My Thoughts on Lifting Straps (2016)
There is a big debate on the internet on the pros and cons of lifting straps and if they are any good. I will answer this question like I answer every other question:
Lifting straps can be good for certain people, but they could be detrimental to other people’s progress. If you don’t know what lifting straps are, they’re straps that you put on a bar so that your grip won’t be the limiting factor.
YES, STRAPS ARE GOOD IF….
If you are doing exercises like deadlifts, rows, snatch grip high pulls, heavy pull downs then your grip may become the limiting factor once the weights start getting really heavy. For exercises of that nature, straps could come in handy if your back strength outweighs your grip strength. Let me give you an example:
If you can do 100lb x 10 on dumbbell rows without straps great. If you know that you can do 120×10 if your grip wasn’t an issue then I would recommend the straps.
An even better example would be that if you could Rack Pull 500lb from the knee level for 5 without straps, but with the straps you can pull 700lb x 3 then you would be crazy to not use straps because you can use a lot more weight than you could normally handle.
The back consists of huge muscle groups and it can lift a lot more weight than you think. There is no point in limiting the poundage’s just because of your grip. Straps are not for pussies and if anything it’s the strong men who use straps because they’re able to lift heavier and they aren’t scared throw 25% more weight on the bar. I don’t use straps because I have decent grip strength and don’t need them on rows, but I do use them on heavy rack pulls because they are very taxing on the grip.
NO, LIFTING STRAPS ARE BAD IF…
If you are rowing 40lb dumbbells for 10 and are using straps then chances are that you are using them way too early. You should build a foundation of good grip strength before you start using straps in 99% of cases. I’ve seen people use straps way too early and they might be able to lifting decent weights with the straps, but there are side effects. They used them so early that when they forget their straps at home they could not even hold the weight due to their weak foundation. Grip strength is super important and if you have a strong grip strength then you might never even need to worry about straps. Most powerlifting competitions don’t let you use straps so the powerlifters have to make grip work a priority.
Straps aren’t good or bad, they’re another tool in the toolbox. You just have to be smart about straps and not use them at the wrong times. I would also recommend that you do your warm-up sets without the straps to still work on your grip strength. If grip strength is a priority then you can do grip work at the end of a pull day or just have it on a separate day.