One of the most common mistake that I see people performing in the gym is the use of wrist straps. Wrist straps are beneficial in increasing your grip strength when doing any pulling movement using barbells or dumbbells.
As an ex Olympic lifter, we performed many pulling exercises for reps from blocks or from the hang. You need wrist straps so you don’t have to worry about your grip and focus on the lift instead. It is widely accepted that using wrist straps can increase your pull by about 25 pounds which is significant.
There are several combinations between putting them on and wrapping it around the bar that results in using the straps incorrectly. There is only one correct way in putting them on and wrapping them around the bar.
The following pics and YouTube video shows what I mean.
First, putting them on. The correct way is to make sure that the point or end of the straps are pointing inward when you have the straps around your wrist. The incorrect way is to have the points or end of the straps pointing outward. I will explain why pointing outward is incorrect later on.
Once you have the wrist straps on correctly, the next step is how to wrap it around the bar or dumbbell. The correct technique not matter what bar you are grabbing is to put the wrap UNDER the bar and your hand OVER the bar. There is NO OTHER WAY that is effective.
The reason is because when you grab a bar with no straps and start to pull, the bar due to gravity, will start trying to rotate out of your hands. Think of it as the bar trying to pry your fingers open.
When you have straps on correctly, while the bar is trying to pry your fingers open (your hands are OVER the bar), the strap is fighting against this rotation because it is wrapped UNDER the bar. This OVER and UNDER battle stabilizes the bar from going anywhere.
In addition, the importance of having the ends of the straps pointing inward is because when you start wrapping the strap around the bar, it naturally wraps inward towards the center allowing your hands to totally grasp the entire strap wrapped around the bar.
If the straps were pointing outward, and you still put the straps under the bar correctly, it is not effective because the strap will wrap away from the center and your hands will hardly have any grip on the strap.
Another way that straps are wrapped incorrectly, and this is regardless if you have them on right or wrong, it by placing the straps OVER the bar along with your hand OVER the bar. For the reasons cited above where you want the bar rotation away from your fingers to be countered by the straps because it is under the bar, when both the hands and straps are placed over the bar, there is nothing to counter it. This incorrect method is totally worthless.
This video depicts what I am explaining.