How, Why, and When to Use Wrist Straps?

It is essential to underline the difference between wrist straps and wrist wraps. They are not the same and they each serve a different purpose. The focus of wrist wraps is on providing supportive strength to your wrists, while wrist straps aim to secure your grip and aid you during a lift.

Wrist wraps

Wrist wraps provide weightlifters with much-needed support for their wrist joints during overhead lifts as well as bench press and squats. By wearing wrist wraps, you can avoid excessive stress on your wrist joints and prevent injuries and failed lifts. Plus, they can help you to get better control over your wrist movements. You can also wear wrist wraps for deadlifting to keep your grip from opening in the middle of the lift.

Get the type of wrist straps that can provide you with maximum support for your purpose. For instance, you may want to get the thinner strength cotton wraps if you require a range of wrist motions for clean and jerk and snatch lifting.

On the other hand, if you need support for doing bench presses or shoulder presses, you should consider getting thick,  power-lifting wrist wraps that you can bound securely about your wrists with Velcro.  The sturdy wrist wraps will provide the necessary compression and warmth to aid recovery if you have a wrist injury.

Wrist straps are available in a range of attractive colors and are generally affordable. You can buy them singly or in pairs. Look for wrist straps that are well-constructed, comfortable, reasonably stiff, and have a decent elasticity to allow easy mobility.

You can use them during CrossFit workouts and while doing handstand pushups, bench press, and squats. If you do rock climbing or yoga, you will find wrist straps useful as well.

Most federations allow the use of wrist wraps during competitions as long as they are in the 39-inch length and 3-inch width range and provided you wear them only slightly above the wrist joint.

Wrist Straps

On the other hand, powerlifting competitions forbid the use of wrist straps. Many beginners and veteran weightlifters, however, do find them convenient to use during training sessions. Let’s see how, why, and when to use wrist straps:

How you should use wrist straps

Wrist straps consist of lengths of fabrics with a loop. Typically, you insert the end of the strap through the loop to form a noose and insert your wrist through this noose, tightening it about it. Next, you wind the remaining length of the strap about the dumbbell or the barbell. Then you grip the wrapped strap section tightly with your hand to achieve better lifting control.

Why you should use wrist straps

By using wrist straps for deadlifting and the other two powerlifting exercises—bench press and squat—you can have the advantage of taking the weight against your forearm and wrist. It would be far more difficult if you had to hold on with your hands, especially if you haven’t yet developed the requisite strength in your hand grip.

Incidentally, many trainers recommend that you work on improving and strengthening your hand grip rather than get into the habit of relying on a wrist strap, and the sooner you do so, the better. 

When you should use wrist straps

While wrist straps are not allowed in powerlifting, they can prove to be useful during training. When you are wearing them, you don’t have to worry about your grip failing. Instead, you can concentrate on building up the strength and size of the target muscle group. These, in turn, will aid you in your final lifting without wearing wrist straps.

To improve your powerlifting abilities, you can use wrist straps for deadlifting, and also for dumbbell and barbell rows, shrugs, and rack pulls. With regular use, you should be able to see a discernible difference in the strength and size of your upper back muscles, as well as your traps and hamstrings.

It is essential to reiterate that, if you plan on participating in competitive powerlifting, it is illegal to wear wrist straps for deadlifting there. So, it will be to your benefit if you begin strengthening your hand grip gradually by carrying heavy objects.