Finding the right straps can be a daunting experience, right? There are those tricky looking figure-8 ones, the lasso types, then the single loop ones. Not only that, you have to think about the materials, too.
But slow down there tiger, first we’ll address what lifting straps are and why we use them.
Put simply, the main reason for using a strap is to support your grip. They allow you to hold more weight than your normal grip can handle as they take the strain away from your hands & forearms.
Of course, it’s important to train your grip (check out our range) and not rely on straps all the time. But if you are lifting heavy, straps provide you with the reassurance you need to smash through those plateaus.
If you’re a hardcore athlete or even just a recreational lifter, straps are a great tool to incorporate into your program. They take up hardly any space so you can easily cram them in your gym bag and they are essential when your grip is the weakest link.
When to Use Lifting Straps?
Straps are awesome for lifts such as deadlifts and rows, but you can also use them for exercises like weighted chin-ups and pull-ups.
For beginners, we suggest allowing your grip to naturally improve first, but when it gets to the point that the hands and forearms can’t keep up? Time to lock and load with straps.
So, What is the BEST Strap Type?
Well, my curious friend, that depends on you, it depends on your, goals, wants and needs. Make yourself comfortable and let’s go over the 3 types:
- Lasso Single-Loop
Ah, the jack of all trades, no doubt you have seen this one around. It’s extremely versatile and generally used for deadlifting, pull-ups and lat pull downs. It’s ideal for newer lifters who want solid bar security
Like our old pal the lasso, this can be used for all styles of lifting. It’s the easiest to strap in with but offers the least amount of bar security. We wouldn’t recommend this one for those with weaker grips, however, it’s great for Olympic weightlifting
- Figure 8
The least versatile of the bunch, but it’s the most secure. It does not have a quick release so it’s definitely not ideal where you need to drop the far fast or power movements. These are usually heavier made as they are designed for heavier loads.
...The Age Old Battle of Cotton vs Nylon vs Leather. Who Wins?
So each has a different feel, but again, it comes down to you personal preference. Some are harsh on the wrists and dig in, some are not ideal for sensitive skin and if you’re vegan then you can scrap leather from the list.
The most common, it also absorbs sweat better than the others. The thicker the cotton, the higher the absorption. They usually require a few sessions to break in. Although they can be comfortable on the wrists, they can stretch more than the others due to heavy lifts.
Another common material used in straps. They feel good on the wrists but can dig in and chafe during the slightly longer break in period than cotton. Nylon straps are generally used for heavy lifting due to them being stronger than cotton and leather, they are less prone to stretching plus they maintain their strength and durability. A downside is they are not ideal for absorbing sweat.
Last but not least, we have leather, the least common of the 3. Leather has a different feel on the skin but is generally more comfortable depending on the brand. They don’t take the top spot out of the 3 for sweat absorption but the leather maintains its shape under heavy loads and barely shows stress.
The Perfect Lifting Straps For You
There’s a lot of makes and models on the market and finding the perfect set can be a complex task. Consider your personal preferences concerning material, bar security and versatility. Cotton is usually the cheapest of the 3 and leather being the most expensive. Let us know your thoughts in the comments folks.
Gunsmith Fitness leather lifting straps are the classic lasso type. They are 2 inches wide for maximum comfort and 26 inches long to ensure you have more surface area of contact with the bar. They come in as many colors as you like so long as it’s brown or black. They have a cool retro look and if you wear them in the gym, women will want you and men will want to be you.
Gunsmith Fitness, Dedicated to Building Big Guns.