Weightlifting gloves are a common sight among fitness enthusiasts who do strength training and bodybuilding workouts.
Men, along with women, wear weightlifting gloves; but most users of such gloves are women, by far. Two reasons why women often wear weightlifting gloves come to mind.
Gloves for lifting weights prevent calluses from forming on the palms from pulling routines, namely the deadlift. However, some women will use the gloves on pressing-only days as well.
One client I had would wear the gloves no matter what, as she just didn’t want to make bare contact with anything metallic in the gym, or even rubber-coated handles.
Secondly, weightlifting gloves allow for a more secure grip during certain exercise routines: again, namely the deadlift, but also pull-ups, chin-ups and battle roping.
It’s not likely that men wear weightlifting gloves to prevent calluses, but it seems like the overwhelming reason why men use weightlifting gloves is to get that firmer, better grip on the lat pull-over bar, rowing bar, or overhead bar with which to do hanging ab routines.
Some men also wear weightlifting gloves to perform deadlift routines — though some powerlifters will also be seen using straps.
Benefits of Weight Training Gloves
1) To get a better grip for certain lifting exercises
2) To prevent calluses
3) To prevent “roughing up” the skin
However, women also wear the gloves during weightlifting routines in which a tight grip is not necessary (e.g., machine chest press), nor will the grip for these particular muscle workouts cause calluses.
Maybe it’s a hassle to keep taking the gloves off and putting them back on; so women simply just leave them on.
Chest exercises do not require a firm grip, nor will they build calluses.
This includes workouts in which the woman is pushing against handles of exercise equipment, such as with shoulder equipment.
Some women find it easier or more comfortable to hold onto dumbbells when doing side or front shoulder raises, and triceps work.
I’m also inclined to believe that there’s a little bit of a fashion statement going on here, because some strength training gloves are quite stylish.
The Disadvantage of Wearing Gloves to Strength Train
On one hand, they give you a better grip for pulling routines, and this includes shoulder shrugs with dumbbells, the tire flip, the dumbbell deadlift and the rack pull (top deadlift).
However, in a real life situation, in which you must grip something with all your might and pull, or just simply hang on with fury…if your hands are used to weightlifting gloves, then you will not be prepared in a real life situation for which a strong grip is required.
I wonder how many women — who regularly strength train but who’ve experienced losing hand control of a leash when their dog charged after a squirrel or another dog — do their strength training with gloves!
Intense gripping in a real life situation may also be needed while changing a flat tire, fighting off an assailant, holding onto someone who’s about to fall off a cliff, or who the heck knows what. You just never know.
Pulling a car door open that’s been frozen shut by ice certainly comes to mind. And how about walking for extended periods at an airport holding heavy luggage?
In fact, how about yanking that luggage from the car trunk? How about unscrewing tight jar lids?
A strong grip is always needed sooner or later in day-to-day living, even if you don’t foresee yourself ever holding onto someone who’s hanging over a cliff.
Workout gloves prevent you from developing a TRUE strong, efficient grip.
These devices provide a false sense of accomplishment. They deprive even the forearm muscles from getting their best workout, since the glove traction makes it much easier to grip and maintain the grip.
Finally, am I the only one who thinks that the smell of sweat mixed with leather is just awful? Ever smell the disgusting odor of used boxing gloves?
This is what weightlifting gloves that have been used quite a bit stink like.
I have noticeable calluses on my palms, and they are my badge of honor. I can grip things without any problem.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.