You have probably seen them in your local gym-muscled men and women walking around with bits of cloth hanging from their wrists as they shift between weights. They are simply awe-inspiring and at the same time, intimidating, as they lift weights easily twice their own.
You might have also wondered what those strips dangling from their wrists are.
Well, those bits hanging from their wrists are called lifting straps and they work to improve your grip on the bar as you hoist weights well above your own. Sweaty hands? Small hands? The lifting strap can assist you in that area as you train your muscles to achieve that powerful strength you have always wanted.
However, not all lifting straps are created equal, as you might already know. Depending on your personal preference or budget, there are lifting straps available on the market to aid you in your strength training.
Don’t know which one to choose? Or should you even be using them?
This guide has got you covered on that and at the end of this article, we will give you a rundown of the best lifting straps in town.
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- The Best Lifting Straps
- The Conflict on Lifting Straps
- Choosing Your Lifting Straps
- The Winner of The Roundup
The Best Lifting Straps
There are lifting straps out there in the market and the choices are enough to make your head spin. With the guide above, you should be able to make a good decision on the basis of choosing the right ones to fit your needs but we decided to take this article one step further and give you a roundup of the best lifting straps in our experience.
These lifting straps are made of cotton and padded with neoprene. You can also choose from any of nine available colors if that is your thing, too.
Rip Toned boasts that their lifting straps have been endorsed by no less than Kevin Weiss, the 2014 World Champion Powerlifter.
- Made of cotton, which is great for sweat absorption
- Padded with neoprene to increase comfort
- Nine available colors to choose from
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Endorsed by Kevin Weiss, the 2014 World Champion Powerlifter
- Frays easily
- Padding has an annoying tendency to get in the way of the loop when you tighten the straps
As a rule, powerlifting competitions do not allow lifting straps so you have to build the strength of your grip if you are planning to enter any competitions in the future. However, for training purposes, these lifting straps from Anvil Fitness might be a good fit for you.
It boasts of padded neoprene to boost comfort. It is also versatile enough to use even on kettlebells and even on a pull-up bar. The lifting hooks are also long enough to wrap around the bar approximately two to three times for an even more secure grip.
- Made of cotton, which absorbs sweat
- Padded with neoprene for comfort and to avoid bruises and calluses
- Length is adequate enough to wrap around the bar two to three times for a more secure grip
- Great wrist support
- Weak material breaks after a few months
- Beginners should read the manual or you can risk putting them on the wrong way
- Tend to loosen up during heavy lifting
- Padding can be a bit bulky
For those who prefer leather lifting straps, the guys from Dark Iron Fitness must have heard your call and answered with these lifting straps made from cowhide suede. Although leather lifting straps can provide more traction and do not slip on the bar as much as cotton, they have little to no sweat absorption so you might want to consider that also.
You will also be happy to know that unlike most straps which have problems when it comes to durability, Dark Iron Fitness made sure to reinforce the stitching up and down these lifting straps to make sure they don’t come off easily.
- Very comfortable
- Long enough to wrap around the bar approximately three times
- Can be very secure once you get them on properly
- Quality material
- Can be a bit too long for those with slender wrists. It might be a good idea to offer smaller sizes.
- New leather may stain clothes so keep them away from clothes until they are properly broken in
These are not your usual lifting straps in the sense that they do not fit into any of the other types of lifting straps enumerated earlier in this article. Instead, these gloves are a combination of a pad pair, lifting straps, and power hooks to ensure comfort, prevent chafing, and provide a secure grip on the bar.
A patent is pending for this design as these are not the usual kind of lifting straps you normally see dangling from a weightlifter’s wrists. They look more like a pair of gloves and resemble hook straps the closest.
- Very comfortable
- Unique design with pending patent
- Combination of pad pair, lifting straps, and power hooks all in one
- Provides a very secure grip on the bar
- Easy to use
- Neoprene cushion folds back on itself when clinching the strap tight
- May smell really awful
- Bulky padding
Like the Cobra Grips PRO, the Versa Gripps PRO Gloves combine the comfort of gloves with the support of lifting straps and the secure grip on a bar of power hooks. The design is original and patented, as well as the material used to make these supports.
You might look a little different from others with their lifting straps dangling from their wrists but if you are planning on going into heavy lifting and your grip leaves much to be desired, you might want to invest in a pair of these and by invest, I mean cash. No kidding, they are seriously expensive compared to other lifting straps.
- Great wrist support
- Very comfortable
- Secure grip around bar
- Improved, patented design
- Great for heavy lifting
- Easy to use and wrap around the bar
- Hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial patent
- Very durable
- Tend to develop a really awful smell after some time
- Extremely expensive compared to other lifting straps
- Problems with sizing
The Conflict on Lifting Straps
Lifting straps…should you use them or should you not?
Among those in strength training, there is some conflict regarding the use of lifting straps as some would consider their use as a form of “cheating” because it gives you a better grip on your bar. Lifting straps are also not allowed in powerlifting competitions, by the way, but they are often given the green light in strongman competitions.
Some would also forego the use of lifting straps, believing that it makes them less “hardcore”, which is total balderdash if you ask me. Nobody decides how hardcore you are except you and the boundaries you are willing to push.
The greatest thing about using lifting straps is that you can push your targeted muscles to fatigue without worrying about your grip failing. Without lifting straps, you will probably set the weights down the moment your grip fails without first fatiguing your target muscles, which will hamper your efforts to build strength, which is the reason you lift weights in the first place.
