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Wrist straps and wraps are two great examples. Though these accessories are small and often overlooked by newer lifters, as you progress in strength training, they become more and more useful.
A good set of wrist wraps can augment your lifts and protect your wrists from heavy weights. Straps, meanwhile, help you secure a firmer grip on heavy barbell lifts to work your target muscles without losing your grip.
As far as lifting gear goes, straps and wraps are also exceptionally cheap – so there’s no reason not to pick up a pair for your gym bag!
Our guide gives you the details on all of the best pairs of both straps and wraps for your wrists. No matter what your abilities and goals, you’ll be able to find a great selection here.
Beyond the specifics of each pair, we’ll also run down the critical characteristics of weightlifting wraps and straps to help you make a more informed decision when you pick a set. Finally, we’ll answer a few frequently asked questions surrounding these accessories.
Design: Wraps and Straps
Material: Cotton with elastic (wraps); Cotton with neoprene padding (straps)
Length: 14” (wraps); 23” (straps)
Features: Two-in-one package, comfortable wrist padding, stretchy elastic inserts, multiple colors, one-year warranty
If you’re looking for both wrist wraps and wrist straps in one affordable package, it’s hard to go wrong with this bundle from Nordic Lifting. The package includes one pair of each design to help you support your wrists throughout an entire workout.
Both the wraps and straps are made of cotton – the wraps incorporate elastic inserts to keep them stretchy, while the straps offer neoprene padding to protect your skin from chafing. At just 14”, these wraps aren’t the longest, but they will provide plenty of resistance for most lifters.
The straps and wraps are both washable, which helps keep them fresh and increases their longevity. If you’re on the fence, Nordic Lifting’s one-year replacement guarantee is an awesome perk.
These WOD Wear wrist wraps are a great fit for plenty of users – their versatility and thoughtful design make them another highly-recommended choice. Unlike many of the other wraps we feature, these use a string tie design rather than Velcro.
While they are 33” long, the extended string keeps them slim and usable for lifters of all sizes. It’s easy to adjust the compression by looping the string around your wrist. The wraps are made of cotton for a smooth and breathable feel – they’re not the most rugged wraps on the market, but they stiffen up nicely if you tighten them.
As a major bonus, these wraps are machine washable and come in myriad different colors and patterns. They’re certainly some of the most stylish options that you’ll find anywhere!
Rogue knows a thing or two about lifting gear, and all that expertise has gone into this pair of fairly-priced wrist wraps. It’s one of the reasons they are so popular!
These wraps are ideal for anyone, with a great system of tightening and loosening the wraps that doesn’t involve you removing the wraps completely. The result is less hassle in the gym – just twist the wrap until it tightens, and you are good to go.
There’s plenty of support with a 2.88” width and a 35” length. A bonus is that they are made in America, offering a rugged feel and longevity you don’t get with cheaper wraps. It’s also easy to fit your style, with several colors and designs from which to choose. In short, a sensible choice!
Design: Wraps and Straps
Material: Cotton and elastic (wraps); Cotton (straps)
Length: 20” (wraps); 22.3” (straps)
Features: Neoprene padding on straps, durable stitching, Velcro fastening, thumb loops, PVC bag for storage
This package from Iron Bull Strength is another bundle that includes both wraps and straps, proving a great option to support your wrists throughout your entire workout. At well under $20, they’re also an outstanding bargain!
The heavyweight materials and sensible construction mean these are built to last for a long time. The wraps in this package utilize a blend of elastic and cotton; this keeps the material strong but adds some welcome stretchiness. Because they are 20” long, these wraps can accommodate serious lifters. For beginners, they also include a wrist loop to help you secure them without any hassle.
The straps, meanwhile, are made from cotton with some additional neoprene padding around the wrist area. They’re 22.3” long, which is great for securing a tight grip on any bar.
These wrist wraps from Plate Fitness Products provide great compression and durability while remaining accessible to all ability levels. Their 18” length is a great cross between the shorter wraps you would find on beginner models and the 24”-plus wraps that competitive powerlifters use.
Plate Fitness Products have used cotton to make these wraps, enhanced with industrial-strength stitching to resist wear and tear. As far as wrist wraps go, they prove both comfortable and breathable.
