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Weightlifting straps or also known as wrist straps for lifting, are an accessory that help increase your time under tension during heavy lifts by connecting your wrist to the bar with a looped or wrapped strap essentially prolonging your grip on the bar by moving the load into the strap. The lifting strap wraps or loops around the bar and stay in place either under your hand or around your wrist depending on the style of lifting strap you're using.
They come in a few different styles, materials, widths and lengths to cater for different requirements in lifting such as olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and CrossFit.
What should you look for in a weightlifting strap?
Firstly you need to identify what sport you will be using them for. Olympic lifting uses a loop strap whereas powerlifting uses a lasso and or figure 8 style wrist strap. The reason being is the difference in how the strap is engaged with the bar and the speed in which the release of the bar can be initiated. Olympic lifting works weight over head so the strap needs to be able to quick release, whereas powerlifting requires a more secure deadlift strap style, that will ensure it has a higher level of securing the wrist to the bar.
Why do athletes use weight lifting straps?
Athletes use straps to increase their ‘time under tension’. To continue to lift their reps and sets past grip failure.
Advantages and disadvantages of using weightlifting straps.
Advantages are increased reps and sets by removing the possibility for lift failure due to grip.
Disadvantages, the straps could end up becoming an accessory that you end up replying on if you train with them all the time. So introducing them into your training session when grip strength has fatigued is key to ensure you are still training your grip strength.
The Best weight lifting straps for CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting.
Powerlifting requires a more secure lifting strap. Therefore there are 2 styles of straps that will be great for powerlifting.
A great Lasso style strap we recommend are the Eleiko Cotton Pulling Straps.
The “lasso style” strap and the “Figure 8 lifting straps” are best here.
The Lasso lifting strap secures around the wrist and is then wrapped around the bar and secured by the lifters grip. When the bar is dropped the lifting strap unravels when the lifter releases their hand. Making them the best deadlift straps.
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Figure 8 lifting straps are sewn in a design where the lifter threads their hands through both the loops with the bar cradled on top of the “X” seam. The bar is then secured in the loop and around the wrist. This does mean releasing the bar requires the lifter to have the bar down to be able to un-thread their wrists from the lock. Making these lifting straps great for heavy carries.
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As for the material, cotton, nylon or leather is fine here, however some lifters find the leather lifting straps have more “grippier” feel. Others find the cotton and nylon work better as they are thinner than the leather and do not need to be ‘worked in’ or ‘softened’. The lasso style makes great deadlift straps as they can wrap round the bar multiple times to increase effectiveness of the lifting strap.
Olympic Lifting and CrossFit lifting straps need to be a quick release from the bar. The ‘Loop Style” lifting straps are the best design for Olympic lifting and CrossFit.
Ensuring you used weightlifting wrist straps for your olympic lifts is important to avoid injury.
The Loop Strap style can be purchased in a nylon material or cotton. The Nylon can be a little slippery when you first wear a new pair, so chalking them up after washes will help with grip.
Image Source: Rogue EU
The Lasso style isn't the best design as it takes them a little time to unravel from the bar. So if you are dropping the bar from an over head position you run the risk of the straps keeping you connected to the bar for longer than anticipated and pulling you down with the weighted bar after you have released tension from your body, which could lead to injury.
Padded wight lifting straps are not recommended for Olympic weight lifting, as they can cause unwanted movement on the wrist. When training speed and powerful movements ensuring your accessories are as stable as possible is key making stable straps the best wrist straps for weightlifting.
How to use weight lifting straps
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