T Nation

Wrist Strap Question

My grip is my weak point when deadlifting and doing various heavy pulling motions, and I am planning on getting wrist wraps (or the equivalent). I have a couple questions though.

  1. What’s the difference between wrist straps and these (lifting hooks)? Which would you recommend for doing deadlifts?

http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=139&pid=1781

  1. How do you manage to put on two wrist wraps at the same time? When I put one around the bar, my hand is pretty much fixed to it, and I can’t find an easy way to get the second wrap ready.

And yeah, I’m working on my grip, but it sucks to see everything else stagnate in the meantime.

I think you mean wrist straps. They wrap around the bar to help your grip. Never under any circumstance use wrist straps, unless your hanicap, missing fingers. Those things will weaken your hands. Just have some patience and keep pulling away. Your grip will come around in time. When I first worked out at Westside Barbell I though I just ran over someone’s kid when I broke those things out. I never touched them again, and I’m glad I got my ass chewed because my grip is stupid now. Just be patient, it may take a year or so but you’ll appreciate it in the long run.

I train for strongman and I use wrist STRAPS all the time for deadlifting. I get plenty of grip work doing other event training.

1)I’m partial to straps (as opposed to hooks) simply because I’ve always used them, felt they’ve done an adequate job, and never felt the need to use hooks.

2)It’s a bit of an art. I use my thumbs to push the strap from the “hanging down” position to over the top of the bar. It might be necessary for you to roll the straps up before hand to make them a little bit coiled. After they’re both looped, you tighten them by kind of twisting the bar, almost like you’re revving a motorcycle. Again, it’s an art.

Other:

You’re going to be told countless times not to use straps on this thread. If you’re a powerlifter, I’d mostly agree. If you train for anything else, I disagree fully.

Deadlifting with an alternate grip doesn’t really test the grip much (there may be a few exceptions to this). It’s also quite a bit easier to tear a bicep with a mixed grip than with both overhand. Basically, you get cool points for going strapless, but not much else.

Thanks for that. I’ll give it a shot next time. And I was trying to figure out whether it was straps or wraps, but I got confused when visiting the EliteFTS site (for example, this thing

http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=139&pid=914 , and I figured that those folks must know what they’re doing…

Anyway, thanks for the advice. I know that people are pretty anti-strap here, but I’d rather use straps than let my hamstring/glute training stagnate. I am getting liquid chalk as well because one reason I keep losing my grip is my sweaty palms, so I’ll test that out first.

[quote]blooey wrote:

http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=139&pid=914 , and I figured that those folks must know what they’re doing…
[/quote]

Yeah… but look at the strap itself, it says “strap” on it :wink:

[quote]blooey wrote:
I know that people are pretty anti-strap here, but I’d rather use straps than let my hamstring/glute training stagnate. [/quote]

But you’re perfectly content with letting your grip strength stagnate?

I only use the straps on my heavy sets, all my warm ups i don’t use them.

Some of my warm up sets are what used to be my work sets that I needed straps for… So, my grip is still improving but not at the cost of my work sets.

So I am happy becasue they are both progressing.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
blooey wrote:

http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=139&pid=914 , and I figured that those folks must know what they’re doing…

Yeah… but look at the strap itself, it says “strap” on it ;)[/quote]

Oops. You got me =).

[quote]robo1 wrote:
blooey wrote:
I know that people are pretty anti-strap here, but I’d rather use straps than let my hamstring/glute training stagnate.

But you’re perfectly content with letting your grip strength stagnate?[/quote]

Uh, thanks for your concern, but there are plenty of good reasons for having a strong posterior chain even if my grip is relatively weaker. Squats, running, and jumping come to mind.

Also, I am working on my grip, but it’s possible to work on more than one thing at a time.

I guess I should also add that I’d love to hear about any good grip tips that people have. I currently add grip work to the end of each workout. Right now, it just consists of barbell holds for time (@315 lbs, which is about all I can manage at the end of a workout =() and hex dumbbell holds for time. I’m also going to get my hands on some grippers.

I have read the articles on grip training by Thib and others, but I’ll glance over those as well.

I’m not exactly sure when you use the straps…i know for deadlifting…but you should really not use them until you really really need them…do as many sets as you can with just your grip strength, than when it begins to get very heavy and you cant finish a set without the weight falling from your hands, than use the straps…

i love straps, but i only use them when i absolutely need them…they do work great and they are an “art” to get on the right way haha but that comes with time…also, id definitely try to do some grip work…even if its just a few sets of that Hammer Gripper machine at the end of a workout…its better than nothing…

[quote]blooey wrote:
Uh, thanks for your concern, but there are plenty of good reasons for having a strong posterior chain even if my grip is relatively weaker. [/quote]

No there isn’t. it’s about having balance. If your posterior is so insanely strong that you can only stimulate it with weights that you can barely hold onto then it means you grip is weak. Period. this isn’t about your posterior.

this is about your schoolgirl grip. I’m not anti strap (some of my best friends are straps) but I think the vast majority of people who rely on them do so without any thought to the fact that their grip is lagging severely.

