NoWeightlifting gloves, gym gloves, exercise gloves or workout gloves, whatever name you choose to call it, are essential accessories for weightlifting — without gloves, the tendency of having calluses, blisters or getting injured during weight lifting is not fetched.
A small portion of the weightlifting community is of the opinion that “workout gloves do not completely prevent calluses or blisters” — this statement is true to some extent.
However, you cannot afford the risk of having a gym bar slip out of your hands and crash into your chest or any part of your body during weight lifting.
That being said, let’s look at the A-Z of weightlifting gloves — everything there is to know about gym gloves.
If you are here not to read but to buy workout gloves, check out:-
Otherwise, sit back, relax and enjoy the article.
What is a weightlifting glove?
It’s a glove or a piece of material ( i.e. PU, Polyester mesh, Lycra, Neoprene rubber, Leather, Spandex or Microfiber ) designed to be worn on the hand and wrist, in such a way that it does not fully cover the whole fingers.
Why are weightlifting gloves designed not to cover the whole fingers?
Many ponder and ask the question “why do weight lifting gloves have no fingers?”. The simple answer is: to ensure that the fingers grip the bars properly and allow flexibility — technically, to facilitate the process of hook gripping.
Parts of a weightlifting glove
As you can see from the above, the main parts of the weightlifting glove are given as follows :
- Palm side: the padded area with silicone, spandex, and microfiber for cushioning and providing a secure grip on the handles of fitness or body conditioning apparatus
- Backside: the back of the glove wrist area
- Finger stalls: the opening for receiving the fingers and the thumb
- Wrist end/ wrap: the wrist area or the heel of the hand
Who invented the weightlifting glove?
Apparently, there are many weightlifting designs and patent, thus, many inventors. However, the traditional weightlifting glove with a wrap-around strap shown in the image above was first invented by Charles A. Caswell and Richard K. Davis in 1995. They patented and characterized the weightlifting gloves as:
What is the purpose of weightlifting gloves?
The main purpose of gym gloves, exercise gloves, workout gloves is to achieve the following:
- To provide better cushioning and a secure grip on the handles of fitness or body conditioning apparatus.
- To protect the palm from calluses and blisters
- To provide wrist support and prevent wrist injuries ( assuming the glove comes with a wrap-around pad)
- To provide comfort ( especially if you have a sweaty palm)
Why do people use weightlifting gloves?
You ask “why use weight lifting gloves when you can chalk your hands and still achieve the same objective?’
The truth is, with gym gloves you have 85% guaranteed protection from wrist injuries, palm calluses, and blisters. The idea of wearing a glove for weightlifting is to comfort and protect the skin.
Chalks Vs. weight lifting gloves
Chalks (solid or liquids) are used by many gymnasts to enhance grip and prevent slippage.
According to expert trainers, one of the major advantages chalks have over gym gloves is that they do not interfere with your strength or body form.
Many strength and conditioning trainers believe that “wearing workout gloves add extra width (layer) to the bar“, thus, interfering with your strength — a controversial opinion within the weightlifting community.
Whether or not gloves affect your strength and form negatively, there are no known studies that show weight lifting gloves impairs strength. For now, we can think of the above statement as a myth.
How many people use weightlifting gloves?
At the moment there are no available statistics or surveys that show the number of people that wear gym gloves versus the number of people that don’t wear gloves during weightlifting. That being said, weight lifting gloves are not allowed in raw powerlifting competition. Most people that use weight gloves do so out of safety (to prevent injuries).
If we were to give a rough estimate of the number of people who use gloves versus those who don’t, the numbers will be 50/50. This estimate is based on the fact that most people who started weightlifting for the first time didn’t use a glove. Also, you can’t use weightlifting gloves for all workouts.
Types of Weightlifting Gloves
There are various types of gym gloves. By “types” we mean “design concepts” not “brand”. Most of the resources you find online about “best gym gloves” only discuss the brand, not the design concept.
The image below shows the most popular design concepts for weightlifting gloves based on i.e. wrist support, coverage area and types of material used.
Weight Lifting Gloves With Wrist Wrap (Support)
These gloves usually have wrist straps. Once you have worn the gloves, you finish off by securely tying the wrist straps to provide your wrist with support. The wrist straps come in different sizes or thicknesses. The choice of thickness depends on the amount of support you want as well as the level of comfort you desire.
