The Power of Wrist Straps in Lifting: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to putting serious iron in the gym or at home wrist straps lifting often play an indispensable part in a lifter’s arsenal. For many, wrist straps or lifting straps are that extra insurance to push through even the toughest plateaus and take their training to the next level. In this guide, we’ll unravel the mystique of wrist straps, the proper usage, and all you need to know to ensure you’re strapping in for success safely and effectively.

Understanding Wrist Straps in Lifting

The Basics of Lifting Straps

Lifting straps are simple but robust pieces of equipment designed to enhance grip strength. They do so by “looping” around the barbell or dumbbell and the wrist grip to provide a more secure hold. This minimizes the likelihood of grip fatigue or the grip being the limiting factor in critical lifts like deadlifts and rows.

Why Wrist Straps Are Useful

A failing grip can truncate a set long before the targeted muscles are fully fatigued. Wrist straps, therefore, allow lifters to continue a set past the point of grip failure, sending a clear signal to the muscles that it’s time to grow. They can be particularly helpful for bodybuilders and powerlifters who are often looking to push their muscles to failure without being restricted by grip strength.

Types of Wrist Straps

Material Matters: Fabric vs. Leather vs. Mixed

Wrist straps come in different materials, each with its own characteristics. Fabric straps are known for being less abrasive on the skin and providing a bit of “give” during lifts that involve a kink in the wrist, like barbell rows. Leather straps offer durability and a superior texture for grip on the bar. Mixed materials often provide a balance between the two, with the fabric being softer against the skin and the leather reinforcing the strap’s strength.

Loop Styles

There are typically two loop styles associated with wrist straps: Single-loop and figure-eight. The single loop is simpler and quicker to fasten, while the figure-eight provides a more secure hold but may take a bit longer to set up.

When to Use Wrist Straps

Appropriate Lifts

Wrist straps are most beneficial for pulling movements such as deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups, and barbell rows. They aid in maintaining a tight grip on the bar when the muscles being trained are not necessarily those of the forearms or hands.

Limitations and Overuse

While straps are a great tool, they should not replace developing natural grip strength. Over-reliance on wrist straps can lead to a weakening of the intrinsic muscles of the hand and forearm. It’s important to use them judiciously and not to the exclusion of working on grip strength through exercises like farmer’s walks and static holds.

How to Use Wrist Straps Properly

Setting Up the Strap

To use a wrist strap, first, you’ll need to have it correctly adjusted to your wrist size. Then, wrap the strap around the barbell or dumbbell handle. If using a figure-eight style, ensure you thread your hand through smoothly, so the “figure-eight” shape sits correctly, providing the optimal grip.

Positioning on the Adjustable Wrist Band

The adjustable band should sit comfortably around the wrist, not too tight as to cut off circulation but securely enough to maintain the strap’s position when lifting.


Wrist straps can be a game-changer for your lifting routine if used correctly. They are not a crutch but a strategic aid to help you get the most out of your training sessions. By understanding the role they play, selecting the right type for your needs, and employing them judiciously, you can enhance your lifting endeavors while continuing to build your grip strength naturally. 

Remember, like any tool in the gym, wrist straps are there to serve your health and fitness goals, so use them wisely and combine their use with a well-rounded, holistic approach to strength and muscle building. Here’s to strapping in and lifting smarter and stronger!