Personally, I wish I would have known about weight lifting straps when I first started lifting.
Weight lifting straps aren’t the wimpy way out and they aren’t cheating. Straps simply help you target the muscles you are trying to target. While grip strength is important, the main point of compound exercises like the dead lift isn’t to develop stronger hands, it’s to build strong leg, core, and back muscles.
Using straps will allow you to max out the muscles you’re trying to target. As you lift heavier weight, your grip strength (forearm muscles) will not be able to outlast the ability of your large muscle groups to perform repetitions with heavy loads. A weakened grip can cause you to drop weights or compromise form — both can lead to injury.
Straps are especially useful if you workout a lot or participate in a number of different sports. For example, I enjoy rock climbing, and if I don’t use straps for weight lifting during the week, my grip strength is shot when I’m ready to climb on the weekend. Use straps to preserve your grip strength when you need it.
There are a couple of ways to develop grip strength without going completely strapless:
- Begin your workout without straps, but use the straps as soon as you feel your grip start to weaken.
- Target your grip strength with separate exercises, like wrist flexes or roll-ups.
The take away: Use straps for heavy pulling exercises. They’ll help you lift heavier, get stronger, and stay more active.
Originally posted 2013-03-13 22:24:05.