T Nation

Having Trouble with Grip Even with Straps

For some unknown reason my grip has been failing me badly lately even while using straps. After i left my old bases’ gym the end of june i noticed doing heavy rows, and rackpulls that my grip was giving out on a couple reps of weight i had easily done in the past holding onto no problem. I had an old pair of altus cotton black straps that i used for like almost 2 years before i tossed them because of them starting to break. I’m just curious if its the straps im using now (iron minds), maybe the knurling on the bars i have been using, sweat or if i am just not letting my forearms rest enough and they are just too damn tired. Any advice besides “lose the straps pussy” would be much appreciated.

Get a grip tool to use on your off days. I use a VG-II. Maybe use hooks instead of straps when your grip gives up.


are you doing arm work a day or 2 before heavy rack pulls?

Do you do any grip strengthening exercises?

I think chalk would help even with the straps since my hands seem to be slipping as in being sweaty more than anything. I did some bicep work yesterday which could be the reason for it. Just doesn’t make sense because i have held onto 475 for like 6-8 reps before doing rack pulls and today i could hardly hold it for 1. I haven’t done any specific grip work in a while, maybe time to start again. I used to do weighted hangs from the pull up bar and sometimes heavy dumbell holds.

Ditch the straps for a while and lift a little lighter with chalk on DLs just to work your grip. Use a double overhand grip for as long as you can before going mixed.

Remember to grip the bar as hard as you can, and not just use your fingertips as a hook, but actually wrap your fingers tightly around the bar (although make sure that all flesh of the hand touches some iron and that the skin under your knuckles on your palm doesn’t fold beneath your knuckles or you’ll tear some callouses).

I find that a narrow grip works wonders on grip, and although a wider grip might work better for other muscles, a narrow grip really allows you to focus on gripping the bar and not on whether it’s going to slip out of your pinkie.

There’s also farmer walks, but again, remember to grip it as hard as you can and not just let it hook on your fingers.

I had trouble with deadlifts when i got up to 200kg and was using wraps - still lost grip.

So i ditched the wraps when i found this piece of advice (probably on this site).

Make a fist, really tight and then see if you can tighten your little and ring finger any further. For some reason we seem to forget about these last 2 fingers and so they’re the ones which let our grip fail when doing deads.

So overnight i was able to ditch straps and have never had grip problems since - no problems now with 260kg from below the knees.

Hope this helps.

Perhaps the knurling on the bar in your new gym is worn out?

IMO there is a way to use straps that makes them a lot more effective then how most people use them. Most people I see use the straps and still grip the bar in the palm of their hand, I don’t think this way works to well.

For me at least, they are much more effective when I let the bar sit in the cradle of my fingers.

I think the problem is with the bar, not you. If it’s a little loose, it has a tendency to roll more, making it harder to hold onto. At least, that was the problem at my gym.

There are 2 straps that I currently use that helped me out a lot.


The first one is the Harbinger Dura-Grip straps that lets me do up to 495 lbs on the normal shrugs with no slippage. However, even these slip when I start doing more than 495 lbs for power shrugs. Note: You should wear long sleeves with these straps because they dig into the skin pretty hard.


I have found that the APT 2" wide Lifting Cuffs allow me to do up to 675 lbs on the power shrugs with no problems. It is kind of hard on the wrists/hands but as long as you get the right size, you get used to it.

aap, do you mean tight? The rollers should roll freely so as not to torque the bar in your hands, back or delts. The weights will roll a little during a rep. If it’s tight, it’ll put a lot of pressure on your hands, probably a lot more than you can handle, especially on your heavier sets. That reminds me…I want to take apart my BB and try to grease it.

[quote]jk270 wrote:


Is your grip fine during farmer’s walks? Could be an shoulder impingement problem, but it’s probably something to do with the bar or your straps like everyone else has said.

Raw Power Power Grabs are awesome. A pair was kicking around my gym for a bit and I gave them a try one day when doing shrugs - loved them immediately. Found a place that sells them locally and I use them all the time now on heavy days.

They work great for me because I have chronic tendonitis in both elbows and it soemtimes flares up holding heavier weights. The Power Grabs let me relax my forearms/arms a bit more (easing the stress on them) and really focus on the main muscle I’m working.