Bodybuilding is not easy and it can come at some severe risk if you aren’t careful. This means you need to know your limits, slowly work your way up to heavier weights, and use the right equipment. In the case of lifting, you want to have either wrist straps, wrist wraps, or wrist hooks to protect your wrists from injury.
In this article, we are going to go into detail about each of these products, the pros and cons of using them, and which option is your best choice.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What Are Wrist Straps?
Wrist straps are designed to allow bodybuilders to be able to hold more weight than they normally could.
These wraps are generally used made from leather or a very strong cloth material that has a strong, stitched-in loop at one end that goes around your wrist.
The loose end of the strap will then be wrapped around the barbell so that it “locks” the bar into your hands (the loose end should be tucked under your fingers when completely wrapped around the bar).
Pros Of Using Wrist Straps
Wrist straps were not designed for powerlifting and many will tell you that by using the straps, you are cheating because you’re relying on the strap to help with the lift. However, you can use straps to help you train for competition. By using the strap, you will be able to lift more weight, which will carry over to your main lifts.
The straps can be used in landmine exercises where you have to hold the collar of a barbell, which is usually thicker than the bar itself. The straps will allow you use a heavier weight that’ll actually prove to be a challenge for the muscles you’re working on.
Cons Of Using Wrist Straps
Working with weights like barbells or dumbbells is supposed to help build grip strength, which is often overlooked when training.
When you are gripping the weight, you have to increase the tension in your body so that you can maintain form while increasing strength you get from the exercise. If you’re wearing a strap because you can’t grip a heavier weight, you are just hiding the weakness rather than trying to improve on it.
What Are Wrist Wraps?
Wrist wraps are not like the wrist strap because you aren’t using it to help you lift. Instead, these wraps are designed to help provide your wrists with extra support while you are lifting.
They will keep the extensors and flexors of the wrist secure so they don’t bend or curve while lifting. Keep in mind, however, that while using wrist wraps are based on personal preference, you don’t want to rely on them.
Pros Of Using Wrist Wraps
One of the benefits of using wraps is that if you’re concerned that your wrists aren’t strong enough to last a whole workout, you can use these wraps for the needed support.
You can increase the amount of support you give your wrists by wrapping them around your wrist tighter (but not so tightly it cuts off circulation!).
Since you can provide added support to your wrists, you’ll be able to lift heavier and longer than without.
Of course, we want to point out again that some body builders are able to lift incredible weights without the use of wraps.
Cons Of Wrist Wraps
Relying in wrist wraps too much can cause the extensors and flexors in the wrist to become weak, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen. When you lose the flexibility in these muscles, you’ll have a really hard time trying to get the power you need to bench press.
Even if you’re coming off from an injury and you’re itching to get back into the gym, you don’t want to wrap up your wrists and workout because you could re-injure yourself. If you’re having troubles with flexibility or strength, there are exercises that specifically target the muscles in the wrist to help with those issues.
What Are Wrist Hooks?
Wrist hooks, also called a lifting hook, are super strong Velcro straps that go around your wrist and there is a metal hook that is positioned in your hand.
The hooks are going to reduce the pressure on your wrists and put it onto the base of your hand. Some people find that the hook can give you more support than a strap and they are good tools for lifting heavy weights when your grip isn’t 100%.
Pros Of Wrist Hooks
There are a variety of hooks available and you can choose the right one for your needs. You can even find some strap hybrids that will have a lifting hooks that you can adjust the hook position. Some people say you can get a better grip with a hook, partially because the hook removes more pressure from the wrist than other products.
Cons Of Wrist Hooks
Choosing to use lifting hooks will limit the exercises you can do. You won’t be able to do pullups, curls, lat pull downs and reverse flies with hooks because they won’t allow you to get the necessary angle while wearing the hook. Plus, hooks tend to be more expensive than the strap or even the wrap.
Whether you are trying to decide wraps, straps or hooks, there’s no denying that these pieces of equipment can be a great addition to your workout gear.
They can provide you with support, take pressure off your wrists, and even help you increase your numbers while training. Although you may not be able to use them during competitions, the strength you’ve gained while training will carry over to your main lifts.