Q: I have a question about straps… Before I go up any further in weight, I try to perfect my form so that I can really handle the weights and get out all I can. I’m now up to 250 on my deadlifts and my grip can’t handle more than 3 reps, though I can! I’m just hesitant to use straps because then I’ll always need them. Straps or no straps, guys, what do you think?
A: Okay, we’re actually pretty happy you asked us this, because it addresses something we hear as a theme fairly often and it makes no sense to us! First off, training aids, like belts, straps, wraps, etc.. were created to “assist” in the lifting process. We think it’s the inherent macho of bodybuilding that causes people to eschew their use. But really, think about it… You say, “I don’t want to use training aids as a crutch” to get to 300 lbs. But we ask you this: How can you lift 300 pounds without a training aid? One hand washes the other. The misconception that training aids are a crutch is ridiculous. Sure, if you used them all the time, maybe you could claim that you were using them as a crutch. But when you wrap your legs prior to a squat that is DAMN heavy, are you crutching it, or are you merely insuring that you do not blow out a knee? Sure, training as far as you can without a wrap, strap or belt is great, but sometimes, it’s fool-hearty to think that you don’t need anything to help you out. Why take a chance of a knee collapsing or a wrist failing you and you dropping a bar on your forehead or windpipe, or shins? It doesn’t make any sense. We ask, Why hold back your muscles from progressing because you have some macho hang-up about using accouterments? These rigid beliefs and myths only serve to hurt us. What you can try if you’re dead set against using straps until the last possible minute is to use a different grip, such as an “alternating grip” or strengthen the grip you have now. Use static grippers, static holds, or hang as long as you can from the chin bar and keep topping the bar over with your hands and holding your wrists as tight as possible. This will all help, but you can relent and use a training aid if it means you’ll add more mass to your frame. We just think it’s ironic that people “cheat” by taking AAS, but call using straps “cheating”.