Should I use deadlift straps?
The use of straps in training can be a real Marmite subject, talk to one person and they will tell you why they hate them and talk to another and they will rave about the benefits. So, who is right? In this blog we are going to look at some of the positives and negatives and hopefully help you come to the correct decision for your training needs.
What are straps?
If you don’t already know, they are a piece of material you wrap around the bar to make it easier to grip, simple enough. Straps do come in several different sizes and styles but they all do the same thing, stop the bar rolling out of your hands in heavy or high rep situations. Straps can not only be used for deadlifts, but for any exercise or movement that involves your grip. To see how to put them on, visit out guides section.
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Let’s look at some of the negatives:
A reliance on using straps may cause you to have a weakened grip. If you are body-building then this isn’t really an issue but for strongmen, powerlifters and crossfitters, the grip is essential. Using them for a max weight or AMRAP is fine but don’t use them for every exercise and every set.
Straps may change your position and set-up for something like the deadlift, so keep this in mind as you will want to have trained with them if you will be using them in competition, don’t just throw them on on the day. On the other hand you also need to make sure if you use them for exercises like farmers walks and plan on competing, then you will need to get used to not using them.
And the positives:
Straps allow you to use a double overhand grip on the deadlift with weights you may not be able to handle otherwise; this is great for avoiding imbalances that alternating grip may cause and avoiding possible bicep injuries too.
Straps may allow you to get out a few extra reps, which is good for everyone no matter what you’re training for, so if you can strap in and get 10 reps instead of 7 then it would be silly not to. Other muscles can outwork your grip and losing reps because you can’t hold on would be counterproductive to the rest of your training.
Using straps in strongman is allowed on certain events and not using them would be giving an advantage to the competition; if you have deadlift for reps and then farmers walks you will want your grip to be as fresh as possible, straps can help with this as the grip will be less taxed.
As long as you don’t become reliant on straps for every exercise and every set then they can be a great addition to your training, allowing you to lift more weight for more reps. However, remember that straps aren’t going to solve all your problems over night, they also aren’t going to magically weaken your grip if you do use them, as some people would have you think.
Straps are a tool and they should be used as such, judge the situation and think about what you want to achieve, take a look at the positives and negatives we listed and make an informed decision. You wouldn’t expect protein powder to turn you into Arnie, it’s a supplement, and the same goes for straps.
We think everyone should have a pair in their arsenal because from what we have seen, they can be a great tool for building huge amounts of strength and muscle when used correctly.
What is your opinion on lifting straps? Let us know in the comments below!