How To Use Lifting Straps

Sometimes grip strength is the limiting factor on exercises where you lift heavy weights. Especially deadlifts and other pulling movements.

In those cases, lifting straps can help you get a grip on the bar. That’s why I’m going to explain everything you need to know about when and how to use lifting straps.

With this simple strip of fabric, you can lift heavier weights and progress faster in the gym.

How To Use Lifting Straps

What Are Lifting Straps?

In case you’re not familiar, lifting straps are a resistance training accessory that helps you maintain your grip on the barbell. You may also hear them called weight lifting straps, wrist straps, or deadlifting straps.

Essentially, they are sturdy straps that loop around your wrist and then around the bar. By twisting the straps tightly under your hands they sort of “tie” your hands to the bar during the lift. But they also come undone as soon as you let go.

However, wrist straps are not the same wrist wraps – another weight lifting accessory. Just remember wrist wraps are for extra support, wrist straps are for added grip.

What Are Wrist Straps

When Should You Use Lifting Straps?

Lifting straps are advantageous any time you’re performing a lift where your grip strength fails before the muscle groups you’re trying to target.

For example, if your set of deadlift ends when you lose your grip on the bar, you should use lifting straps. Or if you could do more pull-ups but you can’t hang on long enough, you should use lifting straps.

Common Exercises To Use Lifting Straps

Most often lifting straps are used on pulling exercises involving barbells. But you can also use them on dumbbells, pull-up bars, or various pulldown cable attachments.

Are Lifting Straps Cheating?

No, lifting straps are not cheating. They are simply a way to modify the exercise so it targets the desired muscle instead of a secondary one like forearms.

Some powerlifting purists may argue that the use of straps enables weak forearms and a soft grip. To their point, you shouldn’t rely on lifting straps all the time. In fact, do exercises without them whenever possible to build your grip strength.

But strap up when your grip is the limiting factor. There’s no sense in leaving attainable gains on the table just because your grip fails!

How To Use Lifting Straps Step By Step

With the “what, when, and why” out of the way, let’s get into the “how”. In this section, I’ll walk you through a simple 5 step process for how to use lifting straps. Including a bunch of pictures and detailed descriptions.

Step 1: Slide The Loose End Through The Loop

The first step is to put the loose end of the lifting strap through the small loop on the other end. Also, you want the straps to be mirror images of each other. One for your left hand, and one for your right.

How To Use Lifting Straps Left Hand Loop
How To Use Lifting Straps Right Hand Loop
How To Use Lifting Straps Left And Right Hand

Step 2: Put Your Hand Through The Strap

Next, put your hand through the strap so the loose end comes out between your thumb and index finger. At this point, you’ll also want to pull the loose end tight so the strap is snug around your wrist.

How To Use Lifting Straps Hand Through
How To Use Lifting Straps Tighten

Step 3: Wrap The Loose End Around The Bar

With the straps on your wrist, put the loose end of the strap under the bar facing away from you while resting your hand on top of the bar. Now is a good time to set the width of your grip using the knurl markings.

Continue to wrap the loose end of the strap by bringing it back over the bar towards you. Once you’ve wrapped the entire length of the strap around the bar, place your hand directly on top of it.

How To Use Lifting Straps Begin Wrap
How To Use Lifting Straps Continue Wrap

Step 4: Tighten The Strap & Repeat

With your hand on top of the strap, twist it towards you to tighten. Don’t worry about getting the first strap super tight until you secure the other hand.

Next, repeat steps 1-3 with the other hand. This one can be a little trickier because you only have one free hand. But you can slowly work the strap around the bar using your fingers and thumb.

Once both hands are on the bar, twist them towards you like revving a motorcycle throttle. This will tighten the straps around the bar and your wrists. You want it to be as tight as possible so the bar doesn’t move.

How To Use Lifting Straps Begin Wrap
How To Use Lifting Straps Continue Wrap

Note: Your hands probably won’t be this close together, I just did this so they would both be in the picture.

Step 5: Lift & Release

Now you can proceed with your lift and as long as you keep pressure on the straps they will stay in place. When you finish the lift, release your grip and the straps will easily unwrap from the bar.

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How To Use Deadlift Straps: Video

If all those steps still seem a little confusing, watching the whole process in a video may make it easier to follow. Below I demonstrate using lifting straps on a barbell as you would for a deadlift, RDL, or bent over row.

Types Of Lifting Straps

In this article, I showed you how to use Harbinger lifting straps. I have no affiliation with this company, but I’ve had these straps for over 4 years and they’re holding up well.

This particular brand also has neoprene padding to cushion the top of your wrist. And you can pick them up on Amazon for only $11.99.

In addition, there are several other types of lifting straps ranging from simple loops or figure eights to specially designed heavy-duty hook grips. As well as various materials like cloth and leather.

In my opinion, the basic cotton wrist straps are the best value. They perform the same function as the fancier straps for a fraction of the price.

But you should use the type of weight lifting straps that work best for you.

Conclusion

A solid pair of lifting straps is an essential piece of gear for any serious weightlifter’s gym bag. They help you lift heavier weights and build bigger muscles without being limited by your current grip strength.

So get yourself a pair and strap up any time your grip gives out before your target muscles on heavy lifts. If you found this article helpful, check out some of my other informative content below!

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