Im not bashing you blooey, but you started off this thread by saying and I quote : ``My grip is my weak point.’’ And your solution to addressing this weak point is to work around it rather than improve it. sorry but I just don’t agree.

You would never take the same approach if your shoulders were your weak point or your hamstrings were your weak point. No, you would be looking for ways to bring their strength in line with the rest of your body. But when it comes to the grip, everybody just reflexively reaches for the straps. and what does that do. it just makes the strength imbalance even greater.

So go buy your straps if you want to, but personally I would make grip work a priority instead of relegating it to a couple of static holds at the end of a workout. That’s not reflective of much dedication to improving your grip.

Grip work is just as important as deadlifting, benching and squatting imho and should receive the same effort and attention to detail. Sorry for the rant blooey but this is a touchy subject for me.

I use straps one week and one week off. Everyone has to set their own priorities for what needs work. I am not willing to wait for my grip to catch up at the loss of heavy deadlifting.

The weeks I use straps I do alot of extra grip work. Over the weeks my grip has gotten alot stronger and I end up using the straps less and less. I think the main problem is lots of people get straps early on and never consider working on their grip. They become totally dependent on them and never look back.

I do deadlifts on the same day I work shoulders and lats. By the time I’m ready for heavy deads, the cleans and pull-ups have wiped out my grip. I still go as long as possible before resorting to the straps but I do use them. At the end of those workouts I do shrugs with various grip combinations (no straps) and add a static hold for as long as possible at the end of each set.

Other grip work options:

Grippers (Captains of Crush are great)
Thick bar work
Plate pinch holds
Wrist curls (let the weight roll out to the end of your fingers)

You’ll be amazed at how strong your hands can become. But, it does take time. Use your straps when you REALLY need them, but try not to rely on them and you’ll be fine.

get these

http://www6.mailordercentral.com/ironmind/prodinfo.asp?number=1239

  1. can put on one handed no problems
  2. can release hold in emergency no problem
  3. insanely strong
  4. light easy to take to gym
  5. can adjust tension to use them more / less in assisting your grip

Also, make sure you lock off your thumb in your grip of the bar. And don’t neglect gripwork. And train with fat bars.

Just use the straps for max effort work.

Try dropping deadlifts for 4-6 weeks and work on rack pulls at varying heights. If you pull low reps multiple sets you should be able to use more than you can pull off the floor, so it should help toughen your grip up.

Just think of it as an overload.

I assume your grip’s going when repping deadlifts? Do you let the bar settle on the ground after eevrey rep or are they touch and go?

Recently, I came to the point where my deadlift maxes exceeded my grip maxes (at least for the last couple sets). I bought my first pair of lifting straps.

Basically, I was using them one day and realized “shit, I want to be able to grab what i lift” so I went on a campaign to improve my forearms.

Doing absolutely no research whatsoever (except for learning different exercises) i went on a full-scale campaign to get my grip up to speed. For one month I did a grip exercise at the end of every work out. Sometimes static, sometimes dynamic, always to failure.

In one month, my grip strength shot up to the point where I can grip my heaviest deadlifts just fine. I used straps until I was confident but now I lift strap-free again.

Just a thought

The problem with a weak grip is this: you could be overtraining your forearms.
Deadlifts, shrugs, curls, calf lifts holding weights, farmers walks…
Nearly every single exercise involves grabbing or holding on to something, so it taxes your grip.
My grip improved when I started using straps.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
The problem with a weak grip is this: you could be overtraining your forearms.
Deadlifts, shrugs, curls, calf lifts holding weights, farmers walks…
Nearly every single exercise involves grabbing or holding on to something, so it taxes your grip.
My grip improved when I started using straps.[/quote]

In fairness I noticed that happening when I was doing convo deadlifts, sumos and rack pulls all in the one session. My hands were getting VERY sore. not to the point of dropping the weight tho.

@ robo1: No offense taken. You make a good point about how people treat grip strength differently since, if my hamstrings were weak, I certainly wouldn’t just try to work my way around it.

@ Wreckless: That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of that. But I’m still going to err on the side of not thinking that I’m overtraining since I’m a desk jockey for most of the day.

@ Hanley: I haven’t had my grip fail on a single for a while, but that’s mainly because I haven’t pulled heavy singles in a while. When I do reps with deadlifts, I usually let the weight settle while I readjust my feet and hips.

@ Everyone Else: Thanks for your input. I was never planning on using straps for every rep, just for when the weight started slipping due to sweaty palms or a failing grip (I get really sweaty palms, but that’s what the chalk will be for). I’m definitely getting grippers as well to add dynamic work to my current static grip work. If this isn’t sufficient, I’ll add more grip work in the future.

You may find that exercising your finger extensors does as much for your grip as direct grip work. This is because the body resists you building excessive imbalances. To work them, just get some thick rubber bands, loop them round your bunched up fingers, then open your fingers out. Harder than it sounds.