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When I’m using the hook grip for deadlifts, snatches, or cleans, I like to make sure the skin on my thumbs doesn’t tear. And even though I also use chalk, I like having extra peace of mind that the bar won’t slip out of my hands once I start sweating.
Weightlifting tape — also called hook grip tape — has helped me overcome each of these issues. It’s used by powerlifters, weightlifters, and CrossFitters to improve their grip and protect their thumbs when lifting heavy. After testing multiple brands of lifting tape, I’ve discovered the best lifting tape on the market.
So, what is the best lifting tape? The best lifting tape is the Warm Body Cold Mind tape. It’s flexible so it doesn’t constrict the movement of your thumbs, and the adhesive sticks to both itself and your skin. I only need to apply it once before I start lifting, and it stays on for an entire workout. It’s also available for an affordable price.
In this article, I’ll review the five best lifting tapes. I’ll also discuss the criteria you should look for when buying lifting tape, the benefits of using lifting tape, and how to use it properly.
How To Choose The Best Weightlifting Tape? (3 Criteria)
Lifting tape is one of the most inexpensive training tools you can buy, but that doesn’t mean you should just pick up any roll of tape and expect it to perform well. Below are three criteria you should look for when you’re shopping for lifting tape.
Lifting tape shouldn’t slide around your thumbs after you apply it. You’ll need to look for a tape with a very sticky adhesive so it stays in place and doesn’t slide or bunch up after every single rep.
Also, some tape is designed to only stick to itself and not to your skin. For tape that won’t move around a lot, you should look for a product that sticks easily to both.
2. Flexible fabric
Lifting tape is different from traditional athletic tape in that it’s more elastic and less rigid. When buying lifting tape, you should look for flexible materials that won’t inhibit the movement of your thumbs. Even with tape wrapped around your thumbs two or three times, you should still be able to bend and move them easily.
Some cheaper brands of lifting tape will only stay on for a couple of reps before you have to tape up again. Before you purchase lifting tape, do your research and look for a brand that’s known to last through long training sessions.
5 Best Lifting Tapes
The five best lifting tapes are:
- Warm Body Cold Mind – Best Overall
- Goat Tape Scary Sticky Tape – Best for CrossFitters
- Average Broz White Magic Lifting Tape – Most Durable Lifting Tape
- LYFT-RX Weightlifting Tape – Best for Lifters with Small Hands
- LiftGenie Thumb Adhesive Tape – Best for Weightlifters
1. Warm Body Cold Mind – Best Overall Weightlifting Tape
Warm Body Cold Mind was created by Oleksiy Torokhtiy, who competed in weightlifting in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and has won numerous world championships. The slogan originally only appeared on T-shirts, but it started catching on, and the company soon expanded into weightlifting gear and accessories, including lifting tape.
The Warm Body Cold Mind tape is made out of thick, 100% cotton. This allows the tape to conform to the shape of your thumbs so you can still bend and move them easily. It also has a sticky adhesive that keeps it secure and doesn’t lift up or bunch once you start working out. The tape also helps you get a good grip on the bar without sticking to it or leaving residue behind.
Due to the thick material, I find that I only have to wrap this tape around my thumbs twice to get the coverage I like. I used this tape for a strength session with multiple sets of deadlifts followed by a CrossFit WOD with lots of power cleans, and it stayed on the entire time.
This tape is 2” wide. The width was perfect for me, but if you have small hands or short thumbs, you may choose to split the tape in half lengthwise before you wrap your thumbs. This will ensure that the tape doesn’t go past the tip of your thumb, and you won’t have to try to fold over the excess material to secure it.
- Thick, stretchy material
- Available in several different colors
- Affordable price for a package of three or six rolls
- One application lasts through multiple sets and reps
- Easy to tear off the roll during application
- May have to split the tape in half horizontally if you have small hands
2. Goat Tape Scary Sticky Tape – Best Lifting Tape For CrossFitters
Before I discovered the Warm Body Cold Mind tape, I used Goat Tape Scary Sticky tape. It’s an excellent choice for CrossFitters because once it’s on, it doesn’t move, even if you sweat a lot. The material isn’t as stretchy as other brands of tape, but the material isn’t very thick. It doesn’t inhibit your ability to move your thumbs as long as you don’t wrap it too tight.
