If you are lifting heavy (and you should), lifting straps can be a game changer. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice lifter, or an experienced gym dweller, I am sure that you have at least once felt that your grip is taping out while there is some more gas in the tank in your back, legs or biceps. Today, we are going to cover the best Olympic lifting straps for you, and try to help you pick the ones that will allow you to lift safely and comfortably.
Rogue Olys are closed single loop lifting straps, and that can be pretty useful for Olympic lifting. As any Oly lifter can testify, you don’t want figure 8 straps anywhere near you if something goes wrong during the snatch. It’s just much more difficult to ditch the barbell and return it safely to the ground. Closed loop design is what sets them apart as a great choice for Olympic lifters and crossfitters alike, but it doesn’t end there. They are made of nylon webbing, which automatically means lower price than leather lifting straps. (Here’s the price on their official website). Also, I found that straps made of this material tend to be more durable than the usual cotton ones.
That being said, closed single loops don’t offer support as substantial as the one of lasso lifting straps, or figure 8s for that matter. So if you also like to deadlift (I hope that you do, the summer is just around the corner, you can’t cover those twigs with pants forever), maybe it would be better to find straps that are more versatile.
As long as we are on the topic of summer, I do have to admit that cotton straps (less durable as they are) still offer more comfort when lifting in hotter temperatures as we sweat more and more.
Versa gripps are somewhat different when it comes to the design. When I was just starting to learn about Oly lifting straps, we always divided them in three categories: closed loops, lassos, and figure 8s. This new design definitely brings something new to the table as it offers the strength and support of lasso style combined with convenience of closed single loops. If we take into account the fact that they are made out of leather, and hence more durable than the other two, they might seem like a clear winner, right?
Well, yes and no. They are superior to the other two pair in matters of versatility and durability, but they are also significantly more expansive. If you are a “lifting on a budget” the price of these can be a bit steep. (Price on Amazon.com here) If you are just starting to build your home gym, you might be better off investing in a weight set, and if you are focused solely on Olympic lifting, it could be a good idea to invest in solid Olympic lifting shoes.
IronMind definitely has a long tradition in this business and some of the most famous names in the world of powerlifting and professional strongman circuit are using them. Strong-Enoughs are made of nylon, so they won’t tear in a month or two, they provide great support for your grip when deadlifting, and they look pretty cool (maybe that’s just me). To top it all, they aren’t too expansive, just a tad over the Rogues. You can check the current price on Amazon.com here.
However, you may feel like there is a “but” coming. And you are right. Notice how I didn’t mention Olympic lifting in the previous paragraph? Well, that is the major con of these straps. They are lasso straps, which means great support for your grip, but it also means complicated procedure when you want to get out of it.
Just imagine going for your personal best on a clean and jerk, or even worse, snatch. You have a loaded barbell over your head, and instead of just dropping it to the ground (there is no eccentric portion when you are training for strength), you have to carefully put it back down because your straps are preventing you from letting go.
Not all lifting straps are made equal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that some are better than others. Just because we haven’t talked about figure 8’ today doesn’t mean that they are bad, it just means that they are not the best choice for Olympic lifts.
If you are a serious power lifter, and you mostly do deadlifts, you probably already have a pair. If you are Olympic lifter, you will probably opt for something with a quicker release. My point is, there are no good or bad strap types, but you do want to do a bit of research and meet your specific lifting needs.
Get your mind out of the gutter, it’s not what you thing. More appropriate title would be – width does matter, but so does the length (I am not really helping my case, am I?). All jokes aside, lifting straps are made to help you lift more weight, but there is no reason to feel uncomfortable wearing them. People usually make the same mistake of buying a pair just because they look cool, they are cheap and/or their friend has one.
When buying lifting straps, pay close attention to the material, the quality of stitching and the width of the strap itself. If you like to work out in your garage (and every garage is 1000degrees hot, let’s be honest), do yourself a favor and don’t buy the ones made of nylon.
Also, take them for a test drive. Before buying a pair, try them on first. Some of them might seem great at first, but they feel wrong. If you have thin wrists, finding the right fit will be no easy feat. Go out, instead of just ordering them online, try them on, and find the ones that are made just for you.
Lifting straps are useful to say the least. On the flip side, too much of a good thing can be bad, and this is no exception to that rule. The same way that using weight belt on every lift will leave us with poorly developed transverse abdominis, relying on lifting straps all the time will deprive us of chances to build stronger forearms along the way.
We need a strong grip for almost any lift. Not only does it mean more secure position for our wrists, but it also prevents any power leaks along the kinetic chain. If you start strong from the ground up, you will instantly feel more powerful, and you will be able to push (or pull) more weight. Whenever you grab the bar, squeeze it as if you were trying to break it in half, and thank me for the gains later.
So how do we do that, exactly? It’s simple – don’t use them unless you need them. Take them out only during the bigger lifts, when it counts the most. There is a caveat here, as well. If you are just grabbing the bar, and you already feel weak, that might be the sign of overtraining. Your central nervous system is telling you to slow down, and you should, by all means, listen to it. Go home, rest, and live to fight another day.
Even though lifting strap maintenance can seem pretty straightforward, there are still some things to look out for. Some of the best advice I can give you follows:
We all wash T-shirts we used during exercising (at least I hope so). Lifting straps, much less so, and my question is: Why? We work hard, we sweat, and it gets on the straps as well. If you don’t trust me, and you are ready to suffer in the name of science, take a whiff of that one pair that has been in your gym forever. How I remember to wash them is I do it whenever I am washing my shorts. I can usually get away with washing it once a week and I never forget to put my straps in the washer with it.
Don’t use straps that belong to someone else, especially if you don’t know them that well. It’s the first thing you should learn when it comes to gym etiquette: use your own lifting accessories, and always have a towel with you. I don’t have OCD, and I am not a germophobe, but there are some nasty (and potentially serious) skin conditions that are transferred via sweat. Let’s just leave it at that and move on.
So far, we have covered the main points you should go over when thinking about buying lifting straps. Let’s do what we came here to do in the first place – declare a winner. All things consider, I think the best lifting straps for the year of 2018 would have to be Rogue Oly Lifting Straps.
It was a close call, as you saw that the other two models had plenty of advantages as well. IronMade model provides a better grip, and Versa Gripps are an amazing model all-around, but when we factor in the price, Rogues are the clear winner. They provide solid support for your grip, and they allow for a quick release which is crucial if you are cleaning, pressing, or snatching heavy weights. I hope you found this helpful, and that this review is going to allow you to make an informed decision on what lifting straps you need, and how to use them.
Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!