OTMEM for 16 minutes
OTMEM for 16 minutes
As coaches and trainers we get asked a ton of questions about gear. It is often a personal preference and something that will change constantly, but we wanted to put out an series of articles that goes over what we use and what we have experience with. We are also not affiliated with any of these companies and would love to hear feedback on what you like… or don’t like!
We are going to start with the most debatable topic that we encounter, grips. Take a moment and look down at your hands. Are they a “mess”? Are they full of cuts and holes from rigs work? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this blog post might just be your life saver. That being said, before we even dive any further, I highly recommend checking out Coach Blair’s article regarding hand care and how to avoid ripping ( Take Care of Your Hands. ) She has been doing pull ups for years, has never ripped and has some amazing tips that athletes often overlook. Between her input and our opinion on grips, we may be able to keep your hands in one piece. Remember if you don’t take care of your hands you risk getting blisters, ripping calluses, and missing workouts.
…Ok back to the gear thing, we will specifically be talking about gymnastics grips. Pictured to the right.
If you want to try another style of grip/glove that fine, but in our experience we have yet to find a better glove that minimizes the amount of friction athletes experience while on the bar, while still providing them good secure grip. Gymnastics grips have been the most widely used and beneficial thing we have been exposed to as trainers and athletes.
They also are the most versatile, as they come in many different types and styles to fit an athletes preference or hand size.
The most basic pair I have found are 2 finger hand grips from rogue fitness (pictured Left). A thin piece of leather attached to a strap. The top goes between your fingers, and then is secured via the wrap which goes around an athlete’s wrist.
This style typically is smaller in, in size, so will feel less bulky on your hands and potentially even more comfortable to those trying grips for the first time. Fair warning tho, if you have wider hands, 2 finger hand grips might expose your pinky finger callus and not completely eliminate the risk for tears.
Two finger grips, like most gymnastics grips, will bunch up when you grab the bar. Don’t be alarmed when this happens, as that’s what they are intended to do! See the picture below. It bunches up by the fingers, creating a small dowel for you to grab onto. Real gymnastics grips used by elite level gymnasts have a dowel already built in, however that design is illegal in most CrossFit competitions/the Open and will interfere with any other use of your hands (barbell work, wallballs, etc).
Not too much different than the 2 finger grips, the 3 finger ones offer just a tad more coverage to protect an athletes entire hand. The downside or con here, is that more coverage may result in an athlete not feeling as comfortable hanging from the rig, as some like to feel the bar. Personally, I don’t like messing with my tactile perception and like to be able to feel the bar & adjust my grip accordingly to feel safe or strong.
Just like most things in the fitness world, one size does not fit all. 3 finger grips will better protect you from calluses, but if your hands are smaller or the material your grips utilize is too bulky, it might actually decrease your grip strength by making the pull-up bar seem thicker.
Honestly what it boils down to is that it’s important your grips fit correctly and are sized appropriately. Most companies will tell you to measure from the base of your palm to the base of your middle finger to determine what size grip to order; from their it’s also good to examine the finger hole sizing for an optimal fit.
Once you have the sizing down, from there it’s all personal preference in terms of what material, color, or style wrist strap you go with. Some Brands we’d recommend are:
Which ones would you recommend and why?