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Should Grip Supports Be Used - Yes Or No?

Jedd Johnson

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Hi There. I'm Jedd Johnson from DieselCrew.com. I’ve been asked several times – Should You use Straps? Should You Use Wraps? Should you use Grip aids in your training if you are interested in developing a strong and powerful grip?


In my opinion, I say go ahead and use them because every time I train, I hit my grip. So if I use some wraps or straps when I hit some heavy pulls, shrugs or other lifts, I am not losing that much in the way of grip training because I am still going to hit some thick bar, grippers, or tear some cards later on and that is going to specifically target my grip.

I do not worry about losing support grip strength by using grip supports on pulls and shrugs because I still end up hitting support later on in my training session at least twice a week in my specific grip training.

So, as long as you include some form of consistent grip-specific training methods in your training or your athletes’ program, please feel free to incorporate straps and wraps in your heavy pull training.

Remember, not wrapping on a heavy pull can cause you to sacrifice the load placed on your lower back, hammies, erectors or traps. You don’t want to sacrifice those parts for your grip training.

Now, obviously you have to draw the line somewhere. If you are wrapping up to hit pull-ups or side pulls with a dumbbell because your hands are too weak to hold on, then you have a problem. Don’t become too dependent on the grip aids! Grip aids should not be needed for isolation movements unless you have some sort of hand, wrist or forearm injury. Don’t be a grip aid addict!



Another reason to wrap on heavy pulls and shrugs is the knurling that is on the bars. Knurling on bars can be very hard on the skin. If you do several sets on a heavily or even a lightly knurled bar, that can make the squeezes you do later on feel sensitive in your hands when working with other grip equipment, especially grippers, because they are often heavily knurled as well.

I know I only have so many squeezes on a gripper before my hand skin gets overly sensitive. I don’t want to predispose my hand skin to any kind of sensitivity or anything sharp before my grip training session, so I will wrap for my pulls to be ready for my grip workout.

Skin Tear Prevention

What if I go without wraps and tear my skin because of it during my workout because my hand slips, causing a callus tear? I don’t want to hurt myself before I even get into my grip routine. That doesn’t make any sense. If you know you have calluses that may rip, trim them so that they don’t. If you already have a hand skin tear, cover it or wrap with some straps to keep it from getting worse during your pull training.

Grip Contest Preparation

If you are a grip competitor, you’re probably going to set up specific stations that will prepare you for the upcoming contest. Because I train for grip contests, I have to get my grip work in on a routine basis in order to stay on top of things and I want to be able to put as much into my goal gripper training or other contest-specific training as possible. So I don’t want to wear myself out during the first half of the workout when I haven’t event touched a gripper or a fat bar yet. I want my hands to be pretty fresh when it comes time to start my grip workout, so that I can mimic competition conditions. I’m not going to hit a full workout in the early morning of the day of the grip contest. I’m going to be fresh, so I want to be as close to fresh when I am ready to do my grip-specific preparation as possible.

Considerations for Athletes

If you’re an athlete or a strength coach training athletes, you’re probably going to include some sort of a lift that will hit your grip hard later in the workout, such as sandbag lifting, rope work, or towel pull-ups. These lifts are designed to target the grip specifically, so you can afford to wrap on your heavy rack pulls if you are still putting lifts like those in later on.

If you are doing that then there is no reason to do all your pulls with bare hands. Go ahead and wrap up and get the most out of those lifts early in your workout then you’ll have plenty let later on to hit your grip specifically.

If you have any questions, feel free to come back to DieselCrew.com and ask me. I welcome emails and questions all the time. Add me as a friend on my YouTube Channel and sign up for updates at my blog.

Jedd Johnson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Northeastern PA. He specializes in Grip Strength Training but studies all types of strength training disciplines. His website, http://www.DieselCrew.com is a fantastic resource for all types of strength training.

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