Are Lifting Straps “Cheating”? (Should You Use Them?)

Are Lifting Straps “Cheating”? (Should You Use Them?)

What’s up, guys? Sean Nalewanyj on, and in
this video here today I wanted to talk a bit about the use of lifting straps. So should you use lifting straps or are they
just a “crutch” that should be avoided? You’ll hear this a lot when the topic comes
up. You know, guys will chime in and say something
along the lines of, you know, lifting straps or weak or real lifters don’t use them, or
something to that effect. So I just wanted to give you my advice quickly
here on this topic. Before I jump into the video, guys, make sure
to go ahead and hit the subscribe button below to stay in the loop on all of my future videos. And you can also click the little bell button
as well and that way you’ll be notified anytime I upload a new video, if you do enjoy this
content. So to put it simply: whether or not you should
use lifting straps as part of your training or lifting hooks, same idea. But whether or not you should use them completely
and totally depends on your personal goals and on what you’re trying to achieve in the
gym. Everyone has their own specific reasons and
nobody else can tell you whether your personal goals or whether what you’re specifically
interested in achieving is right or wrong. And I’m going to be doing another video going
into more detail on that subject soon, but when it comes to lifting straps it’s really
just a matter of looking at the potential benefits and the potential drawbacks, and
then deciding whether using them would have a nett positive effect in terms of reaching
your specific goals. The whole idea of whether or not using lifting
straps makes you more or less manly in the gym is pretty much just ridiculous in my view. I don’t even really think it’s something to
even consider when you’re trying to decide whether or not you should use them. I think some guys just take weight training
a bit too seriously. I mean, I’ve been training consistently for
over 15 years and I love doing it and I would recommend it to pretty much everyone, but
don’t forget that at the end of the day it’s just lifting weights in a gym. It’s not this super hardcore thing. You’re not fighting for your life on the beaches
of Normandy here. You’re picking up a bar off the ground basically. So lifting straps or no lifting straps, I
wouldn’t use that as a serious metric to evaluate your toughness. And the reality is that, most of the same
people who would say to not use lifting straps for that reason, or because they see them
as a crutch, are the exact same people who would have no issues using a lifting belt,
or lifting shoes, or knee wraps, or you could even extend it further into something like
using a pre-workout. It’s just a tool to enhance your training
to get the results you want. So if your goals are primarily hypertrophy
based, so your main focus in the gym is on increasing your muscle size, and if you find
that using lifting straps helps you activate the targeted muscle more effectively on certain
exercises then go ahead and use them. I’ve used lifting straps in my routine for
almost the entire time I’ve been training. And I use them on pretty much all back exercises,
especially, for heavier stuff like shrugs, or for things like Romanian deadlifts as well,
or on even heavier sets of rows things, like that. I definitely find that by not having to think
about my grip, I can just put a hundred percent of my focus on overloading the specific muscle
I’m trying to hit. And I also find that my traps and lats and
mid-back muscles end up getting a better workout that way. It’s not a dramatic difference and I could
still do fine without them, but since having a super strong grip just isn’t really a big
deal to me, it’s not something I have practical use for, it makes sense for me to get that
maybe, you know, extra ten or fifteen percent improvement in muscle activation by going
ahead and using lifting straps on certain lifts. Now, on the other hand if you are training
primarily for strength and grip strength is an important thing to you, or you just have
actual practical day-to-day use for it, or if you’re a power lifter, or an Olympic lifter,
and you need to be able to perform your lifts without straps then of course don’t use them. It just depends on your goals. And then the other possibility is that you’re
training both for aesthetics and you also want to maximize your strength as well including
your grip strength. In that case, I think a good option would
be to use lifting straps or hooks on certain exercises if you find them beneficial in terms
of building muscle, and then just incorporate separate grip strength exercises into your
training. Because, keep in mind that targeted grip training
exercises are still going to build up your grip strength a lot more effectively than
what you’re going to get just by not using straps on, you know, rows ,or pull downs,
or things like that. Because with the actual grip specific exercises
you can actually take your grip all the way to failure using the full loads that they’re
capable of handling. Whereas on regular weight training exercises,
you’re probably not going anywhere near failure, in which case your grip may not even be getting
that great of a workout in the first place. So the bottom line on this is that, just like
a lifting belt, or lifting shoes, or pre workouts, or even listening to music when you train,
weight lifting straps are just an optional tool that certain lifters can use depending
on their goals. From a pure muscle building perspective, I
think they are helpful for back training when they’re used properly. So if hypertrophy is your main goal I don’t
think it hurts to give them a try. One of the biggest challenges with back training
is being able to take your forearms and biceps a bit more out of the equation and shift the
stress onto your actual back muscles. And that’s why a lot of lifters tend to have
underdeveloped backs. And I think lifting straps are one way of
helping to improve on that. So, I think it is worth experimenting with
for those who mostly train for aesthetic purposes. So thanks for watching, guys. Lifting straps or no lifting straps, if you
want to get access to my recommended step-by-step workouts to maximize your progress in the
shortest time, along with proper nutrition and supplementation guidelines, then you can
check out my complete Body Transformation Blueprint’ System by clicking here or by visiting The link for that is in the description box. Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe
if you enjoyed the video. You can follow me on facebook and Instagram
for more daily tips if you aren’t already. The links for that are also below. And the official website is over at Thanks for watching, guys, and I’ll see in
the next video.

