If you're trying to hit a new personal record on your deadlift, a pair of the best lifting straps will help give you the grip and confidence that you need to help you reach your lifting goals.
The best lifting straps at a glance:
• Best overall lifting straps: Gymreapers Lifting Wrist Straps - View now on Amazon.co.uk
• Best lifting straps for small wrists: Gymshark Silicone Grip Lifting Straps - View now on Gymshark.com
• Best lifting straps for tight budgets: Bulk Lifting Straps - View now on Bulk.com
It’s inevitable and frustrating that our grip strength will let us down before our larger muscles, but lifting straps are designed to help maintain that grip and lift heavier. While you can use other accessories to assist with your grip, such as powdered or liquid chalk, unless you’re training to compete - where straps aren’t allowed - we definitely advise giving lifting straps a go.
We're going to explore the diverse range of options, from traditional lifting traps to advanced, high-tech materials that promise an unyielding grip. Discover how the right pair of lifting straps could be the secret weapon you've been missing to break through your lifting plateaus and achieve your fitness goals.
The best lifting straps
Best overall lasso lifting straps
When it comes to gymwear and fitness equipment, Gymreapers are a brand you’ll see pop up
- Available in nine colours
- Neoprene padding to support your wrists
- Made from a blend of cotton for extra comfort
- Some may find the length of the straps irritating
Best lifting straps for tight budgets
While lifting straps aren’t going to break the bank, if you’re trying them out for the first time,
- Very affordable
- Padding to protect wrists
- No friction means a fiddly setup
Best figure 8 budget buy
Strongman Eddie Hall broke the 500kg deadlift record in 2016 using figure 8 lifting straps, so if
- Padded foam to protect wrists
- Only come in one size, so measure before you buy
Best lifting straps for powerlifting
If you’ve struggled with finding the correct-sized figure 8 lifting straps, then Cobra Grip can
- Great size range
- Made from good quality material that’s durable and long-lasting
- Five different colours to choose from
- Beginners may not like that these don't have padding
Best premium lifting straps for Olympic lifting
These genuine leather Olympic lifting straps will allow you to have a firm grip on the bar, while
- Genuine leather is grippy, durable and long-lasting
- Sleek, minimalist design
- No cinching or tightening around the wrist
- Not ideal for beginners and is best for Olympic lifts
Best Olympic lifting straps for style
Tried, tested and used by multiple international weightlifting medalists, these Olympic straps are
- Two colour options
- Short length is easier to apply to the bar and release
- Not recommended for beginners
What are lifting straps?
These weight-lifting accessories are exactly what they say on the tin - they’re a strip of fabric that you wrap around your wrist and then the piece of equipment you’re trying to lift in order to aid your grip.
“Lifting straps are an accessory used in weightlifting and strength training to increase grip on free-weight exercises,” says Alan Morton, a sports tutor at TRAIN Fitness. “They allow the lifter to maintain a better grip and stop the weight from slipping. They are especially useful on exercises like deadlifts, or rows, which greatly stress the hands and forearms. They’re generally made from heavy-duty cotton, nylon and, occasionally, leather.” There are three types of lifting straps: lasso, a figure of eight and closed-looped, but more on that later.
What are the benefits of using lifting straps?
Just like weightlifting shoes or a weightlifting belt, lifting straps can help enhance your performance during a heavy lift. Their primal benefit is to help you move more weight in exercises like deadlifts, rows or shrugs, without jeopardising your form.
“These exercises have large muscle groups driving the lifting force, and grip strength often can't keep up,” says Alan. "The strap allows a more secure grip by reinforcing the strength of the wrist and effectively making the bar part of the body.”
But it’s not just your grip they can help with, as Alan explains they’re great for supporting weak and injured wrists.
“The tension through the strap forces the wrist into more optimal biomechanical positions for lifting and reduces the likelihood of excessive stress on the tendons and ligaments of the wrist joint,” he says.
Who should use lifting straps?
Simply, anyone who is looking to lift heavier. However, they shouldn't be used all the time as they can limit the development of your grip strength. However, as an accessory, they have many benefits.
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re training to compete, for example in a powerlifting competition, lifting straps aren’t allowed. Therefore, while they may be beneficial in parts of your training, you would also need to learn how to strengthen your grip naturally.
If you’re a beginner you probably won’t need them straight away in your training either.
“The focus for beginners should be on form and getting the body used to the movements, not optimising intensity or training volume,” says sports tutor Alan Morton. “However, experienced lifters training for strength, or hypertrophy, can benefit significantly from straps.”
Which weightlifting straps should I be using?
Here’s a breakdown of three different straps to help you decide which to try:
Lasso: The most common lifting straps, also known as loop straps. These straps have a stitched loop on one end, which you then feed the other end of the strap through to create a loop. You then put your wrist through this loop and then wrap the remaining bit of strap around the bar. For a tighter grip, you can wrap it around the bar multiple times. “It's a versatile strap that is easy to use,” says Alan. “Many training goals can be achieved with this type of strap.”
Figure 8: These are very secure, with two loops that look like a number eight. They loop around your wrist, then the barbell and then your wrist again for double security. “Serious strength athletes tend to favour figure eight straps, as they offer additional support and double the connection between the wrist and the bar. These provide superior support to standard straps when lifting very heavy weights for maximum lifts, especially the deadlift.”
Closed loop: Also known as Olympic lifting straps. These are a loop of material often used for Olympic lifts because they allow for a quick release. You put your hand through the loop and then wrap the remaining part of the loop hanging down from your wrist around the bar. As this strap doesn’t wrap around the wrist fully, it allows athletes to let go of the bar quickly, if needs be.
How do I use them?
This video shows you exactly how to apply each strap we've featured above to the bar. As you'll see, they're all very straightforward and easy to apply. With a little practice, you'll be lifting heavier in no time.
Bryony Firth-Bernard is a Health and Fitness Product Writer for What's The Best. She specialises in strength training.
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