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Lifting straps and wrist wraps are great tools to help you lift heavier and safer. Lifting straps are used to reduce grip fatigue, allowing you to lift more weight for more reps on pulling movements. Alternatively, wrist wraps are used to stabilize the wrist, allowing you to lift with better form on pressing movements.
Differences Between Lifting Straps vs. Wrist Wraps
Lifting straps and wrist wraps are sometimes confused when people are discussing what they do and how they help. Although both tools wrap around your wrist, they accomplish different things and are used for different reasons.
Both tools use similar materials and are very affordable. They’re also compact, allowing you to easily throw them in a gym bag or store them in your home gym.
In this article, we’ll look at lifting straps vs. wrist wraps in detail. I’ll outline the pros and cons and provide a few recommendations.
What are Lifting Straps?
Straps were designed to transfer the weight from the hand into the straps themselves. This effectively eliminates grip fatigue, allowing you to lift more reps, weight, or both. It’s not uncommon to immediately hit a PR when wearing lifting straps because your grip is likely your biggest limiting factor.
Lifting straps come in several designs, including lasso, figure-8, single-loop, and flap. I recommend lasso straps to most people because they’re durable, strong, and very effective.
They also come in various materials, including cotton, nylon, and leather. I recommend cotton straps to most people because they’re comfortable and great at managing moisture.
Who Should Wear Lifting Straps?
Lifting straps are great for every type of lifter. Powerlifters commonly use lifting straps because they help boost deadlift numbers. Strongmen/women competitors use straps on various movements, including deadlifts, carries, holds, and more. CrossFitters use them for deadlifts, pull-ups, and Olympic movements. Bodybuilders use straps for machine-based movements like lat pulldowns and low rows, and dumbbell movements like rows and more.
While using straps is a great way to bust through plateaus and increase volume, you shouldn’t use them all the time. They’re an excellent supplemental tool, but you should still train your grip to improve your overall strength.
Lifting Straps Pros and Cons + Recommendations
Buying wrist straps is an inexpensive way to dramatically improve your lifts. In addition to hitting PRs, wearing them can allow you to increase reps, which will have a positive impact on your overall strength and size.
Again, don’t wear straps too often, or you may become reliant on them. Continue strengthening your grip through direct and indirect methods, and wear straps only when needed.
The Gymreapers Lifting Straps are affordable cotton straps with a comfortable neoprene lining, a secure fit, and multiple color options. They also come with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
- Type: Lasso
- Material: Cotton
- Length: 18″
- Width: 1.5″
- Size Range: One Size Fits All
- Color: Multiple
The Gymreapers Lifting Straps are durable, comfortable, and affordable. They come in various colors, and their 18″ length makes them easier to use than others. The lasso style applies to several lifting styles, including powerlifting, strongman, bodybuilding, and more.
What Are Wrist Wraps?
Wrist wraps are also worn around the wrist, but you use them to increase stability around the joint. Just as grip is a limiting factor for many people, the wrist may also cause limitations around weight and reps. Whether it’s joint instability, weak wrists, or general pain and discomfort at the wrist, wearing wraps can make a big difference.
It’s important to note that wraps don’t have the same influence on strength as straps. However, improving your form and reducing discomfort may allow you to lift more weight.
Who Should Wear Wrist Wraps?
Wrist wraps are also great for nearly every type of lifter. Powerlifters use them because they help tremendously on the bench press and overhead press. Strongmen/women use them for various lifts, including overhead press, circus dumbbell press, and more. CrossFit athletes and Olympic weightlifters use them for snatches and jerks, while bodybuilders use them for dumbbell presses, push-ups, and more.
Wrist wraps must be worn properly to be effective. They should cover the entire wrist joint to create stability. If worn too far below the joint, they’re practically useless.
Wrist wraps can be worn more frequently than straps. When you wear straps, you avoid building your grip strength. That doesn’t exist with wraps, so you can wear them as soon as the weight becomes uncomfortable or your form begins to break down.
Wrist Wraps Pros and Cons + Recommendations
Wrist wraps are outstanding accessories for lifters with wrist pain, discomfort, or weakness. They stabilize the wrist, allowing you to improve your form and potentially lift more weight.
I recommend the Gymreapers Wrist Wraps for most lifters. They’re built with a polyester/elastic blend, making them comfortable and durable. Gymreapers offers their wraps in two options: Weightlifting and Heavy-duty. The weightlifting straps are suitable for all lifting styles, while the heavy-duty straps are best for super-heavy pressing movements.
In addition to having multiple color options, these straps also come with a lifetime warranty, which many wrist wraps don’t offer.
Are Wrist Straps and Wrist Wraps the Same?
No, wrist/lifting straps help increase strength on pulling movements by eliminating grip fatigue. Wrist wraps help stabilize the wrist during pressing exercises, which helps improve form and reduce pain. Both are great, affordable tools, but they accomplish different things.
Do Wrist Wraps Improve Grip Strength?
In some cases, compression at the wrist joint with wraps can improve temporary grip strength. However, lifting straps are a much better option for enhancing your grip during a lift.
Should I Buy Wrist Straps or Wrist Wraps?
Because wrist wraps and wrist straps are so affordable, I recommend both tools to serious lifters. However, you should assess your training style to determine the best one for you. Wrist straps are ideal for pulling movements, while wrist wraps are better for pressing movements.
When comparing lifting straps vs. wrist wraps, consider your needs and know that both tools serve different purposes.
If you need assistance with pulling movements because your grip is limiting your lifts, invest in some straps.
If you need assistance with pushing movements because of wrist instability or pain, pick up a pair of wrist wraps.
However, given their affordable prices, I recommend serious lifters buy both to maximize performance.