There are lots of different kinds of weightlifting straps and hooks on the market. The problem with a lot of them though is that they were developed by product designers-not the guys who are actually in the gym actually doing the lifting. As a result, a lot of the grip aids out there are really not all that great. Some of them are difficult to use while others can allow the weight to slip, which could put you-and others-in danger. So that's why I took a look at Haulin Hooks' a company that makes grip aids-designed for bodybuilders by bodybuilders.
Progressive overload-continually challenging the body to lift more weight-is how we stimulate muscle growth. The human body is of course only capable of continually getting stronger up to a certain point, after which it's just not physically possible to realize more gains. On the road to getting big, lean and mean, you sometimes are not able to exhaust the target muscle as much as you would like to-or what you're actually capable of-because your grip gives out before you achieve the desired number of reps.
The problem is that the muscles that are used to grip heavier weights are smaller and less strong than most of the other muscle groups where bodybuilders focus their weightlifting efforts. So for example, while your back may be capable of comfortably performing 10 reps of bent-over rows with 100-pound dumbbells, your grip-which is managed by a much smaller muscle group-might give out after only 5 reps. Throw in sweaty palms and you can see where a guy could run into a frustrating situation.
This is where grip aids come in. Grip aids come in the form of straps or hooks. The straps are wrapped around both the wrist and the bar (or dumbbell). Hooks are similar except instead, rather than wrapping a strap around the weight to support it, the bar or dumbbell rests inside a hook. Both of these grips aids transfer a great deal of the weight from your fingers directly to your wrist. By taking grip strength out of the equation, this enables the user to lift more weight and complete a greater number of reps.
But as I said earlier, a lot of the grip aids on the market aren't really all that great. They can be cumbersome to use, difficult to adjust or even downright dangerous if they slip and the weight comes crashing down on the floor or your foot. Haulin' Hooks though, has developed a line of grip aids that I really like. They've got a complete line of grip aids that will suit the needs of any serious bodybuilder-guy or gal. Haulin' Hooks designed and manufactures a line of about 10 different products that includes both weightlifting gloves and their patented Haulin' Hooks.
The Haulin' Hooks are of course their signature product. This is a dual-function grip aid that features multi-position hooks slots "sure hold" hooks-which means no worries about slippage. The hooks have a simple slide and adjust feature that enables you to easily position the hook right where you want it. They are also nicely padded so they don't chafe your wrist and are thankfully, really simple to use.
The hook design is what really sets Haulin' Hooks head and shoulders above the competition though. Their "zero spinoff" hook design that guarantees a true center pull while simultaneously allowing for incredibly easy on/off, regardless of the equipment-bar bell, dumbbell or even resistance machines. That's just not possible with a lot of other grip aids. The Hooks come in a variety of styles including "original," "hardcore," "pro/powerlifter" and one for the ladies. The pull ratings on the hooks range from a low of 650 pounds to a high of 1,250 pounds. That's a lot of weight. Haulin' Hooks are made even better with the addition of the low-cost "gripper tubes." These slip over the hooks, considerably enhancing their performance. Specifically, what they do is eliminate any lateral bar slide, allowing you to focus 100% of your attention on what you want to do-lift more weight.
Given all these features, it's no surprise that Haulin' Hooks are the clear-cut leader among grip aids. And while the Haulin' Hooks aren't cheap-the prices range from about $45 to $60 depending on the model-I think this is one item that is well worth the investment. They can definitely help put any serious bodybuilder well on the road to achieving his maximum potential.
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