Go into any gym, take a look at anyone lifting weights, and you’ll without a doubt see some fabric wrapped around their wrists attaching them to the bar. These are called ‘lifting straps’, or ‘lifting wrist straps’.
It’s possible that as well as noticing them on other gym-goers, you may have even used lifting straps yourself when lifting weights in the gym. But whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, this article could help you choose the best pair of lifting straps for you.
In this article we cover the basics of lifting straps (for those that need a top-up on their gym accessory knowledge) and a guide to the various materials and strap types you can find on the market. At the end you will find a list of our top 20 favorite lifting straps, followed by a useful table for you to compare the featured products.
What are lifting straps?
Firstly, there’s the matter of what lifting straps actually are and what purposes they serve when you’re lifting weights.
Lifting straps are small lengths of fabric that are attached to both your wrists and the bar, meaning you can achieve a tighter grip over it, and it is less likely to slip. Lifting straps are used by those who lift weights to help perform a variety of weightlifting exercises and ideally, they should help you feel more secure and confident in your lift.
They’re particularly useful for those who are often restricted by their grip strength. If you would like to focus on other aspects of your workout and isolate other muscles instead of worrying about how long or much you can grip, then lifting straps may be a good idea for you.
Lifting straps are great for grip support when doing lifts such as powerlifting, deadlift, bodybuilding, or olympic weightlifting. They are also beneficial for both competitive and recreational lifters, so they can be used by both beginners and professionals alike.
However, although lifting straps aren’t considered cheating or viewed as a sign of weakness in the weightlifting world, it is worth noting that lifting straps cannot be used in powerlifting competitions. This is important to remember if you’re a budding competitive lifter.
Additionally, whilst lifting straps may allow you to shift your attention to other weak points in your lift, they should not be used if that weak point is your grip itself. If you’re finding that it’s the quality of your grip that’s holding you back from smashing those PB’s, then it’s probably best to practice without a lifting strap for a while. This means you can then build up your grip strength first.
It’s also recommended to not use lifting straps on every set you do. This is so that you don’t rely too much on them when lifting and end up lowering the quality of your grip over time. Instead, try using lifting straps every other set you do, or just when you start to feel the bar slipping, so that you don’t become too dependent on the support.
What types of lifting straps are there?
There are three main designs of lifting straps that each serve a different purpose and are better for different types of lifts. It’s also important to consider the type of material your strap is made from, which will be discussed later on.
The first is the figure 8 strap, which provides the most grip stability. Figure 8 straps aren’t the best choice if you’re looking to ditch the bar quickly, as the bar will still be attached to your hands if you let go.
Closed loop/Olympic strap
The second is the closed loop strap, or the Olympic strap. These will give the least grip stability of all three strap types as they allow you to ditch the bar quickly.
This could be beneficial if you’ll need to let go of the bar as fast as possible during your lift, such as when doing heavy lifts like Olympic lifts.
The third is the lasso strap. Although these offer more grip stability than the closed loop, they can still be ditched quickly (albeit with a bit more effort than the closed loop). These are the most versatile of the three straps here, although they’re not great for Olympic lifts.
Choosing the best lifting straps for you therefore depends on the type of workouts you’d like to do, so you should consider your workout regime before deciding on a lifting strap.
You may also see the term ‘wrist wraps’ when looking for the best lifting straps. Although wrist wraps are very similar to lifting straps, they’re not actually the same.
Wrist wraps are more likely to be used for sports such as boxing or martial arts to protect the wrist, though they can be used for exercises like deadlifts and pull-ups too. They may also be permitted in professional competitions.
Wrist wraps are thicker and provide more support to the joints and are best for press and push movements. They may also be recommended by doctors or physiotherapists if you’ve suffered an injury to the wrist.
What is the best material for lifting straps?
Lifting straps are usually made from either heavy-duty cotton, nylon, or leather. Each of these materials has their own benefits, and the jury’s out on which is best.
Cotton lifting straps are the least durable of the three but provide the highest level of comfort. They are also able to absorb sweat, which is great for longer workouts or heavier lifts.
Nylon is strong, and therefore highly durable, but it isn’t the best option for sweatier workouts or for those who know they’ll produce more sweat than average. Nylon becomes sweaty quickly and will become slippery – this of course will decrease the quality of your grip.
