If you use lifting straps, you better know why you’re using them.
Lifting straps are tools to help you make progress. And just like any other tool, the design determines the function. Each style of lifting strap has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. This means you need to the right style of strap for the right job.
You wouldn’t use a hammer to unscrew something right?
To make sure you don’t end up buying/using the wrong tool, I’ll be discussing the key differences between Figure 8 and Weightlifting straps in this post. This is going to be a somewhat brief rundown. If you want a comprehensive guide to all manner of lifting straps, click here.
Figure 8 lifting straps are, unsurprisingly, shaped like a figure 8. This design provides for a maximally secure grip by tethering your wrists to the bar. So even if you relax your grip, you’ll still be attached to the bar via the straps. For this reason, these are a great option for grip taxing lifts like heavy deadlifts and shrugs
Weightlifting straps, also called a Closed Loop because of their teardrop shape, are sort of the opposite -- they provide minimal grip support and make it easy to ditch the bar when needed. This is why they’re used for Weightlifting. The Olympic lifts don’t involve an eccentric phase (the lowering part of the lift) -- the bar is simply dropped once the concentric phase (the lifting part) has been completed. Because of this, any strap that interferes with your ability to ditch the bar in the Olympic Lifts is going to be a hindrance rather than an aid.
Now, just because these are specialized for the Olympic lifts, doesn't mean you can't also use them for deadlifts, rows, or anything else. They, of course, do still provide help with the grip. Plus, they have the advantage of quick setup. This can be really nice not having interrupt the flow of your setup too much and just being able to get into the lift. So these do offer a bit of versatility in addition to their specialized use for Weightlifting.
How do you use them?
The difference in shape of each type of strap means they’re used for different lifts and that setting up with each respective type of strap requires a completely different technique.
So let’s go through how you use each type.
The video below shows you how to set up with Lasso straps, which we haven't discussed in this article. However, setting up with Lasso straps and Closed Loop Weightlifting straps is basically the same. The only difference is the Lasso straps have more material so you can wrap the strap around the bar multiple times if you want. Whereas with Closed Loop, the straps only wrap around the bar once.
And that covers it. To summarize:
So there you have it. By now, you should have a good idea of which of these straps best suits your needs in the weight room. You can grab your own pair of durable, high quality straps here.
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