A common thing I hear from my clients is they know they can do heavier romanian deadlifts or dumbbell rows but their grip is the limiting factor.
In my 1:1 coaching and The Bold Collective training program we do a lot of purposeful grip strength work with things like bar hangs and farmers carries as a way to improve grip strength, which has a huge carry over to a stronger deadlift and better pull ups (often overlooked movements for these big lifts!).
But lifting straps can be very useful for movements where grip strength is stopping you from increasing intensity, like a Romanian deadlift.
Lifting straps are an accessory, they’re like supplements: until you’ve mastered the basics you probably shouldn’t be using them. You can’t use supplements as a way to fix a bad diet, just in the same way you can’t use lifting shoes, belts, knee sleeves, lifting straps to out train poor movement.
Accessories have their place, especially with specific sports. But addressing the underlying issues for WHY they are needed is important—what is the limiting factor?
I do, however, think lifting straps can be beneficial when you have the essentials of the movement down but need a bit of extra help while you continue to work on your grip.
If you’re like: what the heck are you talking about? Accessories? This is not me at all! I am not a powerlifter, this isn’t for me.
Nope, neither are my clients. But lifting straps can help them get stronger. And if you like getting strong, then this might apply to you!
While I believe you DO need to develop grip strength and straps shouldn’t be used when strength is the goal (for example, a deadlift from the ground) we can use them if the goal is more hypertrophy or endurance focussed.
Let’s take a Romanian deadlift, for example.
If the primary goal of using this exercise in your program is for posterior strength or hamstring development (hypertrophy) then being focussed on your grip is going to inhibit how much you can lift and also the way you lift in order to get that outcome.
Using straps in this case can help you handle more load through the posterior chain, without worrying if you’re going to drop the bar! (Also handy if you’re in a globo gym where dropping of bars is NOT allowed!)
So it does always come down to: what is the purpose of the exercise and in the overall scheme of your program?
Today this post is not about developing grip strength, but about how you can utilise straps if your grip is failing you in hinging or rowing movements, such as:
Bent over barbell rows
One arm rows
How do you use lifting straps? Watch the video for how to use them (sorry it is a bit noisy!):
Where can you get them? You can get them for super cheap from Amazon here.
Do you use straps? What is your favourite brand?