Lifting Straps 101: When, Where, and How To Use Them

Key Points

  • Lifting straps are a simple tool used to enhance strength training practices.

  • Using straps reduces your risk of injury when lifting heavy weights.

  • Lifting straps have practical applications that make household chores and other activities easier.

You might encounter grip strength limitations in physical fitness and daily heavy-lifting activities. Whether you're a dedicated gym rat aiming to conquer new personal records, or someone seeking assistance moving heavy furniture, lifting straps are a real game changer. 

Lifting straps are humble yet indispensable tools that offer a secure grip, promote proper form, and unlock a new world of fitness and strength possibilities. This tutorial involving their use, applications, and potential may give you a whole new perspective on this simplistic gear.

Will you up your strength training game and unlock your fitness potential? You can bet the winners at the 2023 USA Powerlifting Masters Cup used their straps!

What Are Lifting Straps?

Specialized accessories designed to minimize grip deficiencies, lifting straps help lifting performance and endurance. Typically composed of durable materials such as nylon and cotton, lifting straps consist of a long strap with a loop on one end, and sometimes contain a padded section in the middle for more comfort.

The looped end of a lifting strap secures around your wrist or hand, while the other end wraps around your dumbbell, barbell, or any other object you attempt to lift. By creating a more secure attachment between hand and weight, the strap transfers the load from your hand grip to your wrists and forearms, reducing strain on your hands and friction on your skin. 

This weight transfer allows you to lift heavier weights and perform tasks that require prolonged, excessive grip strength. Lifting straps come in various lengths, widths, and designs that cater to all users, making them suitable for athletic activities and everyday household chores. 

Proper Lifting Technique: An Essential Part of Workout Success

Proper lifting technique is crucial for strength training and lifting heavy objects. Engaging in these activities without proper form and equipment inevitably leads to pain and discomfort. Why must you prioritize appropriate form when lifting?

Injury Prevention

Using the correct lifting technique reduces the risk of injuries, such as sprains, strains, and muscle and tendon tears. Attempting to lift heavy objects without proper form stresses muscles and joints, making you more susceptible to injury. Using a lifting strap to help engage the right muscles and ensure proper form lets you do the job right.

Efficient Muscle Engagement

Proper lifting technique during strength training ensures you effectively engage specific muscles, maximizing their recruitment and development. You achieve better muscle control and activation, avoiding unnecessary movements that might hinder progress or lead to musculoskeletal imbalances.

Improved Performance

When you lift weights and other objects correctly, you optimize your biomechanics and leverage, allowing you to generate greater force and lift heavier loads. Maintaining proper alignment and utilizing the correct muscle groups enhances your power, strength, and strength training performance. 

Joint Stability and Protection

Using the correct technique maintains proper joint alignment and stability, reducing joint stress, especially in the spine, knees, and shoulders. Distributing your weight load evenly and using appropriate movement patterns minimizes the risk of joint injury and promotes long-term bone and joint health.

Using Lifting Straps in Training and Daily Activities

Japanese martial artist Morihei Ueshiba believed, "The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit." To improve your training protocol, consider implementing lifting straps to enhance and improve your physical fitness.

Many people use lifting straps as a supportive tool for strength training exercises such as deadlifts or rows, and they offer users the following benefits.

Improved Grip Strength

Lifting straps are a welcome relief for those who struggle with weakened or compromised grip strength because they provide a secure hold on your weight or barbell. It's possible to focus more on targeted muscles rather than worrying about whether you'll drop your weight. Reducing grip limitations allow you to lift heavier weights and get more out of your workout.

Reduced Forearm and Grip Fatigue

During your most intense training sessions, your forearms and grip are sure to become fatigued before your intended target muscles do. Lifting straps transfer most of the load from your hands and forearms to your wrists and upper body, reducing strain on smaller muscles and connective tissue. Extending sets and maximizing repetitions is easier, giving you more bang for your workout buck.

Safety and Injury Prevention

Fatigue and grip failure pose severe risks to those who participate in vigorous strength training. Lifting straps give you a secure connection between the weight and your hands, reducing the risk of slipping and falling. As you improve the safety and efficacy of exercises, you minimize the potential for accidents and injuries.

Using Lifting Straps

At first glance, lifting straps may be confusing and intimidating. Here are simple steps and tips for making lifting straps work for you.

Choose Appropriate Sizes

Lifting straps come in different sizes and lengths. Brands also use various materials to create their straps such as cotton, nylon, and leather. Choose a pair that suits your physique and lifting demands.

Position and Adjust

Hold one strap in each hand, allowing the excess length to hang down. Your strap should have a loop or a small opening on one end and a longer portion on the other. Wrap the longer piece of the strap around your bar or weight.

Throw the strap's long portion around your barbell or weight and thread it through the loop or small opening on the other end of the strap. Pull it tight enough to secure the strap around your bar or weight.

Before lifting, adjust strap tightness to a comfortable, secure level. You should have a firm grasp on the bar or weight, but ensure that the strap isn't cutting off circulation in the wrists and forearms or causing excessive discomfort.

