strap all until you feel a secure grip.
Do not start lifting the weight until you are sure the straps are tight. If they are not, re-wrap the straps.
Whether or not you should be using wrist straps, depends entirely on you, your workout routine, strength and needs.
But without a doubt, they have more pros than cons. Besides avoiding injuries, wearing wrist straps can help you improve your performance.
Lifting straps are perfect for shrugs, deadlifts, barbell rows, cable rows, for pull ups, reverse flys, lat pulldowns, and many other exercises. They will provide support to your wrist, and let you fatigue the desired muscles, just don’t forget to wrap the strap properly.
Don’t lose your grip!
I am Mike R.Bowen, founder of Fitness On The Weekend dot Com and my aim is to help busy people find time for fitness. We will give you actionable advice on how you can keep fit and healthy even on those busy days!
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