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Can You Use Lifting Straps for Pull-Ups? Yes, Here's How

trainer doing pull ups outside

Many wonder if lifting straps improves pull-up performance. They indeed help you focus on mind-muscle connection, time under stress, and pull-up range of motion by anchoring you to the pull-up bar. To maximize your pull-up lifting strap use, I'll provide extensive instructions, describe who should use them and who shouldn't, and outline crucial factors to consider when choosing straps.

How Do Lifting Straps Help with Pull-ups?

Weightlifting straps are instrumental in enhancing pull-ups by reinforcing your grip during the movement, especially for individuals who find their grip endurance a limiting factor rather than their back muscles. 

You need to be able to distinguish lifting straps from wrist wraps since the latter specifically target wrist support and stability without aiding grip strength. In gym settings, lifting straps are commonly employed during heavy free-weight lifting, such as deadlifts or barbell rows, where maintaining a secure grip is paramount. However, their potential extends beyond these exercises; lifting straps are often overlooked but highly effective in bodyweight routines like pull-ups, where grip strength is pivotal in performance and progression. Moreover, you can alsouse lifting straps for lat pull-downs, it offers added support and stability for a more controlled and effective workout.

Better Grip

Lifting straps serve a crucial function by enhancing your grip on the object, preventing slippage, and reducing strain on your forearm muscles. This is especially beneficial during pull-ups, where maintaining a secure grip is essential for completing reps effectively. Factors like smaller hands, varying strength levels between back muscles and grip, sweat, lack of knurling on the bar, or cramping can all contribute to grip challenges during pull-ups. These challenges often hinder progress and can be frustrating. Lifting straps offer a solution to these issues, making them a valuable tool for improving pull-up performance and achieving better results.

Improved Range of Motion

Lifting straps offer multifaceted benefits that extend beyond just aiding grip. They enable you to target the intended muscles more effectively, allowing for increased reps with enhanced contractions. Also, lifting straps allow you to maintain the stretched position at the bottom of each rep without worrying about grip fatigue, facilitating a fuller range of motion. This not only promotes more significant muscle hypertrophy compared to partial reps but also contributes to better shoulder health by supporting the dead hang position.

Enhanced Muscle Hypertrophy

Lifting straps aid grip and contribute significantly to muscle growth during pull-ups. If you find that your hands and forearms fatigue before your back muscles during pull-ups, lifting straps can help overcome this limitation. Lifting straps allow for better muscle engagement and increased training volume by eliminating the need to focus on grip strength, leading to improved results and performance gains.

Related:Wrist Wraps vs. Lifting Wraps

How to use Lifting Straps for Pull-ups

Here's a detailed walkthrough on how to effectivelyuse lifting straps for pull-ups:

1. Choosing the Appropriate Strap for Lifting

Various lifting straps are available, but we highly recommend two main types: Figure 8 straps and regular straps.Figure 8 straps are excellent for exercises like deadlifts and rows due to their secure nature and ease of use, but there may be better choices for pull-ups. On the other hand, Regular straps are simple to use and provide a solid grip. More importantly, they offer easy release from the bar, reducing the risk of getting stuck or suspended by your hands during pull-ups. Choosing the correct type of lifting straps can significantly enhance your workout experience and safety.

Related:Straps for Deadlifting

2. Get a Bench or Chair and Stand on it

Using lifting straps modifies how you reach the pull-up bar. Jumping directly to the bar without straps is less effective than using a box, chair, or bench. This object should be slightly behind the pull-up bar to avoid disrupting the activity. Stand on the elevated platform with the bar comfortably accessible. This arrangement improves pull-up performance and safety by providing more stability and leverage with lifting straps.

3. Straps Should Be Wrapped Around the Bar

Like any deadlift or rowing movement, wrap your straps around the bar. First, slide one end of the long strap through the loop slot to make a circle. Open your hands palms up and pass them through the circular loop. Your wrist should be wrapped. Check that the slack cloth crosses your palm and travels from your pinky finger to your thumb to ensure correct wrapping. 

4. Perform Pull-ups

After ensuring a secure grip with your lifting straps, remove the elevated object and gradually lower yourself into a dead-hang position. This position, where your arms are fully extended, and you're hanging freely from the bar, confirms that your straps are correctly attached. Once confident in the setup, you can begin your pull-up set with optimal support from the lifting straps.

5. Return to a Raised Platform and Release the Straps

After completing your pull-ups, extend your feet backward to locate your elevated object. Once you've found it, step onto the box as you did initially and loosen your wrist wraps to allow them to rest between sets. This routine ensures proper support and maintenance of your lifting equipment for optimal performance throughout your workout.

