Guide for Buying the Best Wraps for Powerlifters
If this is your first time purchasing bodybuilding wrist wraps, keep these factors in mind:
Powerlifting wraps come in different levels of thickness. Their thickness determines their durability, stiffness and amount of support they offer to your wrist. Usually, the thicker the strap, the greater the amount of support provided.
Most powerlifting straps will be made from one of three materials: cotton, leather and nylon. Each of these has its fair share of merits and drawbacks. For instance, cotton feels soft on the skin and it remains fixed in position when you’re powerlifting.
Leather wraps, on the other hand, offer the best durability. You can choose between soft and tough varieties of the leather wraps. That said, these wraps have a tendency to slip out of position and they lack moisture-absorbency capability.
Like cotton, nylon wraps also boast a smooth feeling. They’re also sturdy so they can withstand intense powerlifting sessions.
Another aspect you should keep in mind is the grip of the wrist wrap, specifically, the strength and length of the grip.
Advisably, you should go for a long wrist strap. This way, you can wrap it around the bar multiple times regardless of how wide the bar is. You should also opt for wraps with some level of texture. Those with silicone or rubber strips are really useful in improving grip.
Considering that you’ll be wearing the wrap on your wrist for an extended period, it’s important that you invest in one that’s comfortable. To achieve this, most manufacturers incorporate padding on their wrist.
When Should You Use Powerlifting Straps?
If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in the gym, then you’ve likely encountered people wearing some long straps suspended from their arms. These are powerlifting straps and are designed to help you continue performing your weight lifts without fatiguing your forearm muscles.
If used properly, these are indispensable tools. However, if they’re not used correctly, they can ultimately cause a hindrance. So when is the ideal time to use powerlifting straps?
Well, if you’ve reached a point in your strength training routine where you’re ready to progress to heavier weights, lifting straps will come in handy. This particularly applies if you find that your grip strength isn’t up to par. The body lifting straps enable you to shift part of the weight from your hands to your wrists.
Another instance where powerlifting straps are handy is when you’re performing specific exercises. More specifically, workouts where the weight naturally pulls away from your body as a result of gravity.
To put it plainly, wrist straps aren’t recommended for exercises that involve pushing the weight away on your own. In such scenarios, using the straps won’t make your powerlifting exercises any more effective. Plus, you’re likely to get a side eye from the more experienced lifters that could be watching you.
Ideal exercises where you can use powerlifting straps include shrugs, rack pulls, deadlifts and rows. By using wrist straps for such workouts, you’re able to increase muscle size in your target muscles; regardless of whether your grip strength is up to standard or not.
That said, you should keep in mind that the ideal time to incorporate wrist straps is when you reach or approach the weight at which your forearm muscles are likely to fail.
What this means is that it’s always good to start off on sets without the wraps and then incorporate them as you increase the weight.
Doing so ensures that you’ll continue increasing your forearm and grip strength gradually. If you were to use powerlifting wrist wraps non-stop, chances are that your grip strength would never progress or improve. Thus, only use wrist straps when necessary, not as a day-to-day training tool.
In the same way that wrist straps are recommended for particular exercises, there are groups of people that should steer away from these equipment, namely competition lifters. This is because a majority of powerlifting competitions prohibit the use of powerlifting wrist straps. So if you’re training for a particular competition, go over the rules first and check whether wrist straps are allowed.
The Correct Way to Use Powerlifting Wrist Straps
At first glance, wrist straps may look really strange. But the truth is that they’re fairly simple to use. You should start by placing them on your wrists. If you’re using the conventional straps, all you need to do is stick the straight end via the looped end of the strap. This will form a circle where your wrist can go through.
Alternatively, look for newer wrist straps that come equipped with Velcro and other techniques of fastening them on your wrists. Ensure you spare a couple of minutes to read the manufacturer’s instructions. This way, you’ll be certain of the technique that should be used to secure your particular straps to your wrists.
Once you’ve secured it on your wrists, the remaining strap will be left dangling down past the palm of your hand. Be sure to pull the long strap till the loops are snug enough.
You can now start wrapping the suspended strap around the bar; begin from the back. Next, you should go underneath and then over the bar, thus bringing the strap from the front.
Repeat this process several times till the remaining strap is all wrapped around the bar. After you’re done wrapping the strap, put your hands over the strap and close it.
Before you begin your weight-lifting exercise, push the bar in your direction to help tighten the straps. However, don’t tighten the straps excessively as this will hamper your circulation. Once you’re all set up, you can continue lifting your weights.
To help you make the most of these powerlifting straps, here are a few more tips that can help:
Don’t wear wrist wraps to your warm-ups
You don’t have to wear your powerlifting straps when you’re performing a simple 1rm bench press. The only time you should consider wearing these straps is on those training days where you’ll be working at maximum loads.
The problem with using wrist wraps non-stop is that you’ll become dependent on them. As a result, this will restrict your strength development, especially in your wrist flexors and extensors. Besides, if you observe your fellow gym-goers, you’ll notice that the strongest athletes don’t wear wrist wraps all the time.
Avoid tying your wrist wraps too low
Keep in mind that the main function of a wrist wrap is to support your wrist joint. If the wrap sits too low below this joint, you’ll be converting your wrap into a forearm bracelet that cannot offer the required support.
So the right way to position your wrap is in such a way that it covers your entire wrist joint. Doing so creates steady support while also helping to prevent unnecessary wrist extension.
Invest in the right type of wrap
There are two main varieties of wrist wraps: cotton and velcro-bound. Cotton wraps are usually thin and offer greater flexibility while velcro-bound are thicker so as to offer better support.
For workouts where you’re trying to max out a movement such as shoulder press, the velcro-bound strap is the best. Conversely, thin wrist wraps are the best suited for situations where you’re trying to improve your snatch max. This is because they provide a wider range of motion at the wrist.
Don’t wear wrist wraps for most gymnastic movements
If you don’t plan to compete in actual gymnastic events like pommel horse or vault, there’s no need to wear wrist wraps for simple bodyweight exercises such as ring dips and pull-ups. The only exception you can make for wearing your wraps is if you’re suffering from a wrist injury.
Also, there are instances where you may want to use protective gear for your wrist when you’re performing high-reps of complex routines.
Powerlifting wrist wraps have become increasingly popular, and for good reasons. For one, they offer that additional support that you need for your wrists. Two, they mitigate risk of injuries that could crop up when you’re performing powerlifting exercises. Lastly, they also enhance your grip; thus, enabling you to train more frequently but safely.
That said, there are a few things you should keep in mind when selecting powerlifting wrist wraps. For instance, you should consider the strength and length of the grip. You should also check whether it has enough padding, thickness and whether it’s made of durable materials.