The CORRECT way to use STRAPS

Strength Training 3 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen

Don’t use straps because your grip won’t get stronger.

Don’t use straps or you won’t have big forearms.

Phooey.

More like:

Don’t use straps and you’ll always limit the rest of your body.

Lifting straps are a tool and when you use the right tool for the right job Serious gains are made.

This post is going to tell you exactly how to use straps, when, and why.

Why:

Straps allow you to push the rest of your body further because you are removing the limiting factor. If you want a strong grip then spend time on just training your grip. Do you know what separates Professionals from Amateurs (in any sport/skill)? Pros spend hours working on tiny details.

When:

You should be using straps any time your grip will limit your workout unless the sole purpose of the workout is grip training (kudos to you). If you are doing Romanian Deadlifts the goal is posterior chain strengthening/hypertrophy and you should be ashamed of yourself if you allow that goal to be compromised by your grip strength. Any day where you have a lot of pulling, upper or lower, warrants the use of straps. If you get to the end of your workout and your grip is still going strong it’s because you didn’t use heavy enough weights and therefore cheated yourself.

The proper grip progression should be: chalk up (dry or liquid), double overhands, then mixed grip, then double overhand with straps. If you are doing mixed grip with straps you are doing it wrong.

How:

Watch this video. It makes it easy to learn.

Straps are a long piece of cotton/leather/other material with a loop at one end. Line that loop up with your pinky & ring finger, wrap the strap around your wrist, then feed it through the loop. Just look at the pictures–it’s much simpler to see it.

Straps can be a little tricky to use at first and I recommend a pair of cotton straps for your first set. They are more forgiving when wrapping and easier to learn on, but won’t last you forever. I’ve watched older pairs break on 405lb deadlifts so I recommend you upgrade after you get comfortable using them.

The reason straps work is because they provide a counter to your grip. Barbells naturally want to roll out of your hand away from the fingers, but when you use a strap properly as it rolls out of your hand it just gets tighter in the strap. The weight of the bar pinches the strap between your hand and the bar so it isn’t going anywhere.

The blue straps in the pictures are Ironmind’s Strong-Enough straps. These are the official straps of the World’s Strongest Man contest. If straps are good enough for the world’s strongest men they are good enough for you.

Check out The Serious Guide to the Conventional Deadlift for all information covering the deadlift.

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.