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Lifting Hooks vs Lifting Straps – Which One Is Better To Use?
This blog post : Lifting hooks vs lifting straps is written by our Dark Iron Fitness writer, Tina Ngai.
We hope you enjoy :)
Certain weight-lifting exercises require good forearm and grip strength to execute properly.
If your grip strength isn’t strong enough you will severely restrict the amount of weight you can place on the targeted muscle during heavy lifts, such as the deadlift.
If your forearms fail before your back or legs, you are not working at the needed intensity to stimulate muscle growth where desired.
In these situations we look for accessories to help us with our grip such as lifting hooks vs lifting straps.
The Dark Iron Fitness leather suede lifting straps are high quality and long-lasting and creates an extremely strong grip around the bar when in use.
Stimulating muscle growth is the main reason why we go to the gym and if you aren’t able to do it because your grip strength is lacking then you won’t be making many gains at all.
Once you reach a certain level your grip and wrists will need reinforcement so that they can keep up with the heavy weight that your back and legs are able to support, enabling you to reach your PR.
So even though you are working hard to get that last massive rep in, you can’t actually achieve maximum overload on that targeted muscle without the proper wrist support.
You want to take some of the strain and load off your wrists to allow the intended muscle to reach that point where it is worked so much that you can no longer do that last rep.
Lifting Hooks vs Lifting Straps – Which One to Use?
When your wrists and grip begin to fail, this is when you need to consider using either weight lifting hooks vs weight lifting straps to help you reach your goals.
Weight-lifting hooks are basically a heavy-duty hook and loop strap that fits around your wrist and has a metal hook that is held in the palm of your hand.
They don’t completely eliminate the need for grip strength but weight lifting hooks have a firmer grasp on heavier weights, which means you can hold weight past failure.
Lifting straps are typically just a long strap made of cotton or leather suede like ours that fit around your wrist so you can wrap them around the bar.
Lifting straps allow you to lock your hand into place with the bar so that you can pull with your arms instead of having to rely on your grip.
with either option of lifting hooks vs lifting straps you will be able to keep going even if your hands aren’t cooperating.
They are helpful with the following lifts:
- Barbell rows
They can also be used with:
- Cable Rows
- Lat Pull-downs
Even when you are using lifting hooks you should not completely relax your grip. Relaxing your grip will make the hook and loop strap dig into your hands and wrists, which defeats the purpose of using the hooks in the first place.
There are various hook types to choose from but you want one that is well made, suits your lifting needs, and is comfortable for your wrist/hand size.
Consider the following options:
These fit better when used on dumbbells with convex bars. They can be uncomfortable to hold with straight bars.
these have solid J-shaped hooks, and if you find ones with good padding, can be comfortable to use.
With these the lifting hooks can be reversed. In the reverse position they are like gloves and provide grip support.
When they are flipped around they can be used as standard hooks.
All glove-hook style grips are reversible.
Sometimes standard lifting hooks can be reversed as well, making them useful for doing deadlifts with your hooks.
Adjustable hook position:
One of the most important features in a good weight lifting hook is the option for an adjustable hook position.
But only a few of the quality weight lifting hooks have a separate hook and loop strap that attaches the hook in place.
The hook and loop will adjust the hook so that it can be farther or closer to your wrist.
This feature is especially important if you have small hands or your hand and wrist size differ significantly–such as small wrists but big hands.
If that is the case the hook will be in the wrong position and not be useful to you.
The downside to an adjustable hook position is that the extra strap can make them bulkier.
Some lifters have found that certain lifting hooks will not stay above the wrist unless you have wrists that are 8” or more in diameter.
They can slide down your hand and hang around the top of your palm which would be very uncomfortable.
Although most weight lifting hooks say they are “fully adjustable,” it is best to look for hooks that actually come in sizes.
So if you have large or small wrists they will close more securely on your wrists. Those lifting hooks available in sizes will also adjust the hook position as well.
This way a size “small” will have the hook situated closer to the wrist strap, and with a size “large,” the hooks will be farther from the wrist.
Not all weight lifting hook manufacturers list their pull rating.
Try to find one that is rated for heavy weights, usually ones that will hold 600+ lbs.
