Get to grip with this comprehensive guide on all you need to know about weightlifting gloves, lifting straps wrist wraps for lifting.
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You’re undoubtedly aware that the lifting community comes with a plethora of differing opinions regarding all things to do with weightlifting...
Enter the great lifting gloves debate.
It’s been going on for years, with plenty of pros and cons on either side of the argument, but ultimately it comes down to personal choice.
As you build muscle, progressive overload becomes easier, but in the meantime, whilst you're seeing how far you can push your strength, it might be worth getting your hands on some lifting accessories to help get a grip on those heavy lifts.
So whether you’re new to lifting or well versed, let's take a deep dive into the best weightlifting gloves, best wrist straps, and best wrist wraps for lifting and discover the pros, cons, differences, and best exercises to use these weightlifting accessories for.
All You Need To Know On Lifting Gloves, Wrist Straps, And Wrist Wraps
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Weightlifting gloves are an accessory that, at some point, a lot of us lifters will turn to. Designed to support and protect the hands whilst lifting barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells, weightlifting gloves are suitable for all levels of lifter and come in a variety of styles.
Types Of Weightlifting Gloves:
Full coverage gloves are weightlifting gloves that cover the whole hand providing full protection when gripping the barbell or weights
Fingerless lifting gloves cover half the fingers and allow for more flexibility during your lift.
Fingerless lifting gloves with wrist wraps cover only the palm and half the fingers and provide extra wrist support from the wrist wrap.
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Pros And Cons Of Lifting Gloves
Benefits of Lifting Gloves
The main benefits of lifting gloves are to provide comfort when lifting weights, protecting the hands and helping to prevent you from developing calluses and blisters. In addition to this, wearing weightlifting gloves can also benefit you by;
Stabilize and Support: wearing weightlifting gloves with wrist straps helps to stabilize and support the wrists due to the straps keeping the wrists in a neutral position. This can help prevent injury because it ensures the wrist is correctly placed on the bar and helps to prevent hyperextension.
Improve Grip: Lifting gloves are designed to provide a better grip when holding on to heavy weights. With slippy sweaty hands as a potential issue to keeping a good hold on the bar, training gloves come in handy because they are designed with padding on the palm to ensure a secure grip on your weights.
Added Volume: Due to the added support and stabilization, weightlifting gloves allow you to increase the duration and volume of your lift. Your muscle strength will most likely exceed your grip strength at a given time, and lifting gloves take the pressure off your hands, allowing you to go beyond your grip capacity and lift heavier for longer.
Rehabilitation: Weightlifting gloves with wrist supports can allow you to return to lifting quicker after injury, this is because the wrist is stabilized which can help to aid recovery of the problem wrist by taking the pressure off the wrist joint. Over time your wrist will heal and strengthen from being kept in the correct form.
Protection: For those with skin conditions, allergies or open cuts, training gloves can help to protect the skin if these issues would worsen by touching the metals gripping weights with exposed skin.
Hygiene: If hygiene is a big concern for you (a valid concern after covid) then weightlifting gloves may help alleviate some anxieties. It’s true that gyms can be a breeding ground for germs, and if someone not wiping the bar after use, it might be a good idea to have an extra layer of protection between you and the bar.
Cons Of Using Lifting Gloves:
What comes up must come down, and just as there are benefits to using lifting gloves, there are also potential cons.
Dependency: The main concern people have with weightlifting gloves is the potential to develop a dependency on them. Many see becoming reliant on gloves for your workout as a problem as it decreases the adaptability of your workouts.
Negatively Impact Form: In addition, it can worsen your form. When you use weightlifting gloves to ensure your form is correct, you may become accustomed to performing the exercise with gloves, which may differ from the natural technique because the additional padding of the glove changes how your hands naturally grip the bar.
Weaken Grip Strength: You can lose your natural grip strength as you are losing the ability to fully squeeze the bar. This can be confusing as whilst wearing weightlifting gloves can definitely help you get a better grip, the extra layer between you and the bar can actually make it harder to get a good grip. If you want to truly develop your organic grip strength you need your hands to feel what you are lifting.
Best Exercises To Use Lifting Gloves For:
Using weightlifting gloves however you wish is personal preference, and we think the best exercises to use lifting gloves are those that involve heavy weightlifting with dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, or the use of a bar.
