Why do weightlifters wear gloves?

If you are a fitness fanatic then you will no doubt have seen many people wearing weight lifting gloves at the gym. These special gym gloves are designed to improve your grip, protect you from injuries, and increase your strength and weightlifting capabilities. Our hands and wrists are put under a lot of strain when lifting heavy weights, so any extra support can make a huge difference.

But do weightlifting gloves actually work, or any they just a fitness fad for gym posers?

To answer these questions and to look at some potential pros and cons, here are eight benefits provided by weight lifting gloves.

person weightlifting painting

Weight lifting gloves offer finger protection

Weightlifting puts a huge amount of pressure on every part of your hand, including your fingers. The pressure of the weight can cause your tendons to stretch so much that you end up with tendinitis. This can cause pain, swelling and inflammation, and will make it impossible to bend your fingers. Wearing weight lifting gloves can protect your fingers as the gloves create a barrier between your fingers and the bar. As well as preventing the symptoms of tendinitis, the gloves will also prevent blisters as you will have a better grip of the bar so it won't slip and rub your skin.

Wearing gloves benefits your wrists

Wrist support is crucial when lifting weights because your wrists take a lot of the strain but are very weak compared to your target muscles. While certain exercises like push up variations can help to strengthen your wrists, workout gloves will help to prevent wrist injuries no matter how weak they are. This wrist support is important for preventing new wrist injuries and also for enabling you to work out even if you have a current injury.

Workout gloves protect your hands from blisters

A huge amount of friction is generated between your hands and the bar when you are lifting weights, and if you train without weight lifting gloves, this friction can cause calluses on your hands. Once these calluses have formed on your palm or fingers, if you continue to workout without gloves, the calluses can be torn open and painful blisters will develop on your hands. If this happens, it may be too painful to train, or your technique may be affected by the discomfort.

You should always wear gloves to prevent new calluses from forming and to protect calluses that you already have from rupturing. Quality weight lifting gloves prevent both, and will ensure that nothing interferes with your workout. Look for gloves that cover your whole hand, particularly your palm mounds because this is where we usually develop calluses. It's important to use the right sized glove so you avoid unnecessary friction. If you're a female lifter with smaller hands, you might want to consider womens gym gloves which will have better fitting options. 

person wearing gray tank top

Wearing weight lift gloves means no chalk

The tried and tested alternative to wearing workout gloves is to use chalk on your hands for extra grip while training. This soaks up moisture so that you have a secure grip with the bar safe and secure in your hands. These days, however, many gyms have banned the use of chalk because it is difficult to clean up and some people are allergic to it. You may have previously used chalk for lifting weights but now your gym has banned it.

If this is the case, there is no reason to change gyms. Try out some weight lifting gloves and you will see they are just as good for your grip. Where gloves have the upper hand on chalk is that they do not just offer better grip, but also extra support and protection for your palms, wrists, and fingers. Gloves are excellent for barbells, dumbbells and also for pull ups and other calisthenic techniques.

Workout gloves stop the weights from slipping

The reason why chalk or gloves are needed is to stop the weights from slipping when your hands are sweaty. Many people's hands get sweaty when they are exercising, especially when lifting heavy weights, but a slip of the bar can be potentially very dangerous if you are not wearing gloves. Any exercise that requires you to lift the weight above you like when you bench press or shoulder press should always be done wearing gloves so that you don't drop the weight on yourself.

If you tend to sweat a lot when you are training, look out for neoprene gloves because when your hands get sweaty, the material will absorb the sweat and guarantee your grip strength. Just make sure that you choose gloves that also allow air to flow around your hands as these gloves will help to reduce the amount you sweat. Many lifters look for lightweight, breathable weight lifting gloves with a rough palm for maximum comfort and improved grip.

Workout gloves will help you lift heavier weights

The extra support and stability provided by weightlifting gloves ultimately results in improved performance. While, of course, workout gloves cannot make your muscles stronger, the extra grip strength means that you will have a firmer hold on the bar so won't need to make any adjustments and can lift with the right technique every time. You can even wear your weight lifting gloves and your wrist straps at the same time to distribute more of the weight so that there is not so much pressure.

Wrist straps are useful for all pulling exercises such as deadlifts and bent over rows because they transfer more weight from your hands to the rest of your arms. This will give you the ability to lift more and especially to push out those last few reps.

Wearing weight lifting gloves can improve your technique

Every serious lifter knows that the best way to get the maximum gains out of your exercises is always to use proper technique. For this reason, gloves are important for both strength and muscle gains and also for protecting yourself from injuries. Weight lifting gloves help you maintain proper form by adding extra support to your wrists and reducing the amount of pressure on your hands. When you wear gloves, you will be able to focus purely on the correct form because you won't be thinking about pain in your hands or worrying about getting injured.

man holding pair of yellow-and-black kettlebells

Weight lifting gloves can reduce hand pain

There are various reasons why you may experience hand pain when lifting heavy weights but if you use gloves in the gym then you can go a long way to preventing it. As explained above, weight lifting gloves prevent new calluses from forming and also prevent old calluses from breaking into painful blisters. Furthermore, gloves can also reduce pain related to strain or pressure on your palm or wrist. This can completely ruin your ability to workout comfortably so you should look for gloves with plenty of wrist and hand support.

To sum it all up...

These are just some of the benefits of wearing workout gloves. They provide extra support, better protection, and will improve every part of your training. Next time you are heading to the gym, pop on a pair of workout gloves and you may be amazed at the difference they can make to your lifts.