At BarBend, we’ve been on a quest to find the best of the best in lifting straps. There are so many on the market it can be a daunting experience for a strength athlete trying to find their perfect strap.
What we continue to find through our multiple sweaty gym sessions is that different straps offer different benefits. A lot of what makes a strap so great is heavily dependent on an individual’s goals, wants, and needs.
When push comes to pull (pun intended), we’re strength athletes at the end of the day, just like you. We’re building a continuous list that not only finds the best straps, but highlights the best straps for different situations. Thus far, we’ve reviewed nearly a dozen straps ranging from all different styles, designs, and companies. These are our favorite so far:
- Best For Recreational Lifting: Harbinger Cotton Padded Strap
- Most Durable: IronMind Strong Enough Strap
- Most Versatile: Attitude Nation Single-Loop Strap
- Most Secure/For Deadlifts: Figure of 8 Lifting Strap
Whether you’re an Olympic weightlifting, a strongman competitor, powerlifter, or just a normal gym rat – this is your definitive best straps list.
Why Lifting Straps?
Lifting straps can be used for a variety of reasons in strength training by multiple types of athletes. The main reason for using a strap is to support grip. A strap enables an athlete to hold more weight than their normal grip can handle.
For a weightlifter, a strap is often used when performing heavier pulls and snatches. Powerlifters will usually utilize straps when they’re working to overload their muscles and nervous system, or for accessory work when their grip may be fatigued. Strongman style training will utilize straps in a similar manner to powerlifting. The end goals are usually to strengthen and overload the body when grip is fatigued.
Whether you’re a serious athlete or recreational lifter, straps can be a great tool to utilize in a well-thought out program. They’re a lifting accessory that doesn’t require a ton of gym bag space and can come in handy when work is present, but grip is not.
Three Main Types of Straps
There are three common types of straps and they include: Single-loop, Lasso single-loop, and figure 8. Each has different attributes that will benefit a strength athlete in different scenarios.
This strap is somewhat a jack of all trades, and you’ll typically see this strap in Globo gyms and in bodybuilding style training. This strap is highly versatile in its abilities, meaning it can be used for deadlifting, along with lifts like pull-ups and lat pull-downs. This style strap is great for newer lifters who want good bar security and are looking to perform maximal lifts.
The lasso strap is easy to use and comes in a ton of varieties to accommodate a lifter’s wants and needs. For example, if a lifter wants comfort, then the Harbinger Padded Cotton Strap would be a good fit. For a leather feel and preference, the Schiek Leather Strap would be a great fit. If a lifter desires a simple, minimalist option, then the Rogue Ohio Strap could be a good fit.
This strap, like the lasso, can be used for all styles of lifting. It’s a versatile option and is the easiest to strap in with. Although, it’s worth noting this style of strap offers the least amount of bar security. Those with weaker grips may experience some problems using this style strap.
While this strap is the least secure, it’s often considered the best for Olympic lifting. This is the best strap when you need a quick release in lifting – like in the snatch and clean & jerk. Straps like the Attitude Nation Single-Loop strap were designed by Olympic lifter Jon North for Olympic lifters.
This style strap is the least versatile, but most secure. The most well-known figure 8 strap is the Giant’s Pro Figure of 8. This strap is ideal when performing maximal pulling lifts such as the deadlift and other strongman type pulling.
This style strap doesn’t have a quick release, so it’s never recommend for power movements or occasions when dumping the bar may be required. These straps are often heavily made with a lot of material, as they’re designed for holding maximal loads.
Multiple Types of Material
There are multiple types of strap material. The most common three are cotton, leather, and nylon. Each strap material will have a different feeling to it. In most cases, material comes down to personal preference. Some materials will be harsher on the wrists as well, so for those with sensitive skin, material can be a big factor. A strap that uses a simple cotton like the Rogue Ohio Lifting Strap may be a little tougher on the wrist until they’re broken in.
