Lifting straps are a great tool for people focusing on big lifts that require a lot of grip strength, like the deadlift. But like a lot of products with a simple design, straps haven’t changed much over time. What you see is what you get, and what you get at the most basic level is simply a length of durable cloth that you wrap around your wrist and then around the bar. It might seem like there’s no way to improve on something so simple.
Well, I think Rex, of Rex’s Grip, has done it. Rex’s Grip is a kind of lifting strap I’d never used before, and I have to tell you, it’s definitely a superior product over the basic strap design.
This strap design is quite different from the type you’re used to. It’s essentially a curved loop of woven cotton webbing with leather at the business end. The loop is about three times the diameter of my wrist, although they do come in varying sizes with a sizing chart available on Rex’s website. Inside the loop there is an elastic strap to help keep the strap from falling off your hand.
How Rex made the basic strap better and even simple with just a single-loop design is pretty brilliant. And not only is it simpler, it’s much easier to use than a basic lifting strap, and just as effective.
I often avoided the use of straps in the past, mostly because they were annoying to work with, and I had a strong enough grip that I could usually get away with it. Trying to find just the right placement on the bar and for my own comfort with the traditionally designed strap was an inconvenience that I would suffer only if I absolutely had to. As a result, a few of my lifts may have suffered.
Rex’s Grip is a different kind of strap. Although they work just as well, if not better than a standard strap, they are much simpler to use. Getting into the lift is quick and effortless, without time spent hunched over the bar fussing with the gear. Getting out of the lift is equally as easy, as you aren’t basically attached to the bar. Believe it or not, when you’re done you just open your hand and the strap releases. Of the greatest importance for me, adjusting the tightness of the strap was surprisingly easy. I am able to get the straps extremely tight with just a flick of the wrist, allowing me to tighten the straps on both hands, and not just the first one you put on.
I put “learning curve” in the cons section above, but really only because Rex himself said it. New lifters may have to learn how to use traditional straps to realize the benefit of Rex’s Grip over others. Very experienced lifters might be so used to traditional straps that they need to adjust to the different design, but that’s a big ‘might.’ For me, it took just a few minutes to get used to getting the straps onto my hands and tight around the bar, and then it felt like second nature, so I might have to disagree with Rex’s opinion on this matter.
Rex gives reviews of all the lifts you can use the straps for, but straps should generally be used only on the lifts you need them – where your grip might limit your progress – and even then only on the hardest sets where your grip might give out. Otherwise, let your grip strength do the work.
For people who do heavy basic barbell lifts, which should be the vast majority of us, using wraps on your tough sets is a great idea. Rex’s Grips are the best I’ve tried, combining ease of use and greater effectiveness than traditional straps. In my book, these are definitely worth the buy.
Rex’s Grips are available for $29.95 at RexsGrip.com.