Who’s tired of having their hands get destroyed on pull movements?
You’re cruising through a workout, crushing everything in sight, and then it comes to pull-ups, or deadlifts, or cleans, or snatches…
…and your grip goes to hell.
In A Hurry? Here are the top picks:
My girlfriend has this issue; she isn’t used to using so much grip in workouts; now that we do CrossFit, it seems there’s some grip exercise on the daily.
Grip often makes or breaks (also brakes) a workout. It’s best to not have to pay attention to grip; rather, it’s ideal to not worry about it and focus on the pull movement itself, especially the muscle groups that exercise is intended to work.
My lady could do so much more, actually fatiguing her muscles, instead of ripping her hands up and not getting sore or sweaty at all (except in her palms).
Fortunately, there is a solution to this dilemma: Lifting straps.
Here is the ultimate guide to lifting straps, including what they are, the various types, when to use them, which material trumps all others, durability, and the top options out there for different workout goals.
For all the details and the comprehensive guide, continue to scroll…
- What Are Lifting Straps?
- Types Of Lifting Straps
- When Should You Use Lifting Straps?
- Lifting Straps Materials
- Which Lifting Strap Is Most Durable?
- Best Strap For Powerlifting
- Best Strap For Weightlifting
- Best Strap For Strongman
- Best Strap For Deadlifting
- Best Strap For Bodybuilding
- Best Straps For Value
- Top Lifting Straps Reviewed
What Are Lifting Straps?
They are made from a wide array of materials, from canvas to cotton to nylon to leather.
Essentially, what they do is connect your hands to the weight, whether it be a barbell or a dumbbell.
This helps with grip as well as keeping the weight from sliding out of your hands and clanging to the ground.
Types Of Lifting Straps
As stated above, there are differing materials used for lifting straps.
There are also different kinds of straps. Below are the three common types of lifting straps.
One of the most basic forms of lifting straps, single loops are good if you simply need a little help with grip.
They are a single loop with a thick tail at one end to wrap around the bar.
You basically put your wrists in the loop and then wrap the tail around the bar until it’s tight to your hands.
To make sure it’s clear, if you were to let go of the weight, it would spiral out of the tail and smack the ground.
Therefore, it is a nice option if you only want the bare minimum of assistance.
This version lassos itself around your wrist, providing a tight grip around your hand. Then you wrap the long tail around the bar and bust out those reps, just like the single loop.
The sole difference is the style of the loop around your wrist.
In a single loop, it’s a preset length of loop; in a lasso, you tighten the loop until it is snug and secure around a specific area of your hand/wrist. This offers more protection and stability in your lifts.
The most intricate of straps, the figure 8 is a single piece of material stitched into a – you guessed it – figure 8 pattern.
What you do to “strap in” is put your hand through the first loop, wrap the other loop under the bar (so the stitched middle is underneath the bar), and loop the second loop over your hand.
This gives you the maximum amount of protection, as it acts like a catch for the bar; you let go of the weight, and it’ll stay relatively close to where you were holding it, instead of rolling and banging on the floor.
When Should You Use Lifting Straps?
Now, this is very important: There are times when you should use lifting straps, and there are times when you should definitely not.
Some key determining factors for lifting strap use…
- If you’re doing an exercise that targets a muscle and something other than that muscle gets fatigued first, either it’s a stupid exercise or you need straps to help give you the muscular fatigue you’re looking for.
- Use them on movements intended to improve muscle size and strength, especially in the upper back, traps, and hamstrings.
By following these two parameters, it should be clear which lifts require straps and which do not.
Here is a quick list of exercises you should consider using lift straps on:
- Snatch and clean high/low pulls from any start position (floor, blocks, hang)
- Snatch/power snatch from any start position (floor, blocks, hang)
- Shrugs (dumbbell or barbell)
- Rows (dumbbell or barbell)
- Rack pulls
- Deadlifts (all variations and heights)
Lifting Straps Materials
Most of the lifting straps today are a combination of different materials to give you the best product possible.
Let’s go over the various major fabrics in the majority of lifting straps.
Cotton is one of the most comfortable materials out there for lifting straps.
It gives extra padding and, depending on whether you need this or not, cotton straps tend to release quicker than other materials.
Also, softer cotton seems to break in easily, compared with tougher cotton as well as other materials.
Lifting straps with cotton padding makes for a good tool to be in a general gym-goer’s arsenal.
Another common material for lifting straps, nylon offers a smooth feel on the hands and wrists, but has some chafing issues as you’re breaking them in.
Nylon lifting straps are great for those who do heavy lifting, due to its strength, yet terrible for higher-rep work, as they tend to get sweaty easily.
Nylon also doesn’t stretch much, making it durable and strong.
The most popular of lifting strap materials, leather is a quality option.
Some versions are tough, others soft. The softer the leather, the quicker it breaks in. However, it isn’t too good at sweat absorption.
When you’re lifting, it might slip and have to be re-tightened.
Nonetheless, it is very elastic and stress-proof; despite multiple uses, it snaps back to its original form.
Which Lifting Strap Is Most Durable?
In terms of lifting strap type, the figure 8 provides the most security with the barbell or dumbbell.
But all of the types can be built to last, and not everyone requires such a secure hold.
As for materials, the tougher the kind, the stronger and longer lasting. Cotton doesn’t stay itself forever (think your favorite old shirt).
That means leather and nylon are your best bets for a durable lifting strap.
