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If you’ve been lifting weights for a while, you might’ve noticed the limitations on grip strength and how it affects the maximum weight you can lift in various pulling exercises, such as deadlifts.
The problem here is simple: our body is developed in a way to allow us to pull more weight than our grip can handle.
Luckily, there’s a solution that can safely protect your strength gains and even allow you to lift more weights, which is lifting straps.
The best lifting straps are the Gymreapers Lifting Straps. Their price is middle-of-the-pack, but they last the longest. This is important as lifting straps can fray easily and may only last a couple of months before you need to replace them. These super-durable straps are made of thick cotton, which gives it outstanding resistance against wear and tear.
Keep on reading if you want to know everything about lifting straps and how to use them.
Best Lifting Straps Available on the Market
Finding the best lifting straps for your needs might be a bit challenging, especially with all the good products on the market.
That’s why I’ll provide you with a brief rundown of the best lifting straps for various needs, so you can pick your ideal fit!
The 11 best lifting straps are:
- Gymreapers Lifting Straps
- Iron Mind Strong Enough
- Serious Steel Fitness Figure 8 Straps
- Harbinger Lifting Straps
- ihuan Lifting Straps
- Rip Toned Lifting Straps
- Serious Steel Fitness Lifting Straps
- Bear KompleX 2 Hole Leather Hand Grips
- Grip Power Pads Steel Hook Lifting Straps
- Grizzly Fitness Lifting Straps
- SKDK Lifting Wrist Straps
The Gymreapers straps feature a neoprene-padded design, which makes them extremely comfortable to wear when performing isolation exercises like rows and lat pulldowns. However, this padding becomes increasingly useful when performing exercises like heavy deadlifts. This is because as the load on the bar goes up, the straps increasingly dig into your skin. The neoprene wrist pad creates a significant cushion between the strap and your skin, helping you avoid bruises and torn skin.
These straps are also reinforced using a double-cross-stitched pattern, which improves the durability of the seams. Because of this, you can rest assured that these straps won’t tear at the stitching when you’re going for a new personal best — some reviews even state that they’ve lasted years of heavy use.
Additionally, GymReapers are available in a variety of assorted colours. Compared to most brands (who tend to only offer 1-2), GymReapers have 9 different colours to choose from. For style-conscious lifters, it doesn’t get better than these.
The only downside to these straps is their material. They’re made of a cotton material, which is less durable than other lifting straps that are built using nylon. However, the cotton is not thin (like the SKDK Lifting Straps featured later). They feel extremely thick and are double stitched for added durability.
Overall, GymReapers are the best value option out of all the lifting straps we’ve tested. They’re cheaper than IronMind lifting straps, but also have added padding and better stitching.
- Extra wrist padding
- Greatest colour range
- Very affordable
- Less durable than nylon straps
The Strong Enough lifting strap from Iron Mind was my favorite straps before I tested the Gymrepears strap. While it’s a super durable wrap, which won’t break down with repeated use, the price is the most expensive out of all the options, which is why it’s #2 on my list.
This lifting strap is made of high-quality nylon, which is known for its excellent level of durability. This allows the powerlifting strap to last for years without ever needing to replace them.
The loops on the strap are double stitched to give the strap an additional layer of security while using the strap under the bar. In fact, these straps were used when Ken Brown broke the World Deadlift Record of 1062.5 lbs.
In other words, you shouldn’t worry about its maximum weight capacity. However, you should also know that it doesn’t absorb sweating well. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a strap with no padding. However, personally, I like the straps with the padding because it’s more comfortable.
- Supreme level of durability and longevity
- Highly versatile and used for a variety of lifting sports
- Easy to use and clean
- Doesn’t absorb sweat
- Not as comfortable compared with Gymreapers
Serious Steel Fitness is one of the best figure 8 straps in the powerlifting tools industry. If you’re looking for ultra-durable figure 8 straps that are made of highly durable canvas fabric, this one should be on your go-to list.
