What is the best way to maintain grip on a barbell, especially when doing high reps?
I present to you wrist straps.
For a long time I made sure that I trained with my hands fully on the bar at all times.
Sometimes though my grip failed, but it was usually while doing a set of 5 deadlifts, and typically on the last rep.
But in general my grip kind of keeps up with my deadlift pace of improvement, which is the goal.
We really want to not use any assistance so that grip strength can improve.
When we want to use Wrist Straps
As I got stronger my supplemental lifts - such as Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs) and Stiff Legged Deadlifts (SLDLs) - need to be done at higher volume and higher intensity.
In simple terms this means I'm doing more reps and sets at higher weights.
One key factor for strength endurance is the time under tension, or time under load.
The longer you have loaded the body the more quickly something is going to fail.
After all we're only as strong as the weakest link!
With a high rep RDL set more often than not the grip on the bar will fail first.
You can feel those forearms burning and the hands just opening up, and there is nothing you can do to stop it!
Hopefully when this happens you quit and re-rack before you're forced to drop the bar... which wouldn't be good.
I got pretty frustrated with this happening all the time, especially once the weight was sufficiently heavy.
So I broke down and got myself a set of wrist straps - I happened to purchase the eliteFTS wrist straps, but there are many other brands out there and they are all relatively cheap.
How to Put Wrist Straps On
Once I received the wrist straps I took one look and thought...
Hmm, how do you put these on correctly?
Well here you go:
Here I break down all these steps into a quick 58 second video:
Since using these I've been able to continue training my back strength without having the fear of dropping the bar, or having to set it back because I cannot hold on.
Even though I have them hanging up in my home gym I resist the temptation to use them when doing my primary lifts.
The hands will get stronger and accommodate.
Too many resort to using straps too early, and too light, and will not have the benefit of an improved grip.
After all, you can't use a strap to open a tight jar!
Would love to hear if this inspires you and what you've been able to achieve using your wrist straps.
Strength Training Blogs
I am happy to report that I have been graciously accepted into the top 50 strength training blogs. These cover all aspects of strength training, and even though they may be focused on younger trainees many of the issues and principles apply.
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