Pro's & Con's - Use of Straps in Training
Straps are a great training tool to have but can also be a crutch in many ways. I am going to outline a few pro's and con's and talk about ways to utilize them for greatest result.
1. Saving your hands if you deadlift or perform pulling movements multiple times / week
2. Ability to perform extra reps without worry about grip
1. Using them too often
2. Ability to shimmy yourself into a better position
So lets take a look at the pros here:
1. Many of us perform pulling movements multiple times per week and our hands get beat up. So by using the straps , it will allow us to perform these movements more frequently without developing calluses.
2. Sometimes its nice to throw on the straps and go for an AMRAP set , not worry about grip and hit a few extra reps to build some strength.
The con side:
1. Using straps frequently will make you rely on them and it gives a different feel to the bar. It makes the bar fatter and you don't get that knurling feeling to your hands.
2. When deadlifting with straps you often see people not gripping the bar fully and its literally just sitting in their fingers , palm pretty much open. This reduces the ROM , gives you "longer arms" and puts your whole body into a better position. This takes away from the skill as a whole.
SO how do you program the use of straps into your training?
To start off , if you are pulling multiple times a week and a few of those sessions are variations or accessories , use straps for the non specific days ( accessories and variations ). This will save your hands , you are still building strength and not taking away from your sport specific skill.
Another way to go by it..... If you perform multiple deadlift sets ( comp specific ) and by the fourth or fifth set your hands are feeling it , do the last set with straps.
If you just love using straps and you have no problem with your grip strength ever ........ make sure you are gripping the bar fully. DO NOT let your fingers go because you will be putting yourself into a better position and its a position that you will not be in when you don't have the straps.
Paused reps ? Try to stay away from using straps with paused reps because it aids you maintaining that position. The static hold puts a lot of emphasis on grip and its counterproductive. If you are doing multiple sets , its ok to use them on the final few sets.
Again, straps are a great tool if implemented correctly without taking away from the skill.