The figure 8 strap also comes with double stitching along the length of the loops. This gives it extra reinforcement that allows it to handle the toughest weights. This makes it ideal for maxing out on deadlifts.
The straps are also relatively thicker with minimal padding to provide your hands with comfort while pulling the heavy weights off the ground.
Serious Steel Fitness trust in the quality of figure 8 deadlift strap. That’s why it offers a one year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the lifting strap.
- Comes with a one year warranty
- Has double stitching for extra reinforcement around the loops
- Available in three different sizes
- A bit pricey
This lifting strap from Harbinger is great for bodybuilders who are looking for versatility, durability, and good design as well as comfort.
In addition to classic black, the lifting straps are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes to match your bodybuilding outfit and gear. These designs include pink and wine red, as well as other printed finishes.
The extended length and width of the lifting strap allow for more grip surface, which reduces the grip fatigue significantly.
Moreover, the lifting straps come with a NeoTek cushioning, which uses a neoprene sheet to add comfortable padding without bulking the strap.
The only problem I have with this great value lifting strap is that one of its edges are burnt to prevent fraying. However, this solidified part can be a bit sharp and dig into the skin.
- Available in multiple colors and finishes
- Comes with neoprene cushioning for comfort on heavier lifts
- Great value for its price
- The edges might dig into the skin if you’re not wearing gloves.
If you have small hands, finding a good pair of lifting straps might be a bit tough. However, finding the right size is extremely critical for maxing out your reps. In that case, consider these straps from ihuan.
These loops on this single-looped straps run a bit small, which helps lifters with smaller wrists to have a snug fit for better gripping strength.
However, the strap ends don’t run short. This means that you can wrap these 24-inch straps around your bar for extra support to help you lift that maximum rep with ease.
Not only that, but it also comes with comfortable padding that makes a huge difference while pulling tons of weights on a deadlift.
The grip area also has a 6.5 mm neoprene layer to provide extra cushioning while lifting the heavier weights.
- Ideal straps for lifters with small hands
- Comes with an easy return policy
- Comfortable grip with neoprene lining
- Some users complained about the new version’s durability
Another durable lifting straps from Serious Steel Fitness. This one has a highly adjustable loop to fit your grip for maximum support while lifting the weight. This makes it an excellent choice for axle bar training as well as Strongman.
The strap is 30 inches long, which is longer than most options in the market. It’s also made of durable and heavy webbed cotton.
It’s also quite thicker and heavier than baseline axle straps, which also adds to its durability and grip support.
However, this also makes it a bit tedious during the breaking in period, as it takes a noticeably longer time to break in when compared to other cotton lifting straps on the market.
- Excellent for Strongman training
- Extra-long for addition wrapping around the bar
- One of the most durable cotton lifting straps out there
- Takes a long time to break in and become softer on hands
If you’re planning to train on specific Olympic movements, such as snatches and pulls, you need a specialized single-loop that can support you without developing a strong reliance on the lifting strap.
Unlike the previous one, these straps will give you minimal assistance while you pull on the axles and bars. That’s why it’s excellent in many fields, including Olympic weightlifting training and deadlifts.
The strap is 1.5 to 1.75 inches, which also adds to its durability when coupled with the heavy stitching along with the straps.
Unlike the previous one, this one is made of soft webbed cotton. This means that it takes a lot less time to break in and use comfortably.
Keep in mind that this lifting strap is just about 10.5 inches long, so it won’t give you as much grip support as other straps. However, it’s great if you don’t want to develop strap reliance before competitions.
- Ideal for Olympic weightlifting training
- Easy to use
- Soft webbing for added comfort
- Not recommended if you want the maximum assistance while lifting
Technically, this one isn’t a real lifting strap. However, it’s a good lifting strap alternative if you’re doing a fast-paced training, such as CrossFit.
These hand grips from Bear KompleX go over the hand like a glove. It’s mainly used if you want a strap to prevent the bar from slipping or if you’re moving quickly between exercises. For example, if you’re shifting from pull-ups to thrusters to burpees.
