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December 19, 2019 3 min read

If you’re considering using lifting straps, you should know why you’re using them. There are three main types of lifting straps that serve different purposes.  

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 the right style of the strap for the right job. You wouldn’t use a hammer to unscrew something right?

To make sure you don’t end up buying and using the wrong tool, we’ll be discussing the key differences between Figure 8 and Weightlifting straps. We also have an in-depth guide on deciding which lifting strap is best for you based on training, design, and material. For now, let’s discuss the differences between Figure 8 straps and Olympic straps.  

What are Figure 8 Straps? 

Figure 8 lifting straps are, unsurprisingly, shaped like the number 8 — hence the name. Figure 8 design provides a 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. 

The downside to using Figure 8 straps is that they don’t have a quick-release option like some of the other straps. Because you’re secured into the bar through its design, Figure 8 straps aren’t suggested for power movements or when weight dumping is needed. 

Here’s a quick summary of Figure 8 straps:

  • Shaped like the figure 8
  • Maximum added grip stability
  • Impossible to ditch the bar
  • Best for heavy deadlifts and shrugs

What are Olympic straps?

The Olympic weightlifting straps (sometimes called a closed-loop strap because of their teardrop shape) are the opposite of Figure 8 straps. They provide minimal grip support and make it easy to ditch the bar when needed. This makes the straps popular 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.

Although these straps may help with Olympic lifts, it doesn't mean you can't also use them for deadlifts, rows, or anything else because they still provide help with the grip. Plus, they have the advantage of a quick setup. This can be really nice not having to 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.

Here’s a quick summary of Olympic (closed-loop) straps:

  • Teardrop-shaped
  • Minimum added grip stability
  • Easy to ditch the bar
  • Best for the Olympic Weightlifting (minus the clean)

How do you use lifting straps?

The difference in the shape of each type of strap means they’re used for different lifts and setting up with each respective type of strap requires a completely different technique. Here’s how to put on Figure 8 straps and Olympic straps.

How to use Figure 8 Straps

Figure 8 straps are pretty simple to use. Since they’re shaped like the number 8, you will loop your hands through the top opening, which leaves the other part of the loop dangling. Next, you’ll feed the open part of the loop under the bar and grab the inside of the strap to complete the loop closure around the bar. 

Now you’re securely strapped to the bar and can adjust your hand placement and grip. You can do each hand individually or once you get pretty comfortable you can secure both straps to the barbell concurrently. 

How to use Olympic Straps

The video below shows you how to use lasso strapsSetting up with lasso straps and Olympic weightlifting straps is basically the same. The only difference is the lasso straps have more material, allowing you to wrap the strap around the bar multiple times if you want. Whereas with Olympic straps, the straps only wrap around the bar once.
 


Key points:

  • With one hand, select one end of the strap and place it on the bar
  • Wrap the material in a twisting motion around the bar 
  • To tighten, cinch the strap so it has a snug fit on the barbell

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. If you’re looking for your own pair of durable, high-quality figure straps you can check them out below. 

Figure 8 - Shop


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