The included thumb loop is a nice touch, along with the roomy 3” commercial-grade Velcro pad. You can adjust the wraps to dial in just the right amount of compression for you. The good news is that Plate Fitness Products offers a lifetime return policy for some extra peace of mind.
These Hustle Athletics wrist wraps are a great choice for lifters looking for a slightly lighter option. With two different lengths – 12” and 18” – they work well for both beginners and intermediate lifters.
These wraps are constructed with both cotton and nylon, making them more flexible and a bit less abrasive than full cotton wraps. The extra elastic material allows you to wrap them tighter around your wrists, which makes up a bit for the shorter length.
The included thumb loop aids users when putting the wraps on. They also make use of Velcro to attach to your wrist quickly and reliably. At such a low price, these are great value for anyone looking to save a few bucks. The lifetime replacement guarantee is another bonus.
Like many of the other pairs on this list, the DMoose Fitness wrist wraps are a mid-length option that serves the needs of most weightlifters at a budget price.
However, the flashy colors and patterns are what sets this pair apart. While you can still pick standard black, you probably won’t find American flag or pink camo wrist wraps anywhere else! These wraps come in lengths of both 12” and 18” to accommodate beginners and more advanced users. They close using Velcro for a secure fit that will stay attached during lifting.
One downside of these wraps is that they use polyester along with cotton. While this keeps the wraps durable and lightweight, they aren’t quite as breathable as all-cotton wraps.
Chances are that you’ve often heard the terms ‘wrist wraps’ and ‘wrist straps’ tossed around without much care.
Even though the names are used interchangeably, there’s actually a significant difference between wrist wraps and wrist straps.
Each item serves its own unique purpose. So, if you want to maximize your lifts and strengthen your wrists, it’s important to learn the distinction between the two.
Wrist wraps are the simpler of the two designs, as well as the more versatile. In their most basic form, wrist wraps are padded cuffs that you wrap around your wrist to keep the joint straight during exercise.
This rigidity provides support as you lift weights, reducing the risk of injury to your wrists and forearms.
Many lifters wear wrist wraps as a matter of personal preference. They aren’t essential for everybody, although some lifters simply feel stronger when wearing them thanks to the extra support.
In some cases, wrist wraps may also help you lift heavier weights. By restricting the movement of your joints, they can focus your energy and help you exert more force on pressing lifts, like the bench press or overhead press.
However, if used improperly, wrist wraps may cut off circulation to your hands. If you’re not careful, you may also weaken the extensor and flexor muscles in your wrists over time. This can prevent you from lifting as much weight without wrist wraps to aid you.
The danger in wrist wraps is that some lifters harness them to lift more weight than their muscles can handle, which can lead to injury down the line. Remember, they are not the same as wrist supports designed for injuries, so be careful!
Wrist straps, on the other hand, are far more involved. Rather than just passively wrapping around your wrist to give you a little extra support, straps actually connect your hand to a barbell to help you lift heavier weights.
By taking the emphasis off their grip strength, wrist straps allow powerlifters to move greater weight than they could on their own.
Wrist straps can be a great tool to work out muscles that you might not otherwise be able to stress. For example, if your bigger muscles can handle heavy deadlifts, barbell rows or shrugs, but your grip is lagging behind, your progress may suffer without using wrist straps.
Straps can also be an effective tool when you train for competitions or other events, as the straps allow you to push yourself harder during your workouts and emphasize certain muscles more than normal.
With that being said, wrist straps are actually banned from many powerlifting competitions because they are rightly considered an external aid.
Straps are also susceptible to the same flaws as wrist wraps. If you exclusively rely on using straps to lift weights, you may weaken your grip over time and ruin your ability to lift without help from these aids.
Some lifters also surpass their wrists’ natural capacity to handle heavy loads and seriously injure their hands or forearms.
Between the two types, wrist wraps are more common. You can use them for far more of your exercises in and out of the gym (rather than just pulling lifts) and they provide support rather than concrete external aid.
Straps are most appropriate for serious powerlifters, while wraps may help users of all abilities who experience wrist or joint pain when working out.
You’ll find that many of the wraps and straps listed here use different materials in their construction. No matter which type of wrist accessory you choose, a couple of fabrics dominate the selections.
In particular, cotton and nylon. Each fabric has its advantages, though cotton is more popular for both wraps and straps.
