Should You Lift With Straps?

Should You Lift With Straps?

It can be a heated debate between many lifters. There are extremes on both ends. Some lifters will tell you that the use of straps while lifting is cheating. They maintain that if your grip is not strong enough to hold onto the weight then you are not strong enough to lift the weight. There are other lifters that love straps and use them on almost every exercise. These strap users may even throw them on for their lightest warm up sets, however if your goal is to get gains in the form of new muscle then straps definitely have a place in your gym bag. Let’s talk about why.


No Straps no big back! – 3 key benefits for using weight lifting straps to strengthen your gains!

 

Size and strength gains

Ask yourself the following two questions:
  1. What is your target muscle of the exercise?
  2. Which muscle fatigues first?

If the answer to those two questions is not the same muscle then “HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM!” Certainly as your back gets stronger and your legs get stronger your forearms will get stronger as well. However, those who feel straps are cheating are failing to realize that the forearms, being a smaller muscle group, will never be as strong as your back or legs. When you get to heavier sets you will often find that your grip begins to fail before your target muscle.

 

Straps will alleviate this issue. Lifting straps will allow you to fatigue the target muscle without worrying about your grip failing first. If you can get an extra 2 or 3 reps beyond what your failing grip would allow then you now have a huge advantage to building more muscle and realizing your size and strength gains.

Yes, we do understand that putting a pair of straps on means you are not going to be taxing the forearms as much on those lifts. But, here is a crazy idea… If you are training back or legs why would you be doing heavy sets where the goal is to fatigue your forearms first? TRAIN YOUR FOREARMS SEPARATE FROM YOUR BACK. Dedicate specific exercises for your forearms if you would like to improve your grip strength and use straps for your heavy back and leg pulling movements so you can focus on fatiguing your target muscle.

Forearm Safety/Preventing Lifters Elbow

When we fatigue the tendency is to engage the forearms to help pull the weight and being that the forearms are a relatively small muscle group this puts them at risk for injury. Wrist curling your heaviest set for deadlifts or bent over rows compromises your forearms. And while wrist curling such a heavy weight sounds silly this is exactly what can subconsciously happen as you fatigue at the end of the set and try to eek out those final 1 or 2 reps. When your grip or even the target muscle begins to fail curling the wrist is a natural compensatory response to make sure the weight gets where we want it to go.
Lifting straps lock the bar into your hands and keep your wrists in a neutral position. The lifting straps will keep the palm straight and locked in with the use of the weight you are lifting and this natural force we know as gravity. This locked position prevents any notion of a wrist curl under such heavy loads.
Straps will also alleviate some of the stress on heavy lifts that are associated with overuse injuries such as lifters elbow.

Mind Muscle Connection

 

Something often taken for granted and certainly compromised with fatigue and other variables that can often distract you while lifting is the mind muscle connection. When you use lifting straps for your heavier lifts you no longer have to focus on your failing grip as your forearms begin to fatigue. Now you can devote the entirety of your focus to your form.

 

3 HUGE Benefits To Using Straps When You Lift

  1. Size and Strength Gains
  2. Forearms Safety/Preventing Lifters Elbow
  3. Mind Muscle Connection
Do not shy away from strapping up on your heavier lifts! Use your grip strength for your warm up sets and even your working sets, but when you get to your heavier ‘here come the gains sets’ slide your wrists into some lifting straps, lock in the bar, and lock in on your gains!

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