Sometimes injury or a specific weakness can hamper your ability to progress through your workout schedule as planned. You may find your grip bears the brunt of some movements, rather than the targeted muscle, or that wrist pain is hindering your progress on the bench press.
Instead of eliminating exercises from our routines, there are ways to work around these issues by utilising accessories such as wraps, straps and gloves. So let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
Pros – One of the most common problems amongst lifters is wrist pain, particularly during pressing and curls. Wraps can help support the joint to ensure it doesn’t stop you from tearing into some of the most important movements in your routine.
Cons – Wrist wraps can be bulky and slightly uncomfortable but won’t really impact progress or limit muscular development.
Tip – Wraps are only necessary if you feel pain / discomfort or have a pre-existing issue. Or if you want to hide some skinny wrists (or is that just me?)!
Pros – If you find your grip failing before appropriately blasting your lats on pulldowns, straps will help you crank out those last few reps that are so important for growth and progression.
Cons – Linked to the above – if you rely too much on straps, it may limit improvements to your grip strength over time.
Tip – Rotate volume with training to failure, using straps on failure sets to ensure you’re getting the best of both worlds and your grip is still being regularly tested.
Pros – Gloves will help protect your hands and are less messy than chalk. They’ll also stop the olympic bar ripping through those hard-earned calluses.
Cons – From a personal point of view, I find it difficult to feel the weight when wearing gloves – particularly on isolation exercises. Also, gloves take a bit of a beating on the fitness meme circuit.
Tip – Wear for heavy deadlifts, rack pulls etc. but don’t get into the habit of wearing throughout your full workout.
So, in summary, each accessory has the potential to assist you with specific lifts and movements but an over-reliance on any one has the potential to hinder your overall progress.
What are your thoughts on wraps, straps and gloves? Is gripping your olympic bar akin to squeezing a cactus??
Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.