Any time I do any kind of equipment review, including this one for lifting straps, the first thing I do is ask all my friends.
After 20 years in Strength and Conditioning, I’m pretty fortunate that many of those friends are Head Strength Coaches everywhere from high schools to the NFL. We all love to lift and we’ve all had access to an insane amount of equipment over the years.
Why am I telling you this? What does that have to do with lifting straps?
Here’s why. When I ask around there is normally a pretty strong consensus on what it the best barbell, best plates, etc. However, when I asked what they thought were the best lifting straps, EVERYONE was giving me a different one as their favorite.
So I did what any rational person would do – I bought all of them.
I’ve been trying each lifting strap out over the past couple of months, comparing and contrasting each one. Now I see why everyone has a different opinion. Each lifting strap has its own strengths and weaknesses so depending on what you’re going to use them for, which one you think is the best will differ.
The good news is you don’t need to go out and buy half a dozen lifting straps to figure out which one will work best for you. I’m going to go through each one and tell you what I liked and what I didn’t about each one and ultimately which strap I chose as my favorite.
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Let’s get on to the reviews now, shall we?
Lifting Straps Review
|IronMind Sew Easy Straps||Closed Loop||21 1/4″ long, 1 1/2″ wide||Check Amazon for Pricing|
|IronMind Short and Sweet Straps||Open Loop||18″ long, 1 1/2″ wide||Check Iron Mind for Pricing|
|Cal Strength Lifting Straps||Closed Loop||Dimensions||Check Cal Strength for Pricing|
|Harbinger Lasso Straps||Lasso||21″ long, 1 1/2″ wide||Check Academy Sports for Pricing|
|Spud Inc Olympic Straps||Closed Loop||10″ long**, 1″ wide||Check Spud Inc for Pricing|
|Rogue Olympic Lifting Straps||Closed Loop||10″ long**, 1 1/2″ wide||Check Rogue for Pricing|
|Serious Steel Fitness||Figure 8||70cm, 1 1/2″ wide||Check Amazon for Pricing|
The one thing you will not see me discuss in these reviews is price.
Here’s why. A good pair of straps is going to last you years. All these lifting straps ranged in price between $10 and $20.
If you’re really worried about saving, literally a dollar or two, on a piece of equipment that you’re going to carry with you for a long time then these reviews probably aren’t for you.
IronMind Sew Easy Straps
Initially, these Sew Easy lifting straps from Iron Mind seemed like way too much material. They felt bulky and too stiff trying to tighten down on the bar. I almost tossed these to the side after two sets. That’s how much I didn’t care for them straight out of the box.
However, there is a reason why they feel so bulky, especially right at first. They are a heavy-duty nylon lifting strap that is double stitched at the ends to create a closed loop.
I wanted to give them a fair shake though, so I used them for a few more sessions. That’s when these lifting straps started growing on me. Once I started to break them in and they started to take shape, I started really loving them.
The material is super grippy. Once you get your loop through and twist tight you really feel locked into the bar. Even on higher reps sets, I never felt the grip on the bar budge at all.
They also don’t drive the inside of my hand into the bar when I’m gripped out wide for snatches. Maybe it’s just me, but lifting straps tend to get way tighter towards the inside when I snatch grip and it’s borderline painful. These straps stay evenly distributed.
For what it’s worth, after testing out each strap, the Sew Easy Straps from IronMind are the ones I’ll be sticking with going forward.
Update: I’ve been using these Sew Easy Straps now for over a year. I’m still loving them. They are, by far, the most durable lifting straps I’ve ever used. If you specifically need a pair of Olympic lifting straps then I can’t recommend these enough.
IronMind Short and Sweet Straps
These are the only open loop straps that I tested out. Open loop straps are essentially just two nylon straps. They are not sewn onto themselves to create a loop or have an eyelet for looping the strap through like lasso lifting straps.
It’s up to the lifter to get the strap around your wrist, around the bar and then be able to create a tight grip on the bar.
The learning curve associated with an open loop strap and how I’m not a huge fan of them personally. However, if you like open loop straps, then the Short and Sweet Straps from IronMind are an excellent option.
They are made of the same high quality material that the Sew Easy Straps are. It’s a thick, heavy-duty nylon material. I could understand if some argued that the material is almost too bulky, but for me, they’re perfect.
If you’re already familiar with other straps and want to try something more advanced – give these IronMind Short and Sweet Straps a try.
Cal Strength Lifting Straps
My initial impression of the Cal Strength lifting straps was overwhelmingly positive. The straps are shorter and super thin. While thin, they didn’t feel cheap – I think these straps would hold up for a long time.
