Whether or not you should wear gloves when you lift weights is one of the most hotly debated topics in the bodybuilding scene. Some people swear by gloves, whilst others prefer to keep it simple with bare hands. In this article we’re going to help you find your own answer to the question – “should I buy weight lifting gloves?”.
First and foremost, it’s important that you don’t let either camp try and talk you around to their point of view.
Although they may seem very persuasive, the truth is that it all comes down to personal preference. To help you out, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of wearing, and not wearing, weight lifting gloves below.
Read on to find out whether or not unisex or female weight lifting gloves are for you and if they can help you get a grip in the gym.
Why Some Weight Lifters Use Gloves
There are a few different reasons why a lot of gym-goers decide to wear weight lifting gloves. Some of these reasons are presented below:
To protect their fingers
If you’re lifting heavy weights all the time, then it makes sense that you might want to add some protection for your fingers. Gloves can actually take a lot of strain off your fingers and stop the abrasive metal rubbing on your palms.
Tendonitis is a very common injury for inexperienced weight-lifters, particularly in the middle finger which takes most of the strain when lifting weights. Gloves can help prevent tendonitis, which is an injury that could put you out of the gym for a few days.
Gloves don’t allow you to lift heavier weights, but gloves help reduce the overall impact on your hands.
This is likely to encourage you to continue lifting weights and trying to improve. Some workout gloves will also have wrist straps built in to offer support in that area.
To decrease calluses
Now, this is probably the most contentious issue on this list, as will become clear later on. Many people choose to wear lifting gloves in order to stop calluses building on their hands.
Calluses are rough spots on your hand that form as a result of the friction between your skin and the weight bar.
Calluses can be very painful as they first start to form, and can get even worse if you continue to workout with them. Gloves help reduce how fast calluses can form and therefore reduce the pain from gripping the weight bars.
No need for chalk
A lot of gyms actually don’t allow their patrons to use chalk on their hands inside their gyms. Putting chalk on your hands makes it easier to grip the metal weight bars. Without chalk, it’s good to have an alternative in weight lifting gloves.
Weight lifting gloves provide loads more grip on the bar than bare hands. This stickiness usually makes people think they have a much higher grip strength than they do. This is a good thing, but it’s important to not become too reliant on your gloves.
Overall, it’s hard to argue that gloves don’t improve your grip for weight lifting, especially when your hands get sweaty.
Reasons why Some Weight Lifters Don’t use Gloves
Now that we’ve talked about why some gym lovers think that wearing gloves is the way to go, it’s time to discuss the opposite view – that weight lifting gloves are completely unnecessary. Some just prefer lifting straps instead of gloves. People who hold this belief also have a couple of different reasons, which are as follows:
To increase calluses
You may be confused about this one since we just explained why it’s a good thing to reduce calluses forming on your hands. However, there are actually some benefits to building on calluses on your hands that can help you out in the long run.
You can think of this as toughening your hands up so that they are able to stand up to a regular beating in the gym. A regular gym user who has developed calluses on their hands over a long period of time will be able to lift heavier weights without the need for protection on their skin.
It’s important to understand that it really does take a long time to build up this rough skin, and it will involve quite a lot of pain!
Many people who don’t like to wear gloves will argue that they can actually have a negative effect on your pulling exercises. Specifically, they think that for exercises such as pull-ups, gloves actually reduce your grip strength and mean you give up before you’ve fully exhausted your muscles.
This can result in lower gains and less exercise efficiency. Considering that making gains is the main reason people go to the gym, this is a pretty big disadvantage.
Many lifters claim that using these lifting accessories can hinder grip strength development. There is some truth to this as they do improve your ability to grip, so you can grip more with weaker hand muscles.
But with a little amount of exercise on the forearms, you shouldn’t have any issues. By adding some forearm exercises to your routine, you will improve the strength of your grip.
What Lifting With Gloves Says About You
So, to summarise. It’s pretty clear that gloves have a number of benefits as well as a couple of drawbacks. Lifting gloves help with holding the bar and can take a lot of strain off your hands.
However, weight lifting gloves prevent you from reaching your maximum performance on pulling exercises and don’t allow you to build up calluses.
In our opinion, why not get the best of both worlds? We recommend picking up a pair of gloves that you can wear for lifting weights and then take off for pulling exercises. You’ll also then have the straps available to protect your wrists during long sessions.
Do gloves affect grip strength?
Although a pair of weight lifting gloves might give the illusion of more grip strength, this isn’t really the case. Gloves simply improve your grip on the bars by providing more friction to stick onto them.
There isn’t really a way that gloves can make you grip tighter or lift heavier weights.
Should you use gloves when lifting weights?
It really all comes down to personal preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to using gloves so you should weigh them up for yourself. Our article above goes through all of these factors so we’d recommend starting there.
Are weight lifting gloves good or bad?
For a lot of people, weight lifting gloves are really good and make their gym sessions a lot more pain-free and enjoyable. Other people prefer to go in with bare hands and try and build up resilience in their skin and fingers. It all depends on what you prefer.
Which gloves are best for weight lifting?
Gloves with wrist strapping are always great for weight lifters, especially those who are starting to lift some seriously heavy bars. Having said that, there are lots of different types of gloves and everyone has their own preference.
It might take a few different pairs before you find the perfect glove for you.