In a globo gym (also known as a commercial gym), using chalk is typically not allowed.
Back when I was a member of a gym, I did not use chalk. So in order for me to perform deadlifts without my grip giving out or the bar slipping out of my hands, I decided to buy a pair of lifting straps. After all, I didn’t want my posterior chain to be held back from getting stronger because my grip was an issue.
In the past, I’ve used leather lifting straps and the weightlifting hooks, both made by Grizzly (this was a LONG time ago, when I was in high school). I went looking for them in my parent’s basement and found out that I was missing one of the leather straps, and the weightlifting hooks were in pretty bad shape (the fabric was ripped) so I decided to purchase a new pair of straps.
I came across a “dowel” lifting strap made by Schiek, the same company who makes those contoured weight lifting belts that are advertised in bodybuilding magazines.
I was also considering the straps made by Ironmind. Ironmind products are used in the World’s Strongest Man competitions, and I figured if it’s good enough for those metahumans/mutants/demi-gods deadlifting a freakin’ CAR for reps, it would be fine for me.
But the dowel on the Schiek strapped intrigued me, and I could imagine it working better than standard lifting straps, so I went with those instead.
Difference between Dowel and Standard Lifting Straps
For one, the strap itself is shorter. It’s only 6" long and made of nylon and acrylic. The reason why it’s so short is because with a dowel lifting strap, you don’t need to wrap the strap around the bar multiple times. You only need to wrap it once, and then lock the dowel down with your hand.
Secondly, there is a dowel. This is made of rubber and is attached to the end of the strap. It’s wedged between the hand and the bar to establish a secure grip.
Lastly are the neoprene wrist supports. It’s comfortable! They are 1/4" thick and 2-1/2" wide, meaning that these straps won’t dig into your wrists and leaving marks while pulling heavy weights.
How To Wrap The Bar
I’ve read people complain that the strap is too short. While it is shorter than most lifting straps I’ve seen, it’s a perfect length for an Olympic bar.
I’m guessing the people who find these straps too short do not know how to wrap the bar properly.
It takes a little getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of it, you don’t have to worry about the bar slipping out of your hands again.
Here’s how you wrap an Olympic bar with the Schiek dowel lifting straps:
1. Wrap it around the underside of the bar
2. Bring it up and around the bar
3. Use the side of your hand to pin the dowel
4. Finally grip the Olympic bar with your thumb.
Here’s what it looks like underneath. You can see that the heel of my palm (towards the thumb) is pinning the dowel against the bar.
If that STILL doesn’t make sense, here’s how it would look if the bar was invisible:
As long as you keep the dowel pinned, the bar won’t be slipping out of your hands.
With a little bit of practice and practice, this process can be done quickly and easily with one hand.
So far, I’ve only used the Schiek dowel lifting straps for deadlifts. These straps have held up well to loads up to 500lbs (so far).
In the future I’ll be using them for heavy pulling movements such as rack pulls, high pulls, shrugs etc.
- Dowel. Once the strap is wrapped around the bar and the dowel is locked in, your grip is secured.
- Strap length. It appears as though the strap was designed to wrap around an Olympic bar once. There’s no time spent wrapping the bar multiple times with a long strap.
- Made In The USA! Rule of thumb: if it’s made in the USA, the quality is probably going to be top notch.
- The length of the strap and the use of the dowel might take some getting used to, especially if you’re accustomed to the standard weight lifting straps.
These days, I deadlift with a hook grip and use chalk. But whenever I’m performing reps, I use straps. At 20 bucks the Schiek dowel lifting straps are the best straps I’ve come across. I got mine from BodyBuilding.com.