56 thoughts on “Are Lifting Straps “Cheating”? (Should You Use Them?)

  1. Hey guys, hope you enjoyed the video. What lifting accessories (if any) do you personally include in your workouts, and why? I.E. Straps, hooks, belts, elbow/knee/wrist wraps etc.? Comment below, and see you in the next vid.

  2. No, not a crutch at all. The forearms will always give out before the lats! The lats in comparison are huge compared to the forearms.
    The forearms will grow even with the use of straps.


  3. I use straps when I go a little heavy on back and my grip seems to fail before the muscle. I also use BFR bands for arms once a month to change things up. Thanks for the video Sean.

  4. Great on heavy deadlifts I use them all the time the straps give me a much better and very hard deadlift workout and take them to failure.

  5. How about squat shoes? I don’t remember if you made a video on it or not. I was looking into getting some nike or adidas squatting shoes. I’ve been lifting for about 2 3/4 years and have been only been using some bear up vans. I have made great leg progress with them. Just want to know your opinion if they are really needed or will give that extra push. Thanks

  6. straps make you look bad ass. dont even lift anything just walk around w/ them on w/ a decent arm pump. make it look like you might actually lift. ima start wearing em w/ tank tops in the summer

  7. I'm 45 and I use straps for shrugs and lat pull downs when going heavy because otherwise my fingers give out before I'm done with the set.

  8. Sean, if you had to choose a physique from a superhero movie to be your physique (can’t choose your own physique), which one would you choose?

  9. Lifting straps are great, I just choose not to wear them every set and for every back workout. Lat pull downs and heavy rows are much easier near the end of sets with them on. Forearms give out about half way through my back workout. Start heavy with straps for sure!

  10. I use a set of Shock Doctor compression elbow sleeves with gel supports. I have a high degree of deflection in my elbow joint, and have dealt with golfers elbow for years. I also had a severe dislocation of my elbow in the past. My elbows aren't a problem since I started to use the sleeves. Then on legs days I use calf compression sleeves, and this is pretty much a mental thing. I tore an Achilles last spring, and the sleeves make me feel more secure.

  11. I’ve learned to grip n hold on to weight I never imagined possible ! Anything really , bar, rope , chain , towel doesn’t make a difference . Also without using any gloves or powder , straps etc n my hands are soft no callouses . The trick is technique n mental . Don’t grip hard, actually loosen ur grip like swinging a baseball bat or golf club. Imagine your hands as clamps or hooks that only assist in balance n let the rest of your body structure n muscles pull the weight . Guarantee u will improve overall strength!

  12. Sometimes I see people using lifting straps while bench pressing or using a machine. That's when you should not use them.

  13. I have to disagree with this video. I think the only time you should use lifting straps is when you can no longer hold the weights safely with your bare hands. If you start your deadlifts using lifting straps, you are sabotaging your grip strength. The best workouts for forearms and grip strength is hold heavy things with your hands. I really don't think they are necessary for things like rows, where you are not lifting really heavy weights. Using straps for everything is a great way to end up with a sissy grip. Do you really want to have to ask your wife/girlfriend to open that jar of peanut butter for you because she has a stronger grip? Deadlifting without straps is the best way to "go to failure" and you don't have to waste more time on silly wrist/forearm exercises.

