STRAPS: A WEIGHTLIFTERS SECRET WEAPON OR A POTENTIAL PITFALL?

Straps in weightlifting: a topic that sparks debate among athletes. Are they a shortcut to lifting heavier or a crutch that undermines true strength? Let’s delve into the benefits and risks of using straps in your training program.

WILL STRAPS BENEFIT MY TRAINING

The purpose of straps is to enable us to lift more weight and perform more reps than we could without them. However, the key lies in using them sensibly to our advantage without becoming overly reliant on them. For many lifters, employing straps immediately allows them to handle heavier weights during the Snatch. However, it’s crucial to recognise that their enhanced performance stems solely from improved grip security provided by the straps. Remove the straps, and lifters find themselves back at square one. Nevertheless, when used wisely, straps can facilitate training that enhances desired qualities more effectively and swiftly—qualities that can be applied to lifts without straps. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW TO CORRECTLY USE STRAPS.

BENEFITS OF STRAPS

In general, straps are appropriate for pull and deadlift variations to prevent grip limitations from hindering strength and maximal speed development. Insecure grip compromises acceleration in pulls and can hinder movement in heavy deadlifts, leading the body to restrict effort to avoid potential failure, such as dropping the bar. Straps are commonly employed for all pulling exercises to optimize pulling strength and speed. Another great reason straps can be a useful tool to your training, is that it fixes a common fault seen amongst lifters; the early arms bend! Using straps enables you to relax your arms and release the grip ever so slightly, preventing the early pull on the bar.

NOVICE LIFTERS BEWARE

New lifters must prioritise developing grip strength, stamina, and hand durability without relying on straps, as technical proficiency and mobility typically limit them rather than physical strength. Advanced lifters experiencing grip strength deficiencies should gradually reduce strap usage to allow the grip to catch up with other performance aspects without compromising performance. It’s advisable to incrementally decrease strap use, starting with warm-up sets and gradually incorporating more sets and exercises without straps. Advanced lifters should also include direct grip work in their training routines to maintain grip strength once it reaches parity with other skills.

BE CAREFUL

Straps should be avoided in cleans due to the increased risk of injury if a lift is missed and because the narrower grip inherently provides more security compared to snatches. Similarly, limited use of straps is recommended for snatches, with a focus on developing grip strength alongside other skills.

COCLUSION

In summary, beginners should refrain from using straps in competition lifts or variations, and even from owning them initially. Gradual reduction of strap usage is advised for advanced lifters, with an emphasis on maintaining healthy hands and strong grips throughout training.

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