Deadlifting With Straps Cheating? What Everyone Should Know

March 31st 2019

While you do not need to wear deadlifting straps in all of your training sessions, there are particular moments when these straps come in handy. For instance, you need to deadlift with your straps on when you are lifting heavy weights and when you want a better grip and support. With all the positive impacts they have to deadlifters, there is still a heated debate on whether deadlifting with straps is cheating.

Is Deadlifting With Straps Cheating?

No, deadlifting with straps is not cheating. Actually, deadlifting straps are effective when they are used with moderation. You can only risk cheating and holding back other muscle groups if you only lift weights beyond forearm failure.

So, is deadlifting with Straps Cheating? "No, but you can do better." Actually, using straps in deadlifting is a great thing since it makes lifting more effective. And if you are worried about not working your forearms, just add more work through your deadlifts. Deadlifting with straps does not eliminate the need to grip the bar properly. It can help you to push your grip a bit. Also, you must apprehend that these straps do not hold the bar for you. Therefore, you need to put in some work.

The use of straps allows you to lift while your arms are relaxed. That allows you to shift the tensions somewhere else in your muscles. Straps help bodybuilders to keep doing heavy lifting even when they have busted hands. Torn calluses and busted hands are common to lifters who use high training frequencies. Therefore, when you are deadlifting with straps you are actually gaining because it is better than avoiding heavy training. In general, deadlifting with straps is not cheating but you can do better.

Different types of wrist straps

There are very many types of wrist straps in the market although they do the same function. These straps vary from one brand to another since they come with varying perks and drawbacks. Every lifter has their own preferences when it comes to choosing the best wrist straps. Generally, we have about three main wrist strap types namely - single loop, lasso lifting and figure eight wrist straps. The choice is always dependent on the type of movement you want to achieve.

Single Loop Wrist Straps

Single loop wrist straps, also known as closed loop wrist straps, are one of the most common forms of wrist straps available. To use them is pretty straight forward. Your wrists rest on one end of the wrist straps while you wrap around the weight with the entire remaining length.

Typically, lifters would use these wrist straps if they require only minimal assistance since these wrist straps are not insanely helping you grip onto the weight as other wrist straps might. Olympic weightlifters may use these wrist straps when cleaning or snatching weight since they need to quickly release the bar.

Lasso Wrist Straps

The lasso wrist straps have a strip of the material that “lasso” around your wrist, which provides a tighter grip. Lifters will typically wrap the long lasso tail around the bar, just like in the single loop wrist straps. The major difference between the two is that the lasso wrist straps provide more protection and stability since you can adjust the tightness of the loop whereas the single loop wrist straps are a fixed size.

The lasso wrist straps are more common for deadlifters that require more assistance with gripping the bar. Lifters need to make sure the weight is firmly secured in their hands. Pullups are another exercise where the lasso wrist straps can be used.

Figure 8 Wrist Straps

The figure 8 wrist straps are wrist straps that are stitched in a figure 8 pattern. Lifters would insert their hand through one loop, wrap the straps underneath the barbell (so the order should be your hand -> barbell -> strap), and insert your hand into the second loop. This will give you maximum security when pulling any weight.

Figure 8 wrist straps are typically recommended for Strongman or powerlifters. These athletes need to stay close to the bar at all times while lifting at high intensities. Olympic weightlifters may not find these wrist straps useful since the weights will be caught in your hands and wrists, instead of dropping on the floor.

Best material for wrist straps

Some of the best materials made with wrist straps include; cotton, polyester nylon, and leather. In general, nylon provides a majority of resistance and strength in wrist straps. But the best wrist straps will use a combination of cotton, polyester, nylon and leather to maximize comfort, elasticity, strength, and durability.

Great wrist straps should always be safe, affordable, comfortable and most importantly durable. All these considerations are essentially pegged to the materials used to make the wrist straps. When shopping for a pair of wrist straps for your workouts, you need to consider the materials used. Always ensure that you choose wrist straps that are made from the best material. Basically, wrist straps are made with a variety of materials. Choosing the best can be a daunting one. The material game in a pair of wrist straps makes a huge difference in the elimination process.