Goat Tape Scary Sticky tape is also designed to withstand chalk, something that CrossFitters are notorious for using too much of.
Even though I had good experiences with the Goat Tape Scary Sticky Tape, there are a couple of drawbacks to using it. For one, it’s hard to tear with just your fingers. When I used to work out in a gym, I kept a small pair of scissors in my gym bag to cut it after I applied it.
Goat Tape is also difficult to remove at the end of your workout and leaves some sticky residue on your thumbs. Most of the residue comes off when you wash your hands with warm soapy water, but I’ve also had success removing it with nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol.
- Sticks to your skin as well as to itself
- Stays on when you sweat or use a lot of chalk
- Doesn’t roll or bunch
- Is difficult to rip off the roll
- Leaves sticky residue on your thumbs
3. Average Broz White Magic Lifting Tape – Most Durable Lifting Tape
The Average Broz White Magic Lifting Tape was one of the first tapes created for weightlifters. At one point, it was so popular that the company had a difficult time keeping the product in stock.
What makes this tape unique is that during the manufacturing process, the adhesiveness bleeds through the fabric. It provides an excellent grip on the bar without sticking to it and doesn’t unroll from the friction of the bar. However, it can leave some residue behind.
This tape is manufactured with a specific number of vertical and horizontal threads that allow it to maintain its structure. It’s flexible so you can bend and move your thumbs, but it doesn’t stretch out and become loose while you’re lifting. You can train for an hour or more without having to replace it.
- Won’t stretch out or lose its stickiness if you wear it for a long time
- 100% made in the USA
- Doesn’t fray when you rip it off the roll
- Can leave residue on the barbell
4. LFYT-RX Weightlifting Tape – Best For Lifters With Small Hands
Many brands of tape are only available in 2” widths, but the LYFT-RX Weightlifting Tape is available in 1.5” as well. This makes it the best option for lifters with small hands because you don’t have to tear the tape in half lengthwise in order for it to fit your thumbs.
LYFT-RX tape is made out of cotton and spandex. The material is soft and stretchy and molds to your thumbs. It’s not overly constrictive, so you can also use this tape for CrossFit WODs without losing mobility of your thumbs.
When applied correctly, this tape won’t slide or bunch up. It’s designed to absorb sweat and chalk, but if you get very sweaty or use a lot of chalk, you may have to replace it during your workout.
- Available in four colors
- Flexible cotton and spandex material
- 1.5” size is ideal for lifters with small hands
- Easy to tear from the roll
- Leaves some residue behind on your thumbs
- Doesn’t last long if you sweat a lot or use a lot of chalk
5. LiftGenie Thumb Adhesive Tape – Best Hook Grip Tape For Weightlifters
The LiftGenie Thumb Adhesive Tape is the best tape for weightlifters because of its flexible yet rigid material. It allows you to bend and move your thumbs freely but still offers enough support to prevent your thumbs from tears and pain when using the hook grip.
It’s similar to the Average Broz White Magic tape in that it’s manufactured with proprietary horizontal and vertical threading to enhance its strength. It’s not quite as durable as Average Broz, but it’s stretchy, comfortable, and provides an excellent amount of coverage.
LiftGenie is also the official tape of USA Weightlifting and sponsors weightlifters Hunter Elam and Olympic silver medalist Kate Nye.
- Doesn’t leave behind any residue
- Available in four different colors
- Easy to tear from the roll during application
- Flexible yet supportive fabric
- May not last through an entire workout
Lifting Tape: Buyer’s Guide
4 Reasons To Wear Lifting Tape
1. Protect Your Thumbs When You Use the Hook Grip
Using lifting tape reduces the amount of friction between the barbell and the skin on your thumbs when you use the hook grip. This helps to prevent blisters and tears on a sensitive part of your hand.
Lifting tape can also help prevent injuries to your thumbnails, which can break from using the hook grip frequently.
2. Improve Your Grip
Using lifting tape allows you to get a better grip on the bar. The tape can give you extra reassurance that the bar won’t slip out of your hands, which will help with your confidence during a heavy lift.
Using tape also allows your middle finger to lock your thumb into place without your middle finger slipping.
