Figure 8 Lifting Straps vs Normal Straps! Which Is Best For You?

Do you want to lift heavier weights but can’t seem to maintain your grip on the bar?

Deadlifting heavy weights can be tricky, especially when you want to put in all your effort and need to lift weights for a certain amount of time.

For those who love to take on new weight lifting challenges, a pair of figure 8 lifting straps can be a suitable gym accessory. These straps not only offer enhanced grip but also help you accomplish a number of challenging lifts which are not possible otherwise.

In this blog post, we cover all you need to know about figure 8 wrist straps, and what other types of straps you can consider for weightlifting.

So, let’s dig in!

What are Figure 8 Wrist Straps?

Figure 8 Straps, as evident from the title, are named after their shape like the number 8 and are designed to lift heavy weights as they provide excellent grip & stability for lifting heavy like deadlifts. They wrap around your wrist and bar, so you can easily lift heavy weights without worrying about dropping the bar.

As heavy lifting exercises require a decent amount of grip to help you build muscles which sometimes is not achievable with bare hands. These straps not only enhance grip strength but also align your muscles and offer a secure grip for performing various intensive weightlifting exercises like deadlifts.

What makes Figure 8 Lifting Straps so Popular?

Figure 8 straps gain much popularity from their historical use in record-breaking lifting events. Unlike common open-ended lifting straps, these weightlifting straps are closed at both ends and offer exceptional weightlifting grip.

Their design adheres to the lifter’s wrists and the equipment, ensuring that the risk of bar drop and wrist injury is minimal. Thanks to their heavy-duty grip strength, these straps keep you attached to your equipment even when your natural hand grip is relaxed.

Keep in Mind

Since the biggest pro of Figure 8 straps is that they make ditching the bar impossible, the main downside is the fact that they will not be suitable for quick-release exercises. It is also advisable to use straps other than figure 8 straps if you are planning to perform weight dumping or rapid power movements.

Figure 8 Straps in a Nutshell

  1. They look like figure 8 or an infinity symbol
  2. They provide maximum grip strength and stability on the barbell
  3. The tethered design makes bar drop impossible
  4. Excellent for heavy deadlifts and shrugs
  5. It’s not easy to ditch the bar

Who Needs Figure 8 Lifting Straps?

Choosing the right type of weightlifting straps requires an understanding of what type of lifting you want to perform. Eddie Hall’s world record deadlift of 1102lb/500Kg involved the use of figure 8 lifting wrist straps. These straps are not new but they have recently gained popularity among those who want to carry out heavy lifting exercises such as;

  1. Strongman Training Routine
  2. Bodybuilding
  3. Powerlifting 
  4. Everyday Gym Lifting Exercises

They are very resistant and long-lasting as they are made from heavy-duty materials like nylon, cotton & neoprene for durability & comfort.

You can also use them with barbells, farmer’s carry bars and axle bars for enhanced grip control and strength. Wrist straps can not only reduce your chances of grip fatigue but also bolster your performance by up to 20-30%.[1]

Which Exercises Can You Perform Using Figure 8 Lifting Straps?

Figure 8 straps provide a more secure grip on the barbell. You can lift and hold heavier weights for longer periods of time using grip strengthening figure 8 lifting straps.

Deadlift Rows: During deadlifts, figure 8 straps wrap around the bar and the lifter’s wrists. This secure grip allows for safer and more powerful deadlifting.

Olympic Lifts: Figure 8 weightlifting straps are useful for olympic weightlifting exercises such as clean and jerk. Use the figure 8 straps to grab the bar and secure your grip strength. The closed loop straps build lifter’s confidence and grip strength.

Keep in mind

Over-reliance on straps leads to poor grip strength overtime during weightlifting sessions.

We recommend using figure 8 straps in moderation. Incorporate on grip-strengthening exercises in your regiment to develop overall grip strength.

How to Properly Use Figure 8 Lifting Straps?

Using a figure 8 lifting strap requires proper understanding of its use. Here are some steps you can follow to properly size and use figure 8 lifting straps:

  • Choose the right type of strap for your needs: There are different types of weightlifting straps, including figure 8 straps, lasso straps, and closed loop straps. Choose the type of strap that is best suited for the exercises you will be performing.
  • Determine the correct size: Most weightlifting straps come in one size fits all, but some brands offer different sizes. Make sure to check the sizing chart before purchasing to ensure the best fit.
  • Place the strap under the bar: Position the strap under the bar with the loose end facing away from you.
  • Wrap the strap around the bar: Bring the loose end of the strap around the bar and through the loop, creating a secure wrap around the bar.
  • Grab the bar: Grip the bar with your hands, ensuring that the strap is tight and secure around the bar.
  • Adjust as necessary: Make any necessary adjustments to the strap to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
  • Perform your lifting exercise: Use the straps to help lift heavier weights while maintaining a secure grip.

Importance of figure 8 lifting straps 

Figure 8 straps are an important accessory for weightlifters across the as they help enhance the weight lifting capacity & improve overall lifting performance. Here is how figure 8 straps are important for you:

They Safeguard Your Wrists During Deadlifts

Figure 8 weightlifting straps are meant to safeguard your wrists during heavy deadlifts as they offer double loop strength. They firmly fasten your wrists with the bar, so you do not have to worry about slipping your grip.

Figure 8 Straps Help You Focus on Lifting

Since figure 8 straps have incredible grip, they let you maximise your wrist strength during lifting. So, you don’t have to worry about losing the grip, allowing you to focus on lifting instead. Thus, you can perform exercise better and achieve results quickly.