When woven into a tightly-interlocking pattern, cotton straps can be incredibly durable. The fabric remains very breathable, which is a big bonus when you’re using the wraps and straps in a gym.
If you struggle with sweaty hands, cotton wraps should be the first thing you consider. Compared to nylon, cotton straps will wick moisture away from your hands and wrists, and keep you dry. If they do get sweaty, cotton is also easy to throw in the wash afterwards.
Cotton is an extremely popular material, which makes cotton wrist wraps and straps quite cheap. However, a new pair of cotton straps take a few workouts to properly break in. Be aware that the first time you use them, they may feel rough and abrasive on your wrists.
Many cotton wraps include neoprene padding to make the material feel smoother. Neoprene is also found in many of the best knee sleeves – while it’s not quite as breathable as cotton, it is far more comfortable.
Next we have nylon. Nylon straps are popular with advanced lifters because the material doesn’t stretch out as much as cotton. If you lift extremely heavy weights, the nylon straps will support your grip without loosening or hanging down.
Like cotton, however, nylon can be abrasive if not broken in properly. After a week of workouts, the material should soften and become much more comfortable. Note that nylon doesn’t breathe as well as cotton, which makes it less suitable for anyone with sweaty hands.
A few models of wrist wraps incorporate elastic into a cotton base, which creates a nice mix between the feel of nylon and cotton. It’s a bit stretchier and makes slimmer wrist wraps much more comfortable.
Unfortunately, these wraps don’t provide as much support for your wrist joint as stiffer versions do. Therefore, if you want a tighter feel, you may need to search for wraps without any elastic.
Along with the materials, the length of your wrist wraps can completely change how they feel. Wraps can range anywhere from 12” to 36” in length, which makes picking one size difficult. Thankfully, if you know your goals, it’s much easier to narrow down which size will work best for you.
At the lower end of the spectrum, you’ll find 12” and 18” wraps. These provide some support to your wrist joints, but don’t restrict your movement very much.
The shorter wraps work great for lighter lifters who can get by without extensive reinforcement on most of their lifts, as well as for CrossFit and other workouts where movement is important.
If you only want to buy one set of wraps, shorter wraps will be more versatile than extra-long wraps that lock up your wrists.
Once you cross beyond 20” in length, wrist wraps become more restrictive. The extra material makes these models thicker and adds more strength. They’re great for heavy lifts, particularly on press exercises where it’s essential to keep your wrists straight.
However, you may find it difficult to apply these to other activities. You can loosen them a little to make them less stiff, but it’s harder to get the perfect level of compression without them wrapped tightly.
Finally, many powerlifters use wraps reaching 26” and longer – in fact, most lifting competitions allow wraps up to 36” long! The very longest of these wraps are incredibly restrictive, and are designed to keep your wrist completely straight even under extreme weights.
These long wraps are only necessary for extreme lifters. In general, they are impractical and too specialized for the vast majority of users.
For wrist straps, length isn’t as important. The additional material comes mostly in the loop, and helps you wrap the strap tighter around the bar. While these can help you keep your hand locked onto the weight, the variations in length aren’t as noticeable.
One major difference between many wraps is the securing method. Some models use Velcro, while others have an elastic string that fastens the wrap around your wrist. Both methods can work well, but Velcro tends to be more common, particularly for tighter wraps.
If you’re looking for wrist straps, don’t worry about these methods. Straps don’t fasten in the same way wraps do. Ultimately, if you need to suddenly abort a lift, it’s important to be able to drop the weight without having to undo any Velcro or ties.
Velcro wraps are easier to pull tight, as they can be fastened at any point along their length. Wraps with longer strips of Velcro offer you more flexibility to keep the wraps either tight or loose, depending on your preferences.
However, Velcro wraps can be a bit bulky, and the material may catch on other fabrics or gear. If you want to wash your wrist wraps often, Velcro may not be the best choice either, since it doesn’t dry very quickly and may fray over time.
String ties have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. For example, they are pretty easy to fasten, as you just have to pull the loop over your hand to keep the wrap in place.
They also make wrist wraps slimmer – without the extra Velcro, you can find longer wraps that feel much lighter on your wrists, yet still offer great compression. These models are also easy to wash and dry.
