By far one of the most controversial topics in the workout realm, weightlifting gloves are said to offer a number of distinct advantages in the gym. Because these divisive pieces of fitness equipment are offered in a variety of styles and sub-genres, sorting out the reality behind their pros and cons can be tricky. So, we’ve searched far and wide, consulting many-a-gym rat and trainer to help give a concrete answer to the age-old question.
Do they help? Are they detrimental to proper form and technique? Is it all subjective and just a matter of opinion? Below, we’ll delve into the arguments for the strengths and weakness of weightlifting gloves as well as the logic behind said arguments. We’ll also be exploring some best weight lifting gloves that are currently on the market. So, let’s get into it.
The Pro's Of Weightlifting Gloves
Those that do land on the pro-side of the weightlifting glove debate cite a myriad of areas that are reportedly improved by wearing these gloves. The first (and quite possibly the most blatant) benefit is grip. Tightly holding a barbell (or any other weight), more often than not results in your hands perspiring, which can greatly compromise grip. Weightlifting gloves remedy this issue by adorning your palms in a layer of material that provides grip and bolsters one’s ability to grasp the bar.
Shielding your hands from knurled bars, dumbbells, battle ropes, kettlebells, and grenade grips, weightlifting gloves greatly help to reduce the formation of blisters and calluses. Whether you’re looking to avoid having rough “work” hands or simply trying to prevent calluses and blisters from splitting or opening, weightlifting gloves remedy these issues, thereby saving you from forced off/cheat days. Accidentally dropping a barbell or weight can obviously result in a serious injury. Wearing weightlifting gloves can help to massively reduce this risk.
Weightlifting gloves are also said to help reduce the substantial pressure placed on your wrists when lifting, allowing you to use more strength from your back and chest. Gloves that afford their wearer wrist support also make a substantial difference. These strap-equipped gloves not only reduce the risk of possible injury to the wrist(s), but they also help to more evenly distribute weight across the entirety of your forearms rather than placing the lion’s share on your hands and wrists — a fact that’s even more noticeable when performing pulling exercises.
The Downsides To Weightlifting Gloves
On the flip side of the coin, there’s a number of widely recognized downsides to wearing weightlifting gloves. Because of the added bulk from the materials between your hands and the bar, weightlifting gloves have the propensity to push the bar away from your wrists, out towards your fingers, reducing grip and leverage, and making achieving proper form exceedingly difficult. Many have also pointed out that the vast majority of weight training equipment found in today’s gyms were developed and designed with bare-handed-use in mind.
Quite possibly the most commonly-cited downside to wearing weightlifting gloves is the impact on grip training. Lifting with bare hands forces them to naturally develop grip and wearing gloves can prevent this from happening. Some even argue that despite the added grip afforded by weightlifting gloves, they, in fact, can increase the likelihood of an injury as they limit tactile feel while also mitigating squeeze strength. One happy medium that allows for increased grip without compromising form or feel is using chalk.
Our Take On The Weightlifting Glove Debate
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to wearing weightlifting gloves. While studies and surveys definitely point to the majority of people not utilizing them — though the number does appear to be rising – the reality is these gloves should be viewed on a case-by-case basis. If they work for you and help to improve your workout, then we’re all for using them. If you find that they do more harm than good and just aren’t for you, that’s perfectly fine, too. For those that fall into that former group, however, we’ve compiled this list of the best weightlifting gloves currently on the market.
Trideer Padded Weight Lifting Gloves
These half-finger exercise gloves from Trideer offer a host of benefits across a number of workout areas. Providing solid protection on the palms and on the backs of the hands, these gloves sport hexagonal silica gel on the inside of the palms for increased grip. Despite the robust protection, the use of microfiber mesh allows for stellar airflow and breathability. Wrist-strap style closures allow for a precise and snug fit, while also affording some extra support and weight distribution.
Mava Sports Cross Training Gloves
Backed by a patented design, these unique fingerless, wrist-wrapped/supported gloves were made to better distribute weight, ultimately allowing for greater performance. The use of cushioned leather and silicone padding in key areas means that, despite the minimal use of material, these MAVA gloves still prevent blisters and calluses. Offered in seven different colors, these gloves sport a neoprene material that allows for solid grip even when your hands are sweating — an area further helped along by their Hook and Loop closure system.
Harbinger FlexFit Non-Wristwrap Weightlifting Gloves
Born out of decades of real-world experience in weightlifting rooms, Harbinger’s FlexFit gloves feature several integrated layers — including the brand’s BiFlex palms — that are designed to allow for the most natural possible grip and flex. TechGel pads and leather palms still provide ample cushion and protection from blisters and calluses while also extending the lifespan of these gloves. The half-exposed fingers also help to bolster overall feel and grip.
Fit Four Weightlifting Gloves – The Gripper
Capable of bolstering finger grip without ultimately compromising on hand/palm grip or overall form, these half-finger-only items are commonly utilized as an alternative to traditional hand and finger taping. Made from half Lycra, 40% microfiber, and 10% silicone, these gloves feature grippy silicone palms. The relatively small and compact size of these “gloves” also makes them perfect for shoving in a gym bag, or even your pocket.
Harbinger BioForm Wristwrap Weightlifting Glove
Another entry from the workout gurus over at Harbinger, the BioForm Wristwrap Weightlifting Gloves were designed fro the ground up for pushing and pulling. These gloves feature Harbinger’s proprietary BioFlex layered stretch design which takes your hands’ natural movement and motion into account. Another noteworthy element is the glove’s BiForm padding, which is heat activated, softening and molding to the contours of your hands.
Under Armour Men’s Weightlifting Gloves
Made from a hybrid polyester and elastane material reinforced with leather palms, these weightlifting gloves from Under Armour are bestowed with a number of clever features. Elastic wristbands paired with adjustable wrist-straps ensure a tight fit, while a Terry cloth thumb panel makes it easy to wipe the sweat away from your eyes, perforations allow for solid airflow, and textured palms make for better grip. Quite possibly the most unique element of these gloves is their modern, almost futuristic appearance.
Schiek Sports Platinum 3/4 Finger Wrist Wrap Lifting Gloves
Schiek Sports’ Platinum Wrist-Wrap Gloves offer the best of both worlds in the weightlifting realm: grippy, padded palms and fingers paired with a stabilizing, weight-distributing wrist wraps. Microfiber hand-backs allow these gloves to wipe away sweat, while its patented finger FINS make pulling the things off a breeze. While these weightlifting gloves lack some of the aesthetic appeals of some of the sleeker, bigger-name branded items, they do everything a good weightlifting glove should, and they do so at a reasonable price.
Nike Men’s Lock Down Training Gloves
This modern take on traditional weightlifting gloves from Nike calls on the brand’s Dri-FIT fabric — a moisture-wicking high-performance, microfiber and polyester combo that draws perspiration away from the body to the exterior of the fabric where it can more easily evaporate. Furthermore, this pair boasts perforation in the padded palms for even-greater breathability, an adjustable wrist-strap makes for a snug fit and an extended middle-finger that allows for easy removal.
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