I was trying these straps after using the much bulkier IronMind straps so the difference in thickness was even more striking.
My love didn’t last though. The main issue that I kept having is the strap itself didn’t feel super grippy to the bar. When I would twist to tighten down to get a really secure grip, the strap seemed to want to slide and loosen back up.
I think this is by design though and a personal preference kind of thing. They mention right on their website that these lifting straps are designed to be super thin and give an enhanced bar feel and connection.
If you want a pair of straps that are super thin, yet durable and you’re just looking for a little extra grip to protect your hands then these will do the job. However, if you want something that’s really going lock you in on the bar I would recommend going with something else.
Harbinger Lasso Straps
I only included one Lasso strap in these reviews and there is a reason for that. These are also the only pair of padding lifting straps on the lift (the inside of the strap has neoprene padding which keeps the strap from digging into your wrist).
Most lifters are very picky when it comes to the strap they use for technical lifts like snatches. For those lifts, the majority of lifters will opt for an open or closed loop strap. However, if you just need extra grip for heavy lifts like shrugs and rows, almost any lasso strap will work just fine.
The Harbinger Padded Cotton Lifting Strap is a solid lasso strap and considering you can get a pair from an Academy Sports as well as other big box chains, it’s pretty easy to pick up a pair.
So if you’re just looking for a simple pair of straps to help your grip when doing heavy rowing exercises or deadlifts, the Harbinger Straps are a great choice.
Spud Inc Olympic Straps
Easily the most rugged of the group. Only an inch wide, these Spud Olympic Lifting Straps are not as wide as the others, but they make up for that in thickness. They give off the feeling of being completely indestructible. The fit was good and “grippy-ness” felt good as well.
What I didn’t like: I did find myself wanting that extra half-inch of width around the wrist that the other lifting straps offered. Between the strap being thinner and super stiff, the strap doesn’t feel like it molds to the wrist how I’d like it to.
Maybe this can be broken in over time, but these straps don’t give off the impression they do much breaking in (which is a great thing if you like how they feel out of the box).
If you want a strap that is not as wide (may be good for someone with thinner wrists), but tough as nails – this may be your strap. Wasn’t my favorite, but I can definitely understand why they were recommended to me.
They are super high quality, very well made set of lifting straps. My issues with the Spud Straps fell more into the personal preference category.
Rogue Olympic Lifting Straps
The first thing I appreciated about the Rogue Straps right away is they are packaged folded over. This gives them an immediate curve in the material that makes it easier to work the lifting straps around the bar straight out of the package.
They are made from durable cotton webbing with a reinforced sewn edge to prevent fraying.
Overall, the Rogue Straps felt like the ‘happy medium’ lifting strap.
They’re not the thinnest, widest, bulkiest, stiffest, longest, shortest, etc. They seem to fall right in the middle of almost every category. It’s the kind of strap that everyone may not love, but almost no one is probably going to hate.
If you’re not exactly sure what you want out of a closed loop strap, these Rogue Straps may be a good option to start with. Chances are you’re going to be able to use them even if they’re not perfect for you.
After getting a feel for these you may get a sense of what you really want and then can make your decision.
Serious Steel Figure 8 Lifting Straps
To be honest, I had never really used Figure 8 lifting straps before doing this review. But, I wanted to get a pair so I could try them out for myself.
I called up my buddy who is a competitive powerlifter (has pulled over 800 pounds!) and he recommended these Serious Steel Figure 8 lifting straps.
I can now see why, first, he recommended these as his best lifting straps and, two, why powerlifters love Figure 8 straps.
These straps from Serious Steel are THICK. I seriously think you could tow a truck with these straps, they are that heavy-duty. The stitching is almost overkill but in a good way.
So now, combine that with the way Figure 8 straps work. They loop around the bar and loop around your wrists on both sides.
This takes grip almost completely out of the equation – you’re locked into the bar whether you like it or not. Either the strap is going to break or your arm is going to fall off and after using these straps a few times I think my arm would go first.
If you’re a powerlifter or getting into powerlifting, I would highly recommend these straps for your deadlifts and I think they work great for shrugs too.
Lifting Straps FAQ
I’m sure there are some reading this that have never used straps before and aren’t quite sure what they’re for and if they should use them. I’m going to try to briefly answer these questions so you can have an understanding if you need lifting straps and what straps might be best for you.
Lifting Straps vs Wrist Wraps
I have to start here because it is one of my biggest pet peeves. There are websites that you can go to right this second that are giving out their “best lifting straps” reviews and include wraps within these reviews. Obviously, they have no clue what they’re talking about.