So, if you are not planning to enter into any competitions soon, go ahead and use lifting straps to help you build strength. Worrying about your grip takes away from your strength training; worrying about the opinions of others will do so to a greater extent.
Choosing Your Lifting Straps
Now that you have made up your mind to forego its critics and use lifting straps, you must now choose from a wide array in the market.
Lifting straps are not just bits of cloth you use to tie yourself to the bar. You are going to train with them and they need to keep up with the kind of exertion you put into your strength training. Any old scrap of cloth will simply not do.
In choosing your lifting straps, keep the following things in mind:
1. Types of Straps
These are the easiest ones to find and are highly versatile. This type of lifting strap is fantastic for those who are starting out on weightlifting. If you are a beginner in weightlifting looking for something to give you good bar security and help you perform maximal lifts (hello, target muscles!), these straps are for you!
These straps are made to fit securely around your wrist. However, it can get a bit difficult to get the extra material around the bar especially if you have already looped one hand into it. You might have to do some extra maneuvers to get the other one in.Also, the extra material from these straps could get in the way and make it hard to let go of a failed lift because you are still securely fastened to the bar. It is for this reason that they are not commonly used with Olympic lifts
Speed Straps or Olympic Straps
These lifting straps have closed loops, which make them easier to attach to a bar, as you can see from this picture.
Because they are easier to attach, it also makes it easier for you to bail out of a failed lift with speed straps. These lifting straps are used for maneuvers in lifting that require quick releases like snatch and clean & jerk.
Speed straps also use less material and so, they make for less secure grips. Another downside to this type of lifting strap is that you cannot adjust the tightness on your wrist in the way you can with loop straps.
These look the least bit like the scraps of fabric you might have seen. For this type of straps, no wrapping is required and you just have to strap them on and fit the bar into the hooks.
However, because of the construction of hook straps, you cannot squeeze the bar adequately in your hands, which can affect your technique on some lifts. Also, because the hooks are not adjustable, you might not be able to fit them around a number of specialty bars.
Lifting straps are not made just so out of any material. Most commonly, they are made of cotton, nylon, or leather-each one with their own pros and cons.
This is the material most commonly used in lifting straps and the absolute best when it comes to sweat absorption. The thing with sweat is that the moisture will make it difficult to maintain optimal strap placement as the strap will keep moving about in your wrist. With cotton, the thicker the material, the better it will be for sweat absorption.
As with new gear, you will have to break in lifting straps. For those straps made out of cotton, you will probably have to go at it for approximately four sessions before your lifting straps are broken in. Softer materials will naturally take less time but they have this annoying tendency to also stretch especially on heavier lifts.
Some cotton lifting straps also come with a bit of padding to add comfort. As an added boost, the padding also adds a bit more sweat absorption.
This material might feel smoother on the wrist but the chafing leaves much to be desired, especially when you still have to break it in. Lifting straps made of nylon will take a bit more getting used to and are usually broken in after five intense sessions.
Unlike cotton, they do not absorb sweat as much so they will move about your wrists when you start sweating and make it difficult to maintain its position.
However, if you are well into heavy lifting, then you may want to consider this material because they are less likely to stretch out when greater force is applied to it, unlike lifting straps made of cotton.
Nothing looks more hardcore than leather lifting straps, I tell you. Lifting straps made of this material are the least common and are usually indulged in due to personal preference.They do not absorb moisture as much as cotton or even nylon lifting straps and you might even have to tighten them a few more times when you start to sweat.
The greatest thing about leather lifting straps is that the stretch is quite minimal even compared to nylon lifting straps and they maintain their shape even when heavy loads are applied to it.
Of course, you bought the lifting straps to secure the bar to your wrist so you can go about fatiguing your target muscles without worrying too much about your grip.
Figure-of-eight loop straps are the absolute best when it comes to securely fastening the straps around the bar and your wrists, which makes them great for deadlifts and strongman-style pulling. For weightlifting that requires quick release like Olympic weightlifting, not so much.
If you are just starting out with weight lifting, you might not put much stock into versatility but when you get to more dynamic workouts, this then becomes a bigger issue. Naturally, your lifting straps have to roll with you.
If you are one of those with more dynamic workout routines than most, you have to choose lifting straps that are not only easy to attach but easy to remove as well. Also, make sure that your straps will not affect movement mechanics or impede proper movement.
Your lifting straps must keep equal pace with how hardcore you are and they will not be able to do so without this important characteristic. The durability of your lifting straps often correlates to the same factors that affect its price-material, design, and brand.
Of course, it does not necessarily mean that the most durable strap is the most expensive one but it generally follows that if you scrimp on anything in life, you will get the quality you paid for. The same thing is true with lifting straps and gym equipment such as powerlifting bars, power rack, inversion table, etc. Although they might not be as popular as established brands, there are durable lifting straps that will not cost you as much and we have included them in the next part of this article-the best lifting straps in the market.
The Winner of The Roundup
Without a doubt, if you are seriously into heavy weightlifting and if you have the moolah to spare, then you should go with the Versa Gripps PRO. Although they are ridiculously expensive, you actually get what you paid for in terms of comfort and grip. They might not be as versatile as leather straps and could take some getting used to, but they provide great wrist support, giving your grip the backup it needs while you fatigue your target muscles.
The patented hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial material will be enough to please the germophobe lurking in each of us.
In terms of durability, the Versa Gripps PRO Gloves certainly can’t be beaten. That patented material of theirs is definitely made to last you through many workouts and lifting sessions.
How did you like this article? Did it help you find the best lifting straps to suit your needs and budget? Do you have other lifting straps you might want to recommend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with others on their journey to fitness!