However, it’s a bit harder to adjust how tight you fasten a wrap with a string tie on your wrist. You can always loop the wrap around your hand a second time or pull it over your thumb, but you won’t be able to make fine-tuned adjustments like you can with Velcro wrist wraps.
Even though material and fit should be your top priorities when you search for new wrist wraps or straps, you will also need to consider a host of secondary factors. Keeping these in mind as you search will make it a lot easier to narrow down a longer list of options.
For example, certain wraps include a thumb loop. This is a completely optional accessory, but it can help beginners put their wraps on.
The thumb loop goes around your thumb and holds the wrap in place as you wind it around your hand. Most lifters remove the loop once they’ve fastened the wrap, but some leave it in place for some extra support during their lifts.
Beyond the concrete features of each model, you may also need to consider whether or not your wrist accessories are certified for competitions.
Powerlifters planning to compete must obtain wrist wraps licensed by the IPF or USPA. These organizations all certify different brands, but usually any name-brand wrap will work, up to 36” in length. Check out each federation’s website to view a specific list of allowable models.
Wrist straps, meanwhile, are almost never allowed in competition.
These are viewed as an external advantage for raw lifters, who must train their wrists and grip to make valid lifts. Plenty of powerlifters still use straps for training, but others forego them to prepare for the conditions on competition day.
Finally, you will also need to evaluate the price of each set. Thankfully, wrist wraps and straps are among the cheapest weightlifting accessories you’ll find.
It’s not hard to find a high-quality set for less than $20. In fact, some bundles include a pair of both straps and wraps at that price.
Unlike some other items, there aren’t large differences in construction and durability between different models of wrist wraps – most fall within the same price range and will last a long time with proper care. Base your decision on fit and feel to end up with the right pair for you.It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.
Many lifters begin incorporating wrist straps into their routine, thinking that attaching their hands to the bar will take some pressure off of their wrists and alleviate any pain.
In certain cases, this may be true. However, if you’re suffering from wrist pain and looking for a solution, you should use wrist wraps rather than straps.
The main advantage of wrist straps is that they allow you to surpass your natural grip strength and lift heavier weights. This only comes into play on exercises where you must pull the weight upwards – straps won’t help you for other types of lifts, like bench press or overhead press.
While a strong grip is certainly important for lifts like the bench press, squats and even curls, you don’t need as much grip strength to use heavy weights on these exercises because gravity presses the weight into your palms for you. Unfortunately, these exercises can still be very difficult maneuvers for people with wrist pain.
While wrist straps do incorporate some padding and support around your wrists, they’re optimized for attaching your hands to the bar rather than stiffening up your joints. You often won’t get as much support from wrist straps as you would from a quality pair of wraps.
Rather than buying wrist straps to alleviate your pain, pick a pair of wrist wraps to support your wrist joint and keep it properly aligned throughout your workout.
Wraps will straighten out your wrist joint on pressing exercises and other activities, and can cushion your wrist against damage while you recover.
It should go without saying, but if you’re struggling with wrist pain, do not attempt to perform deadlifts, rows or landmine exercises with wrist straps. These can worsen your pain by allowing you to lift more weight than you should.
Instead, ease back into your workouts to give your wrist time to recover. If pain is still an issue, use wraps on appropriate exercises to prevent any bending or curling of your wrists.
As we mentioned above, wrist straps are only effective on a select number of exercises. Because they are designed to help your wrist pull weight off the ground, they’re not really useful for any lifts where you have to push.
This means that you should skip using straps for movements like bench presses, overhead presses, curls, back squats and flyes. There is no benefit. For these lifts, other accessories like weightlifting gloves and lifting belts would be more appropriate.
Even so, there are still other pulling exercises where wrist straps might not be appropriate. In particular, you should never use straps until you need them. This means that plenty of low-weight lifts should be out. Though it might be tempting to strap into every exercise you can, resist the urge!
You only need to use wrist straps if your grip consistently fails on a given movement before the actual target muscle does.
With those parameters in mind, only a couple lifts meet our criteria for using wrist straps. Heavy compound lifts like deadlifts, rows and dumbbell squats, as well as shrugs, are some of the most common places to deploy wrist straps.
Dedicated lifters may quickly cross a threshold with these lifts where their muscles can simply lift more than their grip allows. Wrist straps are a quick and cost-effective way to continue training those muscles without giving up on the exercises entirely.
