Gym Equipment Part 2: Gloves
If you didn’t check out Part 1 on weight lifting belts go and check that out first! But let’s move onto another piece of gym equipment that really divides the weight room.
So, do you need them? Let’s see how they actually help or hinder your performance in the gym firs.t
The perception is that gloves are going to give you a secure, dry grip on the bar when things start getting sweaty. But in actual fact they remove you from the bar. Making the bar or dumbbell further away from you will cause the weight to be unstable in your grip and you might find that you actually have less power in your movements and the bar and the glove shift in your hand.
Gloves, particularly thick ones, actually increase the diameter of the bar you’re holding. This will make it harder to grip the bar over long periods of time. Think of this as a smaller version of the Fat Gripz you may have seen people using in the gym to intentionally make the bar thicker.
Cheap gloves make these two phenomena even worse. Cheap gloves tend to not fit well, causing more bar movement as well as being thick. The combination will actually cause you more problems in the long run.
Although at first the build up of calluses is painful and they can be scratchy, once you’ve bedded them in they will become tough and smooth to the point where they will offer you plenty of grip, as well as intimidating people who don’t even lift when you shake their hand!
So is there a time and a place for lifting gloves at all? Well yes.
I once had a client who’s job was a hairdresser, I can totally understand why someone who uses their hands for their job would not want to build up admittedly ugly and dry calluses on their hands. I wouldn’t want the person cutting my hair to have dry, peeling calluses. It’s just not a good look.
So you have to decide whether or not you are happy to sacrifice performance for smooth skinned hands. It will be a very individual decision as we’re not talking about losing heaps of performance but it may make a difference.
A much better alternative for me is to go with good old-fashioned chalk. It will dry your hands out as well as giving you a rough surface to grip when the chalk is placed on the bar or dumbbell. For those in ultra clean gyms you can get liquid chalk very easily from many suppliers, which works really well.
I hope this cleared up some of the confusion surrounding lifting gloves and hopefully it will allow you to make a more informed decision. Until Next time!