Has your coach, a trainer, or a friend told you to buy some weight lifting wrist straps to improve your workout? This is usually where any athlete gets started using straps. Are they really the remarkable benefit they claim or just a crutch which is going to hurt you in the long run?
Weight lifting wrist straps tie your arms to your weight bar. They give you tremendous holding power you can never match on your own. You can use them for pull-ups, too. Your ability to lift heavier weights can be enhanced without a doubt. So far it all sounds good, right?
The problem with using wrist straps comes from what it changes in your workout. Where you were developing gripping power, forearm muscles, and other supporting muscles they now are unneeded. When you begin to rely on the straps you reduce the side benefits of the exercises you are doing. It can become a major impediment to developing these other muscle groups which work in support roles.
This leads to the question, what is the appropriate use for weight lifting wrist straps? If you are a serious heavy lifter, then using straps can make perfect sense during your last set of pulling exercises. This allows you to handle weights slightly exceeding your grip strength and to challenge those powerful core muscles a little further. Do not plan on wearing the straps for all your sets or you decrease the overall benefits of each exercise. You want to challenge all the supporting muscles to give you better overall strength and symmetry.
Never choose to use weight lifting wrist straps for exercises not requiring them. Wearing straps on your bench press would be completely unnecessary.
Consider wrist straps in the same way you should look at using a lifting belt. They are there only for the heaviest times in your workout and only for the proper exercises. When you use any form of supporting equipment to reduce the effort of a movement you are cheating yourself of muscle growth. When you use them to allow you to squeeze out a few extra reps on a final set, or final two sets, they can become a big advantage to added muscle growth.
If you choose to use straps buy high quality straps which you will be comfortable using. Make sure you can strap up quickly and get out of them just as fast. You do not want your straps to slow down your workout. Leather straps work great, are simple, and inexpensive.
Are weight lifting wrist straps a remarkable benefit or an unnecessary crutch? It depends on you. If you use them as intended to squeeze out a few extra reps on your last set they are a remarkable benefit. If you strap them on for every rep of every set they have become a crutch. A crutch which will hurt your progress and growth. Use wrist straps properly and get the full benefit.