Leather lifting straps have the same issues. Leather won’t absorb the sweat as well as cotton or nylon, and, depending on how soft or hard the leather is, possibly won’t be as easily broken in as them either. It is, however, very tough and a lot more durable than cotton.
So, when choosing the best lifting straps for you, it’s clear you’ll need to prioritize your requirements: do you need a more durable material, or do you want the most comfortable for your wrist? Are you looking for the cheapest option or does your budget stretch a little further for better quality?
Other points to consider:
- Padded or unpadded?
As well as considering the material of your lifting straps, you will also find that you will often have to choose between padded and unpadded straps. Both options bring different benefits. For example, unpadded lifting straps allow for more wrist room, which is important to consider if you have a larger than average wrist size, whereas padded straps bring extra comfort and support.
- Other materials
Whilst cotton, nylon, and leather are the most popular materials for lifting straps, you will also find other materials listed in the product descriptions. Most often this will be neoprene, a type of highly flexible synthetic rubber, which is typically used for the wrist padding. Neoprene padding helps the lifting strap be durable yet soft, and this will therefore make the lift as comfortable as possible. It is also a popular choice since it is sweat proof.
Lifting straps also come in a variety of lengths which will affect how they can be used and by whom. Shorter straps are best for if you need to dump the bar quickly, such as for power movements, as there is less fabric to unwrap from the bar.
On the other hand, longer straps can be wrapped around the bar multiple times, which gives a more secure feeling and ensures more stability and grip over the bar.
How should I use lifting straps?
Lifting straps are not complicated to use, although using them incorrectly could really decrease the impact they have on your workout. Here’s how to use them correctly to get the most out of them.
How to use lasso and closed loop lifting straps:
- Firstly, feed the end of the lifting strap through the loop.
- Then put your wrist through the loop, making sure your palms are facing upwards.
- Finally, ensure that the end of the strap is going in the direction of your thumb so you can get a good grip around the bar when you lift.
- When preparing to do your lift, wrap the end of the strap around the barbell as tightly and as many times as possible. If the strap is loose, it won’t have the desired effect. Hold the bar and strap firmly together.
How to use figure 8 straps:
- Firstly, put your hand through one loop.
- Then put the other loop under the bar and sliding your hand through this loop so that both are over your wrist.
- Grab the bar to secure both loops in place.
Our top 20 best lifting straps:
Here we’ve compiled a list of our top 20 best lifting straps. It contains a variety of lifting strap styles, including figure 8’s, closed loops, and lassos, and these are the categories into which the list is divided. At the end of the list there’s a handy table for comparison to quickly find what you’re looking for.
Before purchasing a lifting strap, remember to measure the circumference of your wrist so you can choose the best lifting strap for you. To get the most out of your strap you should also remember to follow the instructions given by the store before using.
All the lifting straps featured in the list below come in pairs.
Figure 8 lifting straps
- These padded cotton figure 8 lifting straps from Element 26 have single stitching points and neoprene padding for the benefit of your comfort whilst lifting. They come in three different sizes: small (<5.8”), medium (5.8 to 10”), and large (>10”), and are available in the color black. The large size is also the best size for axle bars, regardless of wrist size.
This pair of lifting straps are the best lifting straps on our figure 8 list to accommodate those with either very small or large wrists. With prices starting at $29.99 USD and a lifetime warranty, they’re really worth a shot if you’re looking to improve your bar grip!
- These lifting straps from Serious Steel come in three sizes which means you’re sure to be able to find the best fit for you. Size small is best for wrist sizes 6.25” in circumference, medium for wrists 6.25” or bigger, and the largest size is best suited for working with axle bars. Thesepadded straps are Strongman tested at 1,000lbs and are black with double red stitching. They are made from webbed cotton. Prices start at $23.99 USD and come with a one-year warranty.
- This pair of padded lifting straps from Grip Power Pads come in six different colors and three different sizes. These are the best lifting straps on our figure 8 list for those who like to be able to color coordinate their workout gear.
For wrists 6” or less, choose the smallest size. Medium is best for 6 to 8” wrists and large is best for those with wrists 8” or bigger. These cotton straps have double stitching for extra durability and come with a one-year warranty. Prices start at $22.94 USD.
- These lifting straps from IRON APE are made from heavy-duty cotton and boast strong, 10 way stitching. They are independently tested to 3300lbs, which makes them the best lifting straps on our figure 8 list for those wanting to lift some serious weight or whose PB’s know no boundaries.