Gym gloves with support are beneficial in the sense that they protect the wrist against twists and sprains.
Weight Lifting Gloves Without Wrist Wrap (Support)
These are gloves or grip pads that do not have a wrap around wrist strap, thus, no support at the base or wrist. Some people prefer these gloves because it reduces their dependence on wrist support wraps — which many believe interferes with the correct body form.
There are three design types of weightlifting gloves with respect to area coverage:
Full Finger Weight Lifting Gloves
As the name suggests, full-fingered gloves cover the entire surface area, that is, your palm and fingers. This full coverage means that no part of your hand is exposed. It provides protection from calluses, blisters or any type of irritation you may experience while lifting a weight i.e dumbbells, barbells etc.
Half-fingered or Fingerless Weight Lifting Gloves
Fingerless gloves can either have three-quarters, half or quarter fingers stalls. Most fingerless glove reviews show that this design is preferred because it provides more comfort. They are also more breathable and more comfortable to wear at the gym even if you’re not lifting weights.
Type of Material Used
There are different types of weight lifting gloves based on the material used. Some include:
Leather weightlifting gloves are pretty common. They are durable and therefore serve you for a long period of time. The leather is also known to provide a better grip as you lift weights. In addition to this, most well-built leather gloves provide relief from heavy bars and rods.
Rubber gloves are comfortable and long-lasting too. Although they aren’t as sturdy as leather, they still provide a good grip as you go through different weights. Some have an inner lining that wicks sweat to make your weight lifting experience comfortable.
A type of synthetic rubber typically used in the production of weightlifting gloves.
These materials are widely used in many industries. Due to its rubber-like material, it is used in the production of gloves particularly to enhance grip and to provide friction
The best part about cotton gloves is that they are breathable. In general, cotton is a durable material that is preferred in different types of clothing. When well-built and padded, cotton weight lifting gloves provide protection from calluses as well.
A synthetic fiber made of polymer and commonly used in producing gym gloves.
Half-fingered gym gloves with wrist wrap
- The most common type of gym glove.
- They have minimal breathability.
- Protects the hand from calluses and suitable in cold weathers.
- They also have wrist support to help you avoid unnecessary wrist injuries as you lift heavier weights.
Fingerless glove with extended pad and a wrist wrap.
- These gloves have fingerless stalls and bare at the knuckles.
- Designed to provide flexibility while preventing calluses as you lift weights.
Four fingers open top palmless glove
- Designed to promote free movement as it doesn’t restrict the thumb.
- It also eliminates overreliance on the gloves.
- You can develop your grip, build your muscles and avoid injuries and prevent calluses and blistering.
- These are grip only pads are best if you want to avoid sweaty palms which loosens your grip on weights.
- They are easy to slip on and off. Some grip pad comes with wrist support.
Five fingers half-finger gloves with an open top
- These gloves only protect your finger creases from calluses.
- Maximum breathability.
How to Wash Weightlifting Wrist Wraps and Gloves
In as much as the fact that weightlifting gloves help to prevent diseases, they can also aid to spread diseases in the gym. While there are many surfaces that can easily expose you to bacteria at the gym, your workout gloves could also be a culprit. Your gloves touch many surfaces at the gym. While they cannot be washed daily, you shouldn’t wait until they are dirty, have germs or fungus-infected before washing them.
Why Wash Weight Lifting Gloves?
Your palms sweat during weight lifting. This sweat buildup can lead to irritation and rashes over a period of time. The solution to is to wash your gloves frequently. Another solution would be to have several pairs that you can interchange.
Furthermore, there are different ways of cleaning your weightlifting gloves. These includes:
Using a Washing Machine
Some gym gloves can be washed in the machine without fear of shrinking or warping. However, you need to ensure that this is clearly stated by the manufacturer. You don’t want to ruin your expensive workout gloves. Once you’re sure that your gloves are safe to wash by machine follow the steps below:
- Ensure that the wrist straps are secured
- Place your gloves in the washer on the gentle setting
- Once they’re clean, let them air-dry indoors
If your gym gloves are not washing machine safe, you may wash them by hand. Follow the steps below in other to wash your exercise gloves by hand:
- Begin by plugging your drain and filling your sink with warm water
- Place four or five drops of non-bleach liquid soap
- Scrub the outer part of the gloves with your hands
- Press the soapy water through every finger
- Turn the glove inside out and repeat the process
- Once the glove is clean, drain the soapy water and replace it with warm clean water
- Rinse the gloves to ensure that there’s no soapy residue
- Hang the gloves indoors so they can air dry
Drying Weightlifting Gloves
There are a few gloves that can be dried in the dryer but most shouldn’t be. Throwing gym gloves in the dryer could lead to warping, forcing you to replace your expensive gloves in a short period of time. Instead, it is advisable to let them air dry. This can be done indoors or outdoors. The former is highly preferred because direct sunlight and heat can easily damage the fibers on your gloves. During the winter you can dry them indoors using a fan.
