Using straps and getting a good grip.

Posted by & filed under Exercise and Training.

A self explanatory video about how to use straps.  For exercises like the Roumanian Deadlift or the Deadlift, as the weight goes up, the straps become essential.  However, poorly aligned shoulders weaken grip, so for long term true strength gains, the shoulders and spinal alignment need care.

Getting a good grip is an important part of good technique.  The basic grip is thumb over the top of the fingers, making a firm grasp.  As things get seriously heavy, then the next grip to develop is the hook grip.  Here the thumb is strongly curled around the bar, with the first, second and maybe third finger closed over the top.  Very painful at first!

HOWEVER, when first learning a new technique, it is better to start with a light weight and minimal grip.  A lat pull down, for instance, should be felt down the back, with the shoulders low when the bar it at its lowest point.  When we first learn the movement, we are so used to hauling away with the arms that the shoulders lift as the bar descends, the chest drops and the whole lift is really quite horrible.  So starting with a very light weight and minimal grip helps the brain engage the back muscles properly and the lift becomes very effective.  Once the brain has learnt how to do the lift, then the weight climbs and the grip now needs to tighten, so a strong grip becomes an essential part of the technique.  All too frequently in back training, the forearms give up before the back muscles.  Straps can be used – but first the shoulders and upper back flexibility need attention, so we can fully engage the lats and low traps and take unnecessary strain off those forearms.

So it is a good thing to use straps, but only after we have got a good grip going first, and that is reliant on good shoulder position and a nice flexible upper back, no matter what the exercise.

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