When looking to progress onto heavier weights for key exercises such as deadlifts, your grip – and not the strength of your target muscles - is usually the first thing to let you down. Whilst increasing your grip strength is a desirable goal, it’s not always viable to curtail your progress in other areas whilst waiting for your grip to catch up. This is particularly true of those with smaller hands (smaller men, and a large proportion of women), where gripping onto a heavily weighted Olympic bar is even more of a challenge.
Lifting straps can be a God-send for those who hit a grip-induced plateau. It’s important to pick ones with sufficient length that they can be wrapped around the Olympic bar more than once. This gives added security to your lift.
It is also possible to get padded lifting straps. As much as this may sound like a soft option or even a gimmick, those performing a large number of reps or lifting in excess of 80kg will quickly notice the chafing around their wrists. Aside from the discomfort, it can also be a little embarrassing walking around for the next few days with strap marks which make you look like you spend your spare time with Dorian Grey.
Hence, it is often worth the slightly greater outlay at the beginning (and we’re only talking in the region of £1 - £2 more), to ensure that your lifting straps are of sufficient length, strength and quality (padding a great bonus) to keep you on track and gaining strength in the gym.