Do you want a quick, simple and instant way to increase the amount of weight you can lift on virtually every back exercise you perform? Sound too good to be true? I speak the truth, my friend, and the reality is that if you aren’t utilizing this basic piece of gym equipment you’re missing out on some serious muscle size and strength gains. What tool am I talking about?
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A pair of lifting straps!
This is such a basic and highly effective piece of equipment yet so many people neglect to use them. For those of you who are unaware, these are basically a set of thick straps made of extremely strong material that is placed around your wrists and then wrapped around the barbell, dumbbell or cable attachment. The purpose of lifting straps is to “eliminate” your grip from the equation by forming a secure connection between your wrist and the weight. If you use these straps properly you can basically hold onto the bar and perform your exercises while expending almost no energy from your forearms.
Why is this so valuable?
Picture this scenario… you’re performing a set of deadlifts (arguably the most powerful muscle-building exercise known to man) with the goal of performing 8 reps. You psych yourself up, grip the weight and clear the bar from the ground. The set is going well, but by the time you reach rep number 5, the strain on your grip is so great that you can no longer hold onto the bar. You’re forced to stop the set because your forearms reached muscular failure.
What exactly happened here?
Well, you gave yourself an amazing forearm workout! Congratulations! Unfortunately you severely limited the amount of muscle stimulation you could achieve on your back, shoulders, legs, and just about every other muscle in your body that the deadlift targets in the process. This is not a good thing!
Lifting straps completely eliminate this problem by making sure that you reach muscular failure in the major muscle groups that you are intending to target rather than on your forearms and grip. They can be used effectively for almost every back exercise or any other lift where the grip is of concern.
The main argument against lifting straps is the idea that they are a “crutch” and will negatively affect the development of grip strength and forearm size. Let’s get real here. What would you prefer, greater muscle mass and strength in your lats and upper back (and just about every other muscle group on your body) or greater ability to crack open a jar of pickles? Take your pick.
The positive effect that lifting straps will have on your overall muscle mass and strength gains will far outweigh any negative effect that they have on your forearms and grip. Besides, you can easily incorporate specific forearm movements into your routine to develop your grip strength and forearm size. If you aren’t using lifting straps already, get on it! You can find them at almost any store that sells sports or fitness equipment or you can order them online. They sell for about 10 or 15 bucks and are well worth the price!