A couple of other activities also stand out as good opportunities to use wrist straps. Carries of any kind, particularly dumbbell farmer carries or suitcase carries, can build up your shoulders and traps quickly. Wrist straps will help you isolate these muscles and stress them more effectively.
The same goes for other exercises where the resistance fights your movement, such as lat pulldowns.
It is important to note, however, that many lifters practice carries specifically to improve their grip strength and forearm definition.
If you do the exercises to work these muscles, don’t use wrist straps! They’ll just take the load off of your target areas and transfer it to your shoulders and upper back instead, rendering the movement pointless.
Believe it or not, one of the most confusing aspects of wrist straps is actually attaching them! Many beginners feel intimidated by the process and may give up for fear of looking silly at the gym.
While the method definitely takes some getting used to, learning how to properly attach wrist straps is simple enough to pick up quickly.
Start out by laying out your wrist straps flat. The first thing you should do is slide the long end of the strap through the loop to form a simple cuff. Once you have that cuff, you can slip your wrist through it to place it on your wrist.
Make sure to keep the strap up on your hand – don’t let it slide down past your wrist or it will slip and hurt your joints when you begin to pull on any weight.
Once you have your wrist in the cuff, you should run the excess length of strap out between your thumb and index finger. Then, you can approach the bar. Place your wrist right by the edge of the barbell and run the strap underneath the bar. From there, you can simply pull it taut and continue to pull it over and under the bar.
Twist the strap and pull it tight once again to make sure that it remains secure. Then, you can grip onto the bar, keeping the excess strap length in your palms, and lift the weight!
It can be tricky to wrap the second strap around the bar if you already have your first hand attached properly.
To solve this problem, you can position your hands close to each other, with one exactly where you’ll keep it when you go to lift. Use your other hand to help tighten the second strap while keeping the first secure. Afterwards, you can slide your other hand down the bar to the ideal position, tighten it up, and lift.
With a little bit of practice, this process becomes much easier – after a while, chances are you won’t even need to think about it!
If you are still struggling to understand, you should check out a couple of YouTube instructional videos to get a visual description of the solution.
Wrist wraps are common in fitness activities like CrossFit and other high-intensity workouts where it’s necessary to protect your wrists.
Participants love the wraps because they fortify their weak joints and allow people to make it through a full workout without being sidelined by wrist pain. However, other sources claim that the wraps can damage your wrists if not monitored carefully.
In reality, the truth is somewhere between the two schools. Wrist wraps can be a great aid when used in moderation, but dependence on them may impact the strength of your wrists and forearms.
Like wrist straps, you should only use wrist wraps when you need to – don’t throw them on just because they feel or look cool!
The vast majority of lifters only need to use wraps to support their wrists when they do sets with very heavy weights. Some fitness experts recommend three-rep max sets are the cutoff for wrapping your wrists.
While you can play around with these guidelines if you feel you need more support, don’t take it to the extreme and let wraps creep into every activity you do.
You should not rely on wrist wraps for everything, because they restrict your wrists’ natural range of motion and make it more difficult for you to flex certain muscles.
Wraps can be immensely helpful for lifts where you need to keep your wrists as straight as possible (like bench presses). However, if you’re performing more difficult techniques (such as power cleans), thick wrist wraps can prevent your wrists from flexing in the proper manner.
Even when you are working on a lift that forces you to straighten your wrist, jumping to wraps can end up weakening your wrists over the long run. Practice without wrist wraps until you get to the highest weights you can handle.
This way, you’ll keep your wrists strong enough to keep doing the exercises while also getting the support you need for those all-out sets.
There is one major caveat to this approach: wrist pain.
If you’re coming back from a wrist injury or suffer from chronic wrist pain, don’t hesitate to use wrist wraps for lower weights as well.
The added cushioning and support can make a big difference to help you get back on track in the gym. You should still adjust your workout plan to eliminate any activities that could place lots of stress on your wrists. Lower the weights across the board to keep your joints safe, particularly if you suffered a serious injury.
Whatever your activity and whatever level you are lifting at, there is definitely a good set of lifting straps/wraps for you. You just have to decide which one it is!
To find something that matches your exact needs, you should give each model on our top seven list some consideration.
Don’t forget to do your own research too – you may find a pair of supportive wraps or straps better suited to your goals than something we have picked. Good luck!