When should you use straps for deadlifting?

The use of straps for deadlifting has specific training experience level specifications. If you are a beginner, avoid using straps. Always ensure that you truly build your grip strength and also avoid creating a strong dependency on them. However, if you are entering an intermediate or elite level of deadlifting your bodyweight, then you can implement the use of wrist straps. Also, even if you an elite deadlifter, you need to ask yourself if you trying to lift the supramaximal loads or not. First, heavier weights training help to increase your back strength. Secondly, you should consider if you are trying to perfect a form of movement without having to worry about of strength.

Straps for deadlifting are a useful tool when you are performing heavier RDLs later in the program and when your grip is shot. Also, you can use straps if you are an athlete and you are nearing a competition; it depends on many variables at this point. Therefore, when it comes to choosing deadlift specific straps, ensure that you use the right type. Also, remember that you can use straps during deadlifting accessories during an appropriate time.

Which deadlift grip is the best to train my grip strength?

Training using a double overhand grip will get you to strengthen your grip considerably. One of the biggest reasons why is because this grip is difficult. Using a harder grip will always help you improve the fastest since you are addressing a weakness directly.

What forearm muscle groups do deadlifts work?

The deadlift works on your forearm extensors and flexor muscles. Your extensor muscles are used to move your wrist, hands, and fingers away from your body. Flexor muscles are used to move your wrist, hands, and fingers toward your body. As a result, your body will use a lot more flexor muscles than extensor muscles.

Flexion of the forearm is made up of three main muscle groups - the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. All your flexor forearm muscles are located on the front side of your forearm. However, these are not the only muscles that are attached to your forearms.

Many muscle groups that move your wrist, hands, and fingers attach to your forearms and elbows. For example, the biceps brachii makes up a part of your posterior forearm and helps to supinate (rotate your arm so your palms face away from you) your forearm. In another instance, the triceps brachii serves as an extensor of the forearm, meaning that when the triceps are flexed, it will help straighten your elbows.

Finally, we can dive in briefly at some of the forearm extensors and flexors.

Listed below are your forearm extensor muscles. Extensors muscles are usually long, thin straps of muscles that run from your humerus to your fingers:

  • Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis Muscle

This muscle helps abduct your hand. This allows your hand to be in a neutral position.

  • Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus Muscle

This muscle helps abduct your hand. This allows your hand to be in a neutral position.


Listed below are your forearm flexor muscles:

  • Flexor Digiti Minimi Brevis Muscle of Hand

This muscle helps flexes your fingers. This ability defines how strong your grip is.

  • Flexor Digitorum Profundus Muscle

This is the largest muscle that connects your longest forearm bone (ulna) to the bones of your fingers. This muscle helps flexes your fingers, to where a fist is made.

  • Flexor Digitorum Superficialis Muscle

This muscle helps your fingers curl.

  • Flexor Pollicis Brevis Muscle

This muscle helps you bend your thumb towards your palm.

How to improve on your grip strength using the deadlift

The following are tips on how to improve on your grip strength using the deadlift.

1. Cut off the chalk

Lift your weights without chalk in order to make your grip work stronger. By purposely making your workout harder, lifting with chalk will feel bliss and absolutely easy.

2. Perform static holds

Always try to use program holds at the top of your deadlift position in a workout. Make sure you perform static holds for different lengths, sets, and reps.

3. Do One-Handed Barbell Deadlifts

Did you know that legendary powerlifter Ed Coan did one-handed barbell static holds to help improve his grip strength? There is a reason why he is the best - he does a lot of hard training often.

4. Use a Fat Bar

If you have never deadlifted using a thick object, you will be puzzled on how hard is to the regular bar. Grip a standard bar to feel easy after quite some few sessions. Challenge yourself to use a thicker and heavier bar at your next gym session.

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