Home / How to Use Weight Lifting Straps (Video & Photos)

HOW TO USE 
LIFTING STRAPS

IS YOUR GRIP FAILING ON BIG LIFTS?

Updated: 22 May 2024

Is your grip failing on big lifts? 

Are your hands slipping on AMREP WODs?
Trying to increase that mind-muscle connection? 

You should consider using weight-lifting straps. This article will take you through through the benefits, when to use them, a step-by-step guide on use to wrap them around the bar, alternatives you can try and the the best type of lifting straps.

WHAT ARE LIFTING STRAPS?

Lifting straps are long pieces of nylon or leather, with a loop for your wrist and a tail for securing around the barbell, dumbbell or weight.

 

Weightlifters utilise lifting straps to reap the benefits of enhanced grip support when handling heavy weights or for high volume work, which is great where grip is a limiting factor. The straps aid in establishing a stronger mind-muscle connection, helping to work that targeted muscle group in an exercise.

 

You might ask yourself, what is the difference between lifting straps and lifting wraps? Lifting wraps or wrist wraps are wrapped around your wrist only and keep your wrist in a neutral position, providing support for movements like bench press, while lifting straps wrap around your barbell and wrist and are better for pulling movements.

4 
BENEFITS OF USING LIFTING STRAPS

01. LIFT MORE & TRAIN HARDER.

If your grip is your limiting factor, they will help you squeeze more into your workout. They are great for big weights or sets with high reps.

 

02. IMPROVE GRIP & REDUCE SLIP.

Fusing your hand and the barbell together, they almost elimate any grip issues completely. 

03. IMPROVE MIND-MUSCLE CONNECTION.

When using lifting straps, many people explain they get a way better mind-muslce connection as they don't need to focus on gripping the bar, instead can focus on targeted muscle group.

04. IMPROVE WRIST SUPPORT.

Lifting straps can improve wrist support, through holding the wrist in a nuetral position in the lift and may reduce the change of the barbell bouncing back when dropped on movements such as the deadlift.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE LIFTING STRAPS?

Lifting straps are a valuable tool for any skill level, from beginners to professional level. However, if you are an absolute beginner and have never stood foot into a gym or performed the exercise - you should learn the technical before you start using lifting straps. Like other gym/fitness accessories, you should avoid becoming over-reliant on lifting straps, its recommended to perform the movements both with and without to not weaken your grip strength. 

 

Straps come in handy during the early stages of honing your lifts. When you don’t have to worry about gripping the bar, you can focus more on perfecting your movements and nailing those precise positions.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE 

HOW TO USE LIFTING STRAPS.

Poster

01. PUT THE TAIL THROUGH THE LOOP.

First step is to put the tail through the loop. You want to follow the direction of your thumb, keeping the top side of the strap facing up and the strap untangled. Then just pull through leaving enough room for your hand to slide in.

lifting strap loop throughlifting strap loop

02. LAY THE UNDERSIDE OF THE TAIL BETWEEN YOUR THUMB & INDEX FINGERS.

You then want to do the same with other strap but going the other direction. The straps should look like the photo here when the palms of your hands are facing up at you. If the tail goes the other direction then you might find it difficult to wrap around the bar later. 

03. WRAP THE TAIL AROUND THE BARBELL.

Using your non-preferred hand first, you can then start wrapping the strap around the barbell. Once or twice is generally enough. You can leave the tailing hanging out if you need. Try not to overlap the strap over itself. 

 

TIP: For extra grip you can wrap the strap under the barbell in the opposite direction your hands spin the bar when you release them. This will give you extra grip. However, its not necessary.

04. WRAP AGAIN. KEEP IT TIGHT & DO THE OTHER HAND.

Now you can wrap the other hand using your thumb and index finger. This may be a bit difficult for the first time, but you should get quicker doing it the more you try.

 

TIP: For extra grip, try using a mixed grip (one hand pronated and one supinated). 

05. TWIST, GRIP & LIFT.

Last step is to give the barbell a twist and ensure it is tight and secure. You can then perform the lift. As you pull the weight you are going to find that you have improved grip and support of the barbell.

WHAT EXERCISES SHOULD USE LIFTING STRAPS?

So your ready to make that big lift? Pulling exercises with barbell, dumbbell or using a machine such as deadlifts, rows, lat pull downs, clean pulls and hang pulls are great picks. While push exercises, Bench press, shoulder presses, triceps extensions should take a backseat. 

Try any pulling exercises such as: 

  1. Deadlifts 
  2. Barbell & Dumbell rows 
  3. Lat pull downs
  4. Cleans pulls 
  5. Hang pulls
  6. Rack pulls

There is no real benefit for pushing exercises like bench presses, shoulder presses or tricep extensions. It’s not recommended to use straps for squats, as it removes your ability to safely drop the bar. We don’t want to see you on the next gym fail video or worse in the hospital! 
 

How do lifting straps compare to lifting grips, figure 8 straps and other alternatives?

What are the pros and cons of weight lifting straps, gloves, figure 8 straps, grips and chalk?

GRIP

DURABILITY

STYLE

WEIGHT LIFTING GLOVES

2/10

6/10

2/10

WEIGH LIFTING STRAPS

8/10

9/10

9/10

FIGURE 8 STRAPS

9/10

8/10

8/10

GRIPS

7/10

8/10

8/10

WEIGHT LIFTING GLOVES.