Position and Lift

Place your hands over the straps and grip the bar or weight with your fingers. Make sure your grip is firm and secure.

With your lifting straps securely attached and your grip tight, begin your lift using the correct lifting technique for your exercise. Maintain proper form, engaging your targeted muscles to minimize strain on other body areas.


Once you've completed the lift, carefully release the bar or weight once it's supported on the ground or a weight rack. Untangle the straps around the bar or weight and remove them from your hands.

It's important to note that you shouldn't use lifting straps for every exercise. Reserve their use for exercises where grip strength is a limiting factor or when you want to work specific muscles while reducing your risk of injury.

Exercises That Benefit From Lifting Straps

While not all activities and exercises are efficient with lifting straps, some just make sense to reduce strain on the joints and provide extra support for those heavy lifts.

These are most common exercises where lifting straps can be beneficial to you:

  • Deadlifts: Romanian, sumo, and other variations

  • Rack pulls

  • Dumbbell or barbell rows

  • Pull-ups

  • Shrugs

  • Lat pulldowns

All these exercises require significant grip strength, and lifting straps adds efficiency and the opportunity to lift weights heavier than you might otherwise accommodate. Ensuring you're using them correctly will be essential to staying safe and injury-free as you work to meet your lofty fitness goals.

Staying Injury Free: Avoid These Mistakes

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned lifting vet, employing specific techniques when using lifting straps helps you stay injury free and move in the right direction. Avoid the following common pitfalls.

Improper Placement

Ensure you correctly position your lifting strap around your bar or weight; it should securely wrap and tighten around the weight, with the excess length hanging down and out of the way. Improper placement of your lifting strap leads to instability and may compromise your grip. 


A secure grip on your lifting straps is essential, but avoid over-tightening the straps at all costs. Excessive tightening leads to restricted blood flow, causing discomfort and potential injury to your hands, fingers, and forearms. 

Adjust your straps to a comfortable snugness that allows for a secure grip without compromised circulation.

Neglecting Proper Hand Placement

It's absolutely critical that you maintain proper hand placement on the bar or weight when you're using lifting straps. Ensure that hands and fingers are safe, providing a solid grip and support from the straps.

Using Them as a Crutch

Lifting straps protect your hands and wrists by assisting your grip. They're not supposed to entirely replace your grip; don't rely solely on straps for your exercise or movement.

Continued grip strength training is integral to any strength training program because it enhances all other activities and improves your form and efficiency when working out.

Failing to Maintain Proper Form

If you're not strong enough to lift a weight with correct form, forget the straps.

Never use straps as an excuse to neglect proper lifting techniques and compromise your form. You must commit to keeping good posture and alignment and engage appropriate muscle groups when performing exercises. If you rely too heavily on straps, you may be at risk for injuries.

Other Uses for Lifting Straps

Lifting straps have various uses outside of the gym, and many other athletes use these tools. In a decathlon, for instance, they're used in specific events to maximize performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Check out how lifting straps are revolutionizing different decathlon events.

Shot Put

Lifting straps provide a secure grip on your shot, enabling athletes to generate more control and power during a throw. A lifting strap lets athletes focus on technique and explosive movement by reducing hand and forearm fatigue.


Lifting straps enhance grip strength and stability when gripping the discus. Athletes maintain better control and generate greater rotational power during a throw.

Hammer Throw

Athletes use lifting straps in hammer throw events to improve their grip and prevent slipping during the intense rotational movements. A more secure grip translates to more force exerted and greater throwing distance.

Javelin Throw

Athletes who struggle with forearm and wrist conditions may use lifting straps to maintain a solid grip on the javelin during a throwing motion. This helps with both stability and accuracy.

Moving Heavy Objects

Straps help move heavy objects even when you're not working out, too. When relocating furniture and heavy appliances, lifting straps provide support and stability. They're typically placed underneath the furniture or appliance, allowing you to grip straps and distribute weight more evenly. This reduces strain on your body and provides for a safe, easy transfer.

Heavy boxes, crates, and other bulky items move much easier when you use lifting straps. As you secure straps around the object, you create handles that multiple can lift with greater control and coordination.

Lifting straps are very helpful when navigating staircases and other uneven surfaces during a move. Adjusted to an appropriate length, they allow movers to maintain a more secure grip while ascending and descending stairs or navigating rough terrain.

Moving heavy outdoor items such as potted plants, garden equipment, and patio furniture are a breeze when you use lifting straps. The weight gets distributed evenly throughout your body, making carrying and maneuvering these pieces easier and saving your hands and wrists a lot of strain.

Straps and other assistive devices are beneficial for transporting construction materials such as drywall, lumber, or tiles. All of these materials are difficult to manage without some lifting modification. 

Heavy Lifting Tips

Any time you're lifting a heavy object, consider using lifting straps.

Remember the following tips as you use lifting straps for all of your heavy lifting chores:

  • Make sure lifting straps are securely fastened to the object you're moving.

  • Communicate and coordinate with lifting partners. 

