If you're trying to make progress on heavy lifts like barbell rows, deadlifts, and other pulling exercises - weight lifting straps are a must!
They allow you to lift heavier weights safely, but most importantly they help reduce the tension on your forearm and biceps! This will allow you to exhaust the muscle groups you're intending to target when it matters the most. By reducing your grip fatigue, you're able to push through more reps since you're not relying on grip strength, therefore your grip won't give out before the targeted muscles do. Whether you're a recreational lifter, a powerlifter, or a bodybuilder, lifting straps are a useful tool that can help you hit PR's on important compound exercises and reduce your risk of an injury while doing it!
However, there are a few lifting strap designs... there are three in particular that are popular in strength training. Knowing how they work, and their differences will help you choose the better one for you! And since we know a lot about lifting straps (we have our very own Lifting Straps collection), we've put together the details on all three so you can pick the right pair for your gym bag 😉
The 3 different types of lifting straps
Lifting straps are designed to connect your arm to the weight, but each type is unique in how it does that. Either way, they all work to give you the same benefits of reducing grip fatigue so you can perform heavy deadlifts and other pulling exercises effectively.
As we mentioned, there are different styles to choose from and although they work relatively the same, each has its own pros and cons. Knowing them will help you decide which is the best lifting straps for your style of training!
Lasso lifting straps
Lasso straps are the most popular and common lifting straps because of their versatility - they're great for gym-goers casually lifting heavy weights and powerlifters! They are designed so there is a wrist loop that attaches your wrist to around the barbell or dumbbells. Depending on the length, you're able to loop the strap around the bar multiple times to tighten the grip. This helps prevent the weight from slipping out of your hand and causing an injury, but also provides you with sufficient stability and grip support, more than the closed-loop straps (we'll discuss this one next)!
You can't go wrong with this type of lifting straps! They're easy to use, can be adjusted so they're tighter, and most provide extra padding around the wrist for added safety and comfort. This is why we've chosen this type of strap as opposed to the others!
UPPPER Lifting Straps feature a lasso design so anyone heavy weight lifting can start hitting PRs on important pulling exercises. They're 22" long so you can adjust your grip accordingly, are made from cotton fabric, and feature neoprene padding for added support and comfort around the wrist.
Here's how to put on lasso straps like ours:
- Put your hand through the space created so that the strap rests on the back of your hand, just below your wrists. Tighten the strap around the wrist to ensure it's secure.
- Place the rest of the strap over and outside your thumb on one side, and outside of your hand, and down your palm.
- Now wrap the strap around the barbell or dumbbell by going underneath and around the bar. Tighten it up so that the bar is secured in your hand.
- Once the straps are in place, rotate the bar or dumbbell to tighten the straps to the weight and secure your grip.
What type of lifts aren't recommended for these straps?
Anyone Olympic weightlifting should avoid using lasso straps!
Figure-eight lifting straps
Figure 8 straps look exactly as they sound - they resemble the number! The lifting strap design securely attaches you to the bar, more so than lasso straps. They're worn by placing the wrist through one loop and then placing the other loop under the barbell, and then putting the wrist through the second loop.
Figure 8 straps are bulky, and the heavy duty design allows for more grip stability and security. On the downside, they can only be looped around the bar once, making them not versatile. So, although they may provide greater grip support and security, they're not ideal for all types of lifts.
What kind of lifting should you stick to with figure 8 straps?
If you're trying to max out on your deadlifts or barbell shrugs, like really grip intensive exercises. You don't want to use these straps for Olympic lifting or any exercises that require you to quickly release a weight, like snatches.
Closed-loop lifting straps
Closed loop straps are designed so that you can easily ditch the bar, making them perfect for Olympic lifts! Opposed to figure 8 straps, they feature a single loop. However, this design also makes them the lifting straps with the least grip assistance.
To use this type of lifting strap, you'll need to wrap it around your wrist and then place the hanging end around the bar. You're unable to wrap and adjust your grip with closed-loop straps, offering less support than lasso or figure 8 straps. It comes down to a matter of personal preference, but if you're not Olympic lifting then its best to avoid these lifting straps.
Is there a winner?
Nope! One lifting strap design isn't better than another, it all really comes down to a matter of your style of training and fitness goals!
If you're mostly Olympic lifting and doing quick-release exercises like snatches then closed-loop lifting straps are the best choice. Outside of that, we don't recommend them for regular lifting.
For powerlifting, we recommend lasso or figure 8 lifting straps. Typically, powerlifters use lifting straps for heavy deadlifts and accessory work. So, better grip support is better for these types of lifts.
For bodybuilding, and recreational lifting, lasso straps are the best options! Lasso straps are extremely versatile and provide sufficient grip support for important compound exercises like heavy bent-over rows.
What else should you consider when choosing the best lifting straps?
Knowing how and when to use lifting straps is key to finding the perfect ones for you, but you also want to make sure you choose a comfortable pair that are going to help you through many, many heavy lifting sessions!
Aside from the type of strap, take a look at the material to see which ones the best for you.
Cotton lifting straps: Despite contrary belief, cottan is not only a comfortable fabric, its a strong one. They may not be as heavy-duty as leather material, but they're durable enough for all-around lifting! Plus, cotton is super absorbent, meaning that sweat won't get in the way of your lifting. A high-quality pair of cotton lifting straps, like UPPPERs, will be comfortable and durable for regular weight lifting.
Nylon lifting straps: Nylon straps are quite common because the material is super strong. However, they're best for short, heavy sets. The smooth texture can get sweaty pretty quickly, so they're not great for higher rep training, like hypertrophy.
Leather lifting straps: Leather straps will be the strongest one of the three materials. They're quite durable, and depending on the type of leather they can be tough or soft to the touch. The drawback of these straps is that their not absorbent, therefore they might not provide the grip you desire. They also take some time to break in, so take that into consideration before training with them!
In summary, if you want to get serious about your strength training and start lifting heavier weights, using weight lifting straps, and other lifting gear like wrist wraps, can make a positive difference! They'll provide you with the additional support you need to get through heavy lifts as safely and effectively as possible. But remember, there is no best lifting strap. It comes down to your style of training, goals, and personal preference!
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