Wrist Straps for Weightlifting
Not to be confused with wrist wraps, wrist straps are small canvas straps, about a foot long and an inch wide, with the small loop on the end. They reduce the athlete’s requirement on his/her grip strength. On the other hand, wrist wraps will help to secure your wrists in proper alignment (stabilize your wrists) during bench presses, squats, and deadlifts in order to prevent a wrist injury if an athlete has incorrect technique.
Together with weight-lifting belts, weight-training gloves, wrist and knee wraps, they are a basic and effective weightlifting accessory. As opposed to other weight training accessories, wrist straps seem to have the least serious drawbacks.
What are wrist straps or grip wraps?
Strips of material (often canvas, nylon, or leather) that are about 2 inches (5 centimeters) wide and 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) long with a looped end. They are wrapped around the wrist and the bar or handle that the lifter is holding onto to increase grip strength.
What is the main purpose of wrist straps?
As already mentioned, grip wraps are strips of cotton webbing (such as the webbing used in karate belts) wrapped around the wrist and the weight bar. The main purpose of wrist straps is to take stress from the forearm muscles during lifts such as cleans and lat pulls. The grip is often the limiting factor in these lifts. In other words, straps will assist you in holding onto barbell, when the weight is either too heavy, or the reps are too high.
Possible benefits of wearing wrist straps
The object of wrist straps is not to eliminate the gripping effort but, rather, to assist the forearm flexors in the performance of a movement for which grip strength is a limiting factor. Without grip assistance there is a chance you’ll have to terminate the set prematurely, leaving target muscle groups out of growth-stimulating repetitions.
Drawbacks of wearing wrist straps
Unfortunately, using wrist straps you will not develop necessary grabbing power. This is big minus for many athletes playing certain positions in football and other sports.
If you regularly wear straps, you can slow down the development of your forearm muscles. A disproportionate build is very ugly and it can increase the possibility you will suffer joint pain, muscle tears or other injuries. Not allowing the forearms and the grip to strengthen may have an impact on overall lifting strength, even for lighter weights.
Furthermore, all straps eventually wear out, so it is important to check frequently for tears that may lead to breakage. Very soon you will probably have to buy another pair of straps.
How to put wrist straps?
To correctly apply wrist straps, position the loop in the palm of your hand with the thick, stitched side facing up. Close your fingers around it. With your other hand, wrap the running end of the strap across the thenar eminence (heel of your thumb), around the back of your wrist, and across the hypothenar eminence (heel of your hand).
Then thread the end through the loop so that the remainder of the strap extends from between the thumb and index finger. Repeat these steps with the opposite hand. Now, with your palms facing down, coil the running ends of the straps securely around the thumb sides of the bars.
It is relatively easy to use wrist straps. However, you must develop finger dexterity and coordination to use them quickly and efficiently. At first, using straps may seem awkward, but with practice you will quickly get the hang of it.
You can use wrist straps in the power clean, the hex-bar deadlift, or any heavy pulling exercise in which the strength of the hands can limit the amount of weight used.
These exercise are not designed to develop wrist and hand strength. Therefore, it would be a mistake to allow weakness in the hand and wrist to hamper total-body development in these power exercises.
You don’t need wrist straps if you have healthy wrists, strong grip and powerful forearms. Unfortunately, some bodybuilders abuse this fact. We advise beginners to refrain from using straps altogether in order to maximally stimulate the untrained forearms. The more experienced lifters should apply wrist straps only at high intensities, and as necessary. We also recommend including a few sets of forearm-specific exercises in your standard training regimen to ensure optimal forearm development, even with the occasional use of wrist straps.