Tag: Weightlifting

Should You Use Lifting Straps?

Should You Use Lifting Straps?

Lifting straps have been a welcome addition as a lifting accessory. Many lifters have enjoyed the extra support provided by the straps and have incorporated them into their routines. On the flip side, many lifters have opposed the use of lifting straps. These people argue that using them robs you of the full effectiveness of your workout and limits your development. In this article, I’ll answer the question once and for all. Should you use lifting straps? Let’s find out…

What are lifting straps?

To answer our question properly, let’s start from the beginning. Lifting straps are cloth or leather bands you wrap around your wrist and then around the barbell. The main purpose of them is to give you a better grip on the barbell to make sure it doesn’t slip as you work out. They take away stress from your hands and send it straight down to your forearm.

Now that you know what they are, we can ask the next question. What are the benefits of using lifting straps?

What are the benefits of lifting straps?

Why should you even bother with lifting straps? What’s so special about them that’s got everyone hyped? Here are some tempting benefits…

You last longer

Lifting straps reduce the stress on your hands and channel it to your forearms. This reduces the amount of work you have to do, which means less exertion. This, in turn, means you can last longer in your workouts. When you use lifting straps, you don’t need much grip strength. This allows you to lift longer and get much more value from your workouts.

You lift heavier

Lifting straps don’t only let you lift for longer, they help you lift heavier too. If the exertion on your hands is less and you don’t get tired as easily anymore, you can go longer than you used to and lift heavier than you used to. They make life easy on your hands so that you can target other parts of your body with heavier weights.

Less risk of injury

I already mentioned that lifting straps help you secure a firm grip on your barbell, and you probably know how important grip is in weightlifting and powerlifting. Maintaining a safe grip and proper form are the two basic rules of every workout. A safe grip is necessary not only for the effectiveness of your workout but for your safety. Letting your barbell slip off your hands could result in a dreadful injury that might sideline you for a long time. Straps reduce the risk of that by a mile.

What are the disadvantages of lifting straps?

Despite all the amazing benefits, lifting straps have some effects that might make you think twice about using them. It’s necessary to discuss both the good and bad sides to help answer our question as effectively as possible. So let’s have some disadvantages…

No grip strength development

We’ve spoken about how cool it is that lifting straps remove stress from your hands. While this function helps you lift heavier and for longer, it also has an adverse effect you might want to watch out for. The whole idea of working out is building up strength by subjecting yourself to stress. Without the stress, you won’t build up any strength.

By removing the stress from your hands, lifting straps are starving your hands of grip strength development. Other muscles might develop faster, but your hands and even your forearm are likely to be left behind. This will lead to an unhealthy dependence on them, and you don’t want that.

Dangerous with overhead workouts

Lifting straps secure your wrist to the barbell to help keep your grip secure. Again, this is an awesome benefit but you might want to be careful. Some workouts, by nature, require you to release your barbell after a complete cycle. Movements like the clean and jerk and other overhead workouts are better done without straps.

Because of how high up they are, losing your grip while working out might be more dangerous if you have them on. They also won’t let you drop your barbell to the ground, but will force you to slowly lower it down regardless of the workout.

When do you need lifting straps?

Now that you know the pros and cons of using lifting straps, you’ve probably already understood that they are good for you, but only with mindful use. Too much of it can easily become a bad thing for your development. So when should you use lifting straps?

First of all, stay away from lifting straps if you’re a beginner. You must master the basics of any workouts you’re doing as a beginner. Mastering grip, proper form and technique are your only goals as a beginner. Straps will take away that early grip strength development, and that’s a terrible way to start.

If you’ve been lifting for a while now, there’s a conversation to be had. Lifting straps can be very effective, especially if you’re trying to break past a limit. On the flip side, you don’t want to get too dependent on them, because that’s a downhill slope. Here’s my recommendation.

Avoid using lifting straps as much as you can. Working out naturally develops your grip strength and gives you a more rounded effect. If your wrists are in pain, straps are a good way to keep working out without exerting too much stress on your wrists. You can also use them when doing workouts like landmine exercises where you have to hold the collar of the barbell, which is thicker and more difficult to hold well.

Final Thoughts

Lifting straps are one of the most popular weightlifting accessories. As popular as they are, they have also generated quite some conflict. The good news is you now know exactly when to use them, if ever. So next time when your gym buddies are arguing about them, you won’t be confused. If you’re a beginner, stay natural. If you’re experienced, you have some more leeway.

