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Lifting Straps vs. Lifting Hooks: Which is Better?

  • 5 min read


by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

Are you tired of your grip holding you back during lifting sessions? Imagine pushing your limits without worrying about your hands slipping off the barbell. This is where lifting straps and lifting hooks come in, the ultimate solution for a secure hold and enhanced lifting performance.

But with various options available, how do you know which one is right for you?

In this article, we will discuss the difference between lifting straps and hooks and determine which one is the best for lifting.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program, making changes to your nutrition plan, or adding any supplements to your current regimen.

What Is a Lifting Strap?

At first glance, the difference between lifting straps and lifting hooks might seem difficult to understand. Yet, the contrast becomes clearer as one extends from the Velcro padding at the wrists.

Unlike the J-hooks seen on lifting hooks, lifting straps use materials like nylon, cotton, or leather. These elongated straps can wrap around the barbell multiple times, offering a wide range of versatility across various lifts such as deadlifts, “pull” variations, and certain Olympic weightlifting accessory exercises.

This versatility helps you choose the lifting style that suits you best.

You will discover a multitude of lifting straps, ranging from Olympic lifting straps, also known as closed-loop or lasso straps, to the increasingly popular figure 8 straps.

While lifting straps appears highly advantageous, there is a minor inconvenience to consider. They necessitate time for setup and wrapping around the barbell, which may deter beginners due to the perceived complexity.

What Is a Lifting Hook?

Lifting hooks, made from neoprene material, provide a comfortable fit for your hands. The wide, padded wrist wraps ensure additional comfort during your lifts.

Attached to these wraps are sturdy metal hooks strategically positioned to reduce the weight from your hands, providing great convenience. This transfer of weight from the wrists to the hooks not only helps you to lift heavier weights with remarkable ease but also assures a more secure and reliable lifting experience.

It ensures a proper fit, which is essential for the best performance. When donning lifting hooks, ensure a snug fit and position the metal hook in your palm facing forward.

With these hooks, lifting weights becomes notably easier and more reliable. Moreover, they improve your grip and protect your hands from potential tears, offering a safer and more effective lifting experience.

Lifting Grips vs. Lifting Straps

Now, let’s take a deeper look at the differences between them for certain functionalities.

1.     Grip

Lifting grips provide a tighter and slightly stronger grip, ideal for maintaining hold during high-repetition exercises in bodybuilding or intense fitness sets. They offer stability and support for extended sets, preventing slipping even during extended repetitions.

Similarly, lifting straps also assist with grip but may not maintain tightness throughout a prolonged set, requiring occasional readjustment to ensure optimal grip support. While effective, they may need occasional tightening during longer sets to maintain their effectiveness.

2.     Comfort

When it comes to comfort, lifting straps effortlessly outperform lifting hooks. Lifting straps offer superior padding and Velcro support, providing greater wrist comfort. The ergonomic design of the nylon material used in lifting straps prioritizes the lifter’s comfort.

In contrast, metal hooks may cause discomfort and are less palm-friendly. For those prioritizing comfort, lifting straps are the ideal choice.

3.     Safety

When choosing lifting hooks or lifting straps, prioritize safety by sourcing them from reputable suppliers known for using quality materials in their manufacturing process.

Additionally, the safety aspects of both lifting accessories across various exercises should be evaluated. Both lifting gears are generally considered safe as they offer a snug fit for users and evenly distribute weight without putting undue pressure on the wrist.

4.     Durability

The durability of lifting accessories correlates with their strength and ability to withstand weight. Lifting hooks typically support weights up to 300 pounds while maintaining effectiveness.

Similarly, lifting straps share the load, relieving pressure on the wrists. Neither accessory is prone to breakage nor causes wrist issues, ensuring safe usage.

Which One is Best?

Now that we’ve explored the ins and outs of lifting hooks and lifting straps, the ultimate question arises: which is superior? The answer isn’t black and white; it depends on your needs.

If your goal is to lift heavier weights during intense exercises that focus on specific muscle groups, lifting hooks are likely the best choice. On the other hand, if you aim to strengthen your grip while maintaining control over the bar during powerlifting, lifting straps may be more suitable.

Lifting straps offer versatility and are suitable for nearly every pulling exercise, but they may lack the added force provided by lifting hooks, which are essential for deadlifts, shrugs, and other exercises. Ultimately, the choice between these weightlifting accessories depends on individual needs and fitness goals.