Lifting straps are a simple piece of equipment that is approximately 1″ to 1-1/2″ wide, 12″ to 18″ long. These straps are commonly made of Canvas, leather, or nylon.
Lifting straps have become a staple fitness gear of every fitness enthusiast who likes to do heavy deadlifts.
I have been asked this multiple times “Should I use lifting straps while I deadlift? My workout partner considers it cheating.”
The use of lifting straps while heavy deadlifts have become a controversial topic and lifters have different opinions on it.
One strong factor that supports the use of lifting straps is “Majority of the strongest lifters at gym use straps”.
Barehand deadlifting allows you to lift a weight that your grip is capable of, which means you are not training those big muscles to their full potential.
We agree that continuous use of lifting straps while deadlift may leave your grip strength untrained but there are some practical benefits too.
Ahead in this article, we are going to understand if lifting straps while deadlifting should be considered cheating or not.
Is Using Lifting Straps Cheating?
No, lifting with straps is not cheating!
Professional bodybuilders and even powerlifters have been using lifting straps for a reason and you should not be neglecting it too.
A lifting strap is designed to wrap your wrist with a long piece of a strap that you need to loop around the barbell or dumbbell.
4 Reasons Elite Athletes Use Lifting Straps:
Reason 1- Lifting Straps Increases Strength
Forearm and grip strength are often not as strong as bigger muscle groups. Your shoulders, traps, lats, glutes, hamstrings are stronger than your forearm and grip.
A professional athlete will never let a limited grip strength come in between his strength gains.
Lifting straps eliminates the role of grip strength and allows the bigger muscles to do the lifting work.
Reason 2- Lifting Straps Help In Size Gains
Straps allow the lifter to lift weight at a maximum potential which results in maximum size gains.
Strategic use of lifting straps can help in gaining serious muscle mass.
How to strategically use lifting straps?
Experienced lifters usually incorporate lifting straps in their strength training sessions but they don’t use them throughout the lifting session.
The best approach is to introduce the strap when your grip strength starts to give up.
Reason 3- It Prevents Injuries
Straps are not allowed at Olympic weightlifting but elite Olympic lifters use straps while training sessions, the majority of them train with Belts too.
Similarly, International Powerlifting Federation does not allow the lifters to use lifting straps for the deadlift but elite powerlifters use straps and belts while training sessions.
The reason behind the use of straps and belts is to prevent injuries while training.
Elite lifters train in high volume which makes them vulnerable to injuries, that’s the reason they use straps and belts while training sessions.
Getting injured without stepping on stage can be frustrating and no athlete would want to see that day.
Reason 4: Push through maximum potential
Getting bloody blisters, torn calluses, and busted hands is common among Olympic lifters, CrossFit athletes, and powerlifters due to the high training frequency.
Using straps while training not only prevents further damage to hands but also motivates the lifter to push for additional 2-3 repetitions.
Lifting straps allow the lifter to train even after getting their hand busted because of intense training.
Probable Drawbacks Of Lifting With Straps
It’s important to know the drawbacks too. Let’s have a look at common mistakes that people to with the lifting straps.
- We see many beginners using straps while doing variety of pull movements, it leaves their grip untrained. Use of lifting straps should be reserved for experienced lifters only.
- Lifting straps allows you to lift heavier weight which seduces many lifters to deadlift with bad form. It increases the chances of injuries.
- Too much reliance of lifting straps or gloves will have negative implications, your grip loses its functional strength.
- Frequent use of straps or gloves wont strengthen the palms too. If you want a strength that is applicable in real world situation then you should be training bare hand while 80% of the training duration.