I’ve probably used traditional weight lifting straps for around 10 years or so. You know the type.
You loop one end around your wrist and wrap the other end around the barbell, dumbbells, handles, etc., thus basically attaching the weight to your wrists/hands.
Doing so improves your grip on the weight you’re holding and helps prevent it from sliding out of your hands during your set. If you’ve never used them before, they work extremely well.
Versa Gripps ARE straps… just a slightly different version of them compared to the traditional type most of us already know and use.
They exist for the same purpose (to improve your grip on the bar) and they’re used the same way (one end goes around your wrist, the other end is wrapped around the bar). It’s basically another form of the same training tool.
The question is, are Versa Gripps any better or worse than regular weight lifting straps? Let’s find out…
Wait… Straps?!? I Thought They Were A Bad Thing?
Alright, let’s get this part out of the way first.
There are some people who feel that straps are a bad thing. They claim they’re nothing more than a crutch you’re relying on to make up for a weak grip and that using them prevents your grip strength from ever improving. Therefore, straps should be avoided by everyone 100% of the time.
I on the other hand think these people are morons and highly recommend using straps whenever needed (assuming it’s in line with your goals).
Why? Because virtually no one is doing exercises like rows, pull-ups, deadlifts, shrugs, dumbbell lunges/split squats, etc. for the purpose of training their grip.
We do them to train the muscle groups they’re actually designed to train (back, legs, etc.). The thing is, as we get stronger we eventually reach a point where those muscle groups become capable of lifting an amount of weight for an amount of reps that our grip isn’t as capable of supporting.
So should the training for the rest of our body suffer because our grip gives out before the body part we’re actually trying to train? If you lack common sense, apparently the answer is yes. Otherwise, you simply turn to straps… the easy and instant solution to this problem.
I cover all of this in way more detail right here: When & How To Use Weight Lifting Straps
A lesser known purpose for using straps is that if you’re currently dealing with any elbow issues or have a history of elbow issues – golfer’s elbow especially – you’ll often benefit from taking as much stress off of your grip as you can. Guess what? Straps allow you to do that, too. More here: 17 Ways To Prevent Elbow Injuries
Now back to the review…
Versa Gripps Pro vs Traditional Straps
Like I was saying before, I’ve probably used regular straps for nearly a decade. They’ve done exactly what they’re supposed to do and have worked just fine for me.
But at some point a few years ago, I somehow came across Versa Gripps and wondered if they’d work any better than my good old reliable straps always have.
It took me a while, but I recently got around to buying them and I’ve spent the last month or so testing them out. What kind of testing, you ask? Well…
For the first 1-2 weeks, I came into the gym with both my usual straps AND my Versa Gripps. Why? So I could alternate between them from one set/exercise to the next. Why? So I could notice whatever differences (big or small, positive or negative) that may exist between them. Why? Because that’s just how I roll.
For the 2 weeks after that, my old straps stayed in my bag and Versa Gripps became the only one I used.
I tested them on my heaviest sets of the usual exercises I’ve always used straps on (like deadlifts, certain rows, and shrugs) and a couple of additional exercises I almost never use them on (like lat pull-downs). I wanted to be as thorough as possible.
So thorough in fact that I’m going to break this review down into unnecessarily thorough categories of unnecessary thoroughness. Or something like that. They are:
Performance: Which Helped My Grip The Most?
Let’s start with the most important aspect of a product like this: which one works better?
Which one improved my grip the most and allowed me to lift more weight/do more reps without the bar sliding out of my hands?
Without a doubt, Versa Gripps were better than straps. How much better exactly? Not insanely better. I mean, it’s not like I was instantly able to lift twice as much weight or anything even close to that. But enough so that there was definitely a noticeable improvement in performance.
Here’s a real world example. I’m currently doing 3 sets of barbell shrugs once a week at the end of an upper body day (3 reasons why I like shrugs), which is when my grip is completely dead. For this reason, I use straps.
I’m shooting for 8-10 reps, and for a while now I’ve gotten something like 8-8-7. During the last rep of each of those sets, the bar is barely in my finger tips. The sets end not because I can’t shrug more, but because I just can’t hold the bar any longer. Again… this is with straps.
So after weeks of this happening as a result of a super fatigued grip, I tried out Versa Gripps for the first time. Guess what happened? I got 10-9-9.
