Lifting straps are useful tools for weight training. If you've gained enough strength to start lifting heavier weights but find that your hand grip isn't strong enough to hold weights for exercises such as dead lifts, weighted pull-ups or shrugs, you can use lifting straps. The straps allow you to lift some of the weight with your wrists so you can hold on long enough to complete your exercise.
1. Use lifting straps for the right exercises. If you are looking to increase muscle size and strength in your upper back, trapezius, and hamstring muscles, lifting straps may be right for you. They allow you to lift more weight to work these muscles than your natural grip might allow. Specifically, they are good for the following exercises:
● Dumbbell or barbell rows
● Romanian deadlifts
● Rack pulls
2. Avoid using lifting straps for the wrong exercises.
First, it is important to note that lifting straps are not allowed in power lifting competitions. If you are training to power lift, don't use straps all the time, because you need a strong natural grip.
● Make sure to do at least some reps with your natural grip, even if it means you can't lift as heavy a weight.
● Additionally, these straps are only helpful for lifts in which gravity is working against your ability to hold on to the weight. Lifting straps do not aid in bench presses or similar exercises. Using them for these lifts may result in ridicule from other weight lifters.
3. Choose the right sling. Lifting straps are made of heavy-duty cotton, nylon or leather stitching. The different materials and styles of these straps offer different advantages for the weight lifter. Here are some guidelines for choosing a strap.
● Make sure they are well stitched and strong.
● Cotton and nylon straps are stronger and less likely to bend and deform than leather straps. Leather straps offer more benefits. This makes them a better choice if you plan to use them for cleans, although many lifters don't believe straps should be used for such lifts anyway.
● Nylon straps allow you to release the dumbbells as fast as possible.
● Olympic/speed straps are shorter. These allow for an easier and faster release of the barbell, but a less firm grip because the straps wrap around the barbell less often.
● Although you can purchase padded straps, straps with hook and loop closures, and weightlifting gloves with built-in straps or hooks, these are not much of an improvement in function or comfort and are more expensive. In addition, hook and loop straps do not fit all barbells and can negatively affect some of your weightlifting technique.
1. Put the end of the strap through the loop. This will form a circle at one end of the strap. Skip this step if using another type of strap (such as a hook-and-loop strap or an Olympic strap).
2. Put on the strap. Slide your hand through the circle or use Velcro to secure the strap so that the end of the strap hangs down along your fingers. Pull on the end of the band or adjust the fasteners until the band fits snugly around your wrist.
3. Wrap the end of the band around the bar (or bars) supporting the weight. Start by passing under the barbell from back to front, then wrap the band around the top and underneath. Wrap the band completely around the bar.
● Some weight trainers prefer to wrap the straps in a figure 8. This allows for a better grip on the barbell, but some complain that it can make the barbell less comfortable to hold and even cause friction burns after many repetitions.
4. Place your hands on the shoulder straps. Bring your palms and fingers together in the area where the band is wrapped around the barbell. This is what holds them in place. They should slide off easily when you let go.  If you feel uncomfortable, re-wrap the straps to tighten or loosen them as needed.
1. Roll the barbell in your direction. The rolling bar will tighten the straps. Do this until the band is pulled up over your wrists. Do not start lifting weights until the straps are tightened - you will not get the full benefit from using weightlifting straps and may increase the risk of injury.
2. Lift the weight. Be careful not to force your wrists to bear the entire weight when lifting. Lifting straps should allow your wrists to help you maintain your grip on the bar, not do all the work.
● Relying too heavily on your wrists to lift weights can injure them, so use your grip as well.
3. Strengthen your grip. Use grips, squeeze the barbell during reps, do fist or fingertip push-ups, climb ropes or hang from pull-ups to strengthen your grip so you don't have to rely too much on your lifting straps.
● Lifting straps often cause weight trainers to ignore the need to strengthen their grip. This can be a real problem, especially if you participate in a sport that does not allow you to use a strap.
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