Nearly every athlete knows the moment, when the strength of their grip fails or their skin hurts and threatens to burst open. Especially those of you, who do deadlifts twice a week or regularly do pull-ups during your body weight training, are likely to be affected. What hands without gym gloves, chalk, etc. threaten, when a complete back workout with deadlifts, pull-ups, and other tension exercises is on the training schedule– we don’t even need to talk about that …
Pulling exercises require a greater grip strength than pushing exercises – that’s a fact. Since tension exercises work the back, neck, and biceps, friends of these muscles as well as friends of a well-balanced full body workout should support your grip strength and either spare your hands or gradually toughen them. This advice doesn’t just apply to the practice of strength training, but also relates to the practice of other types of sports like gymnastics and rowing.
Gym gloves, chalk, and other grip aids are ideal helpers, to promote training and types of sports with tension exercises. This way, you will optimize your training performance and your wellbeing will be greater, which will help you achieve your training goals.
Gym glove material helps you get a good grip, even when your hands are sweaty. So, on the one hand, the dumbbell won’t slip out of your wet hands, while on the other hand, you won’t slip from the bar when doing calisthenics or body weight training.
Another positive aspect of gym gloves is the padding: this reduces the formation of calluses. Therefore, your skin will most likely remain unharmed and not burst open. People, whose skin breaks during training, have to cut back afterward and may get out of their training rhythm due to the injury breaks; with gym gloves, you can avoid this risk.
However, the padding on gym gloves has two drawbacks: the first one being a reduction of the transmission of power, so you have to apply more energy into your grip. The second one being that you can’t feel the contact with the training equipment, like you would if were using your bare hands. For this reason, the use of gym gloves is not recommended for complicated movement sequences, as in the case of gymnasts. If you do calisthenics, you’re in a zone between gymnastics and weight training, in which the movement sequences still allow the use of gym gloves due to their lower complexity in comparison to gymnastics.
Quick Overview: Pros and Cons of Gym Gloves
- Tight grip at all times; even with sweaty, wet hands
- Protection from calluses and injuries
- Available in breathable materials
- Available in half and full finger variations
- Versatile applicability: calisthenics, body weight training, body building, power lifting, bicycle rides, Nordic walking, rowing, & more!
- Reduced transmission of power when gripping
- No direct contact with the training equipment, therefore making it more difficult to do more complex training sequences, like those that are required in gymnastics
Types, Materials, Half and Full Finger: That’s what makes good Gym Gloves!
If you decide to use gym gloves, ideally, the best choice would be gym gloves with breathable material, like our gym gloves for men and women, for example, with a microfiber mesh that quickly absorbs heat and moisture.
If you would like to combine your gym gloves with the advantages of a wrist wrap (for more stability during pressure exercises and protection of the wrist), our gym gloves with wrist wraps for men & women are worth taking a look at. These offer, for example, a skin friendly, elastic Lycra fabric, which is a breathable material.
To keep your hands nice and warm in the winter, there is a special type of gym gloves that provide full coverage of the fingers. You may have rarely or never seen the full finger glove in the gym, because it’s warm enough inside for your hands during winter. However, for those who do calisthenics in parks in the winter or ride their bike in the cold seasons, full finger gloves are common.
The choice of materials for our gym gloves differs, but is largely based on the principle of breathability. Breathability is considerably more important with gym gloves that are self-contained and surrounds the entire hand than it is with open grip pads, which are an alternative to gym gloves. Therefore, make sure your gym gloves are not made of neoprene. While the grip pad material is desirable, high-quality gym gloves should be made predominantly from leather materials and most especially textiles, that are generally breathable. On our products, we cover this up with Lycra fabric or microfiber mesh.
In contrast to gym gloves, the goal with chalk isn’t to prevent sweaty hands from contacting dumbbells, bars, and other objects by putting a layer of padding between them. Chalk changes the surface of your hands so that they sweat less or not at all, and have a better grip. The layer of chalk you apply to your hands makes this possible.