Obviously that’s not a huge difference, but it is definitely a positive difference. And I’ll gladly take it.
I found there to be a similar performance improvement on the other stuff I tested as well. At whatever rep my grip had previously been dead by with straps, my grip was now noticeably less dead and additional reps beyond that point were possible.
So on the surface, Versa Gripps appear to be a couple of reps better than straps. But, since this allows me to hit my rep goals better/sooner, it allows me to progress in weight better/sooner. So it’s hard to really put a number on exactly how much better they’ll end up being in the long run.
But the point is, they ARE better. My grip just holds better and feels more tight and secure overall.
So I’d say Versa Gripps are quite good and better than straps under most circumstances. What do I mean by “most?” Let me explain…
The One Big Problem: Sweaty Hands
After being super impressed with how well Versa Gripps had performed in my first couple of tests, I happened to try them out on a Hammer Strength row (the handles of which are fairly smooth and lack the knurling of a barbell) at a point in my workout where I was a little extra sweaty.
And that’s when I discovered an unfortunate flaw: if your hands get sweaty enough, Versa Gripps kinda suck.
Seriously. Once sweaty hands enter the equation, old school straps suddenly have the advantage.
What causes this, you ask? The material they’re made of. On one hand, that material (which has this cool grippy/sticky feel to it) is part of what makes Versa Gripps awesome. On the other hand, when that material is combined with sweat, that awesomeness is instantly killed.
As bad as this sounds (and when it happens, it is bad), I’m still not totally sure how big of an issue this really is just yet.
For starters, it’s only been a few weeks. Plus, I’m not sure if this is something that can be completely avoided by simply remembering to wipe my hands on my shorts or something before starting my set.
This is something I’ll pay more attention to as I continue to use them.
Winner: Versa Gripps (unless your hands are really sweaty)
Usability: Which Is Easier/Faster To Use?
They’re both basically used the exact same way. One end goes around your wrist, and the other end gets wrapped around the bar. Here’s the best video I could find of how Versa Gripps work…
(Ignore the part about using them for “pushing” exercises, as that’s basically using them in place of gloves rather than straps. No thanks.)
Now despite them both having the same general setup and the fact that neither of them are truly “hard” to use or take more than a couple of seconds to wrap around the bar, I still found Versa Gripps to have a noticeable advantage over traditional straps.
There’s 3 main reasons why…
- First, unlike straps which have to be wrapped around the bar multiple times, Versa Gripps barely go around once. This makes for a faster setup and less time spent playing with straps when you’re ready to start your set.
- Second, they’re easier to use single-handed. If you use straps long enough you eventually get good at putting them on without using the opposite hand to assist. With Versa Gripps, you’re automatically good at it from day 1 because it’s just easier, period. This is partly because it’s only being wrapped around the bar one time, and partly because of the anti-gravity aspect of them. Speaking of which…
- Third, uhhh… hmmm… there’s really no way to explain this without significant penis undertones, so we might as well go all in. Versa Gripps never go limp. They’re never flaccid. They’re always up, stiff and ready to perform. Penis. Penis. Penis. You know how straps hang down from your wrists? Versa Gripps don’t. The material they’re made of is sort of bendy and stands on its own in front of your hands. At first this seems a little weird if you’re coming from regular straps, but you soon find that it makes setting up a whole lot faster and easier. This is especially true when doing stuff like pull-ups/chin-ups or lat pull-downs where you’re trying to wrap them around a bar that’s above you.
Winner: Versa Gripps
Comfort: Which Kills My Wrists The Least?
I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I’m doing something heavy (deadlifts and shrugs especially) with straps for multiple sets, my wrists end up looking like they got into a fight with some other wrists and those wrists beat the shit out of mine.
Or maybe like I have some kind of weird sunburn that’s only around my wrists. Or like I’ve been handcuffed for a while and had been trying to escape. I think you get the picture.
Padded straps (which have a soft layer of neoprene between the straps and your skin) certainly help, but the issue is still there.
Versa Gripps on the other hand are designed in a way that significantly reduces this problem. Unlike straps where all of the pressure is on your wrists (they have to squeeze the hell out of your wrists in order to work), Versa Gripps don’t really work like that.
It’s hard to explain why or how that’s even possible, but it is. Combine this with a bunch of padding of its own and the amount of stress being placed on my wrists is less with Versa Gripps than it is with straps.
