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Why Do Weightlifters Need Sport Tape?

Published: 2022-07-06
Why Do Weightlifters Need Sport Tape?
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For the weightlifter, a roll of basic athletic tape is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have in their gym bag. It is also one of the cheapest, simplest, most humble items of suggested weightlifting-specific equipment.


Why Tape (In the Beginning)

Since the first days of competitive weightlifting, lifters have used the “hook” grip to improve their lifts. This is where the proper use of athletic tape can save the day (and a callous). Our SportsEdTV weightlifting library covers the use of tape here (4:05).

Until fairly recently, this was the only location where tape was allowed. Initially, the tape could only be applied from the base of the thumb to the knuckle, the area where a callous on the inside of the thumb develops and is most likely to tear.

A few years back, the rules were changed to allow tape to be applied to the entire thumb, but there has always been a restriction that the tape cannot extend beyond the end of the thumb. It’s pretty obvious that tape extending beyond the end of the thumb would likely function as a strap, attaching the hand to the bar and unfairly increasing the strength of the grip and the amount of weight lifted.



Over time, since callouses on the fingers also presented a potential problem, the application of tape for the fingers was allowed. Consider the current hygiene/safety issues that require halting the competition each time the barbell must be cleaned of blood. Change the rules, save time and effort; everyone’s happier.

While the technical rules related to the lifter’s outfit have greatly expanded in recent years, the allowable uses of tape remain clear. Here are the allowable uses.


From the 2020 IWF Technical Rules:

“4.5.3 Tape is made of either rigid cotton or rayon material and is known as athletic tape, medical tape and / or sport tape. Tape can also be an elastic therapeutic tape (Kinesio tape) which is an adhesive elastic cotton strip in multiple colors. Tape worn on the fingers and thumb must not protrude in front of the fingertips. Tape worn on both the inner and outer surface of the hands may be attached to the wrist. Tape or substitute must not be attached to the barbell at any time. No tape or substitutes are allowed within ten (10) cm of the elbow area. The ten (10) cm area consists of five (5) cm above and five (5) cm below the elbow. Tape may be worn under any piece of the athlete outfit including other bandages anywhere on the body, except the elbow(s). Tape(s) worn on forearm and / or upper arm must not reach the elbow area. The elbow area consists of five (5) cm above and five (5) cm below the elbow."

Obviously, the rules have been liberalized, even to the point of including today’s popular physio- or therapeutic tape.

Welcome a New Option

SportsEdTV welcomes Tape Providers  as a good option. To repeat, all weightlifters need to keep a roll or two of tape in their gym bag, ready to use.