They come in four sizes: medium (up to 6.5” wrists), intermediate (6.5 to 7.5” wrists), large (over 7.5”), and XL (best suited for axle lifts). These unpadded lifting straps are black with orange stitching and their prices start at $20.95 USD.
- These lifting straps from W8train are padded for your comfort and come in three sizes. Small accommodates wrists up to 6.75”, medium for 6.75” and up, and large for using axle bars. They have been tested up to 1,000lbs and are made of both cotton and neoprene. This pair of lifting straps are black with gray stitching and their prices start at $17.97 USD.
- These lifting straps from Cerberus are tested to 1322lbs and come in four sizes. Small is best for wrists up to 6.9” in circumference, medium is best for up to 7.5”, large for up to 8.1”, and XL for up to 8.7”. They are black with red stitching, unpadded, and made from cotton. Prices start at $35.99 USD and they come with a one-year warranty.
Lasso lifting straps
- These lasso lifting straps from Gymreapers are made of 18” cotton and have neoprene pads to make lifting more comfortable. They come in nine different colors, which means they’re the best lifting straps on our lasso style list if you like having a choice of color when you buy your workout gear. Prices start at $13.99 and on top of that, Gymreapers will even send you a replacement for free if you have any issues.
- This pair of lifting straps from Iron Rebel are made from brown leather, which is rarer to find than cotton material but generally more durable. 21” in length, they also have a thick black padding where the strap will have contact with your skin, which is more comfortable for your wrists than the leather. Prices for these lasso straps start at $26 USD.
- These lifting straps from Ironmind are unpadded and are 21” in total length. They have been tested by professional lifters at over 1,000lbs. They come in blue, are made from nylon, and their prices start at $18.95 USD.
- These lifting straps from Gym Maniac are 23” in length and come in six different colors. They are made from cotton with reinforced stitching and boast 4 mm of neoprene padding. Prices start at $10.90 USD.
- These lifting straps from Harbinger are 21.5” in length. They come in two colors, are made of cotton, and are padded with NeoTek material for comfort. Prices for these lasso lifting straps start at $8.99 USD.
- These lifting straps from Iron Infidel are unpadded and are made from nylon. They are 20.5” in length and come in two colors. Prices start at $21.95 USD, and they also come with a lifetime warranty!
- This pair of lifting straps from DMoose come in seven different colors. They are 24” in length and are made from cotton. These lifting straps are also padded with neoprene for the best wrist support.
Alongside the security of a lifetime warranty guarantee, these straps start at only $6.99 USD. This makes them the best lifting straps on our lasso style list for the most price savvy of buyers.
- These lifting straps from Iron Bull Strength are made from cotton and are 21” in length. They have 5 mm of thick neoprene padding, so are the best lifting straps in this list for those wanting the thickest wrist support. Available in four different colors, prices start at $13.95 USD.
- These lifting straps from Hustle Athletics are not only padded with neoprene and made from heavy-duty cotton, but also boast silicone grips for extra hold over the bar. They’re 24” in total, making them one of the best lifting straps on our lasso style list for those looking for extra material to wrap around the bar and give a better grip. They also come in four different colors. Prices start at $13.83 USD, along with the guarantee of a lifetime warranty.
- These lifting straps from Harbinger are made from durable gray leather. They’re 21” in total and unpadded. Their tri-layered design ensures this pair of lifting straps keep their shape and won’t tear. Prices start at $15.80 USD.
- These lifting straps from PROIRON are a blend of cotton and leather, getting the best of both worlds of the two materials. With a red and black design, they’re 23.6” in total and provide extra padding for the wrist. They also boast gel strips to help stop slipping and to improve your grip over the bar. Prices start at $14.99 USD.
Closed loop/Olympic lifting straps
- This pair of lifting straps from Ironmind come in bright blue and are made from nylon. In total their loop is around 21” in size, with the width around 1.5”. This means they’re the best lifting straps on our closed loop list for those looking for more wrist room. Prices start at $18.95 USD.
- These lifting straps from Harbinger are unpadded and made of nylon. They come in two colors and are 9.5” long and 1.5” wide. Prices start at $10.99, making them the best lifting straps on our closed loop list for those looking for a bargain.
- These lifting straps from Serious Steel are made from heavy-duty webbed cotton and are available in two colors. They’re 10” in length and 1.5” wide. With a one-year warranty guaranteed, prices start at $15.95 USD.