Since your hands have direct contact with the equipment, you can optimally carry out the most complex movement sequences when training. You can feel every nuance (for example, the bar or parallettes), which is why chalk is more appropriate for calisthenics exercises than gym gloves. For gymnasts, chalk is the essential standard equipment. Additionally, the use of chalk won’t reduce the transmission of power, since there’s no longer a layer of padding in between.
As for the disadvantages, there are the effects of chalk on the skin: on the one hand, calluses form, which can facilitate injuries. On the other hand, the application of Liquid Chalk dries out the skin.
In regard to the formation of calluses, it should be noted the skin regenerates with sufficient training breaks and therefore hardens, which means your skin will show a decrease in callus formation over time.
As for the drying of the skin from the liquid chalk, moisturizers remedy this effect. If some athletes (we assume that female athletes are a little less sensitive about this) cry out at the point that the use of moisturizers “isn’t manly”, you shouldn’t pay attention to that: ideally, what matters most is achieving of your goals, your well-being, and your health. If that means that you have to spread a moisturizer on your skin after using liquid chalk during the workout, then that’s the way it is.
One last possible disadvantage of using chalk is that the wrists are less stabilized compared to gym gloves. To solve this problem, wrist wraps are a practical addition: the wrist wrap supports your wrists to prevent them from buckling when under load, especially when doing pressure exercise. You can read more about the advantages of wrist wraps in this post: Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Train with Wrist Wraps.
Quick Overview: Pros and Cons of Chalk
- Grip is promoted, since your hands don’t sweat
- The natural hardening process of the skin is stimulated
- Constant direct contact of the hand to the training equipment, which is a prerequisite for the execution of detailed and difficult movement sequences
- Option of either dry or liquid chalk
- Versatile application: calisthenics, body weight training, body building, power lifting, gymnastics, bouldering, climbing, cross fit, bowling, & more!
- Hands dry out from using liquid chalk, which is why the application of moisturizers after working out is necessary or why dry chalk is preferred
- At first, calluses build up, however, the frequency of training with chalk hardens the skin and calluses become rarer (see the pro above: The natural hardening process of the skin is stimulated)
Which type of Chalk is better: Liquid or Dry?
In our assortment, we have liquid chalk. This chalk is in a small bottle that you open to apply the chalk and rub on the surface of your hands and fingers. The chalk dries quickly and adheres to your hands. This makes the skin dry out, which subsequently requires the previously mentioned moisturizing care.
Dry chalk doesn’t have the disadvantage of drying out the skin, however, it has several practical disadvantages: unfortunately, it’s difficult to transport dry chalk without powdering the duffle bag. It’s completely impossible to use the chalk for sports, without creating dust clouds and leave behind a little to a medium mess in the gym or outside – for this reason, the use of dry chalk in certain sport facilities is prohibited.
Ultimately, it’s advisable to use liquid chalk for practical reasons. There’s less residue in your duffle bag and on the training equipment. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about the use of chalk being prohibited in the gym, bouldering hall, or at another training location, which unfortunately, is the case with dry chalk.
Grip pads are essentially the “trimmed version” of gym gloves. You hold them in your hand, placed around the equipment (e.g. dumbbell, pull-up bar, rower) and improve your grip due to their surface texture. At the same time, the padding protects your palm. Unlike gym gloves, the pads only cushion the palm and don’t completely surround your hand, so your hands will sweat less than they would in the gloves.
Therefore, grip pads have comparable advantages and disadvantages to gym gloves. The advantages described 1), the better grip 2), and the protective padding are offset by the disadvantages that are already known from the gym gloves: worsened transmission of power and no direct contact with the training equipment, which causes negative impacts to the precise execution of complex training sequences.
Based on the characteristics, the use of grip pads in not recommendable for gymnasts. Otherwise, like with gym gloves, numerous groups of athletes get their full money’s worth: body builders, calisthenics pros, powerlifters, and many more. However, in contrast to gym gloves, there is the limitation, for practical reasons, that in sports such as rowing and cycling, where the pads have to stay on the hands for a long time and not just for the short period of an exercise, gym gloves are better suited. Thus, grip pads are primarily equipment for strength athletes.
