Weightlifting can put the wrist joints under a lot of stress. That’s why many professional weightlifters and bodybuilders wear weight lifting wrist braces, wraps, or straps to protect their wrists when lifting weights. This article talks about wrist wraps and wrist straps for weightlifting.

Wrist wraps are designed to create rigid support around your wrists and keep them from bending or flexing when lifting. Wrist straps, on the other hand, are not designed for protection but to increase your gripping strength and ability when lifting.

If you regularly lift weights and you’re wondering whether you should also wear a weight lifting wrist brace or other wrist accessories, here are some essential things you need to know before you start wearing them.

a Pro weightlifter woman weight lifting using wrist brace

Why Do Weightlifters Wear Wrist Wraps?

Wrist wraps are one of the most common weightlifting accessories. Weightlifters wear wrist wraps to provide extra support to the wrist joints while they’re lifting weights. By stabilizing the wrist and forearm, wrist wraps keep the wrist in position and reduce injury risks.

Generally, wrist wraps are used by weightlifters when they’re lifting very heavy weights. They’re also worn by weightlifters when doing intense pressing exercises, such as the barbell bench press, overhead press, and or bench press because they keep the wrist in a neutral position and prevent it from overextending.

Pros of Wrist Wraps for Weightlifting

Here are some pros of using wrist wraps when lifting weights:

  • They keep the wrist joints stable.
  • They prevent wrist injuries.
  • They provide comfort when lifting heavy weights.
  • They can give you the confidence to lift heavier weights.
  • They’re fairly affordable.
  • You can use them for several weightlifting exercises including squats, deadlifts, chest presses, and crunches.
  • They’re compact and won’t occupy much space in your gym bag.
  • They’re long-lasting—a pair can last up to five years.

Cons of Wrist Wraps for Weightlifting

Here are some cons of using wrist straps for weightlifting:

  • You can develop a dependency on wrist wraps if you use them too often, resulting in wrist instability.
  • Some brands may feel uncomfortable when you start wearing them, and you may take time to get used to them.
  • Some fabrics don’t offer good support. For instance, cotton wraps offer less support than velcro wraps. Your choice of fabrics is something essential you should know when buying a wrist wrap.
  • You could injure yourself if you don’t wear them properly.
A man doing weight lift

Why Do Weightlifters Wear Wrist Straps?

While wrist wrap and strap are sometimes used interchangeably, the two weightlifting accessories aren’t quite the same.

While wrist wraps provide the wrist joints with additional support, wrist straps allow weightlifters to grip more weight. They are primarily used by weightlifters who want to lift more weight than their grip allows. As a result, they are ideal for weightlifters who want to continue building their strength when they go beyond their grip capacity.

Pros of Wrist Straps for Weightlifting

Here are some pros of using wrist straps for weightlifting:

  • They enhance grip.
    They allow you to lift heavier weights.
  • They can enhance stamina and allow you to lift more repetitions than usual.
  • You can use them for several exercises including crunches, overhead press, and seated cable row, among others.
    They’re fairly affordable.
  • They’re compact and won’t occupy much space in your gym bag.

Cons of Wrist Straps for Weightlifting

Here are some cons of using wrist straps for weightlifting:

  • You can develop a dependency on wrist straps if you use them too often.
  • Long-term usage can weaken your grip.

Professional grade wrist support to support your wrists while lifting.

High-performance wrist brace designed to help weightlifters, powerlifters, and bodybuilders add to their core lifts. 

How Do You Protect Your Wrists When Lifting Weights?

You can protect your wrists by wearing a weight lifting wrist brace. Besides supporting the wrist joints, a wrist brace can stabilize your wrist and prevent it from overextending, thus minimizing injury risks. If you want to protect your wrists, use wrist wraps rather than straps.

How Often Should You Wear Wrist Straps/Wraps?

Overdependence on wrist wraps/straps is a problem that needs to be highlighted for prospective buyers. You should only use them when lifting maximum loads and not for everything, including warm ups, unless you have an injury. Using them too often limits the development of your wrist extensors and flexors. More importantly, they shouldn’t be used to hide discomfort during exercise. If you’re having wrist mobility or flexibility issues, then visit a medical professional for advice.

Can Lifting Weights Damage Wrists?

Like other exercises, lifting weights isn’t risk-free. You could injure your wrists if you don’t use proper weightlifting techniques or if you are lifting massive weights. If you’re unsure about your lifting techniques, consider training with a personal trainer to learn the correct lifting techniques.

And if you’re experiencing wrist pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor or physical therapist to diagnose and treat the pain.