Should you use wrist straps when lifting weights?

Wrist straps are thick pieces of material that wrap around a lifters wrist and strap a tail section to the bar of the weight being lifting. This done right snugs the bar into the hand and greatly reduces the effort that the lifters grip plays in the lift.

The use of wrist straps has been a largely debated subject over the years. The argument for them is that they allow the lifter to push more reps and more weight to a muscle group then what the lifters grip would normally allow. The counter argument is that you should build your grip strength to a point that you do not need to use straps at all and using them only serves to limit ones grip strength potential.

My personal experience with wrist straps has to do with my back. My back has always been my strongest muscle group and this has sometimes made training those muscles in the group difficult. At one time nothing short of 200lb dumbbells would suffice in doing heavy dumbbell rows. But nothing I could do would ever make my grip handle reps with 200lbs for that exercise. So I used wrist straps to compensate and get a proper back set done. However as time went on I found myself using straps more and more, including in lifts where they were not necessary, I started using them for comfort and here is where you should be cautious.

As I began to get into strongman and later powerlifting, I found my grip was lacking. I decided I needed to start focusing on developing my grip with strength exercises specific for gaining grip strength and I eventually became less reliant on straps as time went on. However in certain lifts, such as those 200lb dumbbell rows, I still needed them to fully push myself in that exercise and for certain strongman events such as the car deadlift. I am a believer in that if you want to develop a lift better, than do that lift. So in that regard if you are training to be able to lift a car with straps, train with straps, if you are training to deadlift in a powerlifting event that obviously does not allow them, then train without.


In my experience straps can play a part in any training routine but you have to be very careful not to start to use them as a crutch. There are situation such where you simply cannot maintain your grip to properly push another muscle group to its max. An example to this would be say barbell shrugs for targeting your trapezius muscles. This can (depending on your conditioning) involve a large amount of weight, maybe even more than you can deadlift and to really target that muscle, removing the grip element may be a good idea. Likewise if you are training for an event that allows straps then utilizing them in your training is also not a terrible idea. However, one must not fall into the trap of using straps when not necessary out of comfort. This is especially the case if one is involved in a sport such as powerlifting or strongman where grip becomes a significant factor in performance. If you must use straps more than you should, make sure to put in some grip training now and then. And really ask yourself on each lift you use them on if you truly feel they are needed.

Top 6 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout .

We all can have a hard time with motivation to work out from time to time.  Figuring out when your body truly needs rest vs when you just want to be lazy can be a fine line. But if you have a suspicion that you are just being more on the lazy side here are some simple things I find to help get you up off that sofa.

Change things up

You should be doing this anyways to help stimulate muscle growth with your lifting. Never be afraid to throw in something totally different from your routine. Try working out with equipment you have never used. If you are a free weight lifter try some machine work. Focus more on your favorite muscle group as that alone can get your energy up.

Go to the gym

If you have a home gym try changing things up and heading to your local gym for a drop-in. Even if you have a gym pass try another gym for a day or two. There is no denying that working out at home is very convenient but you simply cannot beat the energy you can feed off of at a busy gym.

Go with a friend

If you work out alone try bringing a friend along, even if they are not as into lifting as you. Sometimes having someone to show the ropes to can be a lot of fun and if you already have a workout partner or group try bringing a newbie along and help encourage them to come in. They might slow you down a little but it could be a new motivation to hit your workouts more consistently.

Walk out the door

One big advantage to a gym over working out at home is that once you have committed to going you are much more likely to stick it out for the duration of the workout. If you are sitting in your convenient gym at home you might be tempted by that comfortable sofa calling your name. Once you have walked out to go to the gym down the road however, you are much more likely to stick with it.

Do what you want

If you are cringing thinking about your specific exercises today, try a workout just doing exactly what you want. Feel like hitting the bench press all workout? Or maybe you feel like squats today instead of back. Go for it, really it is better than not going and sometimes the change up can be a beneficial shock to your system.

Take a week off

Sometimes you really are not enjoying your workouts right now. Sometimes taking a week off will give you a bit of rest you don’t realize you need. Many times I have found at the end of that week I am suddenly feeling antsy to get back to the gym.