Grip assistance equipment, like wrist straps and lifting hooks, has been around for a long time.
After all, who doesn't want to able to get more reps and use more weight NOW? Haulin' Hooks are a unique, new concept on the block. Learn how these hooks stack up.
The concept of "Haulin' Hooks" is simple...a thick, padded wrist wrap attached to a set of strong steel hooks, designed to help augment your grip and allow you to hold onto MUCH heavier weights and get more reps.
Do the "Haulin' Hooks" measure up to other grip assistance equipment? And, bottom line, are they effective for improving your results?
Is Grip Assistance Necessary to Maximize Muscle and Strength?
That's the first question we should ask about any grip assistance device. Does the use of it become a crutch and lead to weaker grip strength?
The answer to that CAN be "yes." If you use grip assistance for everything, your grip strength is going to suffer.
But here's the rub...there are times when grip assistance is an absolute necessity to maximizing your results. For example, if you're doing partial deadlifts with WELL above your normal full-range maximum weight, grip assistance will allow you move MORE weight and hold onto it LONGER.
This allows you to get maximum overload on the target muscles - overload that would not be possible without grip assistance.
Grip assistance is also quite useful on high-rep endurance-based training. Yes, there are times when high reps are useful - and if your grip gives out before your target muscles hit their limit, you've left results on the table.
So choose your battles wisely when it comes to using grip assistance tools - use with very heavy weight, very high volume of sets, and very high reps. Everything else - no grip assistance. Your grip strength will be just fine.
What Are Haulin' Hooks?
"Haulin' Hooks" utilize a very simple principle - a thick, padded wrap that goes around the wrist with a set of steel hooks attached. Also included on this product is a wrist strap. With the hooks and the strap, you've got all aspects of grip assistance covered in one piece of equipment, which is nice.
The entire hook apparatus is built VERY strong. I think the only way to dent this thing would be with a sledgehammer (and even then it would take more than a few swings). The nylon straps are rock solid and the foam padding that wraps around your wrist is comfortable.
One of the other nice features is that you can adjust where the hooks sit depending on how you feel comfortable gripping. You can move them up and down on the equipment to get the best feel, which is a benefit you won't see on other grip assistance tools.
The strap portion of the "Haulin' Hooks" is pretty much your standard wrist strap. Again, it's a solid part of the overall equipment.
The company offers several different versions rated to different loads. I tested the "Powerlifter/Pro" hooks, which were the heaviest rated. They also offer "Ladies" hooks, which are designed to better conform to the generally smaller wrist size of women (plus, they're pink!).
How Are Haulin' Hooks Different Than Ohter Grip Assistance Tools?
The main thing you'll notice about this equipment is that it's not a "trough" style of hook (one solid piece running all the way across). Trough hooks are very useful but this "open" design (with the way the two hooks are arranged) allows you to get more of your hand on the bar for better control and a good feel.
The other thing you'll notice is the wrist straps that are attached are a bit wider than most standard wrist straps. This gives you better gripping power.
Aside from these visual and construction differences, the overall goal of the hooks remains the same - to augment your grip.
Are Haulin' Hooks Effective?
Absolutely. Using these hooks will allow you to hold onto FAR more weight quite comfortably. The thick wrist padding distributes the load quite well even under very heavy loads.
This gripping power allows you to get extra reps and add extra pounds to your exercises, which definitely increases your results.
The hooks themselves also flip back and out of the way quite easily when you're not doing a grip-related exercise such as squats or presses. Basically, you can do supersets without having to remove the hooks and they won't get in the way.
Bottom line - this is a very good piece of equipment for improving grip on pulling exercises.
Do Haulin' Hooks Have Any Issues or Problems?
There are a few, but it's nothing serious enough to stop you from trying these hooks if you're interested in them.
First, if you're using just the metal hooks on a metal bar, there can be a tendency for the hooks to slide horizontally. This is easily remedied - the company includes a set of rubber gripper tubes that slide over the metal hooks to deal with this issue.
Second, I'm not a "wrist strap guy." I've only used straps a couple of times because I normally find them awkward to work with. The straps that come attached to the "Haulin' Hooks" can get in the way if you don't want to use them along with the hooks.
The company has actually addressed this as well with a "hooks only" version of the product - it's basically the same set of hooks but without the attached wrist straps.
If you DO like using wrist straps, you'll love the fact that they're attached. If you don't, one thing to note is that the "strapless" versions of the hooks are only rated to 650 lbs.
If you're planning on doing training with more weight than that (and that IS a definite possibility if you're looking to do partial lockout deadlifts), you'd be better off getting the higher-rated hooks and just dealing with keeping the straps out of the way as you're doing the exercises. Personally, I actually cut the straps off my high-capacity ones and the work great.
Lastly, gripping your fingers over and around the hooks does take some getting used to. It has a different feel than other grip assistance tools but the result is just as good, if not better.
And, in my experience, that's pretty much it. There aren't any major weaknesses in this product - one pair is going to last you a lifetime, even if you're beating them up with EXTREMELY heavy weight on a regular basis.
If you're looking to improve your training results in the heavy pulling exercises, grip assistance is a must. "Haulin' Hooks" are a highly-effective, top-quality option that I would have no trouble recommending. These hooks will definitely help you lift more weight and get more reps.
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