Quick Overview: Pros and Cons of Grip Pads
- Hands sweat less than they do with gloves; nevertheless, an optimal grip is guaranteed even with sweaty hands
- Skin is protected from the formation of calluses and injuries
- Available in ergonomically shaped versions
- Also available with finger loops for a better hold
- No unpleasant odors like with gym gloves, which requires regular cleaning
- Versatile application: calisthenics, body weight training, body building, power lifting & more!
- The transmission of power when gripping is reduced by the padding
- Lack of direct contact between the hand and the part of the body being trained, which makes grip pads unsuitable for sports with complex and detailed movement sequences
Learn the Types and Materials of Grip Pads
The simplest version of grip pads is our neoprene grip pads : just pads, no finger loops or other bells and whistles. Neoprene is an ideal material with greater breathability, which also ensures that when training outside in winter, the bars don’t feel as cold and make the workout more pleasant to do. Thanks to neoprene, you’re also spared from unpleasant odors.
An alternative is grip pads with eyelets for the fingers. Slide your fingers into the additional eyelets, which will guarantee that the grip pads have a perfect position in your hands. In our assortment, we offer on the one hand, neoprene grip pads with a large grip surface, on the other hand, we offer rubber and neoprene grip pads, which also have finger loops. As for the latter, the rubber surface with lamellae is extra grippy and more distinctly designed than the neoprene grip pads.
Neoprene is the ideal material for grip pads, because it’s more flexible than leather. In contrast to closed gym gloves, open grip pads can also be used in the required high quantity without experiencing the unpleasant side effect of making the hands too warm and sweaty.
With grip tape, you have the opportunity to make the grip surfaces of devices and sport equipment even grippier. Have you ever looked at the hockey stick or tennis racket of a regular player? If yes, then you may have noticed the grip tape on the handle.
High quality grip tape is designed from waterproof, absorbent, and durable materials. The tape is wrapped around a handle, which also works great with pull-up bars and training equipment. From now on, they provide an improved grip strength with very minimal loss of the transmission of power. Your palms will be spared, and slipping due to sweaty hands is hardly possible. Our grip tape is manufactured from thick woven poly-cotton. It will serve you well for a long time, because it’s durable, non-slip, waterproof, absorbent, and stretchy.
Grip tape combines the advantages and disadvantages of grip aids described so far; but with the disadvantage that they can only be attached to objects that belong to you. For example, you can’t stick grip tape to the handle of every training device in the gym. Even outside in calisthenics parks, it wouldn’t really be possible to permanently attach the grip tape– the weather conditions alone are too extreme for the tape. You can attach grip tape everywhere in your home gym, where it’s useful for you: parallettes, short and long dumbbells, gym rings, bars, push up handles, etc.
Quick Overview of the Pros and Cons of Grip Tape:
- Improves your grip, without losing direct contact with the training equipment
- Loss of the transmission of power is so minimal, that it doesn’t carry any weight
- Durable and waterproof with the right choice of product
- Hands won’t sweat like they do in gym gloves
- No cleaning necessary, but switch-out after a period of use
- Applicable for all kinds of training equipment and sport equipment handles
- Only limited and exclusively applicable indoors on your own sport devices, since it will be attached to the handles for a long time (exception: tennis rackets and other equipment, which can be taken inside or outside and stored in a dry place).
The applicability of individual grip aids depends on the place and the season when training, the exercises, and the type of sport. For those who train outside, are well advised to wear half finger gloves and full finger gloves in the winter. If it’s not too cold, then the use of grip pads will also pay off. On dry days, chalk also makes sense for outdoor use; especially for climbers and gymnasts, the use of chalk for exercises outside is barely avoidable.
Indoors and with portable equipment, like tennis rackets, grip tape provides a durable and sensible choice in terms of its usage characteristics. If the use of grip tape is prohibited, because it’s public sports equipment, chalk, gym gloves, and grip pads are interchangeable options. Now it’s up to you, to individually decide their use with the help of the advantages and disadvantages that we’ve presented in this post.