Beginners Guide: Lifting Straps - Reboot Fitness Coaching

Beginners Guide: Lifting Straps

TL;DR

Wondering when to “strap in”? If your grip’s giving out before your muscles, it’s time to consider lifting straps. Far from “cheating,” these useful gym bag items help you focus on the muscles you’re actually targeting—like getting those 12 lunge reps in when your grip taps out at 4. They also ramp up safety, especially in busy gyms, or homes with wandering toddlers and pets. Plus, they’re not just for a couple of exercises; think step-ups, rows, and more. Ready to give your forearms a rest? Find my recommendation later in this post.

THE TALE OF THE RUNAWAY DUMBBELL

Picture this: You’re in the gym, doing step-ups, feeling the burn and loving it.

Then, something changes, and this pain starts radiating down your forearm.

You try to ignore it and keep going. But then you start to sweat, as you feel each finger start to lose contact with the dumbbell. One finger goes. Then two, until the dumbbell you’re holding slips from your grasp. It hits the edge of the step you’re training on (with just enough of a clang to draw everyone’s eyes), and then goes on a little adventure across the gym floor, while you sheepishly scoot after it.

Embarrassing? Absolutely. Dangerous? You bet. Uncommon? Not really… In fact this has happened to me on more than one occasion in the past.

So, maybe you’ve started lifting weights, and you’re asking yourself: “how can I avoid this eye-watering pain, and cringeworthy gym embarassment?”. Or perhaps you’ve been lifting for a while and you’re wondering: “When should you start using lifting straps?”

If you’ve noticed your grip giving out during exercises, you’re in the right place. We’re going to quickly go over the benefits and misconceptions of using lifting straps.

WHEN SHOULD YOU START USING LIFTING STRAPS?

Grip strength is crucial when doing any kind of resistance training. It’s what allows you to hold onto the barbell during a deadlift or keep those dumbbells in your hands during lunges.

But here’s the catch: your grip strength can sometimes be the weakest link in your lifting chain. When that happens, it’s not just frustrating; it can also limit your ability to work the muscles you’re actually targeting.

So, what’s the workaround? Well for some exercises, you can change your grip (which comes with it’s own list of pros and cons).

But there’s another solution: Lifting straps.

These simple yet effective accessories wrap around your wrists and the bar or dumbbell, giving you a more secure hold. They ensure that your grip isn’t the limiting factor in your lifts, allowing you to focus on the muscle groups you’re aiming to work. In other words, they let you lift heavier and more effectively, without worrying about dropping the weight.

And while we’re talking about what they allow you to do, lets knock off some common misconceptions: using lifting straps is not “cheating,” and it doesn’t mean you’re taking the easy way out.

Some people argue that straps can weaken your grip over time. But here’s the thing—straps are a tool, not a crutch. They’re designed to help you lift more effectively, allowing you to focus on the muscles you’re actually targeting. So think about your own fitness goals and how straps can help you achieve them.

BENEFITS OF USING LIFTING STRAPS

So, we’ve talked about what lifting straps are and sorted out some myths. Now, let’s get into the good stuff—why you should consider using them. Here’s the rundown:

  • Target Muscle Focus: Straps let you zero in on the muscle groups you’re working on, without your grip giving out first. For example, if you’re doing lunges to work your hamstrings but your forearms are on fire, you’re missing the point. Your legs might be good for 12 reps, but if your grip gives out at 4, you’re not maximizing your workout.
  • Safety: A secure grip means less risk of dropping weights and causing injury—to you or others around you. This is especially important in a busy gym or if you’re working out at home with kids, pets, or downstairs neighbors like myself.
  • Lift Heavier: With a better grip, you can often lift more weight, which can be crucial for making progress, and progressively overloading. This ties back to the first point: your grip shouldn’t be the limiting factor in how much and how many times you can lift.
  • Versatility: Straps aren’t just for one or two exercises. Think lunges, step-ups, bent-over rows, pull-downs, and looooots more. They can be useful in a variety of exercises where grip strength could be a limiting factor.

MY RECOMMENDATION

So, when should you start using lifting straps? The answer is simple: when you find that your grip strength is holding you back from maximizing your workouts.

Lifting straps are more than just a gym accessory; they’re a tool that can help you focus on your fitness goals, lift safely, and break through those pesky plateaus.

Ready to give them a try? There are lots of different options, but you don’t need anything fancy. You can go for something simple like THESE.

Whatever you do just keep it simple and don’t be tempted to unnecessarily over spend. This should be a cost-effective, useful tool that you have in your gym bag for years (I’ve still got the same ones I first bought nearly a decade ago…).

WHAT NEXT

Got a question about when you should start using lifting straps, or anything else related to your exercise or nutrition? Go ahead and fill in the form below, and I’ll help you out.

Contact Page

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

[N.B: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will get a small percentage of the sale should you choose to buy any of the products. I’ve chosen the products in each link based on their price (obviously the lower the better) and their ratings (4 star at the very least, with a high number of reviews). But all I’m really fussed about is you get some decent kit to use, so feel free to search for items on Amazon yourself  if you don’t like the one I’ve suggested. The product price may change from when I originally publish this article, so it’s a good idea to have a little shop around anyway.

I’d also recommend asking around locally, or looking on your local selling groups for certain items to see if anyone is selling some. It may be a cheaper alternative to buying brand new.]

If you found this helpful, share it with someone else 🙂

About the Author Alvin Nurse

Alvin runs Reboot Fitness Coaching and has been a Fitness Coach since 2010. When not helping awesome people in their 30s rejuvenate their bodies, you'll find him listening to music, chasing a ball, or avoiding runny yolks...

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: