Strength training essentials #3

Third post in this series, and it’s gonna be a bit controversial.

See for years I really didn’t like this piece of equipment at all. I figured it was unnecessary, wimpy, girly and a lot of other things. Then I learned to think. Seriously.

See using straps is a matter of eliminating a limiting part of a chain. No matter how strong your grip is, you’re gonna be able to do more reps in a high-rep set of rows using straps than without. So if you’re training your back primarily, straps is the logical way to go.

Take for example the farmer’s walk. Without straps it’s a great static grip exercise, and a good exercise for the midsection, upper back and lungs. With straps, it becomes a great exercise for the upper back, midsection and lungs, that also challenges the grip a good deal. Though I wouldn’t use straps exclusively, it’s pretty clear that they have their merit.

Ironmind Lifting Straps is a quality pair of straps, that’ll last you a long time.

What about grip strength? Isn’t it important? If you compete in a sport where you have to grip things, it is. For someone training purely to look good, it’s not – you’ll build decent forearms using straps too. If it’s not enough, doing a few sets of towel chins once or twice a week should be plenty.

Now if you compete in a sport, things are obviously different. For me personally, grip isn’t an issue, so I do most of training with straps. I do however do all my heavy deadlifts and all my pullups without straps.

Straps are not gonna make your grip weak, but if it is, you obviously need to fix it. There are two ways to fix the problem:

  1. Train without straps for a couple of months. This should fix the problem.
  2. Add dedicated grip work for a month or two. Towel chins and farmer’s walk should be plenty.

Final note: there’s really no reason to limit your back (or other) training by not using straps. And no, it’s not “manlier” and using straps isn’t “gay”. If using straps will get you bigger and stronger, not using them is just plain silly.