If protection is your main concern while buying a lifting strap, these ones are a better investment for you.
The hand grips are made of durable and smooth genuine leather. This means that it won’t bite or dig into your skin while lifting.
- Ideal for protecting the hands
- Durable leather
- Available in multiple sizes and colors to suit various tastes
- Doesn’t help you maximize your reps
Another good alternative to lifting straps is lifting hooks. I’ve written a full article regarding the best weight lifting hooks if that’s what you’re looking for.
The main difference between hooks and straps is that hooks are usually secured to the hands with durable velcro and have a metal hook that hangs out to hold the bar instead of your hands.
While they both are used to increase the overall grip capacities, hooks are much better at stabilizing your grips and wrists while lifting.
On the other hand, hooks have a much more limited capacity and durability limitations than straps. However, many lifters used this one to lift up to 600 lbs!
- Easier to use than most lifting straps
- Available in multiple sizes and styles
- Considerably durable
- Doesn’t give a natural grip feeling
Many lifting athletes would prefer a leather lifting strap because of their hardiness and ability to withstand a lot of beating while being smooth to the skin. They also look remarkably elegant for those who give their aesthetics a long thought.
If that’s your case, you should consider the Deselen leather lifting straps. The genuine demure cowhide leather maintains the shape of the strap for a decent time.
In addition to all that, it comes with double stitching throughout the loop and the strap length for added security. All that makes it ideal for maximizing your lift.
Similar to all leather straps, this one would require a breaking in period to soften. However, it takes less time than many products on the market.
Moreover, the lifting strap comes with a 2-year warranty as well as a return policy for a worry-free purchase!
- Elegant look
- Smooth and comfortable with cotton padding
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- Takes time to break in
Last but not least, if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of the strap. Low-quality straps will break down quickly, so you’ll have to replace them frequently.
However, the extremely affordable lifting straps from SKDK solves this problem by having a surprisingly satisfying durability without costing you an arm and a leg!
The lifting strap is made of padded cotton to improve the comfort level without being too bulky for the hands.
The strap end is long enough to be wrapped around the bar multiple times for extra security while lifting.
- Ideal for buyers on a budget
- Cotton padding for extra comfort
- Decently long straps for easy wrapping
- Lacks double stitching, so durability is questionable
Benefits of Wearing Lifting Straps
There’s a wide variety of benefits that you’ll get by wearing lifting straps while lifting heavy weights. Your hand grip is usually slightly weaker than your upper back, lats, traps, or hamstring.
When you’re doing a pulling movement or some kind of posterior chain exercise with your maximal or near-maximal weight, your grip will give out earlier on.
This can waste huge lifting power gains on your body. Wearing lifting straps along with lifting hooks will help you lift a lot heavier in the majority of pulling exercises. It also supports your wrist enough to allow you to do a few more reps than your average.
Lifting straps will also prevent grip fatigue while you’re doing high repetition exercises, which may also reduce the chances for serious injuries and slipping accidents.
However, when it comes to bending protection without losing on gripping gains, you should go for wrist wraps instead.
The best part about having lifting straps is that they won’t weigh you down or take a huge space in your style=”text-decoration: underline;”>powerlifting gym bag style=”text-decoration: underline;”>powerlifting gym bag. They’re also reasonably priced and a single pair of high durability will last you for years.
When you use lifting straps, you should also train your grip at the same time. I recommend using hand grippers/strengthening devices. Check out my article on How To Use Hand Strengtheners.
Main Types of Straps
One thing you should know about lifting straps is that they’re not all the same. The main types of straps are single loop, lasso, and figure 8, let’s have a brief overview of each one of them.
Single loops are the baseline, and arguably the most popular, form of listing straps. They’re ideal if you want little external help with your lifting grip.
They’re usually a single loop fabric that you put your wrist inside with a relatively thicker tail on one end that you wrap around the bar you’re lifting. You adjust the wrapping until it’s tight enough to your hands.
