The goal of most gym goers is to become stronger, more powerful, and able to lift more weight for more reps.
Having said that, one of the first things to fail when you start increasing the weight on compound movements such as the deadlift is your grip.
That’s because, for most people, the forearms are a lot weaker compared to the back and legs, and so while our bodies can lift the weight, our forearms often fail to do so.
That’s also why you will see many lifters in the gym using all kinds of different straps – figure 8, cotton, lasso, and many others.
Figure 8 straps are perfect for reducing the fatigue in the forearms and an excellent helper for those sessions where you want to go for higher reps.
With that said, in this particular article, we’re going to turn our attention to figure 8 straps specifically, and we’re going to try and help you understand how to use them and when they’re beneficial.
So, if you want to learn more, then keep on reading.
What are Figure 8 Straps?
Figure 8 straps are a type of lifting accessory that’s typically made of leather, canvas, or nylon. They have a loop on one end to place around the wrist and two loops on the other end that go around the barbell.
It’s usually used by powerlifters and weightlifters on movements that require pulling and targeting the muscles of the back.
Figure 8 straps are extremely helpful for heavy lifting sessions, where the athlete also wants to go for a higher rep count on exercises such as the deadlift or the clean.
Additionally, they provide extra support and stability for the wrists, thus reducing potential injuries.
The Proper Way to Use Figure 8 Straps
Unlike the standard straps, the figure 8 ones are infinity-shaped, and they loop around your wrists in a double fashion, helping eliminate possible slippage during an exercise due to a loss of grip.
They fasten to your wrists and help you complete heavy lifts, even when your forearms are screaming to take a break, and they put more emphasis on using your maximum arm strength instead of putting extra stress on the wrists and making the lift all about the grip.
Aside from reducing the stress in your hands, there are some other benefits to using figure 8 lifting straps instead of other types.
Thanks to the fact that they have double loops, the risk of them slipping and you having to readjust them mid-lift is non-existent, making them a far safer option.
Additionally, if you happen to get a pair that’s a bit too large for you, you can simply twist as much as you need until you get to the desired gap between your hands and the barbell.
To properly put on your figure 8 straps, you simply have to follow a few easy steps:
- Slip your hand through the first half of the strap.
- Then, loop the second end under the bar.
- After that, put your wrist through the second half and grab the bar.
- Repeat the same for the other hand and lift.
As you can see, the process is quick, simple, and easy to do, and it’s not difficult to learn at all. Having said that, try to find a way to use the straps that help your grip without actually stopping the blood flow to your hands – you don’t want to loop too tightly or too loosely, so you might need some time to find that perfect balance.
Are Figure 8 Straps Better than Regular Ones?
It’s hard to claim that one is better than the other definitively, but there are some key advantages that figure 8 straps provide.
The key benefits of figure 8 straps include:
- Extra support for the wrists, thus minimizing the chance of injury
- Grip-fatigue reduction due to the added support
- Helps an athlete utilize the strength of their arms instead of putting all the emphasis on the strength of the grip
- Enables lifters to reach muscle fatigue more efficiently
Most people who prefer figure 8 straps tend to do so because they feel more supportive and offer more protection to the wrists.
An area that gets particularly sensitive when you start adding more and more weight to exercises such as the deadlift.
Figure 8 straps are a great and even essential lifting accessory for all those of you who want to increase your strength and lift heavier without having to rely on your grip strength as much.
In comparison to the typical lifting straps, they offer more support and put even less stress on the muscles of the forearm.
They’re also terrific for all athletes who have had wrist injuries or suffer from chronic issues as they protect them and ensure you can continue training without risking further health problems.