Illustration of a man using lifting straps.

The Best Lifting Straps & Grips for Building Muscle

When you first start lifting weights, it’s common for your grip to be a limiting factor. After all, if you’ve never trained your grip, it’s probably weak. And since you need to grip the bar during every single exercise, it’s easy for a weak grip to plague your workout routine. Fortunately, your grip will quickly become stronger, and it will stop being a limiting factor on most lifts.

But some lifts work huge muscle grips, allowing you to lift massive amounts of weight. Think of the conventional deadlift, which works your glutes, quads, and hamstrings—three of the biggest muscles in your body. Your grip won’t be able to keep up. To get around that problem, you can learn the mixed grip, the hook grip, use chalk, or use tape. All of those methods can work. But a much simpler option is to get some lifting straps.

Lifting straps do two things. They let the bar hang from your wrist instead of from your grip, and they prevent the barbell from rolling in your hands, keeping it steady. This allows you to worry less about your grip, more about the muscles you’re actually trying to train. You can row with your upper back, deadlift with your hips, and shrug with your traps—all without needing to worry about the bar rolling out of your hands.

So, that brings us to the next question: what are the best lifting straps to buy? And the answer to that question is a bit surprising. You shouldn’t buy lifting straps at all. You should get lifting grips instead.

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Illustration of a bodybuilder doing some light warm-up sets before doing his heavier weight training.

How to Warm Up Before Lifting Weights

What’s the best way to warm up before lifting weights? Should we do cardio? Does that help? Is it necessary? And should you stretch? Some research shows that stretching can reduce our size and strength gains. But is that true?

And what about warm-up sets? There’s no doubt that they’re an important part of warming up before lifting heavy weights. But how much weight should we lift during those warm-up sets, and how long should we rest between them?

In this article, we’ll go over the research looking into the best way to warm before your workout. By end, you’ll know how to reduce your risk of injury, how to improve your technique and range of motion, and how to gain more muscle size and strength.

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Illustration of a man doing a barbell front squat

The Barbell Front Squat Guide (for Building Muscle)

The barbell squat is the strength training lift. It’s the best lift for bulking up your quads, glutes, and calves, and it stimulates more overall muscle mass than any other lift, with the possible exception of the deadlift.

There are different ways of squatting, each with different pros and cons. This article has nothing to do with powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting. Instead, we’re using the squat to stimulate muscle growth—to get bigger, stronger, fitter, and better looking. For this, the barbell front squat is the best. That’s a controversial claim, we know. But we’ll show you why, then how.

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Illustration of a bodybuilder demonstrating how to superset your exercises so that you can build more muscle size and strength with every workout.

How to Do Supersets

Building your workout routine out of supersets is one of the best ways to build more muscle in less time. Not because there’s anything magical about them—although there might be—but because they make our workouts so much denser and more efficient. And there’s no real trade-off, either. You’ll still gain the same amount of strength, still get similar cardiovascular benefits.

Thing is, most people do supersets incorrectly. They rest too little between their sets, which is fine for general fitness, but it reduces the amount of muscle mass and strength they gain. Or they superset the wrong exercises together, limiting the amount of weight they can lift, and turning them into a less effective form of drop sets. So if you want to keep your workouts focused on building muscle, there’s a specific way to do them.

So, what are supersets? What’s the best way to do them? And how can you cut the length of your workouts in half while still gaining the same amount of muscle size and strength?

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Illustration of a bodybuilder doing drop sets.

How to Do Drop Sets

Drop sets are a traditional bodybuilding technique where you do a set, grab a lighter weight, and immediately do another set. Bodybuilders have been using them for the past 80 years as a fast way to blast a muscle with extra sets, and they’ve fared quite well in the research. If you use them cleverly, they can indeed help you build more muscle in less time.

So, what are drop sets? How do you do them? And how can you use them to build more muscle?

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Illustration of a bodybuilder training with the X3 Bar by Dr John Jaquish to build muscle mass.

Review of the X3 Bar by Dr John Jaquish: Is It Good for Building Muscle?

Dr John Jaquish is quickly becoming known for making extravagant claims about the benefits of training with his resistance band system, the X3 Bar. According to him, the product that he developed is the very best way to build muscle—three times better than traditional weight lifting. And not only that, it’s cheap, safe, and can be done from the comfort of your very own home.

But is any of that true? Are resistance bands an effective way to stimulate muscle growth? Is the X3 Bar better than the other types of resistance bands? And how does it compare to traditional weight lifting for building muscle? Can it really compete? Does it really offer any advantages?

So, is the X3 Bar good for building muscle? Let’s take a look.

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Illustration of a bodybuilder who built bigger triceps with triceps extensions.

How to Build Bigger Triceps

There’s an old bodybuilding adage that your biceps are responsible for 33% of your arm size, your triceps for 67%. And, believe it or not, if we look at studies (like this one) measuring muscle size, we see that the average man’s triceps are indeed twice as big as his biceps. Building bigger triceps is indeed the best way to build bigger arms.

There’s an old strength training adage, though, telling us that all we need to build bigger triceps is to get stronger at the bench press and overhead press. That’s not the case, and perhaps that’s why most people’s triceps lag behind their biceps. They don’t train them directly enough, hard enough, or often enough.

So, what’s the best way to build bigger triceps?

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Illustration of a man doing skull crushers.

The Skull Crushers Hypertrophy Guide

Skull crushers are one of the best exercises for building bigger triceps, and they’re quite good for increasing bench press strength. They also tend to be fairly easy on the elbows compared to overhead triceps extensions. As a result, they’re popular in both bodybuilding and powerlifting routines.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to do skull crushers, how to add them to your workout routine, how often to do them, how many sets to do, and how many repetitions to do per set.

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Illustration of a man doing a barbell bench press

The Bench Press Hypertrophy Guide

The bench press is the best lift for building a powerful chest. It’s also great for bulking up your triceps and the fronts of your shoulders, making it a great overall lift for improving your aesthetics.

The bench press is one of our Big 5 bulking lifts, and in this article, we’re going to go over the best strategies for integrating it into your bulking routine. This article has nothing to do with powerlifting or even powerbuilding, just with using the bench press to becoming bigger, stronger, and better looking.

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Illustration of a man doing chin-ups (back view)

The Chin-Up Hypertrophy Guide

Chin-ups are a great lift for your upper back, abs, and grip strength. They’re even a great lift great for improving your cardiovascular fitness. What they’re most famous for, though, is building absolutely killer biceps.

In fact, the only other lift that’s as good for bulking up our biceps is the biceps curl. But given that curls are a smaller single-joint movement, they’re better thought of as an assistance lift to the chin-up anyway.

The chin-up is one of our Big 5 bulking lifts, and in this article we’re going to go over the best strategies for integrating it into your bulking routine, getting the most muscle mass and strength out of it as possible.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • How to bulk up your arms, back, and abs with the chin-up.
  • Whether you should use a neutral grip, overhand grip, or underhand grip as your main chin-up variation.
  • How to assess your weaknesses and then fix them.
  • The best assistance lifts for improving your chin-up strength.
  • How to use accessory lifts, such as biceps curls and rows.
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