Who Should Use Lifting Straps for Pull-ups?

Not everyone should use lifting straps. If you aren’t one of the below, we recommend you hold off on using lifting straps extensively so that you can get your form and technique down. 

Pull-up Beginners

Lifting straps are helpful for beginners starting pull-ups as they simplify the movement and build confidence. They are easy to use and take the focus off grip strength, allowing you to concentrate on the pulling motion. These straps also provide support at the bottom of each rep, helping engage your back muscles throughout the exercise and improving endurance. If you're aiming for your first bodyweight pull-up, using straps on assisted machines or during banded pull-ups can aid your progression by reducing the emphasis on grip strength and allowing you to focus on mastering the movement.

Individuals who Engage in Powerlifting

Lifting straps can benefit powerlifters when performing pull-ups as part of their training regimen. Typically included as an accessory exercise to promote muscle hypertrophy and shoulder health, pull-ups can benefit from lifting straps. This practice enhances the quality of reps and facilitates higher training volume without compromising grip strength. Since powerlifters often receive sufficient grip stimulus fromexercises like deadlifts, incorporating lifting straps for pull-ups is a strategic choice that supports overall training objectives.

Related:Should You Use Lifting Grips or Lifting Straps?

People Wanting to Strengthen Their Back

Incorporating lifting straps into your pull-up routine can be highly beneficial if your goal is to achieve a well-developed and muscular back. These straps enable you to concentrate on maintaining proper form, effectively recruit your targeted back muscles, and extend the time spent under tension during each repetition. This consistent engagement and tension over time contribute to significant muscle growth in the back area. However, suppose you're concerned about your back and biceps growing faster than your forearms. In that case, you can address this by performing your initial sets without straps or incorporating specific forearm training exercises at the end of your workout session.

Injury Recovery Athletes

To avoid injuries and ensure a smooth workout experience, it's essential to prioritize prevention rather than pushing through pain. Lifting straps can play a role in injury prevention by providing support and stability during exercises like pull-ups. However, if you're already dealing with hand or wrist injuries that impact your ability to perform pull-ups comfortably, lifting straps can be a practical solution. These straps offer additional support and can alleviate strain on injured areas, allowing you to continue your workout with a reduced risk of aggravating the injury.

Who Should Not Use Lifting Straps for Pull-ups

Athletes Who Want to Enhance Their Grip

Athletes who depend on grip strength, such as those in sports like rock climbing, should steer clear of using lifting straps during pull-ups to optimize their grip training. These individuals prioritize performance-oriented goals during pull-ups, emphasizing athletic strength and functionality over aesthetic concerns. If using lifting straps conflicts with these training objectives, it's advisable to avoid them to ensure alignment with your specific performance goals and training needs.

People Who Do CrossFit

CrossFit athletes might find limited benefits from using lifting straps during training, mainly because pull-ups are a fundamental exercise in CrossFit, and straps are not allowed during competitions. Training without straps is advisable to develop the strength and technique necessary to perform pull-ups effectively during competitions. This approach ensures that athletes are well-prepared to execute pull-ups without relying on straps, aligning with the rules and standards of CrossFit competitions.

People Building Their Forearms

Lifting straps during pull-ups may delay forearm growth by reducing stress. However, using straps sporadically may benefit their training. Initial pull-ups could be done with bare hands to activate the forearms fully. Straps can assist in pushing past exhaustion by targeting the forearms and back muscles. Adding isolation exercises like reverse curls, wrist curls, hammer curls, or farmer's walks after compound activities can boost forearm strength and development.

Choosing Lifting Straps for Pull-ups

There are two maintypes of lifting straps: Figure 8's and regular lifting straps. While both have their advantages, I recommend using regular straps whenever possible. Figure 8 straps are more accessible but challenging to remove when hanging from a barbell. To remove them, you need an elevated surface to relieve the pressure, which can be inconvenient and risky if you can't return to that spot.

Regular straps, on the other hand, offer easier dismounting from the bar. You can let go of the strap end, allowing it to unwind smoothly. This flexibility ensures a safe descent, even if you can't reach the initial elevated surface. Whenchoosing lifting straps, also consider the material. A good pair should be comfortable, absorb sweat well, and withstand frequent use.Leather, nylon, and cotton lifting straps are all popular choices.Leather straps, while more expensive, provide superior comfort and durability. Cotton straps offer excellent padding and sweat absorption, making them easier to clean and more durable than nylon.

Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll be ready to start using your lifting straps to help you with your pull-ups.


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