Should I Wear Gym Gloves?

If you are a regular down the gym, you have most likely seen some of the other guys wearing special weight lifting gloves during their workouts. Proponents of these gloves claim that they help them to lift heavier weights while also protecting them from injuries.

But do weight lifting gloves really make a difference? Can they improve your performance in the gym?

To help answer some of the most commonly asked questions and to explain the pros and cons, here is everything you need to know about wearing lifting gloves.

Dumbbells, Gloves, Weights, Exercise

What are the main reasons for wearing weight lifting gloves?

Weight lifting gloves, also commonly referred to as workout gloves or gym gloves, are typically designed to help you avoid calluses and blisters. There are various designs of gym gloves but the majority will cover your palms and knuckles, and will also incorporate extra wrist support through a velcro strap.

There are other gym glove designs which are intended to provide extra protection for your palm mounts because this is the area of the hand which most often develops blisters particularly when lifting heavy or doing pulling exercises like chin ups and pull ups.

In addition to preventing painful blisters and wrist injuries, wearing weight lifting gloves is also intended to help improve your grip strength so that you can lift more weight. Many people find that their grip fails them before their muscles do, and so by improving grip strength by wearing workout gloves, they can add as much weight as possible to the bar.

The benefits of wearing weight lifting gloves

Grip advantages

Grip strength and bar positioning are extremely important whenever you are weight lifting. Most gym goers have seen a heavy bar slip out of someone's hands during a bench press or shoulder press and there can be serious consequences.

Weight lifting gloves help to reduce the chances of an accident because they increase the friction and enable you to firmly grip the bar. Particularly if you are prone to sweaty hands when you are weight lifting, wearing workout gloves will absorb the sweat and increase your grip strength.

Another common issue that many people have is maintaining a good grip when the bar is cold. If you live and train in colder climates, you will know that many gyms can get pretty damn cold, but weight lifting gloves are constructed specifically to keep your hands warm so that your lifting technique is not affected by the temperature. Choose a glove with a thermal lining and you will be able to load up the weight no matter how chilly your gym is.

Added support for your wrists

Many designs of weight lifting gloves typically incorporate extra wrist support and this prevents wrist injuries. This extra support usually comes from wrist straps which reduce unwanted pressure, effectively protecting all of the tendons and ligaments in your wrists from strains , sprains, and other damage. Weight lifting gloves are also incredibly important if you are recovering from a previous wrist injury or need to rehabilitate current wrist issues.

Protection from blisters

Anyone who has been lifting weights for a long time knows how painful and frustrating blisters and calluses can be. If you are prone to these kinds of injuries, you should start wearing gloves every time you go to the gym as they will provide an extra layer of protection between your hands and the bar.

Blisters on your hands can cause a lot of nerve pain which can make it difficult or even impossible to get a good grip on heavy dumbbells and other weights. When you wear lifting gloves you will be able to totally avoid blisters and ripped calluses so that you are always in peak condition.

Comfort and increased performance 

Heavy weights can put enormous pressure on your hands and wrists but weight lifting gloves decrease that pressure which can help to increase your performance in the gym. In comparison to the other muscles in your body, your wrists and hands are very weak, but workout gloves provide extra support so that you can keep going until your muscles give out rather than your grip failing.

Some weightlifting gloves even come with additional straps which you can wrap tightly around the bar for certain exercises like deadlift variations. These products, specifically engineered for serious lifters, will help to unload some of the weight from your hands to your wrists and lower arms which can seriously increase your potential.

Should I wear gloves for every type of exercise?

While workout gloves can be beneficial for every type of workout, they are particularly important for compound exercises when you are lifting heavy weights. Many people use bars thicker than a regular bar for these heavy lifts, like an olympic bar or a powerlifting bar, and these require a better grip.

Exercises like deadlifts and bent over rows, where you are primarily training for strength and muscle gains, are all far easier to do with proper form if you wear workout gloves. You will be amazed at how much more weight you are able to lift when you wear gloves.

person wearing black fingerless gloves

Are there any negatives to wearing gloves when weight lifting?

At the end of the day, whether you want to wear workout gloves or not is really down to personal preference. Many people find that they provide the grip and performance benefits explained above and that they largely protect them from blisters and other injuries. In fact, in terms of the pros and cons, the only real downside to wearing special gloves at the gym is that you will need to clean them regularly.

How can I look after my weight lifting gloves?

As with all your gym gear, your workout gloves can get pretty stinky, so you will need to clean them regularly. It is worth buying two pairs so that you can use one pair while the other is drying out. You will also need to look after the palms of the gloves so that the grip doesn't wear down.

Wash your gloves by hand

It is always better to wash your gloves by hand so that you can ensure you do a good job. Fill your bathroom sink with hot soapy water and gently rub the dirt and sweat from the outside of your gloves. Once they are done, hold the gloves under a cold running tap to rinse away all the grime and soap.

Clean the insides of your gloves

After you have cleaned the outside of the gloves, turn them inside out so that you can clean out the insides too. The insides of your gloves are likely to be grimier than the outsides so you will need to pay them more attention. If your gloves still smell bad after this, leave them to soak in the hot soapy water for an hour or so and this should do the trick.

To prevent them from smelling in the first place, you may want to try cleaning your weight lifting gloves with a disinfectant wipe every time you finish in the gym.

Keep them dry

Once your gym gloves are clean inside and out, you will need to dry them before you can use them again. The best way to do this is to just hang them out on your clothes line so that they dry in the fresh air. If you put them in the dryer, the heat could ruin their grip and may even make the gloves smell worse.

If all that is too much hassle...

If you are just too tired when you get back from the gym, then there is no harm in just popping your gym gloves in the washing machine. They should still get a decent clean, and you will just need to hang the gloves out to dry when they are finished.

The Verdict...

woman using dumbbells

Gym gloves can provide many fantastic benefits for every fitness enthusiast. They will increase your performance in the gym, strengthen your grip, and protecting your hands and wrist from injury. For many people, gym gloves are an essential piece of equipment, and they never leave home without them.

A decent pair of weight lifting gloves is only going to cost you a few dollars and they really can make a huge difference. Give them a try the next time you are pumping iron and they may just change your life!