Also known as workout gloves, gym cloves and training gloves, they are designed to provide extra padding to improve grip on heavy pulling and pushing exercises. 

Gloves can help if the bar is slipping out of your hand, however they offer limited grip strength support. If you don’t have a well fitted glove, it can sometimes hinder your grip strength. Our advice is if the bar is slipping or you need grip strength, use lifting straps, chalk or one of the alternatives. 

FIGURE 8 STRAPS (DOUBLE LOOP).

Figure 8 straps provide a more secure grip as you had is in full contact with the bar, however there are a few downsides. Unlike straps, its not easy to do a quick bail in the middle of the lift. 
Imagine yourself doing a deadlift and you start to fail half way, you will go down with the bar as well, rather than letting the bar drop of the ground. 

LIFTING GRIPS.

Similar to lifting straps, grips provide palm protection and secure grip. They feature a padded strap usually leather, rubber or neoprene for skin protection that is used to wrap around the bar. They provide you great grip during long sets (beyond 10 reps) where lifting straps might need to be tightened later in the set. Many Crossfit lifters include these in their gym bag, as they great when moving from one exercise to another in a WOD.

If you are planning to do a 1 RM or want best possible grip to the bar, I would use lifting straps. Straps also give you a more natural and lighter grip compared to grips.

CHALK ONLY.

Lifting chalk is magnesium carbonate (not the same chalk used on the blackboard your classroom). It helps you absorb sweat and any moisture on your hands or the barbell, ultimately improving your ability to grip the bar and reducing the risk of the barbell slipping. 

Chalk can get messy and its for this reason its often banned in most commercial gyms. 

What is the best type of lifting strap?

Generally there are 3 materials used for lifting straps, leather, nylon and cotton. Each have their own pros and cons. 

GRIP

DURABILITY

COST

LEATHER STRAPS

8/10

9/10

$$$

NYLON STRAPS

8/10

7/10

$$

COTTON STRAPS

7/10

6/10

$

LEATHER LIFTING STRAPS.

If you are looking for the best, leather is the way to go. Leather lifting straps are the most durable out of all types of lifting straps and they are a better-looking product. The downside is that leather is more costly due to the cost of leather and craftmanship involved in manufacturing. 

Leather won’t chaff like other materials and overtime with ‘break in’ and mould to your wrists and lifting style. One of our first products at Turtle Strength was our Leather Lifting Straps. There is nothing better than wrapping them around the bar for a set of heavy deadlifts! 

NYLON LIFTING STRAPS.

The most popular kind of lifting strap, there are hundreds of variations available online. They are cheaper to manufacture compared to other types, but less durable than leather. If you just want some cheap basic straps that will do the job, look no further. 

COTTON LIFTING STRAPS.

Cotton straps are an affordable option that is comfortable, however they can stretch under heavy load. 

They are great starting point for new lifters to get used to wearing straps, however for more experienced liftings with more plates on the bar, cotton straps are more likely to stretch – which isn’t great.

LIFTING STRAPS FAQS

Can you use straps in powerlifting competitions?

Most federations won’t allow lifting straps in competition, so keep them for your tranining sessions. As all powerlifting federations are different, be sure to check the rules of your powerlifting federation for the exact ruling. 

Do leather straps crack?

Like other leather products, over time if you don’t store leather properly leather can crack or harden. Ensure you keep your straps dry, clean them regularly, store them properly (away from heat sources and direct sunlight) and if you do feel them drying out you can use leather conditioner. 

What are the safest lifting straps?

For the most part safety will come down to how you use the straps, rather than the straps themselves. Its recommended to always test out the lifting straps with lighter weights and ensure you have good form. 

What size lifting straps do I need?

Lifting straps can be any size in between 30 cm and 76cm. The ideal length will depend on the width of your wrist and how you wrap the bar for your lift. Generally, around 50-60cm for men and aroudn 30-40 cm for women. 

How much should I spend on lifting straps?

Lifting straps can go from anywhere from $10 to $100. You should consider how much you are going to use them, your budget and how long you want them to last. Cotton are around $10-35 AUD, Nylon are $15 - $40 and leather is around $40 to $100. 

What to look for when buying lifting straps?

There are a few considerations when buying lifting straps. Read above about the pros and cons of the each type of lifting strap. 

What is the best lifting strap?

Not all lifting straps are made equal. Lifting straps are made from leather, nylon and cotton. They can also come in different lengths and go through different manufacturing processes. We love our Turtle Strength Leather Lifting Straps. Alot of thought as gone into the design, we think you will love them.

Are lifting straps worth it for beginners?

Lifting straps are a great tool for any skill level. They can be helpful particularly when grip strength is a limiting factor or to hone in the form of movement. 

Do lifting straps weaken grip?

Lifting straps are a tool on your tool belt. You should lift both with and without the straps to ensure your grip strength does not weaken. 

CONTACT US
Title

CONTENT AUTHOR:

Adam B. / Director, Turtle Strength

Experience: 20+ years

Adam is passionate about powerlifting, strength training and digital. Started Turtle Strength to find the best possible product to meet the needs of training. 

SWEAT. BLOOD & LIFTING GEAR.

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