Winner: Versa Gripps
Price: Which Is Cheaper?
Spoiler alert… straps win the price battle. By far.
Your most basic pair of traditional weight lifting straps will run you like $5. Go for the fancier padded version and it might go up as high as $10. Overall, straps are relatively cheap.
Versa Gripps are not cheap. They’re actually pretty damn expensive. The Pro version (which is what I’m using for this review) is $54.95 on Amazon at the time I’m writing this.
So that’s $5 – $10 for straps vs $54.95 for Versa Gripps Pro. Yeah… straps win this one.
Now you might wonder, is this much higher price for Versa Gripps warranted? Good question. The materials are definitely different. There’s definitely a lot more going into the making of these. The overall quality is very high. The construction is solid. It clearly looks and feels like it’s a significantly more expensive item than plain old straps. No doubt about that.
How much more expensive? That I don’t know, because I have no clue how much these things legitimately cost to produce (nor do I know how long they’ll last… yet). But I’d be a lot happier if they were sold for something more in the $25-$35 range rather than the $55 they actually are. That’s my honest opinion, at least.
Is this higher price STILL worth paying anyway? Well, that’s really going to be up to each person to decide themselves.
But since this is my review, I should probably tell you what I think. So…
If you’re broke and can barely afford to pay for important things (e.g. food), I’d recommend saving your money and sticking with straps. If however you have the money to spend, I do think the improved performance Versa Gripps provide is worth the higher-than-it-probably-should-be price.
Durability: Which Holds Up Better Over Time?
I’ve gone through plenty of pairs of straps over the years. I never really paid much attention to how long they last (at $5 a pair… who really cares), but if you use them regularly and lift heavy enough, traditional straps will eventually start coming apart and need to be replaced.
What about Versa Gripps? At $55 a pair, I suddenly care a bit more. Unfortunately, I have no clue how well they’re going to hold up because I just haven’t had them long enough to find out.
As of the time I’m writing this, I’ve only had my first pair for a little over a month. And they’re holding up just fine so far. No real signs of any wear and tear at all yet. I can’t say for sure how long this will last, but everything looks promising thus far.
I’ll definitely update this review in the future at the first sign of any condition issues, and I’ll update again the first time I actually need to replace them.
UPDATE: I’ve now been using the same pair of Versa Gripps for about 3 and a half years, and they are still holding up just fine. They look a little beat up and some of the stitching has come out in a couple of spots, but it’s all minor stuff that is barely noticeable. I highly recommend them.
Winner: Don’t know yet.
The Final Verdict: I Prefer Versa Gripps
I give Versa Gripps Pro a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Overall I like them better than straps and would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a new (slightly expensive) toy to play with that will do the job of straps better than traditional straps, be a bit faster/easier to use, and place less stress on your wrists while better supporting your grip.
I’ve been using them exclusively and plan to keep it this way.
The one and only thing preventing me from giving them a full 5 stars is the sweaty hands issue. Again, it’s possible that this becomes a bigger pain in the ass over time, and if it does I will come right back here to update this review. It’s also possible that just remembering to wipe my hands off first will reduce or totally eliminate the issue altogether. We’ll see.
Either way, I really like them so far.
If they sound interesting, you can get them right here from Amazon.
That’s where I got mine. And yes, just like every other product recommendation you’ll ever see on the internet (though typically the person goes out of their way to hide what I’m telling you), that’s an affiliate link. So if you click it and buy them, Amazon will give me somewhere between 12 cents and a billion dollars. Usually much closer to 12 cents.
What Size Should You Get?
One final thing I want to mention if you decide to get them is how to figure out what size to get.
The ONLY difference between the different sizes is the length of the part going around your wrists. That’s it. So the actual size or length of your hands doesn’t matter at all here. Wrist circumference is all that matters or changes from one size to the next.
With that in mind, this is the size chart they provide. It applies for both men and women:
- X-Small: 5 – 6″
- Small: 6 – 7″
- Regular/Medium/Large: 7 – 8″
- X-Large: 8″+
To measure correctly, they say: “please wrap the tape measure all the way around your wrist (directly over your wrist bone).”
Thanks to my wonderful ectomorph bone structure, my skinny girl wrists measure in at slightly over 6.5 inches. So, I got the small. They fit me just fine.