Now it’s your turn. Are you a beginner? Do lifting straps sound like something you’d want to get? Is there any question I haven’t answered? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Weightlifting Warm-Up Routine

Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up Routine

The Mathias Method Strength System emphasizes the importance of a proper warm-up before you begin any strength training routine or workout program. This is to help decrease pain, prevent injury, and fully prepare your body for the workout ahead. This page will go over our Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up Exercises.

Get our complete How To Warm-Up Properly for Strength Training Guide today! And learn why you should NOT do cardio to warm-up before a weight training workout!

Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up Routine Stretches and Exercises

How To Warm-Up for Weightlifting

First, do a complete full body dynamic warm-up routine before you start these Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up exercises and stretches.

Then, the next part of the Mathias Method Strength System’s warm-up includes these workout specific warm-up exercises. These are done after your full body dynamic warm-up stretches but before your dumbbell shoulder warm-up.

This Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up Routine will include a few specific mobility stretches for the calf-hamstring complex, hip flexors, ankles, chest, and shoulders. These will help prevent injury and increase strength as you teach your body how to move properly for strength.

When you are done with these Olympic weightlifting warm-up exercises, begin your technique work.

For all of our specific workout based warm-up routines, you can check out our How To Warm-Up Properly Guide.

More Warm-Up Exercises

See all of our Mobility Stretches or Strength Training Exercises.

Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up Stretches

Calf-Hamstring Stretch

Reps: 30-120 seconds each side


Purpose: Improve Knee Extension, Ankle Dorsi-flexion, Calf, and Hamstring Function.

  • With your knee fully extended, place the ball of your foot on a slightly raised surface and allow for your ankle to fully dorsiflex (pull your toes up towards your face).
  • Keep weight on the ball of your foot and your knee fully extended as you lean your torso forward.
  • Maintain a neutral spine and lean until you feel a stretch behind your knee.
  • Be active in the stretch by coming in and out of tension under control, contract-relax techniques and by flexing the opposing muscles (Quadriceps, Anterior Tibialis) to deepen the stretch.

Exaggerated Lunge

Reps: 30-60 seconds each side


Purpose: Improve Hip Extension, Hip Flexor Function, and Hip Mobility.

  • While keeping your hips square, place one foot on a raised surface (12-20 inches high) in front of you and the other behind you.
  • Keep your front foot pointed forward and slightly internally rotate your back foot as you extend your leg behind you.
  • Keep your torso vertical, core braced and tension on your rear glute as you bend your front knee to initiate the stretch.
  • When you feel the tension in your hip flexor, hold that position.
  • To increase the stretch you can flex your glute to further press your hips forward or flex and extend your posterior knee slightly to find other tense positions to hold.

Single Leg Calf Stretch

Reps: 1-2 minutes each side

Purpose: Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function.

  • With your knee fully extended, place the ball of your foot on a raised surface, high enough to feel a stretch in your calf.
  • Allow your heel to sink down as you put your weight on your foot.
  • Actively move around in this position by flexing in and out of it, forcing your knee into further extension, or pulling your toes towards your face.

Weighted Deep Squat Calf Stretch

Reps: 2-3 minutes

Purpose: Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function.


  • While holding a barbell, place it just above your knee caps and go into a full depth squat.
  • Ensure that your heels are down in this position, and only rise slightly as you push the weight and your knees forward.
  • Move around in this position to create change, by flexing the opposing muscles and moving under control.
  • You may put more stress on one side by leaning the barbell to that side or placing all the weight on one side at a time.
  • Use this stretch sparingly as it is more intense than non-weighted mobility techniques.

Shoulder Dislocations

Reps: 10 total

Purpose: Improve Shoulder Function and Mobility.


  • Grasp a band, strap or light pole with a much wider than shoulder width grip.
  • Flex your glutes, brace your core and pull your shoulder blades back and down throughout the motion.
  • Starting in the front, keep your arms fully extended as you raise them in front of you, over your head and all the way around to your glutes.
  • Reverse the motion back around towards your hips.
  • Try to grasp your hands as close as you can while still maintaining the full extension of your arms.
  • Only use a grip that brings a slight stretch to be felt as you rotate about the motion.

Note: If you cannot rotate around the through the full motion then only go as far as you can and pause in this position each time.

When you finish these Olympic weightlifting warm-up exercises, begin your technique work.

All Warm-Up Routines

See all of our Mobility Stretches or Strength Training Exercises.

For all of our specific workout based warm-up routines, you can check out our How To Warm-Up Properly Guide.

how to warm-up properly for strength training book

Olympic Weightlifting Warm-Up Exercises