Weightlifting Straps: When, Why & How To Use Them

The purpose of straps in weightlifting is to allow us to lift more than we could without them, both in terms of weight and volume. The trick is using them to our advantage, not to our detriment.
My general recommendations on use are pretty simple: Use straps on pull and deadlift variations, never on cleans, and only on snatches with multiple hang reps if necessary.
Generally straps should be used for pull and deadlift variations to ensure that the grip doesn’t limit the training of strength and maximal speed at weights, or at least the combination of weights and reps, beyond what we snatch and clean. If the grip is insecure, the body won’t allow us to accelerate maximally in pulls, or to move the way we want—or at all—in heavy deadlifts.
Exceptions to this are for new lifters or lifters whose grip is lagging in development; in these cases, as much work as possible should be done without straps to develop grip strength and stamina, as well as general hand durability.
I recommend never using straps in cleans for a couple reasons: First, they restrict the hand and wrist in the turnover and rack position; second, there’s too much injury risk with a miss; and finally, if you can’t hang onto your cleans, even multiple reps from the hang, you need to strengthen your grip and learn how to lower the bar properly.
You should never need straps to snatch from the floor—if your best snatch with straps is more than without, it shows your grip strength or the action of your hands in the turnover is the limiter, and you need to fix the problem.
Only use them for multiple-rep hang snatches if necessary, and even then, I’d suggest working to improve your grip and how you lower the bar between reps to eventually eliminate the need.
There are two main exceptions for snatches:
The first is to temporarily work around hand issues like pain or tears so you’re able to continue training as usual.
The second is for athletes who are training multiple times a day with high volume. In these cases, using straps with some of the snatch training through the week will help prevent the hands from being overworked and damaged, and allow you to do your heaviest snatching without them.
There are several types of straps out there, some of which are totally inappropriate for weightlifting, so I’m leaving those out.
To some extent which you use is personal preference, but let me explain why I believe the best choice is also the simplest and cheapest: a short loop of 1” wide flat nylon webbing.
You can buy these, you can sew them yourself, and you can even superglue and/or tape the ends together for a perfectly functional strap that costs a couple bucks and takes zero skill to make.
This type of strap is narrow enough to not interfere with the motion and position of the hand and wrist overhead in a snatch, will release quickly and easily in a missed lift, is more than strong enough for any weight, and is also extremely durable—they will literally last your entire lifting career.
To wrap, make sure the strap lays flat on the hand and the top end of the strap is toward the inside. Let the strap hang behind the bar as you grip it, then grab the end of the strap to pull it around the bar toward in the inside of the hand.
Make sure the strap is over your hand, not the wrist. This is extremely important if you’re going to go overhead to prevent the strap from interfering with the motion and position of the hand and wrist.
Rotate the bar toward yourself and pinch the strap against it with each rotation to progressively tighten the strap like a ratchet.

Related Videos