T Nation

straps or not

I have a question regarding the use of wrist straps. I’m 5’10, 160 pounds. I just recently started working out again. I have always been able to shrug alot of weight. But I have always used wrist straps. I can do 70-80 pound dumbbells without them, but 120’s with them. should I use the straps or wait and see if my hands and wrists catch up to my traps?

Hell no. You need to strengthen your hands & wrists along with everything else. You wouldn’t forget about legs or back or something & hands aren’t any different.

I’d use them SPARINGLY, if at all. I recently eliminated them from deadlifts, and while I can’t use as much weight, I know it’s for the best. Maybe do some extra grip work. Do you have access to thick bars/dbells or anything? I have a set of those EZ grips that Poliquin recommended and I use those on all arm exercises and for bar holds. Very difficult on hammer curls especially but will make a noticeable dif. in grip/forearm strength.

Well, I’ve got TINY hands. I do. When I do deads, I use these straps that also have hooks, so I can go really heavy.

But I've also added another dead work out where I go lighter and don't use the straps - so to build my grip strength.

Try to fix your weak links rather that adding to the problem. What do you do when you forget your straps? I live and die by the no belt or strap rules. If your grip is strong you’ll never need straps and if your TVA is strong you don’t need a belt. I’ve been doing singles for squats, deadlifts and cleans without a belt or straps for a few years.

If you need them, use them. That’s what their there for. But only use them if you really have to. Since most gyms do not allow chalk I find that when using challenging weight and going for more than 6 reps, grip gets ‘unpredicatable’, i.e. it really depends on the bar and how much I sweat if I can hold the weight for 10 reps or not. And I hate doing 6 reps of DL and then having to stop and re-grip the bar because it starts slipping out of my hand. If you generally have a problem with grip strength, i.e. you need the straps for a lot of exercises, work on that seperatly.

To keep using the same weight, you could use a hook grip. That’s where you wrap your fingers around your thumb in stead of having your thumb go around you fingers.

I have a very strong grip but small hands I Deadlift twice a week , one with hooks, and one without. If you need them use them.

thanks for the responses. I think I’ll stay away from the straps. I have a good grip anyway. I’ll try the alternative grip that Drax recommended.

Pass on the straps and consider adding other exercises such as Farmers Walks and Bar Hangs to help slowly build your hand strength. Good Luck! In faith, Coach Davies

Seems kinda stupid to turn your deadlifts into a grip exercise. Use the straps while you have to so you can develop your hams/lower back, but realize you have that weakness and develop your grip on maybe arm day. The important thing is to not use the straps as a crutch and NOT work on your grip. That would make you a retard. Get the grip up to speed while you’re doing kick ass deads until you eventually don’t need the straps.

i perfer to work forearms on forearm day. if i didn’t use straps, i’d work forearms 3 times a week… sounds like overtraining to me… so yes i lift with straps…at the risk of sounding arrogant, i am extremely strong, if i lift heavy, i’ll always take extra percautions. i wear a belt too but only on heavy sets. the only things i don’t use is wrist and knee wraps… just belt and straps when appropriate… if you can do 120 with great form and really feel the muscles working, i’d say keep using the straps…because it will be a hell of a long time before you’re hands/forearms can catch up to that.

Grip is part of deadlifting. If you can’t hold onto a weight, you can’t deeadlift. If Paul Anderson had a grip to match the rest of him, he could have deadlifted more than 1000. He did that much with his hands tied to the bar, but that doesn’t matter.

For deads, I tend to do my warm-up sets and two work sets without straps. By then my forearms a little pooped, so I use straps for the second two work sets, which I add extra weight too. While you want to work on your grip, you also don’t want your traps and legs to suffer because of a weakness in your forearms. Use the straps sparingly, I say. Oh, and the hook grip is pretty useful too. (That’s thumb under fingers, as Drax pointed out above.)

I recommend that you never use lifting straps, especially since you are relatively new to lifting. Without straps, your grip will grow with the rest of you. Don’t sacrifice your grip over a 120 lb dumbbell shrug. However, if you cannot hit your traps effectively with 80 lb, and your grip is slow to take off, perhaps you can train shrugs twice a week. Here’s my plan:

I barbell shrug twice a week; the first shrug day is with straps (today – 495x10, 765x10, 815x7, 865x4). The second is without straps, and is really grip/forearm training (last Saturday – 365x10, 385x7, 405x5, 425x3). I don’t ever use an alternate grip with this exercise, so it really hits the forearms. Also, I don’t use straps for anything else. This training, along with Ironmind grippers, hammer curls, reverse curls, bent-over rows, and lots of other exercises that require grip strength have really helped me develop my grip. Good luck.