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When you enthusiastically step into a gym aiming to build strength, you focus on working for various muscle groups. But, somehow some essential muscles often seem to be neglected? Can you guess which? We are talking about the muscles in our hands and fingers, commonly known as grip muscles.
Usually, nobody thinks about their grip until they start lifting weights and realize that their grip is a pretty restrictive factor. The moment when you understand that despite your strength, you can’t properly hold a barbell is downright frustrating, isn’t it?
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Fortunately, you can quickly increase the strength of your grip. Wondering how? Some people use lifting straps, while others prefer lifting grips. Both of these accessories are very effective in improving your grip. But what is the difference?
Indeed to many beginners, they can appear similar, and they can be confused when trying to decide which are better for their needs. In this text, we are going to talk about the fundamentals of each of these accessories, including benefits and downsides, which will help you, make the best decision. Let’s dive in.
First, Let’s See What Are Lifting Straps
If you are a fitness enthusiast chances that you don’t know what lifting straps are smaller than that you spent the past ten years on a deserted island. Lifting straps are a common accessory all weightlifters use to prevent wrist injuries while building muscles. They are made of nylon, fabric, or leather and wrapped around the lifter’s wrist and the barbell. Most powerlifters, bodybuilders, CrossFitters, and Strongmen use them when pulling maximum weight in exercises, such as the deadlift, bench press, and squats.
To get the maximum from using lifting straps, you need to put your hand through the loop that tightens around the wrist. Then you take the barbell and wrap the remaining materials around it in a way that it looks like you cannot be separated from it.
Lifting straps are versatile because they make the bar hang from your wrist and not the grip and keep it steady. That not only allows you to perform any exercise you want, but it also takes your mind off the grip, and allows you to focus more on the exercise itself.
Okay, So What Are Lifting Grips Then
Power grips or weight lifting hooks are a type of straps designed for heavy-duty lifting. They are typically made of materials such as rubber or leather and people use them wrapped around the bar in the shape of a hook. The purpose of the hook is to transfer the weight from your palms to the base of your hands. That allows you to lift heavier loads without relying on the strength of your grip. To sum it up we would say that lifting grips are practical for heavy lifters. However, that doesn’t mean that you can rely solely on them – working on your grip strength is still equally important.
Types of Lifting Straps You Can Find Out There?
Once you start looking for lifting straps, you are likely to be amazed at how many options exist on the market. But, at the same time, you need o know three types of lifting straps that are considered the most effective. The most known straps are lasso, figure 8, and closed-loop straps. Take note that not all straps are made for the same needs. For example, people who are getting ready for powerlifting competitions will use different straps than those lifting recreationally. Each type of strap has its pros and cons, and now we will look at the nitty-gritty details of the three types we mentioned.
Just hearing the name gives you some idea of what these straps look like, doesn’t it? The Lasso strap comes with a loop where you put your hand and a long band that you wrap around the bar. If you want to grip the bar tighter, you can loop it more than once. When you see lifting straps, in most cases, you see this type as it is the most common and easiest to use regardless of whether you are a recreational or professional athlete. Bear in mind that it is always better to look for a model that comes with a long band that wraps around the bar. Ideally, you should choose extra padded models for additional comfort and safety.
Closed Loop Straps
Olympic lifters most commonly use closed-loop straps. These straps are convenient for them because they allow for the quick release of the bar. However, that makes them the least safe and thus is not ideal for beginners. If you opt for these straps, you first have to wrap them well around your wrists and then the remaining part around the bar. They are made of different materials, but ideally, you should use leather ones because they provide more security and are more durable.
Figure 8 Straps
Figure 8 straps are preferred among people who are doing deadlifts. Since they loop once around your wrist, then under the bar, and then once again over your hand, they make you feel more secure and locked in with the bar.
Lifting Straps or Lifting Grips-Which Should I Choose
When we are just at the beginning of a new fitness journey, we can get pretty confused. If you are still unsure whether you should use lifting straps or lifting grips, you will find this information useful.
Lifting grips are made of durable materials like rubber and leather. Leather is particularly popular because it is durable and secure. When it comes to lifting straps, there is a wider selection. Leather can also be used to make lifting straps, but you can often find models made of nylon or cotton. According to many experienced lifters, nylon is the best material for straps because it doesn’t stretch. Nylon straps are also praised for their versatility and durability.
What matters the most is the size of the part that goes around your wrist, whether you opt for lifting straps or grips. The best is to measure your wrist before hunting for your best lifting grips or straps. If possible choose the model that has a longer part that wraps around the bar for more security and better grip.
Do Beginners Need Grips or Straps?
You know how it works, don’t you? You decide to start lifting, set your goals, and feel ready to conquer the world. Then you see all those experienced lifters, using traps and lifting super heavy loads, and think to yourself, “Heck! I should also get pair of those to lift like these guys!”.
But the truth is that these accessories will not make you stronger or enable you to lift heavy just like that. You first need to invest plenty of effort and time to build up your grip strength. That said, beginner lifters don’t need lifting accessories because it is improbable that they will be able to lift so much that they would require support. The rule of thumb is to train about three months continually before you start considering Power grips or lifting straps.
Now you have sufficient information about the differences between lifting grips vs. lifting straps. They are excellent lifting accessories. However, they are used in different circumstances. Technically, the best way to know which is better for you is to try both options and decide.