A good hook grip can be the difference between missing a lift and crushing a PR. Yet, hook gripping isn’t always easy to perform, especially when we experience thumb pain. In most cases we push through the pain, but when pain is present at near maximal loads, the body may sub consciously slow itself down. The stretch tape from Average Broz Gym owner John Broz is designed to address that issue.
This is where tape can be used to improve our lifts by supporting our hook grip. There are multiple types of tape you can use for lifting, the most conventional being your typical athletic cloth tape. But cloth tape can lose effectiveness when we get progressively more sweaty and then slide on the thumb. Lifting tape such as Average Broz’s Gym Stretch Tape is made specifically for lifting, which gives it an edge on your normal cloth tape. But how big can the difference really be?
Personally, I’ve always used cloth tape because it was readily available, so when we got our hands on Average Broz Stretch Tape, I was excited to put it to the test. To get a sense of the tape’s feeling and performance, I tested it with snatches, cleans, and what I was most curious about: heavy snatch pulls & deadlifts.
The feeling of Average Broz was honestly better than I expected. I had used stretch tape before when taping old hockey stick grips, so in my mind I had a preconception of what this tape would probably feel like. To my surprise, this tape had a softer feeling than regular stretch tape and wrapped well around my thumb.
Unlike the hockey tape I’m used to, which is cohesive — aka it sticks to itself — Average Broz’s weightlifting tape is adhesive, which sticks to your thumb and itself. This was helpful when it came to providing my grip with a feeling of comfort and security. The adhesive was light and flexible so it perfectly fit around each curves in my thumb.
One possible issue someone might have could be the texture: It’s a little more rough than your typical cloth tape. While I had no issue with this, if you have sensitive skin, it may take a little adjusting.
The material was possibly the most interesting aspect of this tape. The adhesive texture provided a secure stick. Unlike most tapes where the stickiness makes it difficult to use, this tape’s stickiness didn’t have that issue, at least for me. Another cool note about this tape, according to the manufacturer: it supposedly has a specific number of horizontal and vertical threads to ensure strength for use in weightlifting, which was definitely present.
If you pull the tape, it doesn’t become permanently stretched out and lose density like cloth tapes often do. It snaps back and has a little coil, but there’s never a loss in the tape’s structure.
Average Broz’s site also mentions how the adhesive is “metered”. This method is supposed to allow the adhesive to bleed through itself and stick well together. The tape stuck together and could even be re-wrapped three to four times without too much loss of stick.
When I used this tape, I looked for two things. First, I looked for how easy it was to rip and how clean the rip was. This tape rips really well and doesn’t require a ton of effort to do so. Whether you’re in a bind for time or have limited fingers to use, I never felt like I needed scissors or to ask someone for help. On top of this, the rip was clean, and there was no bunching of the tape from a poor rip.
It’s important to note that I’m used to ripping tape from taping my wrists every day in college cheerleading. This being said, I tried ripping the tape as if it was my first time, and the tape became a little frayed and bunched up and the ends. It’s an easy fix, but without consideration, a lifter could waste tape with poor rips.
The second thing I looked for was the feeling the tape had on my thumb and other body parts. When it came to my thumb, I loved it. There was never an issue with tape sliding, even when I got sweaty. The grip remained consistent, which was a pleasant surprise. I then tried wrapping parts of my shin where I make contact in snatch grip movements (areas that often get cut and bleed).
My fear was the tape pulling out my leg hair and being painful to take off. I never experienced a problem with this. Since the tape is a metered adhesive, it sticks well to itself and the skin, but without pulling hair as cloth tape often does.
One issue I did experience was when I got progressively more sweaty and made contact with my shin to bar: the tape bunched up slightly. It wasn’t a lot, but if you’re dragging the bar up your shin and sweating a ton, this could be problematic.
Each roll comes sized at two inches wide and 20 feet long. The two inch width was great for me; I have somewhat long thumbs/fingers so the tape covered my thumbs/fingers very well. I also really liked the two inch width for wrapping parts of the shin, I didn’t have to waste tape double wrapping areas.
Yet this width could be problematic for those who have really short thumbs when abiding to the no thumb cover rule. The 20 foot length was perfect for my personal use, but when it comes to teams, I can imagine rolls go pretty quickly.
The price for Average Broz’s Gym Stretch Tape is a little higher than your normal cloth tape. An average roll will cost you 4-5 dollars, which could be steep for the casual lifter. Still, you pay for what you get. When it comes to functionality and usage, the price point seems fair. This tape is designed for lifting specifically, so the price point makes sense for the lifter who’s buying it for lifting.
Rating 1-5 (5 being the best)
In summary, this tape performed well for what it’s designed to do, which is to enhance your lifting and provide comfort when hook gripping a barbell. There was never an issue with it sliding on my thumb or pulling the hair on my shin.
There are a few issues I could see being problematic for the lifter who has sensitive skin and small thumbs, but for the most part, this tape performed well with all of my tests.
If you’re frequently snatching and clean & jerking and want a tape that doesn’t slide, even when sweaty, I would suggest giving Average Broz’s Gym Stretch Tape a try.