In addition, every material will offer different benefits and attributes to your lifting. For example, if you need a strong strap, something like the IronMind Strong Enough Lifting Strap is made of 100% nylon and is designed to support heavy strongman lifting.
Cotton is the most commonly used form of material in a lifting strap. This material absorbs sweat best out of the three, and the thicker the cotton, the better the sweat absorption. Most cotton straps require a few lifts to break in, and through all of our strap reviews, the average cotton strap takes about 3-4 good sweaty gym sessions to break in.
Softer cottons like in the GoFit Cotton Lifting Strap took a little less time to break in, and this strap takes about 2-3 lifts to feel comfortable. It’s worth noting that the softer the material – while comfortable on the wrist – the more the strap seemed to stretch with heavy lifts.
In some cotton straps there’s added padding for comfort like the Harbinger Padded Cotton Lifting Straps. The added foam pad is utilized to take stress off the top of the wrist during heavy lifts. We found the added pad made a strap instantly more comfortable, but took away from some of the sweat absorption other cotton straps offer.
Nylon is another common form of strap material. This material generally offers a smooth feeling on the wrist, but still produces a little chafing when breaking in a strap. We noted that most nylon straps took about 4-5 workouts to truly break in.
Like cotton, there were different styles of nylon, some harsher on the skin than others. The Attitude Nation Pink Lasso Strap was a tougher Nylon, so the initial breaking in took a little longer than a softer style.
This style strap isn’t ideal for absorbing sweat; in fact, in our tests a majority of the nylon straps moved on the wrists when getting progressively more sweaty. Someone using this style strap for a WOD or any other style of high intensity training with lots of reps may experience difficulty with maintaining an optimal strap placement.
Most nylon straps are made for heavy lifting, as this material is generally stronger than standard cotton and leather. Nylon is less prone to stretching when force is applied to it, and outdoor equipment will often contain nylon because of its strength and durability. Some straps are made with nylon specifically for heavier lifting, such as strongman training, like the IronMind Strong Enough Lifting Strap.
This type of material is the least common of the three and is usually used due to personal preference. The feeling of leather on the skin is much different than the above two. Like cotton and nylon, leather comes in multiple forms and some are tougher on the skin than others. A softer leather, or what’s used in the Schiek Leather Lifting Strap takes less time to break in. The Schiek strap takes about 2-3 workouts to feel comfortable on the wrist.
When it comes to sweat, leather doesn’t absorb moisture well. In the middle of a sweaty workout, the leather straps we tried actually moved on the wrist and had to be tightened multiple times. One cool thing about leather is how it maintains shape when heavy loads are placed on it – it snaps back and barely shows stress.
Which Strap Is Most Secure?
The Giant’s Pro Figure of 8 strap is the most secure strap. Different lifting straps come with different levels of bar security; the Figure of 8 strap is generally only good for deadlifts and strongman-style pulling and cannot be used for Olympic weightlifting movements.
To test security we perform multiple tests to assess a strap’s ability to keep a barbell secure. Both fast and slow tempo movements are used and we watch how close the bar stays in contact with the body, even when grip begins to fail.
The power clean and snatch are our exercises of choice when testing fast tempo movements. When it comes to slower tempo movements, the barbell deadlift and row are our preferred exercises. In regards to bar security, there are straps made specifically for certain lifts and this was clearly evident when it came to pure security tests.
The Giant’s Pro Figure of 8 Lifting Strap is the best choice for pure bar security. This strap is designed specifically for deadlifting and strongman type pulling. In fact, Eddie Hall used these straps when performing his 500kg deadlift in June of 2016. With a double wrist wrap, you can physically let go of the bar and these straps won’t budge.
IronMind’s Strong-Enough Lifting Strap is also a great option when it comes to bar security. This strap is designed for strongman AND recreational style lifting, and was actually the 2010 World’s Strongest Man competition strap of choice. This strap is made of 100% nylon and has double stitching to ensure a secure bar.
