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    I honestly do not know when straps starting being present in power sports and weightlifting in particular. To tell you the truth I think they were always there. There are lots of variations: they can be leather, cotton or polyester; short, long; wide, narrow; sewn in different ways ... each of these variations have been tested by the time and weight of the bar and yet it is still difficult to answer which of the options is the most optimal for weightlifting.

    So why is this type of sports equipment so popular and what purpose does it serves? Straps are an important accessory of all strength training that provide a strong grip on the bar. Using this not only makes it possible to make the grip more reliable, which allows the athlete to concentrate on performing the exercise technique rather than on holding the bar, but also prevents some hygienic problems. For example, it can prevent the creation of calluses on the skin of the palms.

    Beginners often learn the elements of a technique without straps, which at the same time helps to train the muscles of the arms and the grip strength.  Although you may doubt it, but in a professional training process the correct use of straps is essential.

    The frequency of using straps depends mostly on the preparation for the competition period. Straps are more frequently used during the preparatory period. First of all, this is due to the fact that athletes perform a very large number of repetitions and sets during training. In this period, combined hang exercises with the addition of pulls and pauses are performed. Many athletes do not understand why it is better to do these exercises with straps. After one or two lifts, the muscles of the arms become cramped, because they become tired, and this greatly affects the technique of the exercises. Straps allow you to relax your arm muscles and to concentrate on other exercise elements. Meanwhile, worrying that the grip will become weak is unnecessary. Instead, It is better to pay attention to special grip exercises instead.

    The strength of the fingers can be perfectly trained by the disc juggling. The strength of the forearm, by flexion and extension of the wrists with the bar and hanging on horizontal bars for a while. Doing it too often is not necessary - 2 to 3 sets twice a week is enough.

    Strangely enough, straps are very important for lifting the maximum weights, and for technical work too - especially in the snatch.

     Each athlete has "control trainings" when the task is to lift a new weight. As practice shows, the new personal record is not created the first time by the athletes. And most often the problem is not in physical strength and not in the technique either: a new record is a psychological test. The straps in this situation add confidence to the athlete to achieve a new result.

    In the national team, for us, it was like a trial which we were supposed to go through anyway.

    With "technical" loads (up to 40%) an athlete can work 40-60 minutes, the number of sets can be 10-15, the number of repetitions -  4-6 and sometimes more. At the same time, athletes can concentrate their attention on very small and specific details: barbell removal, knee level passage, final acceleration phase, barbell control after the second pull. In this case, the straps help to focus on the movement performance and not on how to maintain the bar.

   Even in the preparatory period, at least once a week, you need to perform dynamic hookgrip exercises, but 4-6 weeks before the competition the proportion of exercises with the straps should be reduced. In order not to sharply change the muscular feeling, you need to begin training without straps and reach up to 50% and gradually move to hookgrip training. In the team we had a rule: if in the competitive period you lifted 90% or more twice without straps, it meant you were in a great shape and you will be ready to set new personal records at the competitions.

   It is important to remember the training and safety rules when using straps, especially in the snatch:

  1. The straps are wrapped around the bar only once.
  2. Tucking the strap under the palm of your hand is strictly forbidden.
  3. Choose straps that are comfortable for your wrists during lifting.

   In my sports career, I have used a lot of types of straps, because I experimented with both grip and muscular feeling while working with extreme weights. Based on my many years of experience, I developed my model of straps. The most important criteria for me are: emphasis on result, comfort and safety in use.

    My straps are made from 100% natural cotton. The use of natural materials gives better connection with the bar compared to similar POLYESTER straps. Cotton absorbs sweat and does not create discomfort when in contact with the skin.

    The comfort of use is ensured by the model rational design: the optimal thickness (2 mm) and width of 40 mm and the specially designed double seam type allows me to obtain an excellent result in the tensile test: 370 kg per strap and 700 kg per two straps.

    BONUS !!!

    When making a purchase, you automatically gain access to a video library with instructions from Olympic weightlifting champion Alexey Torokhtiy. In these videos he will tell you:

    - how to use straps properly;

    - how to competently combine training "with the straps," the hook grip and the open grip;

    - about special exercises to increase the grip strength.


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