How tight should gym gloves or wrist wraps be?
When working out whether in the gym or at home, you need to be as comfortable as possible. This is the best way for you to reach your optimum levels of a workout and also to avoid any injuries. Your workout gloves, then need to fit properly, otherwise, they will slip out of your hands and possibly cause injuries.
They should not be too tight or too loose. If possible. Measure the circumference of your dominant hand prior to buying the gloves. This will give you an estimate of the size that will work best for you.
How are weight lifting gloves supposed to fit?
The phrase “fits like a glove” is perfectly right. However, in this case, they cannot be too tight. They should fit just right to make movement easy, but not too loose to come off a mid-workout.
What are the best workout gloves for women?
Women generally have smaller hands than men. The weight lifting industry, however, recognizes men as the biggest clientele. So when looking for a good pair of weightlifting gloves for women, look for gloves that have a soft lining on the inside to promote comfort and keep the hands as delicate as they should be.
Ideally, women’s gym gloves should have a flexible fabric that breathes and expands during hand movement. This, however, does not mean a slippery fabric. There are gloves made with fabric that has a good grip but is flexible enough to promote easy hand movement.
Women’s workout gloves also need to have an adjustable wristband to ensure they fit you just right without being too tight.
What to look for in weightlifting gloves
Being a vital determinant of how your weight lifting session goes, it is important that you find the right type of gym gloves. Look for gloves that fulfill all the needs you may have for them.
Characteristics of a good workout glove
- They need to fit just right. Find a pair that fits your hand size just right without being too loose or too tight.
- Then look for gloves made from a fabric that allows your hand to breathe without leaving them exposed.
- You also need gloves whose inner lining makes it comfortable to wear them. There are some brands whose inner layer is as rough as the outside. This makes it impossible to wear that glove for long.
- Make sure your gloves are not too thick so it doesn’t interfere with your grip.
- If you have issues with your wrist, then get a glove with wrist wrap for wrist support.
What to do if your weightlifting gloves are giving you fungus
Fungus grows where there is heat and moisture. This is why weightlifting gloves, especially the kind that is fully enclosed, are good breeding grounds for fungus.
Your best option is to just clean them out. You can do this using wither bleach, Borax or distilled vinegar. These products are most effective if used in a wash mixed into warm to hot water, depending on the temperature that the fabric can handle.
If it is really bad, you may have to pre-treat the gloves – place them in hot water, inside out, add either of the solutions above, and then scrub with a toothbrush to clean out the spots as well. If you are not comfortable going through these steps, then get a new pair of gloves.
How to get the smell out of weight lifting gloves
The smell in weightlifting gloves is caused by accumulated sweat. This means they have not been washed in a long while. So what do you do? Clean them!
Check the tags to see the manufacturer recommendations i.e. how best you to clean. Also, ensure that they are properly dried before wearing them again. Wearing wet or even damp gloves can cause the smell to get even worse, it can also cause the growth of fungus.
How to use weightlifting gloves with wrist wraps
These are literally the best kind of gym gloves. This is because unlike others whose fit is static, these gloves with straps allow you space to choose the size that you are most comfortable in.
- What you need to do is, once your hand is in the glove and feels comfortable
- Simply strap it down to the size that feels comfortable: not too tight, not too loose.
It’s that simple.
What are the best weight lifting gloves with wrist support?
The general appeal to wrist support is the comfort they provide. The idea is that the more room you have the better. Hence, the best exercise gloves with wrist support are those which provide 12” to 17” wrist wraps.
Of course, it is a given that no matter the brand you choose, your comfort while using the gloves is of paramount importance. So keep this in mind, even as you look for the best writs support.