The Schiek Leather Lifting Strap is another secure option worth a mention. The leather wraps around knurling really well and holds the bar securely, even when grip was beginning to fail. In addition, since the leather didn’t stretch, you can wrap the bar as close as you want with ease.
Which Strap Is Most Versatile?
The most versatile strap we’ve tested is the Attitude Nation Single-Loop Lifting Strap. A strap’s versatility is a big deal for a lifter who’s performing dynamic workouts.
In a lot of cases lifters need a strap for both power and strength movements. A versatile strap supports a seamless transition between exercises, while also keeping a lifter safe. A strap like the Giant’s Pro Figure of 8 isn’t versatile and can actually put a lifter’s safety in danger if not used correctly.
We test straps through a battery of power and strength movements and look for a few signs that deem a strap versatile. First, we look for the ease of use, we test how easy a strap is to remove and secure to a bar. Second, we look at straps and how they effect movement mechanics, a versatile won’t inhibit proper movement.
The most versatile strap we’ve tested, as mentioned above, was the Attitude Nation Single-Loop Lifting Strap. This strap doesn’t fully wrap around the wrist, which makes it easy to use when transitioning between lifts. Since the strap doesn’t fully wrap the wrist, it also offers a quick release to dump movements like snatches and cleans. Whether it was a strength or power movement, this strap held the bar tight and didn’t inhibit movement mechanics.
The Harbinger Cotton Padded Lifting Strap is another versatile option. While it’s a lasso strap and doesn’t have the quick release option like the single-loop; it’s relatively easy to unstrap and strap into lifts. Also, the added pad makes it easy to use and feel comfortable on the wrist with multiple exercises. It didn’t cause movement mechanics to suffer either.
The Rogue Ohio Lifting Strap is also a good fit when it comes to versatility. This strap like the Harbinger model is a lasso style, but without the pad. The lack of pad made this a great simple, minimalist strap that had no extra frills to get in the way of you and lifts. It supported proper movement mechanics and was relatively easy to unstrap and strap in with.
Which Strap Is Most Durable?
The IronMind Strong Enough Strap displayed the best signs of durability. Straps come in a variety of prices. Factors that influence price depend on the brand, design, and material, which often correlate to durability.
When testing straps we looked for multiple aspects that would resemble early wear and tear. Things like material fraying, a strap stretching, and even ripping under heavy pressure were all analyzed and accounted for.
IronMind’s Strong Enough Lifting Strap is made of nylon and has double stitching. Nylon is stronger than cotton and leather. IronMind specifically makes this strap for strongman style training. They also utilize double stitching on the loop, which most lasso straps don’t have. The double stitching and Nylon in their straps is inspired by a cotton strap that they witnessed rip during a strongman competition.
The Attitude Nation Pink Lifting Strap was also a durable nylon option. The edge is merrowed to prevent fraying and ripping as well. Something to point out though that we noticed was the durability of the logo. Every Attitude Nation logo is hand stitched, and we did see early wear and tear of this. Although, the strap held up great, so if the logo doesn’t bother you, then the Attitude Nation strap is a great pick for durability.
The Giant’s Pro Figure of 8 is a cotton strap, but is also a durable strap. This strap is designed specifically for deadlifting and heavy pulls. At the intersection when the straps cross over to create an eight, you can see extra stitching to ensure durability. In addition, this strap is made of a heavy canvas cotton, which is the cotton used most often in outdoor equipment.
Best Strap For Weightlifting
The Attitude Nation Single-Loop strap is our pick as the best option for weightlifting. This strap has the quick release feature, which is preferred for dumping the bar when a movement may not go perfectly. When catching a bar at the bottom of the snatch (or clean, though fewer lifters use straps for those) and failing, a quick release is the safest option for a lifter. Also, movements like the snatch require a fast release when a bar is overhead and balance is lost.