Lifting straps go around your wrist and then around the bar, essentially hooking your hand to the bar. This helps to give you a tighter grip on the bar to allow you to move heavier weights and helps reduce wear and tear to your hands if you do a lot of pulling movements.
Wrist wraps go around your wrist and give your wrist support and added stability for pressing movements like bench press and shoulder press. They are generally thicker and do not go around the bar.
What are Lifting Straps Used For?
When you start to lift heavier and heavier weights, you may start to run into an issue where your grip becomes the limiting factor in your lifts. This is common in shrugs, heavy deadlifts and heavy rowing exercises.
Lifting straps essentially attach your hands to the bar and dramatically increases your grip strength.
Does this mean you should always use lifting straps? No. Increasing your grip strength is important and if you rely on straps too often it will weaken your grip strength and make the deficiency even worse. However, for your heaviest sets on occasion, they can be a huge help.
The other reason lifters turn to straps is to save their hands if they do a high volume of pulling movements. Typically this is common among Olympic lifters.
Personally, I never have an issue with grip (I hook grip), but on training weeks that involve a lot of snatches, cleans, pulls, etc – my hands can get really torn up. Using lifting straps can take some of the wear and tear off your hands.
The Different Types of Lifting Straps
There are three different types of lifting straps (you could actually argue four, I’ll explain in a minute).
Closed Loop Weightlifting Straps
Also known as short straps, quick release straps, or even single loop straps – these straps are mainly used for Olympic lifting.
The shorter strap gives the lifter the ability to let go and “un-attach” themselves from the bar quickly and easily. This is critical for safety if you need to bail on a lift.
They are called closed loop because the strap consists of a single piece of material that loops around to itself and is stitched together creating a loop. That loop then goes around your wrist and the excess is then wrapped around the bar.
The “fourth” kind of strap if you will is an Open Loop Strap. It’s literally just a strap that you then use in the same fashion as a closed loop, but it is not stitched together at the end.
If you’ve never used an open loop strap before, it’s a completely different experience. As opposed to a lasso or closed loop that has the structure for you to lock your hand into the bar – an open loop is, well, basically just a piece of nylon.
Being able to get a strap around your wrist, around the bar, looped back through using only one hand is not something you’re going to nail on the first try.
If you’re new to lifting straps, I’d highly recommend going with one of the other lifting straps here. An open loop is most likely to leave you frustrated and never touching them after the first few tries.
On the other hand, while I’m not a huge fan of open loop lifting straps, a few of my friends swear by them. They love how an open loop allows them to control exactly how the strap fits on the wrist and the tightness of the fit.
Lasso Lifting Straps
This is overall the most common type of lifting strap. If you’ve noticed someone at your local gym using straps, it’s probably been this type of strap.
Lasso straps have a very small closed loop that the end of the strap itself fits through. This creates a “hole” for your wrist. The excess strap is then wrapped around the bar.
These are absolutely the best straps for a beginner. If you’ve never used lifting straps, the closed loop (and especially the open loop) straps can be awkward and even a little intimidating. The lasso design is the simplest to learn how to use.
Also, saying they’re great for beginners doesn’t mean that they still aren’t great for advanced lifters as well. If you need a pair of lifting straps for deadlifts, shrugs, rows, etc a good pair of lasso straps work perfectly.
Figure 8 Lifting Straps
Figure 8 lifting straps are basically a double closed loop. They are touted as being even stronger than other versions of lifting straps and honestly I’ve had a hard time arguing that point.
These straps work by putting your hand through one loop, wrapping the strap around the bar, then putting your hand through the opposite loop.
This, in effect, takes your grip strength almost completely out of the equation and hangs the bar directly off your wrist.
If you lifting really heavy weights (deadlifts and shrugs being the main two examples here) and don’t want any grip limitations playing a factor, these are the best lifting straps for your needs.
No Leather Lifting Straps?
You may or may not have noticed that I have included zero leather straps in my reviews. There is a reason for that.
I went vegan in 2018 and so leather lifting straps are not exactly an option that I have any interest in trying out.
One Last Thing About Straps
I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the fact that if you’ve never used lifting straps before, they can be very awkward at first. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up on them after a couple of tries.
You have to give yourself time to get used to using straps and you have to give the strap time to get broken in. Be patient.
If you want some tips and advice on how to use Olympic lifting straps, I did an entire article that will help get you started getting familiar with using lifting straps.
A good pair of lifting straps is something that is a critical component of a serious lifter’s gym bag. What kind of straps you use will ultimately depend on what you want to use them for and your personal preference.
Hopefully, this breakdown of the best lifting straps that were all recommended to me by strength coaches and experienced lifters helps you navigate what straps to try out.