Cheap lifting hooks can start warping and bending at 100 lbs. Never use one that is warped or out of shape, it can put strain on your wrists.
Just think, you could be underperforming with all the exercises listed on the first page if don’t have the necessary wrist support.
Wrist straps actually help so that you expend less needed energy holding the bar and you can now direct that extra push to your back and/or traps.
This is especially true with those who train for power and strength. Since beginner weightlifters will most likely not use a heavy enough weight to need the additional wrist support.
Related Article: The 5 Best Weightlifting Hooks Out On The Market Today
How to use Weight-lifting Straps?
Weight-lifting straps are strips of cloth with loops at one end. To use them you are basically attaching the weight to your wrists/hands:
- Put the end through the loop and place your hand in the circle formed by the strap.
- Put your wrists into the round openings.
- The strap should lay between your thumb and index finger.
- Place your less-coordinated hand on the bar. Wrap the strap around it starting under the bar and winding it back towards you.
- Now repeat with your other hand. Remember, you can do this with one hand only. That’s why you start with your less dominant hand.
- Make you wind the strap tightly since this is how you will be able to lift the bar with less grip strength.
Twisting the bar towards you will tighten the straps.
Here is a link to a video that shows how to use weight lifting straps.
For another visual guide of how to put on lifting straps, visit our friends over at GetStrength who have published this great article with clear instructions.
Use Lifting Straps or Lifting Hooks with Exercises Working Against Gravity
You can use lifting straps or lifting hooks with exercises where you are working against gravity. Or where the resistance is pulling away from you.
This includes all the exercises listed earlier with the weight lifting hooks, with the addition of upright rows.
They are not designed to use during pressing exercises.
The common sense approach is to use lifting straps when you need them.
If you don’t have grip issues with certain exercises, then there is no need to use them.
If you have grip issues during certain sets of that exercise then it’s a good idea to use them at that point.
Basically, you can use the weight lifting straps for an effective performance.
To perform pullups, curls, reverse flies, and lat pull downs, you can use the weight lifting straps.
Hooks are not good for these exercises because the hooks will not help your grip as much as the straps at certain angles.
There are products on the market that will address this problem.
Related Article: 6 of The Best Wrist Wraps for Weight Lifting and Powerlifting
Lifting Hooks vs Lifting Straps – The Differences Debated
There is also a greater variety of weight lifting straps and hooks available now.
Some are straps with a separate wrist band and vertical hanging strap.
There are also hybrid products such as Haulin’ Hooks, which has both a vertical strap and a hook.
You can use Reverse hooks. They wrap around the bar from the other side for exercises. This is where you pull downward from overhead.
Lifting straps are generally less expensive than lifting hooks.
However, they do take a while to get used to in terms of how quickly you can wrap them around your bar or dumbbell.
Some people find that practicing how to wrap the wrist strap around the bar can be helpful in terms of speeding up the amount of time needed.
Attaching a lifting hook can take about a second so it won’t pause or interrupt a set. Especially when you decide to switch to a hook during your heaviest set. Just because you realize that you need the additional support.
Many pro lifters believe that hooks offer more grip support than straps.
Straps often put weight on your wrist. But a good pair of weight lifting hooks can shift the weight from your wrist to the base of your hand.
Hooks will reduce the pressure on your wrists more so than straps.
They are also more comfortable to wear. People can use this who have missing fingers or do not have the full use of all their fingers.
Another benefit is, when you need to get a drink, no need to remove it.
We all can use a bit of help at the gym. And maybe trying to hit that personal record this week is possible. If you take advantage of the tools out there that can help make it happen.
Conclusion for Lifting Hooks vs Lifting Straps
Hopefully, this article is informative for you knowing the Pros and Cons of lifting hooks vs lifting straps.
Overall it really comes down to personal choice.
It may be best to get a pair of each: lifting hooks and lifting straps.
Then you can decide which one you like the best a return the ones you didn’t like
We hope you liked this content about lifting hooks vs liftings straps and we hope it answered some questions for you.
And if you’re looking for a high quality pair of lifting straps the definitely check out The Dark Iron Fitness Lifting Straps Here.