Weight lifting straps are a tool that many of us will use at some point to help us progress further than we would otherwise have got without them.
Lifting straps basically perform the role that our forearm muscles do to allow us to hold bars on handles when lifting or pulling heavy weights.
Like all things in life there are plenty of options to choose from, so here are the things you need to look out for when selecting a pair of lifting straps for your own training.
This depends on the main exercises that you’ll be using them for. Most come in sizes of around 20 inches but some of the more expensive brands do make longer ones of around 24 inches or 60cm in length. Ideally you’d opt for the longer size as this will allow you to wrap them around a bar or handle many times giving you a firmer grip. If you don’t need the extra length then you could simply leave it loose. It won’t affect your lift in any way.
This aspect seems to be quite standard across the range with most being approximately 1.5 inches wide. You certainly wouldn’t want to choose any weight lifting straps that were narrower than this.
You really have 2 choices with this – leather or cotton. Both have their merits. Leather is softer, but can be slippery and has the potential to snap. Cotton is not quite as comfortable, but because of the woven nature, it is unlikely to ever break apart along the stitched seams. More expensive brands tend to be a little softer and more durable.
Also be wary of choosing cheap brands that use a thinner fabric as this can bunch up in the hand causing real pain and discomfort through the entire exercise. Thicker ones are best as they hold their shape when wrapped around a bar or handle.
#4 Padding or no padding?
As to whether you choose padded or non padded straps is purely a matter of choice. The padding is usually a strip of neoprene that is stitched to the inside of the outer strap to cushion the strap against the wrists. If you have quite small wrists and are using a lot of weight then the padded version could be your best bet, they are much more comfortable to use. In terms of strength and durability, there is no real difference between padded and non padded weight lifting straps, it is purely down to comfort levels.
#5 Budget or high end product?
As with all things in life you get what you pay for and lifting straps are no different. There are three main price bands. Firstly for the simple cotton straps without padding these are the cheapest. Next are the padded cotton version which are a little more expensive and finally leather lifting straps which tend to be the most expensive.
Hopefully this little summary in to the pros and cons of weight lifting straps has helped you to make a decision as to whether you decide to buy a pair for yourself.