Weight Lifting Gloves: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Wearing Gloves

Should you wear weight lifting gloves? It’s a common question among both new and experienced gym-goers. Many resources will give you a definite yes or no answer, based purely on their own opinion. This article will not be based on opinion, but instead will be based on the pros and cons of wearing weight lifting gloves.

Pros and Cons of Weight Lifting Gloves

There are three main arguments for and against weight lifting gloves. These arguments involve positive and negative effects on grip strength, technique, and callous formation. There are so many pieces of contradicting information on this topic that it can be difficult to determine what to believe.

By hearing both sides of this argument, it is my hope that you will be able to make an informed decision on whether or not you should wear weight lifting gloves. Without further ado, here are the benefits and drawbacks of wearing weight lifting gloves:

Grip Strength

Wearing weight lifting gloves for improved grip strength can be both beneficial and detrimental to your training. On one hand, they make it easier to grip the bar when your hands get sweaty. This will allow you to continue to train your muscles, without worrying about whether or not your hands will slip.

On the other hand, weight lifting gloves can provide a false sense of grip strength. When performing functional tasks such as carrying boxes, doing yard work, etc., you may realize that without the lifting gloves, your grip is actually not as strong as you believed it to be.

Another point worth mentioning is that wearing weight lifting gloves will increase the diameter of the bar, therefore technically making it more difficult to grip. Whether or not this increases or decreases your grip strength is dependent on personal perception.

The gloves will make it easier to grip when the bar becomes sweaty, but more difficult to grip overall because of the increased thickness of the bar. If you do not want to wear gloves but are having trouble with the barbell slipping out of your hands, try using chalk or an eco ball to decrease the likelihood of slippage.

Lifting Technique

Weight lifting gloves create a barrier between your hands and the bar. Some argue that this can be detrimental to your technique because this barrier decreases coordination, as well as prevents you from maintaining proper hand-bar position. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to use a cell phone when you are wearing gloves.

The gloves act as a barrier between your hand and the object. Generally, this barrier, coupled with the decreased mobility in your hands and fingers, can make things more difficult. This especially holds true when performing olympic lifts such as power cleans, snatches, and the clean and jerk.

The thickness of the weight lifting gloves makes it harder to keep the bar as close to your wrists as possible during bench and overhead press. This may decrease the efficiency of your lifting technique and potentially cause wrist pain. On the other hand, some argue that the ability to tighten the wrist straps on weight lifting gloves can prevent wrist pain. Depending on how you look at it, both arguments can be validated in this regard.

Callous Formation

If you have lifted weights for any amount of time, you’ve probably realized that your hands become dry and calloused from the barbells and dumbbells. Preventing callous formation seems to be the most common reason for wearing weight lifting gloves. If you stick with it long enough, your hands will become used to it and your callouses will become flat and smooth rather than enlarged and scratchy.

Weight lifting gloves will reduce callous formation, but will not prevent it completely. This is especially true when dealing with heavy weights. If your significant other complains about the callouses on your hands, it may be best to use weight lifting gloves to aid in combating this. If you are using gloves and still getting unwanted callouses on your hands, try shaving them every 1-2 weeks and moisturizing regularly.

Final Word

As you can see, there are many valid arguments both for and against weight lifting gloves. Some believe that weight lifting gloves help your grip strength, protect your wrists, and prevent callous formation. Others believe that weight lifting gloves decrease your grip strength, may cause wrist pain, and do not prevent callous formation.

Wearing weight lifting gloves is purely a matter of personal preference. Now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of wearing weight lifting gloves, will you decide to wear them or not?


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