They Help in Aligning Your Scapular

Research[2] concluded that figure 8 straps use not only has positive effects on pectoralis minor length and scapular alignment and also provides treatment aid managing pectoralis minor length and scapular alignment during arm-lifting exercises

Apart from their importance in enhancing your lifting performance, figure 8 lifting straps also offer numerous other benefits such as:

  1. They allow you to easily increase the weight in your lifts.
  2. They help stabilize your wrist and offer more wrist joint support, thus reducing the strain on wrist muscles so there are lesser injury risks.
  3. Figure 8 wrist straps are very easy to manage and quick to set up, meaning that you can easily lift heavier with these straps as compared to other straps.
  4. These straps are the securest lifting straps which completely lock you in with the lifting bar to avoid any chance of bar drops.
  5. Since these straps have double loops, you can adjust them with your arm’s length and wrist’s size to reduce the risks of slipping during lifting. You can simply twist the double loop as much as you need to fill up any gaps.
  6. They are versatile as beginner powerlifters and competitive trainers on all levels can use them.
  7. They help you shift your focus on working out larger muscle groups as you do not need to worry about losing your grip.

A study published in 2020 on the ergogenic effects of lifting straps on movement velocity, grip strength, perceived exertion and grip security during the deadlift exercise found that;

  • Figure 8 lifting straps support grip strength and help in maintaining it. 
  • Lifting straps aid in recovering grip strength post-deadlifts.
  • Lifting straps reduce perceived exertion during deadlifts.
  • Weightlifting straps also enhance grip power and security during deadlifts.

Some Drawbacks of Figure 8 Lifting Straps

  • Limited range of motion: Due to the design of figure-8 straps, they may limit the range of motion in exercises such as deadlifts, where the barbell needs to move freely.
  • Uncomfortable: Some lifters may find the design of figure-8 straps uncomfortable or too restrictive.
  • Over-Dependence: Over-reliance on figure-8 straps can lead to decreased grip strength and over-reliance on the straps during weightlifting sessions.

Compared to a traditional pair of lifting straps, which wrap under the bar, figure-8 straps quickly and easily wrap around the bar. However, traditional types of lifting straps provide a more customized fit and greater flexibility for different exercises. Heavy duty figure 8 straps are good for pulling exercises.

How to Properly Care for Figure 8 Lifting Straps to Increase their Longevity?

Proper care of figure 8 lifting straps prolongs their life and use. Here are some tips for maintaining and caring for your figure 8 lifting straps:

  • Clean the straps regularly: Use a damp cloth to wipe down the straps after each use. This will help remove any sweat or dirt buildup that can damage the material over time.
  • Avoid machine washing: Figure 8 lifting straps are typically made from heavy-duty materials that can be damaged in a washing machine. Instead, hand wash the straps using mild soap and water.
  • Air dry the straps: Avoid using a dryer to dry your figure 8 lifting straps, as high heat can damage the material. Instead, lay them flat or hang them to air dry.
  • Store the straps properly: Store your figure 8 lifting straps in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in a damp gym bag or locker, as this can lead to mold and mildew buildup.
  • Inspect the straps regularly: Check your figure 8 lifting straps for signs of wear and tear, such as frayed edges or holes in the material. If you notice any damage, replace the straps immediately to avoid injury.

Figure 8 Lifting Straps Vs Normal Straps

All types of lifting straps are designed to enhance grip strength, manage the number of repetitions and control muscle activation among weightlifters. Different straps have their pros and cons based on their use. Here is a comparison of 3 of the most common types of lifting straps you may find:

Lasso Straps 

Lasso straps are the simplest and most widely used types of weight lifting straps. They have a single loop and one free end which you need to tie with your equipment. These types of straps have more padding, and a good deal of grip strength and they make bar dropping easier. They can be wrapped around the bar multiple times. Thus, they are good for quick movement weightlifting exercises like deadlifts, rows, curls and others. 

Olympic Straps

Olympic straps are a modified form of Lasso straps. These straps, like Lasso straps, have a teardrop shape. One end of these straps is made of mesh material, which means that you can only wrap these straps around the bar once. These straps offer good grip strength, make bar dropping possible and are great for Olympic weightlifting.

Figure 8 Straps

Figure 8 straps are closed loop straps that offer convenient setup and management. These straps have an infinity shape and offer maximum grip strength. They are perfect for heavy deadlifts and shrugs. They make bar drop nearly impossible, thanks to their tethered strength design.

Pro Tip: Do not use figure 8 straps for cleans.

Which Lifting Straps Type Will Best Meet Your Needs?

While choosing a pair of lifting straps, you will come across different types. The type of strap you need depends mainly on the grip strength you need. To understand that, you first need to understand the requirements of your bodybuilding and weightlifting regimen.

A lasso strap around the bar is great for beginners. If your weightlifting regimen involves lifting with rapid movements and bar drops, Olympics straps are a good option. However, in the absence of Olympic straps, the Lasso straps will do the trick for you.

However, the figure 8 straps are usually desired by professional deadlift enthusiasts who need heavy-duty grip strength.

Hopefully, by reading this article you must be able to find all the necessary information about figure 8 wrist straps and how to evaluate whether you need these or other straps types.

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2Ergogenic effects of lifting straps on movement velocity, grip strength, perceived exertion and grip security during the deadlift exercise Ivan Jukic, Amador García-Ramos, Jiří Baláš, Jan Malecek, Dan Omcirk, James J Tufano