Everyone loves to get fit in the gym. Whether it’s through the latest athletic shoes or the most stylish top, looking good is just as good as lifting well when it comes to working out. Your fitness accessories can also go a long way towards achieving the desired wardrobe, and many are designed with the aim of enhancing training. Take lifting belts, for example. Yes, they’re designed to help strengthen and stabilize your back and core during intense sessions, but strap one on and try not to imagine yourself pulling 500 kilograms off the ground.
Another fitness accessory may be just as effective in enhancing your workout, but it often gets bad press. Weightlifting gloves can be useful tools, especially when used correctly, but workout purists or workout critics claim that this gym wearable is frowned upon due to factors such as less focus on grip strength, less hard nose training, and a pure disdain for aesthetics.
Okay, fingerless mitts might not be the most flattering piece in your wardrobe, whether you’re wearing them outside or wearing them before a big workout, but look aside, there are plenty of when to wear weightlifting gloves box enjoy your performance. Below are some key scenarios where you should consider lifting gloves, as well as some situations where equipment might be best kept in your gym bag.
When to wear lifting gloves
Weightlifting is all about being as efficient as possible when trying to move a heavy load from A to B. Thus, weightlifting gloves wouldn’t exist if they didn’t make this movement more efficient in certain situations. Below are a few things to consider if you plan to wear practice gloves the next time you hit the iron.
Like any pair of gloves, sparring gloves can be great for protecting your palms and fingers from abrasions. The dumbbells feature knurling at the handles that dig into your skin, designed to improve grip and grip throughout a lift. Like any abrasive surface, however, there’s a limit to what your skin can handle – too much use and you could end up with uncomfortable blisters and calluses.
If you’ve gone over the line and find yourself with tears and scars on your fingers, weightlifting gloves can be a fantastic solution, providing coverage over the entire area without sacrificing grip. Additionally, if you suffer from a skin condition like eczema, weightlifting gloves can act as a bandage or wrap when holding the barbell without compromising your comfort.
Your muscles aren’t connected to each other in terms of output – you can’t squat the same totals as on your bench. The muscles associated with your grip are no different, and when you start lifting hundreds of pounds, your grip may begin to falter before your hamstrings, glutes, back, and hips. Weightlifting gloves can give your grip the extra juice it needs to maintain that grip on the bar, keeping tension on targeted areas before failure. Rather than limiting your performance to the ability of your grip, you are more able to work the desired muscles, thereby pushing your body to the desired stress levels.
For those scenarios where your muscles overpower your grip, not all workout gloves will reap the same results. It’s best to use lifting straps for these methods, as they work more as a connection point between your hands and the bar, while improving comfort. Many lifting straps wrap multiple times around a bar, securing your grip on the bar while taking the strain off your fingers and giving you the opportunity for a better mind-muscle connection on the lift.
Sweat Riddled Workouts
Sweat is not a good addition to a gripping storyline. The slippery stuff can harm any stick, so if there’s a product that can jam that compromise, it’s always a plus in training. Weightlifting gloves can place a barrier between your sweaty palms and the knurling of the bar, creating a stickier surface for the pull to set in. Additionally, if your workout gloves are made of leather, the fabric can absorb some of that moisture, becoming more malleable and snug throughout your workout.
When You Shouldn’t Wear Weightlifting Gloves
Although the above information proves the resistance of weightlifting gloves, there are still situations that are not ideal for their use. In addition, it should be noted that athletes can train just as hard without weightlifting gloves as with the fitness accessory. It’s all a matter of personal preference, because ultimately the best workouts are the ones you feel comfortable in.
That said, here are a few situations where you might want to opt for a gloveless workout.
Grip strength training
Your muscles grow and get stronger when they’re put under stress – that’s why you press hundreds of pounds in the first place. Sure, weightlifting gloves can help you control the bar with exercises targeting larger muscle areas, but it’s also important to pay some attention to your hand and wrist musculature. Now, you don’t have to create an entire routine that focuses on these areas, but you can easily target these muscles and ligaments by training properly and working your grip along with those bigger lifts.
As you grab the barbell and bench work or pull, your hand and wrist muscles work to stabilize the weight, creating a compound experience and training multiple zones at once. If you rely on the grip and security you gain with the weightlifting gloves, you’re less likely to develop those muscles, which can weaken you when it comes time to train without the accessories. It’s best to mix up weightlifting gloves on days when your skin is irritated or you know for sure your grip isn’t ready for the tasks at hand.
As is the case with any fabric-based workout equipment, weightlifting gloves will begin to accumulate sweat and bacteria through prolonged use. All of that residue can lead to unwanted funk, which can be a nuisance for you and your gym mates.
Apart from the potent stench, this bacteria can also lead to potential infection and skin irritation, negating any benefit you may derive from hiding those calluses. When you notice odor or dirt, throw your weightlifting gloves in the wash for a day (while following prescribed washing instructions) and go raw for at least one workout. Trust us, your nostrils and your skin will thank you.
Weightlifting gloves can be a great accessory to add to your gym ensemble, but it helps to understand when their use is most effective. Follow these tips and capture new PR with these effective and often misunderstood training tools.