If you let go of the weight in a single loop strap, the bar will fall to the ground after spiraling out of the train, which shows the minimum level of lifting assistance it provides.
Lasso is just a technical improvement of the same concept followed in a single loop lifting strap. As the name suggests, you tighten the strap loop around your hands like a lasso to provide your grip with a snug fit.
Lasso straps have a long tail that works similarly to the thick end of the single loop. You also wrap it around the bar before lifting the weight.
Lasso straps give you an extra adjustability option, as you’re able to tighten the loop according to your liking.
On the other hand, single loops usually have a pre-set loop size that you have to choose carefully.
The self-explanatory name makes it much easier to explain the figure 8 straps. They’re usually a single loop of durable fabric that’s stitched into an “8” figure, creating two equal loops.
What you do here is put your hand through one of the loops while wrapping the other from under the bar where the stitching is underneath the bar and “carrying” it.
You then loop this second loop around your hands too, creating a durable catch to the bar. This makes this type ideal for deadlifts, such as Serious Steel Fitness Figure 8 Straps.
What to Look for in Wrist Straps for Powerlifting?
While shopping for a good pair of wrist straps to help you while pulling a ton of weight off the ground, there are some aspects that you need to look out for.
Here’s everything you should know about these points, so you can pick the ideal fit for you.
Ideally, most lifting straps on the market are made of cotton, nylon, and leather. The material used while making the fabric of your lifting strap has a powerful impact on the level of durability, grips support, sweat resistance, and overall comfort while lifting the heavy bar.
Cotton is the most commonly used fabric while making lifting straps. These straps are known for being the most comfortable to use while lifting all the while providing a decent level of grip support. They’re also the most affordable ones, so they’re the best for powerlifters on a budget.
The main problem with cotton straps is that they can easily stretch over time, which reduces its grip support efficiency.
Cotton is also known as one of the best fabrics to deal with moisture. These straps usually absorb sweat quite well, which adds to its overall level of comfort.
For decades, nylon fabric is a synonym for “heavy-duty”, and nylon powerlifting straps are no exception to this rule.
That’s why they’re most common among Strongman athletes, Olympic weightlifters, and powerlifters around the world.
In fact, my nylon straps have been around for over a decade now without ever needing to replace them. That doesn’t make them exclusive for professionals only, as they’re suitable for almost anyone.
With their superb durability as well as resistance to stretching, they’re used to tackle the heaviest of weights and maximize the grip support.
The main drawback of nylon is that it doesn’t do well with sweat, and certainly isn’t the most comfortable fabric around.
Moreover, they always come at a relatively premium price that’ll cost a bit more than both cotton and leather straps. However, unlike the other two, you won’t have to replace your nylon strap every 6 months.
Leather straps are usually the most aesthetically pleasing type of fabric. They’re also noticeably smooth on the skin and comfortable to use. That’s why leather straps are popular among athletes who love to lift in style.
They’re fairly durable and don’t stretch with time like cotton. The problem here is that they always require time to break in the leather. Additionally, they shouldn’t be worn all the time because they don’t absorb sweat.
Putting the factor of maintenance and frequent replacement in mind, leather straps are the least price-efficient type.
One thing you should always keep in mind is that these straps are usually available in various lengths, such as short, medium, and long.
It’s critical that you use a lifting strap that fits your hand perfectly to maximize the benefits of using them.
This will also help you avoid any dangling or getting on your way, especially when you’re pulling hundreds of pounds.
Looks are important for confidence and all. However, your powerlifting straps must be able to do their job easily.
As you know, there are multiple types and fabrics used in straps. However, the most crucial part about straps design is to be ergonomic with a snug fit to do its job efficiently.
Padding is essential to provide an extra layer of protection and security as well as comfort while using the lifting strap. Some lifting straps come with light to medium padding, which is usually neoprene.
Looking for workout gloves? Check out my reviews of the best women’s workout gloves.
