More likely than not, you’ve worn gloves at some point in your life. Whether it be for cleaning dishes, automotive repair, cold weather sports or gardening with your mom, you’ve probably stuffed your hands into a pair of gloves.
The question we’re trying to answer, however, isn’t if you should wear gloves while snowboarding with your best friend from high school that you haven’t seen in 8 years, but if you should wear gloves while working out. The answer is: it depends.
A lot of guys (and girls) look down on wearing gloves in the gym, or any type of lifting accessories at all. These purely minimalist types prefer going at things on their own, and wear their callused hands and bloody shins with pride. These are often the same type of people that lift until they puke, scream before grabbing their weights, and leave a messy concoction of blood and chalk on the olympic bar when they’re finished.
Needless to say, we don’t all fall into this category.
For the rest of us that have day jobs and need to look (somewhat) presentable, we have gear to help us prevent injuries.
Weightlifting gloves are among the most widely used accessory in the gym, but in order to help you decide if you should toss a pair into your gym bag, let’s go over the pros and cons of wearing gloves while lifting weights. These will also apply to the latest twist on the classic glove: the Power Grips.
Power Grips are the newest innovation from Gunsmith Fitness, and allow you to replace gloves, weightlifting wrist wraps, wrist supports and hooks in one fell swoop.
The most obvious benefit of wearing gloves while working out is the increased grip. Most gloves are specifically designed with proper materials, whether synthetic or leather, in the areas where grip is needed the most.
The material on most modern gloves is made to absorb sweat, which means less slipping when grabbing onto that cable pulley or barbell. Less slipping means less injuries.
One of the greatest benefits of wearing gloves, but least discussed, is the wrist support that a lot of gloves have. Many lifters, especially those that have suffered previous wrist injury, find the additional stability of a wrist strap to help them with certain lifts, such as the bench press.
Weight lifting gloves with wrist support are also great for those that are recovering from a wrist injury and don’t want to spend too much time out of the gym.
Probably the main reason people use gloves in the first place is to prevent callused hands. It may be because they work a white-collar job and see callused palms as unprofessional, or that they think calluses are unattractive, or simply that they don’t want the pain from when a callus inevitably gets ripped off.
Whatever their reasoning, many weightlifters prefer using gloves while working out in order to prevent calluses from forming on their palms and fingers.
No Need For Chalk
Many people that refuse to wear gloves will often supplement with chalk. Chalk has many benefits, but is also messy and hard to contain. Carrying chalk around in your gym bag is likely to end up with everything in your bag, and not just your hands, covered in chalk.
Finger and Hand Protection
Most weights that you’ll encounter in the gym are two things: hard and heavy. Get your hands or fingers caught between two weights, or a weight and the rack, and you’re in for a world of hurt. While weightlifting gloves won’t prevent that pain altogether, they will definitely help mitigate it.
Reduced Grip Strength
Some people feel that using gloves can lead to a reduction in grip strength, claiming that the assistance of the glove hinders the development of the muscles in the hand and forearm that are used for squeezing. This may be true, but can easily be alleviated by specifically training for a stronger grip (which you should be doing anyway).
Let’s be honest: some people actually love their callused hands, and show them off as a badge of honor. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it simply boils down to a matter of personal preference.
Now you may be asking, how can gloves simultaneously improve your grip while also making it worse? The general rule of thumb is, the thicker the bar, the more difficult it will be to hold on to. This is why many people like to train with Grenadier Grips, as they increase the diameter of the barbell and activate more muscles in the hand and forearm.
Gloves can actually make certain exercises worse if the bar you’re gripping happens to be larger than normal, so make sure you remove your gloves for these exercises.
Change in Technique
If you’re just starting off in the gym, you won’t notice much difference in your technique. But if you’ve been lifting for a few years and decide to start wearing gloves, there’s going to be a period of adjustment while you get used to having that extra layer between you and the bar.
There may even be some exercises, such as the overhead press, that you prefer to go bare-handed.
And the decision is…
There are a lot of benefits that come with wearing gloves in the gym, namely protection for your fingers, and a reduction in calluses.
While gloves aren’t going to immediately send your lifts into the stratosphere or solve all of your grip problems while deadlifting, they certainly have their uses, and no serious weight lifter’s gym bag is complete without a set of Premium Lifting Gloves or Power Grips.