Crossfit Gloves, Grips and Handguards
The concept of wearing gloves for weightlifting or Crossfit is somewhat surprisingly opinionated. People either love wearing gloves or hate wearing gloves. If you hate wearing gloves I suggest you stop reading now. If, however, you don’t want to blister, cut or rip your hands during workouts and training, then you’re in luck as this guide is designed to help show you want to look for when buying Crossfit gloves.
In my opinion weightlifting gloves are a key piece of fitness equipment. They help me train harder and more effectively. I can train until failure based on the muscle group I’m working on, rather than stopping due to my hands slipping or my palms cutting up. This gives me the ability to train much better.
Crossfit workouts can put parts of your body under press so it’s important to understand what support and protection is needed. The hands, knees and shoulders can often be seen as pressure points during Crossfit workouts. These are quite common pressure points in weightlifting and a lot of sports. The good news is that there are plenty of supports and fitness gear out there that can help with this. In the case of the hands, gloves can be used during these high rep exercises that would otherwise blister and cut your hands. It’s common that having extra support for your wrists and joints can also be sought after for very heavy lifting.
Top Crossfit and Weightlifting Gloves
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What’s the Best Option for You?
Let’s start with a curve ball as these aren’t technically ‘gloves’, however, they do exactly the same and are highly rated by professional athletes.
Gymnasts can also have problems with blisters so there is an array of specialist gymnastics hand protectors available. They have been designed with Olympic athletes in mind so they aren’t just a fitness gimmick, they are the real deal. These are perfectly usable for weightlifting too, particularly for exercises like pull-ups or any pulling motion.
Gymnastics on the parallel bars or rings with often use these hand protectors as they are designed to soften the impact of high intensity swinging movements on your hands.
They are easy to use and function very well. You just need to place your fingers through the finger-holes and they wrap it around your wrist. This creates a stable wrist support too.
Olympic athletes are likely to use slightly different gymnastic handguards for each event. For example, the high bars will require a handguard that is wider and more padded, than say, the handguards for rings (that need to be narrower and more flexible). For Crossfit use and for anyone who isn’t a training gymnast, just look for beginner handguards. They do come in different sizes too (and in male or female) so make sure you order ones appropriate for the size of your hands. If they are the wrong size, they will certainly impact and limit your workouts.
Handguards are tried and tested with Olympians and I think it’s just a matter of time before more and more Crossfitters turn to handguards to solve the problem of sore (and bleeding) hands. Due to their versatility and lightweight nature, gymnastic handguards are my top pick for protecting your hands during WODs or workouts.
Cross Training Gloves
This is a hybrid between the old school gymnastic handguards, and the more common commercial gym style glove. The advance of this kind of glove is that fact that it has removed any unnecessary material and focuses on just providing padding and cover for your palms as well as wrist support. These 2 elements are what we’re focused on so this solves the problem perfectly.
Sports Strapping Tape
Strapping tape is also a possibility but they are more associated with weightlifting and won’t work as well with high rep or high intensity workouts.
Strapping is a very versatile piece of fitness gear and should be in every sportsman and sportswoman’s kit bag. It can be used to provide cushioning on your palms too. I’ve found that strapping used in this way can be great for certain exercises but if you’re going for long/high rep workouts, the tape is likely to tear up and cause more issues.
In the last few years there has been an evolution in the gloves industry whereby minimalistic is the new norm. Gone are the days gym gloves came in bulky, overly padded materials. You can still find these but they’re usually now hidden behind shelves stacked full of extremely lightweight gloves.
This evolution stems from a lot of the criticisms of weightlifting gloves. People claimed they were too heavy and limited hand movements. Many people also claimed gloves could limit your development with regard to grip strength. These new types of gloves, however, try to offer all the benefits of using your bare hands, with the comfort of padded material covering your palms.
These more minimalistic gloves tend to not get as sweaty. They are also easier to wash (ideally washing them every week).
There are varying degrees of protection but you still want to focus on quality. Cheaper gloves are likely to rip and tear (you get what you pay for!)
The limit to these gloves is the lack of wrist support. These are great for pull-ups and lightweight, high rep workouts, but when it comes to the Olympic lifting, the lack of wrist support, may mean you want to use another form of hand protection (straps, chalk, tape, etc).
Full/Half Finger Gloves
The original type of gym glove, the full finger glove offers the most padding and coverage for your hands. These do tend to have the drawback of limiting hand/finger movement. This isn’t necessarily an issue for more traditional bodybuilding workouts, but if you are training and doing Crossfit, you need more movement in your fingers and hands. The use of these type of gloves would depend on the workout. They could certainly come into use for certain WODs but you need to be careful not to use them for others.
If you watch the Crossfit Games, you are bound to see these types of gloves in full force, so don’t listen to much to the Crossfit ‘guru’ who claims you shouldn’t be using gloves.
Moisture-wicking gloves are definitely a bonus. These slightly pricier gloves won’t collect moisture and are certainly worth the investment. They tend to last much longer too. Moisture-wicking gloves and hand protectors pull sweat away from your palms and keep them clean and dry, which also tends to keep the gloves in better condition.
There are many options for protecting your hands during a Crossfit workout or lifting heavy weights in the gym. It is also worth mentioning the options of using chalk. Many people prefer using chalk. The chalk helps with grip and you’ll usually see Olympic powerlifters and Strongmen using chalk as opposed to gloves. If gloves don’t sound like the answer for you, then look into getting chalk designed for weightlifting.
There are many different types of chalk available. Liquid chalk is increasingly popular with powerlifters and Crossfitters.
As you can see, Crossfit gloves go beyond just a simple pair of gym gloves – there are lots of options to choose from. Individual methods of protecting your hands will favour different people. There isn’t a universal winner for Crossfit gloves, rather a selection of useful products that offer slight variations to help overcome the issue of sore hands.
The most important thing when trying to protect your hands is finding something that works for you. This may mean you sway towards chalk or perhaps gloves, or maybe straps. Once you try then all, you’ll discover which one helps you achieve your goals best. Let’s not forget, regardless of whether you’re doing Crossfit workouts, weightlifting, HIIT, etc, these are all steps towards achieving your fitness goals. Don’t let other people convince you that because the pro athletes don’t wear gloves you shouldn’t either. If it helps you get fitter, then why wouldn’t you incorporate it into your life?