While both are decent in the durability department, they are equally bad at absorbing moisture and taking a few uses to get worked in.
If you wanted the most durable lifting strap on the market, look for synthetic materials as well, including double stitching at the crosses or loop ends.
Nylon or leather works for durability purposes, but the ideal one is nylon.
Best Strap For Powerlifting
For powerlifting, you definitely want a secure grip.
This type of workout involves a bunch of pulling movements, so you want straps that keep the bar close and tight.
That means figure 8 and nylon are your best bets for a lifting strap; these will keep up with your powerful motions without slipping or wearing down.
Best Strap For Weightlifting
This means you’re doing traditional movements, such as snatches or other quick movements with weights.
In such a case, you want something with a quick release feature, so the single loop version of lifting straps.
As for material, if you simply lift weights, it isn’t a big deal to choose a pricier nylon when leather or cotton will suffice.
Best Strap For Strongman
Versatility, security, and durability. This is what we’re looking for in a strongman’s lifting strap. So, you want nylon and you want a lifting strap version that can wear multiple hats so to speak.
This actually leads me to think the lasso loop lifting strap is the ideal option for strongman; it can be utilized in many ways, and having a nylon one adds to the durability.
While it isn’t a super secure fit, you can get out of a tricky situation via the quick release it gives you.
Best Strap For Deadlifting
When you think deadlifting, you think big and bulky. It’s the strongest of all the lifts, where you’re moving the most weight.
Naturally, your lifting strap needs to cater to this. Therefore, the lifting strap of choice has to be figure 8, for a super secure fit, as well as canvassed cotton with extra padding, for comfort.
The double looping around the wrist allows you to drop the weight and still be tied to your lift, which is important with heavy loads.
Best Strap For Bodybuilding
Also known as the regular gym rat, all bodybuilders need is a simple, easy lifting strap that doesn’t involve much set up and provides them with a boost in security and grip.
Top option: A cotton lasso lifting strap. It’s versatility and padded cotton allows you to use both dumbbells and barbells, as well as keep your wrists from ripping.
Best Straps For Value
If you’re building on a budget, there is a lifting strap out there, in loop form, that goes for $4.99.
It’s the 321 Strong Cotton Lifting Strap and it provides you everything you need in a lifting strap while not breaking the bank.
Whether you’re a recreational lifter or go to the gym for personal purposes, a simple lifting strap is the way to go.
Top Lifting Straps Reviewed
The first lifting strap on our list is a lasso version by 321 STRONG.
Made of heavy duty black cotton, these straps are machine washable and measure 24” long.
It comes with soft 8” cotton padding for the wrist, so your hands and wrists stay comfortable when lifting.
This specific lifting strap comes with an easy-to-clean vinyl carrying bag with a zipper for easy storage.
If you want to improve your grip without sacrificing your palms and wrists, and are a general gym goer who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles, 321 STRONG’s Lifting Straps for Weightlifting.
Dark Iron Fitness – Suede Leather
Another lasso lifting strap, Dark Iron Fitness unleashes a potent strap on the fitness industry.
Super heavy duty suede leather, reinforced stitching up and down the entire strap, and a tighter grip on both the bar and your wrists are some of the impressive features these lifting straps have.
It’s equipped with tough yet soft materials, preventing chafing, pinching, and ripping in your hands or wrists.
While these are a little more in price, it’s a worthy investment because these bad boys are built to last through your toughest of workouts.
For a secure, tight, and comfortable fit with top-of-the-line materials, nothing can beat Dark Iron Fitness and their Weightlifting Leather Suede Wrist Straps.
IronMind – Single Loop Straps
Simplicity at its finest, IronMind has created a single loop strap that does its job wonderfully.
Made of uber-strong nylon, they give you a secure grip on the bar while also providing quick release when necessary.
This makes it a superior choice for those who do strongman, weightlifting, or bodybuilding, not so much for deadlifting or powerlifting.
Noted as “Short and Sweet” lifting straps, IronMind Single Loop Straps are sure to tackle your traditional lifting needs with ease.
For a quick, simple, no-nonsense product, there’s nothing better than this single loop lifting strap.
Serious Steel Fitness – Figure 8 Lifting Straps
The only figure 8 type of lifting strap on our list, these Serious Steel Fitness straps are created with one particular exercise in mind: The deadlift.
These straps are the ultimate safety mechanism when it comes to the king of lifts, being a “serious” figure 8 with heavy duty webbed cotton, double and cross stitching, and 1.75 inches of width.
When choosing a size for these, go small; the tighter the strap, the tighter the fit is to the bar.
With such a hefty promise, these come at a slightly higher price than the others on this list. But, what you get is a highly specialized deadlift and powerlifting strap that keeps the load close to your hands.
For that level of security and grip, Serious Steel Fitness has got your back (quite literally).
Lifting straps become incredibly important the heavier you get into your workouts.
Whether it be powerlifting, weightlifting, strongman, deadlifts, or classic bodybuilding, lift straps should be a universal truth, utilized everywhere.
Get familiar with the three main types of lifting straps – single loop, lasso, figure 8 – and the kinds of materials you want in your strap.
Consult the list to determine which lifts require this help and which definitely do not.
Each exercise regimen comes with their tendencies, so find the one that best describes your goals and go for a lifting strap that matches those tendencies.
For an overall look at the best lifting straps out there, check out those four listed above.
Lifting straps are damn near necessary for elevating your workouts. Grab a pair today and smash that new PR!