Lasso styled straps can be used for weightlifting too, although they don’t release as quickly. Of the lasso straps, the cotton straps released quicker than leather. The Harbinger, Rogue, and GoFit Cotton straps are are all suitable options. We recommend only using lasso straps for weightlifting when single-loop are either unavailable or you’re working with a weight that won’t require dumping.
Best Strap For Powerlifting
The Giant’s Pro Figure of 8 is the best strap for powerlifting (ONLY deadlifting) if you’re going for maximal security and weight. This strap holds the bar closest and is the most secure. When it comes to powerlifting specifically, we looked for a strap that held the bar best during pulling movements. In some deadlift style training, a lifter works to overload the back muscles with straps to prep the nervous system. The Figure of 8 strap allows you to keep the bar secure in a majority of pulling movements, with the most ease on grip.
IronMind’s Strong Enough Lifting Strap is also a great choice for powerlifting. This strap is nylon and will hold up to heavy pulling weight very well. The nylon didn’t stretch at all when put under pressure and the bar remained close without having to squeeze or re-work a grip.
Best Strap For Strongman
While it’s hard to make a definitive call in this category, we have to go with the IronMind Strong Enough Lifting Strap. There’s something about the length and nylon that create a great sense of security. In addition, this strap is versatile, so it will be useful in multiple strongman style events.
The Attitude Nation Pink Lifting Strap is also a great pick for women and those with smaller wrists. This strap is a little shorter in length, but offers versatile nylon, much like the IronMind strap. The stitching is also well-done on this strap, so there won’t be early ripping from heavy stress.
Best Strap For Deadlifting
The Giant’s Pro Figure of 8 steals the show when it comes to using a strap for deadlifts specifically. At stated above, this strap is designed specifically for deadlifting and strongman style pulling. The strap is made with heavy layered canvas cotton, along with double stitching throughout to handle heavy weight.
What really proves this strap as the ultimate deadlift strap is the double-looping around the wrist. This design allows you to feel incredibly secure to the bar and gives no chance of slippage due to grip. You can physically let go of the bar and still remain tied to your lift, and this is what makes the Figure of 8 our favorite choice for deadlifting.
Best Strap For Bodybuilding and Recreational Lifting
In a lot of cases strength athletes need a simple, easy strap to use for a variety of movements. The Harbinger Cotton Padded Lifting Strap is a great fit for the lifter who needs a strap for routine use in the weight room. It provides versatility and can be used with both barbells and dumbbells. Also, the added cotton pad provides comfort, so whether you’re lifting slow or fast, the wrist’s skin doesn’t get torn up.
The Rogue Ohio Lifting Strap is also a great pick for bodybuilders and recreational lifters. This strap offers a minimalist versatile lasso design. It’s a great pick for lifters who bring straps to the gym with them, for “just in case,” instances. Whether you’re using them frequently or every once in a while, this simple strap is super portable and effective.
The Schiek Leather Lifting Straps feels great on the wrists and is a good fit for bodybuilders. These straps are promoted by Jay Cutler on their package and it’s easy to understand why. They’re a softer leather so they feel great, held weight securely, and are versatile. In addition, some bodybuilding style training doesn’t require a ton of sweat, which is good for this type of material with strap.
Best Strap For Value and Pricing
The GoFit Cotton Lifting Strap is the best strap for your money. The pricing for this lasso style strap starts around $4.99 and is the best priced strap we reviewed. This strap held up well and is a good fit for the recreational lifter. Also, this strap would serve well for those who are lifting on a budget.
The Harbinger Cotton Padded Lifting Strap is also a fairly price strap. The pricing for this strap starts around $8.99, which is very fair since it has an added cotton pad. It’s a versatile lasso styled strap that held up well in both power and strength oriented movements.
With so many styles of strap on the market, finding the perfect fit can be a complex task. The best way to start when selecting your perfect strap is to consider your training styles, goals, and personal preferences. Also, factors such as bar security, value, and versatility can be accounted for in pursuit of your perfect lifting strap.