Lifting Straps: What are Lifting Straps and Which Kind Should I Use?

If you're reading this the odds are you've been going to the gym and seeing hundreds of people wrap the barbell with a strap of nylon. 

However, you may not know what lifting straps are, the different styles, their core benefits, and some of the playful controversy around wearing lifting straps when weightlifting (or weight lifting...yes there's a difference I've been told). 

In this "cut-to-the-chase" article, you will quickly learn all things about lifting straps starting with the fact that the name is also interchangeable with weight lifting wrist straps

But first, let's start with what weight lifting straps are not. 

Lifting straps are not the same thing as lifting grips. 

While lifting straps or wrist straps do help with your grip and we will get there in a minute, when you hear the term lifting grips, those are 2 different products. 

Lifting grips are typically made up of a leather with a lip on the edge to be able to securely and quickly fasten the grip onto the weight. 

However, in other forms of lifting like CrossFit, the grips have to be completely flat and usually have anywhere between 0-3 finger holes and are made out of leather and sometimes carbon fiber. 

A lot of the reason why CrossFit grips don’t have a lip is due to the rules and regulations of the CrossFit games handbook. 

But to sum it all up, lifting straps have a long nylon strap that you wrap around the bar multiple times, meanwhile grips are in essence a piece of leather that fits within your palm to wrap around just once. 

Main Benefits of Lifting Straps

Lifting straps or wrist straps are used to help supplement the load of heavy when when doing pulling motions.

Your forearms will never be as strong as your back… sorry, so lifting straps can help you hold on and get a better grip. Therefore a better pump, a better workout, a bigger back, a bigger instagram following, the list goes on… 

The 4 different styles of lifting straps and which one is right for you. 

I have been lifting weights for 8+ years and have used several different lifting straps and lifting grips over the years. 

Here’s the different options to consider and their pro’s and con’s.

Nylon Lifting Straps: Most Popular

Lifting Straps also known as Wrist Straps

Starting with the most popular version of lifting straps, you have the age old, Arnold-approved, bare bones nylon lifting strap. 

These are the most common versions of lifting straps in the gym today because of their cheap cost to the point where some brands give their lifting straps away for free.

But cheap always comes with some drawbacks as you’ll see below. 




Can snap on you mid-lift

Gets the job done

Interferes with any smartwatch/fitness tracker

A ton of colors

Digs into your wrist + no wrist support

Hard to use at first for some users

Figure 8 Lifting Straps: Most Intriguing

Figure 8 Lifting Straps

Since the emergence of fitness celebrities like Larry Wheels using the Figure 8 Lifting Straps, these are the lifting straps that a lot of lifters have started to look at because of their unique design.

With the Figure 8 Lifting Straps, you put the strap on your wrist, wrap it over the weight and instead of wrapping a strap multiple times around the bar you put the other slot for your wrist back onto your wrist for extra grip support. 

I have personally yet to try the Figure 8 Lifting Straps, but so I’ll tread lightly on the pros/cons, but they have great review from the friends I have that use them. 



A lot more comfortable than nylon straps

The cost is higher

More premium materials

Interferes with any smartwatch/fitness tracker

No wrist support

Can only be used for back/pulling exercises

PROTECHT Lifting Straps: Best For Smartwatch Lifters

PROTECHT Lifting Straps: Weight Lifting Wrist Straps for Smartwatches

So far, you can see that wrist straps while great for using to pull more weight, have their drawbacks for smartwatch wearers. 

Sure you can slide your Apple Watch or other smartwatch up onto your forearm area, but then you’re left with an uncomfortable pressure as your watch digs into your forearm… plus the workout tracking is awful

One thing that all other lifting straps don’t also provide for smartwatch lifters is watch protection, these lifting straps from PROTECHT provide great protection for your wrists, watch, and grip throughout your whole workout. 

The style is similar to Harbinger Lifting Straps with wrist support, which means that it’s a nylon lifting strap with a wrist support component so it’s far more comfortable to pick up heavy weight.

Shop PROTECHT Straps here.



Great grip and wrist support

More expensive than traditional wraps

No smartwatch interference

Limited colors due to small business

Full workout tracking

Does not fit wrists smaller than 6.5 inches

Premium materials/reinforced stitching

Optional watch protection

Various designs of patches to show your style

Wrist Support Lifting Straps: Most Versatile

Lifting Straps with Wrist Support

With traditional nylon lifting straps and figure 8 lifting straps, the main problem a lot of lifters face are that they can only use the straps for pulling motions. So when you are about to do a superset with some dumbbell curls or maybe it’s a back/chest full body workout, you’re left to having no wrist support from traditional lifting straps. 

There’s several brands that make lifting straps with wrist support, such as PROTECHT, Harbinger, and ProFitness and lifters love using these straps for their versatility. 



Grip and wrist support

Cheaper materials depending on price

Usually more comfortable than lifting straps

Worse for smartwatch users than regular straps

Not too pricey usually

Lets wrap this up… I mean strap this up.

By now, you have a good overview of all the differences, now is the time to decide lifting straps or no lifting straps. 

Some lifters purposely don’t use lifting straps because they don’t want to “weaken their forearm muscles”.

While no wrist support or grip support should ever be overused, there is nothing wrong with using lifting straps to pull more weight and reach your goals. 

Just remember… good form. Slow and controlled. And pre-workout. 

Now get back to your workout ;)

If you found this article during a rest between sets, then it’s likely time for you to crank out that final set. Hopefully this helped point you in a better direction. But give this last set your all and if you end up buying a pair of straps, comment below which ones you got and if you decide that you want to shop our wrist wraps, straps and lifting straps would love to have you as a customer. 

Happy + safe lifting.

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