Is it bad to wear gym gloves while lifting?
We all work hard to achieve the best results possible in the gym, and anything that can give us that extra edge is always worth investigating. All serious gym goers are constantly inundated with tips and advice on how to lift heavier weights and get better results. While the effectiveness of many of these suggestions comes down largely to personal preference, wearing gym gloves has been shown to have many benefits in terms of performance and safety.
But are there any downsides to wearing workout gloves? Will gloves affect your form or impact your gains?
To answer these and other commonly asked questions, here is what you need to know about the pros and cons of wearing weight lifting gloves.
Why are some people so negative about wearing weight lifting gloves?
When you look back at old footage of weight lifting pioneers like Arnie or Lou Ferrigno, it is very rare to see any of those legends wearing weight lifting gloves. We all want to emulate our heroes, and unfortunately this gives credence to those same people who believe that using a squat pad or lifting straps is for cheaters to claim that wearing gloves is somehow unacceptable or unnecessary. Like all sports, however, weight lifting and resistance training is constantly evolving, and for the best results, it is crucial that you move with the times.
What are the main benefits of wearing gloves?
First and foremost wearing gym gloves will help to protect your hands from blisters and calluses. These commonly occur due to the friction between your skin and the bar and not only are they painful, they can also seriously affect your form and lifting capability. Workout gloves provide an extra layer of protection between your skin and the bar which prevents these kinds of friction injuries.
Second, gym gloves can enable you to lift more weight than if you were exercising bare handed. The increased grip provided by wearing gloves means that you can keep lifting until your muscles fatigue, rather than when your grip gives out.
Finally, weight lifting gloves help to prevent commonly occurring injuries to your hands and wrists. Sustaining these kinds of injuries can massively hamper your progress and put you out of action for weeks, so it is crucial that you wear gloves to prevent these kinds of injuries.
To fully understand these benefits, lets look at them in more depth...
Weight lifting gloves provide grip advantages
Your grip is incredibly important because it is the crucial point between your body and the bar. If you don't have enough grip strength, your lifting capacity will be seriously hampered which will affect your performance and gains. To increase strength and add muscle mass, you need to be lifting as much weight as possible for a relatively low number of reps. Even if your muscles can handle this weight, if the bar slips out of your hands because your grip is not strong enough, you will never fulfil your lifting potential. Wearing gloves will give you a solid grip at all times so that no matter how fierce the burn, you can keep pushing out those reps.
Use weight gloves when your hands are sweaty
Another reason why you should use gloves is if you tend to get sweaty hands when lifting. This affects most lifters at some point and it can seriously hamper your training. When lifting with naked hands, your sweat can cause the bar to slip but when you are wearing gloves you will be able to firmly grip the bar at all times. We all know it is those last few reps when your muscles are screaming and your grip is close to failing that are the most important, so wearing weight gloves can make a huge difference to your results.
Wearing gym gloves will boost your performance in cold weather
Unfortunately we are not all lucky enough to be able to train every day at Muscle Beach in California, and many of us who live in colder climates have no choice but to brave the freezing cold temperatures in the gym. Everyone in this situation knows that the bar can be pretty damn cold on winter mornings and this can affect your grip and your lifting capabilities. Wearing weight lifting gloves fitted with thermal linings will help to keep your hands warm and ensure that you can lift just as much weight as you can during the warmer seasons.
Weight lifting gloves support your wrists and hands
When you lift weights you are targeting specific muscle groups depending on what kind of exercise you are doing. Unfortunately, as well as putting strain on those muscles, there will also be a huge amount of pressure on your wrists and hands. These are a crucial part of your body, because no matter how much weight your muscles are capable of lifting, if your hands and wrists are too weak, you will not be able to train to your full capacity. Weight lifting gloves have wrist straps to provide extra wrist support which will maximise your performance, increase your grip strength, and relieve unwanted pressure.
Each glove will typically have a velcro strap that prevents wrist injuries by spreading the pressure across your entire hand and forearm. This wrist support is not only crucial for preventing new injuries, but will also enable you to continue lifting weights while you rehabilitate current wrist issues. Nobody wants to take weeks off from the gym while they wait for an injury to heal, so make sure you wear workout gloves during your recovery.
Weight lifting gloves protect your hands
Painful blisters and calluses are just a normal part of lifting, and while serious fitness enthusiasts are able to rise above the pain, they can seriously affect your performance. Weight lifting gloves help to prevent calluses from forming and also prevent any calluses you already have from turning into blisters. The best gym gloves typically cover all the most vulnerable areas of your hands, effectively protecting you from ripped calluses and other friction injuries, and ensuring that you have a pain-free workout.
Weight lifting gloves maximise your performance
Lifting weights puts massive pressure on your body, particularly your wrists and hands, but weight lifting gloves help to alleviate some of that pressure. When you start wearing gloves to lift weights, it will help to improve your lifting technique and guarantee a good grip every time. The extra layer of support between your hands and the bar will not only increase your grip strength but will also enable you to lift heavy weights which you are unable to lift bare handed.
In particular, pulling exercises such as deadlifts, pull ups and bent over rows, as well as bench press and heavy shoulder press can all benefit from the added grip and support that comes from workout gloves. When you see the pros doing the main olympic lifts, they always use gloves to prevent their grip failing so that they can can perform to their maximum potential.
Which exercises should I wear gloves for?
Everyone has their own fitness goals, and nobody will ever say that gym gloves or wrist straps are unnecessary when lifting light weights or or doing other exercises where there isn't so much pressure on your hands. Anything which makes you feel more comfortable and helps you to perform in the gym is always worth it. That being said, weightlifting gloves are particularly beneficial for strength training and certain exercises which require you to lift extremely heavy weights.
Workout gloves are constructed specifically to take the strain off your hands so that your target muscle groups are doing all the work to ensure maximum results. It is important to wear gloves when lifting heavy dumbbells, barbells, or doing advanced bodyweight exercises like pull ups. When lifting heavy weights for mass or strength gains, you need to keep adding more weight incrementally to push your muscles to the limit. When you wear workout gloves, they will ensure a better grip so that you can push yourself further and make the most out of every moment in the gym.
Are there any downsides to wearing workout gloves?
The short answer to this question is no. Weight lifting gloves will help you to avoid blisters and calluses, perform better in the gym, and protect you from injury. In fact, the only complaint that most people have about weight lifting gloves is that they can get a little stinky after a while but this is true for all our gym attire, not just our lifting gloves. Fortunately, workout gloves are very easy to clean, and all you need to do is give them a quick scrub each evening with hot soapy water and leave them to dry overnight.
The final rep...
There are so many benefits to wearing gym gloves. They will help you to lift heavier, protect your hands, and remain injury free. You can use weight gloves for all kinds of exercises but they are particularly important when lifting heavy weights. At just a few dollars per pair, it is well worth giving workout gloves a chance and seeing the benefits for yourself. Happy lifting!