Most guys who work out at the gym want to get stronger, bigger, fuller muscles, that’s a fact. But the journey to this summit isn’t always plain sailing. To get bigger, you need to lift heavier and to lift heavier you rely on having healthy joints and well developed connective tissues.
For example it’s a well known fact that muscles get stronger and grow much faster than the tendons and ligaments that connect muscles to bone and joints to joints. These structures are not as quick to strengthen and this can lead to inflammation and pain in the joints.
Unfortunately it’s just a matter of waiting for the inflamed areas to recover before you push on further, or masking the pain and discomfort with painkillers etc.
However there is another area where many guys struggle to make any gains and this is the forearms or more specifically grip strength. This is where weight lifting straps can be a big help to progress.
But can using weight lifting straps lead to stronger muscles?
The answer to this is both yes and no!
If we take the dead lift as an example to answer this question. The main muscles worked are the latisimus dorsi, trapezius, hamstrings and quadriceps. The weak link in all this is the forearms because they are a comparatively small muscle group compared to any of the above.
If you want to fatigue any or all of above large muscles but your forearms aren’t strong enough to hold the weight for long enough then this won’t happen. So the solution is to use lifting straps to overcome the problem.
This means that we have eliminated the weak link – the forearms, but they aren’t going to get stronger as the straps are doing their job instead now. So the forearms will not get stronger by using weight lifting straps.
But will other muscles get stronger?
The answer to this is a definite ‘YES.’ In an ideal world you’d be able to manage without them, but if you want to make any real progress and keep racking up the weights on your big exercises that rely on pulling movements then removing the weakest link by using straps is always going to make a big difference to your strength.
Another great thing about using lifting straps is that they can take away the burning pain and painful pumped up feeling you often get in your forearms when you’ve been doing heavy pulling exercises back to back.
Let’s say in one of your workouts you combine wide chin ups, single arm rows, dead lifts and shrugs together. This is a lot of work for your forearms especially when you consider the weights you’ll be using on some of the above. These are mass building exercises and you will need to use heavy weights. Without some assistance it’s inevitable that the forearms would give up long before any of the other muscles you were actually trying to hit.
So the answer to the question is that weight lifting straps won’t help you to develop stronger forearms but it will definitely help you build bigger, stronger larger muscle groups when doing any pulling movements.