In simple terms, wrist straps are sewn pieces of cloth or leather that loop around your wrist and the bar that make it easier to hold on to a heavyweight. They are commonly used by bodybuilders and casual gym-goers, but wrist straps can be extremely valuable to powerlifters and other strength athletes, too.
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There are three main styles of straps to choose from: loop straps, speed/Olympic straps, and hook straps. Here's the bottom line on each.
- They're the easiest variation to find, with multiple lengths and materials to choose from, including cloth and leather.
- Loop construction allows for a secure fit around your wrist.
Speed Straps/Olympic Straps
- The closed-loop makes them quick and easy to attach to the bar.
- It's easier to bail out of a failed lift, which is why they're the go-to for Olympic lifting—although, as I note below, not everyone believes straps should be used for the Oly lifts.
- No wrapping is required.
- A standard bar sits comfortably in the hooks.
Putting on your wrist straps and attaching them to the bar can be tricky. The wrapping technique will vary based on the length of the strap and where the loop is sewn.