Wrist Straps

wrist straps

Wrist straps, not to be confused with wrist wraps are a piece of support gear used in weight lifting to enhance grip strength and stability.  These are commonly used by power lifters for heavy deadlifts and by body builders for heavy barbell or dumbbell shrugs.  Many bodybuilders or figure competitors also utilize straps to go beyond grip failure on strict pulling movements.  This can include but is not limited to pull-ups/chins, rows and overhead pull-downs.  It is also not uncommon to see wrist wraps used as a stability mechanism on strict movements such as bench and shoulder press.

How Wrist Straps Work

Most wrist straps work by creating additional friction and better “hooking” of the bar to the lifter’s hands.  This is accomplished by wrapping one end of the strap in a loop around the wrist.  The other end is than wrapped around the bar until no slack is left.  The lifter will then typically hold on to the wrapped portion of the bar.

Overuse of Wrist Straps in Weight Lifting

Some traditional weight lifters are opposed to the use of wrist straps or other performance enhancing gear as they believe it is a “cheat” to the pure movement.  While there is truth to this, there is no doubting some of the benefits of straps that allow to train beyond grip strength.  This is particularly true with heavy deadlifts, where the power of the body and back will far outweigh grip strength.

Purist may disagree but a good strategy is to balance the use of wrist straps in a weight lifting routine.  Perhaps only using them on the last one or two heavy sets of deadlifts or shrugs.  If you find you are having grip failure, wrist stability issues or slipping grip, you may want to consider the substitutes below.

Substitutes for Wrist Straps

If wrist stability or pain is an issue you may want to consider investing in some solid wrist wraps.  While straps do provide some stability and support for the wrist, full-on wraps are designed specifically for support purposes with little to no added benefit for grip.  A good way to remember it is as follows.

  • Wrist Straps – Enhance Grip Strength
  • Wrist Wraps – Support & Stabilize Wrists

Another great substitute for wrist straps is plain old lifting chalk.  Unless you plan on deadlifting twice your body weight or more, chalk is a viable alternative for more weight lifters.  Not only does it help enhance grip but it prevents slipping on the bar and overall control.

If you are however planning on doing heavy deads or feel wrist straps are good for your training routine, they are relatively inexpensive and a nice addition to your training gear.  Check out Wrist Straps online

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