How to Use Lifting Straps Properly
Each type of lifting strap has a unique way of using it. Ideally, using the straps properly starts from finding the right type of lifting strap for your needs. Also, you should avoid wearing them for the wrong exercise.
Lastly, remember to train your grip power, as lifting straps might make you ignore the need to strengthen your grip. This is more critical if you’re lifting competitively in a sport that doesn’t allow wearing these straps.
To wear a common single loop strap, you first need to thread the ends of the strap through a loop to form one fit enough for your grip to pass through.
After that, you only need to pass your hands and wrap the rest of the strap around the bar. (This step is constant in all types of straps)
Should You Wear Lifting Straps All The Time?
Lifting straps are great at doing what they’re supposed to do. In fact, they’re actually too good that they can easily develop over-reliance on them.
In other words, you’ll gain more power on your lats and back in general, but your grips would be too weak and unstable in comparison with time.
That’s why I recommend that you always do exercises to strengthen your grip if you’re going to wear the lifting straps all the time. These exercises include:
- Fist pushups
- Harder squeeze on barbells
- Hang from pull up bar
Some lifters use lifting straps to perform front squats. Check out my other article where I explain this exercise variation.
Should You Buy Lifting Straps? (Top Reasons To Know When It’s Time)
If you’re confused about whether lifting straps is a worthy investment, here are the top reasons why you’ll need to get one.
- You’ve been training for a long time and you’re able to lift heavier weights but your grip isn’t as powerful as your lifting capabilities.
- You have a problem maintaining a tight grip around the bar (for example, due to a mild injury).
- You want to add an extra layer of protection without hindering your weightlifting capacity.
Wondering what the differences are between chalk and straps? We explain the pros and cons, and which you should use based on the exercise and your goals. Check out: Chalk vs Straps.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Figure 8 Straps Better?
Figure 8 straps are generally the best type of straps when it comes to security. However, your hand will go where the bar goes. That’s why if you want to drop the bar from the top of the lift, they’re not the right ones for you.
Are Lifting Straps Cheating?
Due to their excellent ability to extend your grip capacity and lifting more weight, some people might think that using lifting straps is “cheating the system”. However, they’re highly effective tools that help you maximize your pulling gains if they’re used with moderation. If you only lift weights on your forearm beyond failure, you might be holding back other muscle groups, which can risk cheating in certain situations.
What Is The Point of Lifting Straps?
If your grips aren’t strong enough to support that amount of weight on its own, you become obligated to train with lighter loads or the barbells, and even dumbbells might slip out of your hands. Lifting straps help you pull more weight without worrying about this maximum capacity.
When Should You Use Lifting Straps?
Ideally, you should try lifting weights without straps. Once your grip power can’t keep up with the capacity of weight you’re pulling, it’s time to put the straps on.
Is It Bad To Use Lifting Straps?
Wearing the lifting straps for a long time may cause an over-reliance on them. Also, it can widen the strength gap between your grip and your muscle groups. However, when they’re used in moderation, you can use them for years to come.
How Much Do Straps Help Deadlift?
Straps help greatly if you want to get through heavier deadlift sets. However, to avoid the over-reliance issue, they should always be used as a last resort or if you’re having a grip limiting issue. As far as they help deadlifts, they’re not training your grip. That’s why you need to strengthen your grip independently.
When it comes to lifting, your grip strength might be the only limiting factor that prevents you from lifting serious weights and maximizing your powerlifting gains.
In that case, using lifting straps with moderation will help you achieve more than your bare hands can do on its own.
People will usually cheap out while choosing lifting straps, only to replace them in a few months as they start to wear out.
Durable nylon lifting straps aren’t the cheapest, but they will LAST for decades. That’s why I recommend Iron Mind Strong Enough as the best lifting straps out there.
However, if you’re on a budget, you can still get excellent gains by opting for heavy-duty cotton lifting straps, such as SKDK Lifting Wrist Straps.