  14. It's funny my grip doesn't give out on back exercises but they do give out on bicep exercises where my forearms are so pumped that I can't hold on to the weights any longer.

  15. I use hooks during most heavy pulling exercises since I want to avoid straining my wrists and elbows. Grip strength just isn't that important to me. I like hooks better than straps – just personal preference.

  16. The closer you get to your (my) max….they're a great accessory to use. Plus, I'm a piano performer and teacher, so I wouldn't want to fuck up my wrists.

  17. Hey Sean great video! I have been taking coffee(170 grams) as a pre workout from almost 4 months now(5 times a week). Do you recommend that I stop taking it for a month or can I just continue taking it without having any negative side effects? Thank you.

  18. I only use them on deadlifts. I tried doing them without straps, but at a certain point, something "popped" in my forearm and boy did it hurt after that. Since then, it's back to straps. No issues since.

  19. The clip at 3:21 into this video, i seen the left clip of you doing a pull down to you left side leaning. Ive never seen that before what is it called and i guess its for latsb

  20. I use the straps to avoid having to do mixed grip on the deadlift when going heavier. I don't like the lopsided body alignment and often hear about bicep tears on those heavy mixed grips. I also use them to get along set or two in on the days when my forearms are just dead and my grip is weak but I want to get a few more reps on whatever I'm doing because maybe my back isn't fully fatigued yet. I think they're very useful and should be used whenever they can help, but just not ALL the time.

  21. Still have yet to watch a video of yours I don't agree with. The approach you take to all aspects of lifting/nutrition is spot on. I have incorporated lifting straps about a year ago and my back and traps have had significant gains. Just helps me isolate pulling exercises so much better. For forearms I prefer to do almost daily deadhangs until failure or farmers walks.

    When anyone asks what fitness channel to follow, I always recommend your channel first. Keep it up with the quality content Sean!

  22. Is it common to feel almost no trap activation on shrugs? I've tried lighter weight with more volume and higher weight with lower volume but seem to just cheat on that variety. Even slow control on the lift I feel very little in my traps?? Thanks

  23. For old farts like myself straps are better than crossed grip on heavy dead lifts because it allowes me to lift symmetrically and thereby avoid injuries, but I only use them when needed.

  24. This was a great discussion and video. I think most people always forget that there’s no right way to build muscle, there’s tons of ways to do it and all that matters is what works for you. Great stuff as always Sean

  25. i use straps on back day……..i dont need them……but certain days i want a few more reps after my forearms r cooked…….straps r perfect 4 that. Also when i actually get in shape and i want my perfect pull ups……..even tho i dont need them……..sometimes i like the way pull ups feel with straps……also feels like i can squeeze in an extra rep or two with better form as opposed to pull ups till failure with no straps……i dont think they make a big difference…….truth be told i tend to wait until my grip strength feels good…….then u will see me bring my straps in for a few heavier lifts……like the 90's on the bent over rows……just to keep good form

  26. Another excellent Vid Sean!!! The biggest mistake I made and I believe many lifters make is NOT using straps when necessary. Improving the grip is one thing but to not use straps because it's an ego booster etc is foolish. Straps enable you to lift heavier weight/perform more repetitions and that is the source imo for muscle and strength gains…progressive overload.

  27. I overuse my grip and wrists during the day (I’m a remodeler) so the straps come in handy during workouts…

  28. I use a variety of straps and grips, but try not to rely on them but they come in handy when your grip is weak after working on other body exercises that require heavier lifts etc

  29. I don't think they're a crutch really. I only use them deadlifting at a weight when my grip becomes the weak link. I wouldn't throw away the possibility of making a heavier lift because I didn't want to neglect training grip strength. Just seems kind of silly to think it's cheating to use a strap. The deadlift is a whole body exercise and your grip is just one part of it.

    I like what Maga Man said below. You definietly want a stronger grip and using straps all the time won't help you in that area.

  30. Anyone who is ant using straps isn’t getting the best out of their back workout. If you’re worried about grip, or forearms, work then after bicep training.

  31. Straps are good whenever you do a heavy deadlift, since your whole body is strong enough to lift heavy but you are limited by your grip strength

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