Generally speaking, lifting straps make as much sense to me as thumbless pull-ups: they don't. Yeah, I'm aware that there are beginners with weak hands or trainees compromised hands out there. I've been one of those on a rare occasion when I forgot that my thumbs go forwards only and not backwards. Sometimes, there's a need to make things easy on the hands.
Then we see people who we know could use their full grip- but don't. I don't get deprioritization of the grip. Maybe it's a part of the gaps in strength training. There's a gap that exists between the look of being strong and actually being strong. There's another gap where strength is defined by game and strength to finish real work. Two gaps, like the holes in the middle of whatever you're grabbing without your damn thumb! Strength, perceived and demonstrated, comes from the hard shit that we grab and how well we manipulate it when it's in our hands.
Maybe that standpoint has something to do with my heritage. Living in Northern Vermont and having a healthy dose of French-Canadian descent, I've got a great deal of respect for the old-time strongmen of the turn of the 20th century. Quebec was quite the hotbed of that time, producing some very notable strongmen.
The most obvious, big-daddy of all Quebec Strongmen: Louis Cyr!
It kind of makes sense if you live in the area. If you hang out on the east side of Vermont, you'll see logs constantly heading south from Quebec. If you enter Quebec from North-Western Vermont, you'll note that most of the old houses are made out of field stones. Those stones didn't move themselves any more than the trees cut themselves down 130 years ago. It was a harsh land of hard work that made powerful men.
The kind of work that you don't get done with half of a grip!
Were I to pick a favorite French-Canadian strongman of yore, I'd have to go with Arthur Dandurand. If forearm power is your thing, how could you not be impressed with a guy who had 15.5" forearms on a 5'8", 180 lbs frame? Apparently, the guy put them to good use by pushing a wheel borrow with 4300 pounds 23 feet. That's got to be one of the most uniquely insane feats of strength I've ever heard of!
So, this all means that I'm beginning to morph into something of a grip strength junkie. I consider it an affront to both my reputation as a strong man and my strongmen-laden ancestry to not be. With few exceptions, I look at nearly everything I do and wonder if I can use it to enhance my grip.
Grip training is really the only thing that I do that comes close to isolation exercising. I started using CoC grippers early April, barely able to close a Number 1. Now, I'm within striking distance of closing the Number 2. Getting closer...
I don't consider doing pull-ups unless they are hell on my grip. Thick bars, towels, lifting straps, uneven "ladders", and most especially using my 3" thick rope.
Yes, I haven't forgotten or disregarded my 3" climbing rope.
It's not too uncommon to see lifting straps used for deadlifts. Not only do I not own them, I look for deadlift variations that require more grip work than usual. My latest favorite has been the Steve Reeves style deadlift. More on that later.FYI, I do use my thumb on these.
I'm sure that a few of my readers are new to my blog, finding out about me from Paul Wade's newest book, "Convict Conditioning 2." I still use fingertip push-ups on a regular basis. A week doesn't go by without me adding some 5 finger (one hand, 5 finger) and handstand-fingertip push-ups. To add insult to injury, they're usually super-setted with either rope climbing or pull-ups!
This is where one of the pics in CC2 came from!
Maybe the grip is a limiting factor in doing a lot of moves that we do. Maybe I could deadlift more weight and do more pull-ups if I could try to use less grip. Well, I'm not a powerlifter and there's no pull-up rep count contests. As a freelancer strength trainer, I can do whatever I want to do and I choose to make my hands as close to vices as I possibly can.