  • Lift with your legs, not your back, maintaining proper posture throughout the process.

  • Take breaks as needed.

  • Employ other assistive devices such as dollies or hand trucks, for excessively bulky or heavy items.

Types of Lifting Straps

There are several types of lifting straps on the market, each with their own unique design and purpose. Understanding the different types available often reveals the best one for your needs. 

Wrist Straps

Wrist straps are the most commonly used model. Consisting of a durable strip of nylon, cotton, or leather, they secure around your wrist and attach to your heavy object. Using a wrist strap improves grip stability and strength during deadlifts, pull-ups, and rows.

Figure Eight Straps

Figure eight straps have a trademark numeral eight shape, and contain similar materials as the wrist straps. Their unique design loops around the bar and through themselves, creating a strong and secure grip. 

Powerlifters and seasoned weight trainers often prefer figure eight straps because they provide excellent support and distribute the load evenly across all parts of the hand and wrist. They're ideal for exercises like shrugs, heavy rows, and deadlifts.

Loop Straps

Loop straps, otherwise known as "noose" straps, have a looped design that provides superior gripping of your heavy object by strapping around it and then looping through excess material, creating a self-tightening mechanism. 

Loop straps are ideal for cable rows, weighted chin-ups, and lat pulldowns. They require proper technique and adjustment to prevent slippage but may not be as suitable for extremely heavy loads as figure eight straps.

Should Beginners Use Lifting Straps?

While lifting straps benefit certain individuals and specific situations, beginners and inexperienced may not need to rely on them right away. Instead, a beginner should focus on developing grip strength, mastering good lifting techniques, and making gains in their training schedule before considering lifting straps.

Striking a proper balance between fitness challenges and adequate support is essential to ensure proper form and technique.

Are Gloves or Straps Better for Heavy Lifting?

Choosing gloves or lifting straps depends mainly on personal preference, individual needs, and goals. Lifting straps enable a lifter to focus more on lifting technique, as they're relied upon for grip support. 

Gloves, on the other hand, provide a vital layer of protection for palms and fingers, reducing the development of calluses and blisters. They're particularly beneficial for those with sensitive hands and skin. Gloves don't provide the additional fortification that lifting straps do.

What To Look For When Purchasing Lifting Straps

Considering several details before making a purchase may mean the difference between safe lifting and possible injury when purchasing lifting straps.

Features such as material, length, width, closure mechanisms, reinforced stitching, and comfort are critical factors. Consider the types of activities you plan to perform with your straps, too.

Best Straps on the Market

How do you wade through the plethora of products on the market to find premium powerlifting equipment that stands the test of time?

The following straps are some of the best products for sale in 2023, known for their durability and quality. Take your pick, and enhance your workout from the very first application.

WBCM Lifting Straps

Warm Body Cold Mind straps are a top contender in lifting equipment, offering a professional-grade product that delivers what it promises. The meticulous and freakishly strong stitching is a standout feature of these lifting straps. Including leather patches at the ends adds a pinch of elegance while ensuring exceptional durability. 

The weighted ends make it easier to manipulate and wrap the straps around a bar, and they effectively prevent fraying and loose ends that could otherwise compromise the longevity of the straps. These heavy-duty professional straps allow for comfortable and confident lifting of even the most extreme weights. 

Gymreapers Lifting Wrist Straps

Gymreapers powerlifting straps are an excellent choice for amateur athletes looking for an entry-level product for moderate workouts. Known for their comfort and easy wear, this thin and soft material prevents discomfort and won't dig into the skin.

Gymreaper offers superior comfort and lifting ability at a reasonable price, making them accessible to most casual lifters. Lift painlessly with the flexibility and functionality that this quality product delivers.

Cobra Grips Figure Eight Straps

Regardless of the type of lifting exercise you engage in, Cobra Grips straps are the ideal workout tool for ensuring safety and comfort. Rows, shrugs, and other repetitive lifting movements benefit from these premium straps' secure grip.

Fortified, extra-strong seams add strength with reinforced stitching; this design innovation ensures that your straps remain comfortable and stay in place every time you use them. With an array of sizes and colors, these straps are a smart purchase for any lifter.

Grip Power Pads PRO Level Lifting Straps

Grip Power Pads seek attention from those tackling the heaviest, most ambitious lifts. One standalone feature of these straps is the silicone printing that covers the entire surface, and the sticky grip effectively prevents slipping and sliding on any bar or weighted surface. 

With thick, durable fabric, this strap easily withstands even the most extreme weights. Suitable for high-repetition workouts, these lifting straps serve as excellent CrossFit lifting straps.

Indispensable Tools For Better Health

Lifting straps are an essential enhancement tool for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and anyone seeking to optimize performance and safety during heavy lifting activities. Whether you're a powerlifter trying to break your deadlift PR or looking to move heavy furniture from one place to another, the humble lifting strap is a solution to all your grip strength and safety needs.

Stay safe, set big goals, and get your heavy jobs done in style and comfort. For more valuable information on all things related to health and wellness, subscribe to FitnessCorner

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