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Wrist Straps (Lifting Straps)
The least controversial lifting accessory, and most commonly used across all abilities is the lifting strap, designed to provide bar security, enhance grip and support the wrist joint, the lifting strap is a great tool for hypertrophy, weightlifting, and powerlifting.
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Types Of Lifting Straps:
Figure 8 Loop lifting straps are comfortable and easy-to-use option best used for performing deadlifts. The figure 8 design has two loops, one which you put your wrist in and the other loops over the palm to provide support while lifting and reduce grip fatigue. The minimal design is great for heavy pulls since they're made from heavy, durable materials to stand the test of time.
Lasso lifting straps are a versatile option that provides great security for maximal lifts. First, you loop your wrist through the lasso for added wrist support and then wrap the long strap tightly around the bar, where you'll grip the straps in place, ready to lift. This is an easy-to-use lifting strap style ideal for all abilities to perform heavy pulls, pull-ups, and rows.
Single Loop lifting straps are the best option for quick-release lifts such as the clean and jerk and snatch and are popularly used for Olympic lifting. These straps are most suitable for the advanced lifter as they offer the least bar security. The single loop wraps over the wrist, and the remaining part of loop sits in the palm, which you place on the bar to grip.
Pros And Cons Of Wrist Straps
Benefits of Wrist Straps
Increase Volume: Wrist straps help you lift more weight than usual as the material strap wrapped around your bar and wrist helps to redistribute the weight away from your palm. This allows you to lift heavier and for longer to reach your muscular failure as your strength often overtakes your grip strength capacity.
Increase Grip: Bridge the gap between wearing gloves and not and provide some protection for the hand whilst not being necessary for every lifting exercise, and can be prioritized for heavy pulling movements.
Protection: Helps prevent callouses and reduces pain in the hands.
Develop Strength: This can help to improve your wrist and forearm strength.
Cons of using Wrist Straps:
Dependency & Weaken Grip Strength: As with wrist wraps, using lifting straps frequently poses the potential to become over-reliant and decrease your natural grip strength over time.
Best exercises To Use Wrist Straps For:
Wrist straps are best saved for heavy deadlifts, lat pulldowns, and rows that are increasing the weight to the point you're grip may start failing before your strength, as well as chin-ups.
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Wrist Wraps For Lifting
Wrist Wraps vs Wrist Straps: what’s the difference?
Wrist wraps are pieces of fabric that wrap around the wrist, usually secured by velcro, that can also be found attached to lifting gloves. They wrap around the wrists to support the wrist whilst lifting, ensuring stabilization and correct wrist placement on the weight or bar.
Wrist straps or lifting straps are designed to help with grip strength and wrap around the palm of your hand and the bar. They offer respite for your palms from the tension caused by gripping the bar during heavy weightlifting.
Pros And Cons Of Wrist Wraps
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Benefits of Wrist Wraps
Wrist Stability: The wrist is kept in a neutral position when wearing wrist wraps for lifting which helps with proper form when holding the bar or weights and prevents overextension of the wrist.
Pain Prevention: If you have weak wrists, wearing wrist wraps can help prevent pain in the wrists as it takes some pressure off the joints and provides added support.
Increased Strength: With this added support, you may find you are able to push your wrist and forearm strength beyond normal capabilities when wearing wrist wraps for lifting.
Recovery: Aids in recovery and allows you to return faster to lifting with an injury, as the wrist wrap offers support and can help rehabilitate the wrist whilst performing lifting movements, placing less stress through the joint and surrounding muscles.
Cons of using Wrist Wraps:
Dependency & Weakened Grip Strength: Similar to wearing lifting gloves, you risk becoming reliant on the wrist wraps to perform your lifts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but will stop you from developing your natural wrist strength.
Best exercises To Use Wrist Wraps For:
Since the main function of a wrist, the wrap is to provide support for the wrists, the best exercises to benefit from using wrist wraps for are heavy pressing exercises that put a lot of pressure on your wrists. Such as; bench press, shoulder press, clean and jerk, and overhead press.
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As we can see through this breakdown of lifting accessories, the general consensus is that they can be beneficial to a certain extent but can hinder natural grip and wrist strength if you become too dependent on them.
Whatever it is that can help you perfect your form, lift heavier, or feel more confident in the gym, is completely your prerogative.
Trying to up your one-rep max or finding the bar slipping out of your hands? Why not check out our lifting accessories range for weightlifting gloves, wrist wraps, and lifting straps so you can get that perfect pull.