3. Protect Calluses on Your Hands From Tearing
In addition to wrapping your thumbs or fingers, you can also use lifting tape to protect calluses on the palms of your hands. It’s not as common in weightlifting or powerlifting, but some CrossFitters will wrap their hands with tape instead of using gymnastics grips for pullups, muscle-ups, and toes-to-bar.
4. Reduce Pain in Your Thumbs When Lifting a Lot of Weight
When you use the hook grip to pull a lot of weight, it places pressure on your thumbs. Lifting tape acts as a sort of cushion that relieves some of this pressure and makes it less painful when you lift.
How To Properly Use Lifting Tape
Wrapping your thumbs properly is the key to making sure they’re protected and you can still lift efficiently. There are a couple of different methods, but below is how I prefer to do it:
- Unroll a section of tape about 6-10” long. You can tear it off the roll before you start wrapping your thumb or wait until you’re done to tear it off.
- Stick the end of the tape to the underside of your thumb, getting as close to the base of the thumb as you can.
- Keep your thumb straight and roll the tape around it once, being careful not to wrap it too tight. Then bend your thumb and wrap the tape around another one to two times. How many times you wrap the tape is largely personal preference. I like wrapping it around twice. Otherwise, it becomes too thick for my liking, and I can’t feel the bar as well.
- Tear the tape off the roll if you haven’t done so already.
- Secure the other end of the tape, trying your best to keep it on the top of your thumb. This will prevent the end from rolling and bunching up once you start lifting.
- Apply a bit of pressure to get the tape to stick to your skin. Be careful not to press so tight that the tape cuts off your blood flow or makes it difficult to move your thumb.
Some lifters like to split their tape in half lengthwise before they wrap their thumbs, but I’ve never done this.
It’s helpful if you’re using tape made out of a stiffer material because you can apply strips to the bottom and top halves of your thumb separately and leave space for you to be able to bend your knuckle. But if you use lifting tape that’s made from a flexible material, this usually isn’t an issue unless you wrap it too tight.
How Long Does A Roll of Lifting Tape Last?
Most rolls of lifting tape are designed to last for about 15 workouts. However, this will depend on how much tape you use, how often you use it, and where you apply it. Wrapping it all the way around your hands to protect your palms will require more tape than wrapping it around your thumbs, which will cause you to go through it faster.
Should You Use Lifting Tape Every Time You Lift?
There’s no reason why you can’t use lifting tape every time you lift, but it’s not necessary for lifts that you don’t use the hook grip for. People who are new to using the hook grip should also spend a few weeks getting used to it first before introducing tape to their training regimen.
If you don’t want to use lifting tape every time you lift, you can try leaving it off for your warmup sets and only using it for your heavier working sets. This will prevent you from getting too dependent on it while still offering the protection your thumbs need for heavier lifts.
Can You Wear Lifting Tape During Powerlifting & Weightlifting Competitions?
Whether or not you can use lifting tape in powerlifting competitions depends on the federation. If you compete in 100% RAW, it’s not allowed. In USAPL and IPF competitions, only medical tape is allowed, and you can only wrap it around your thumbs twice. You also have to get your tape approved by the head referee before you use it in competition.
Tape is allowed in weightlifting competitions. The IWF states that tape can be worn on your thumbs and fingers but your fingertips must be exposed. Weightlifters can also wear tape on the inside or outside of their hands and wrap it around their wrists. However, tape cannot be applied directly to the barbell.
When you use the hook grip frequently, you’ll want to protect your thumbs so you can avoid rips and tears and train pain-free. The Warm Body Cold Mind lifting tape is the best overall lifting tape due to its thick material, durability, flexibility, and strong adhesive.
If you have small hands, I recommend the LFYT-RX Weightlifting Tape. It comes in a 1.5” size, so you won’t have to cut it lengthwise to fit your thumbs. It’s not quite as durable as other brands, but it is easy to apply. This means you won’t have to take too much time out of your workout if you have to retape your thumbs.
About The Author
Amanda is a writer and editor in the fitness and nutrition industries. Growing up in a family that loved sports, she learned the importance of staying active from a young age. She started CrossFit in 2015, which led to her interest in powerlifting and weightlifting. She's passionate about helping women overcome their fear of lifting weights and teaching them how to fuel their bodies properly. When she's not training in her garage gym or working, you can find her drinking coffee, walking her dog, or indulging in one too many pieces of chocolate.