To Use Grip Straps or Not?

WristGrip

Many people like to hit the gym and focus on heavy lifting for long periods of time. If you are this type of heavy lifter/body builder, you may find that the one thing that prevents you from not completing your workout is that your grips fails – especially on heavy pulling, dead lift, and hanging days. Here is an interesting question from a future military member who has a background in powerlifting/body building and is focusing on more running, but builds his PT strength and muscle stamina with some higher repetition lifts and calisthenics:

Stew, I have been lifting for years and I am finding that the one thing stopping me from finishing big repetition pullup workouts is my grip. Any suggestions on 1) strengthening my grip, and 2) is using devices (straps) to help prolong my workout (especially on pullups and farmer walks) something you recommend?

Sure, doing these exercises like pullups, pulldowns, rows, rope climbs, farmer walks, and dead lifts will crush your grip -- especially if you do several of these in a circuit. I recommend you do them without grips at first, then resort to grips when needed to complete the workout. I have also created a Grip Workout circuit that I like to use at the END of a workout just to top off my grip muscles after a challenging pull day.

Yes, I do recommend using straps, especially when the workouts get long and you need a little more grip stamina to complete it. We have done long runs / shuffles with stretchers carrying with 150-200 pounds of sandbags, or we switch out members of the group as the injured man drill. Do this on a USMC Endurance Course and you have yourself quite a workout. You will also find that you need people to rotate carrying the stretcher either with one hand or both. If you have a small group, you may want to bring some form of grip strap. This is where I really like the Versa-Gripps, though you can see from their site, it is developed and sold to hardcore lifters.

There is also a tactical application to this specific product that I like that is different than your typical grip straps used for decades by heavy lifters. The reason I like the Versa-Gripps Pro is that they offer not only grip relief when needed like your normal canvas/ nylon straps, BUT they also are extremely helpful when carrying stretchers with 200+ pound soldiers on them for long distances. You can leave them on your wrist like a wrist band and turn them around and grab the bar, stretcher, or heavy piece of equipment with ease when needed. I have made my own canvas straps, but have easily lost many straps over the years simply because I could not secure them to my wrist.

So yes, it is important to work your grip for any tactical profession, but having a backup grip saver could be something that helps you with your job carrying gear, saving lives, or dead-lifting truck!

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness