Q: What’s the real deal with weight lifting straps? Are they beneficial or are they keeping me from developing maximum strength?
A: To many of you who love to lift weights, the idea of using a pair of pulling straps on back day is somehow wrong or disingenuous. And we understand. You want it to be “all you” when you’re trying to pull hundreds of pounds. We get it, it’s all you. But let’s take a practical look at what exactly is going on when you use straps.
Let’s say your best 10 rep max (10RM) on dumbbell rows without straps is 100 pounds, meaning if you just use your hands, you could row a 100-pound dumbbell ten times. Then we twist your arm and you reluctantly use a pair of straps which allows you to pull that same dumbbell 12 times. First off, if you could achieve 1-2 more reps by using a simple pulling strap, imagine how many more reps your back could endure over the course of a year! That’s two extra reps per set, at, say, four sets per exercise, at four exercises per day, at two days a week. The cumulative benefits to be derived from the benefits that straps offer far outweigh the biggest drawback, which is development of grip strength. However, if you’re that serious about grip strength, you can simply add a forearms training session at some point during the week.
Try a set of straps on your heaviest pulling days and see how your back responds to the added weight and volume that they allow. You can try any starter set of straps — we suggest Versa Gripps (www.versagripps.com).