Crossfit Gloves: To use or not to use?
The use of gloves for CrossFit can often be a hot topic. Pose a question regarding gloves and you’ll inevitably find someone comment from the “Real CrossFitter’s don’t wear gloves” standpoint. Much like wearing a belt when needed (believe it or not this use to be a hot topic within the CrossFit community as well), the use of gloves has become just as common and accepted. The answer on whether or not gloves are helpful comes down to what an athlete is comfortable with, and what they want to achieve with any given workout.
Think of your gym bag as your toolbox. Sometimes you need a wrench and sometimes you don’t. In some cases, that wrench may take the form of a pair of gloves (something you can also find in a toolbox, but you get the point). Using gloves in CrossFit has been a hotly debated issue for some time now. Many will swear by them while others will forgo their use entirely. One need only look at the many blogs and forums online that discuss the pros and cons of using these accessories to see that this is a relevant query for many CrossFitters.
One particular goal for athletes is to fatigue the muscles during exercise to improve muscular endurance. Sustaining a ruptured palm or bloody hand can hinder this goal, forcing the athlete to slowdown or even stop altogether. In such instances, using a glove would certainly be an attractive option for these athletes.
There are other CrossFitters who won’t use them for a myriad of reasons. These include:
- Annoyance of excess material on the hands
- The desire to build callouses for stronger skin
- It’s not ‘macho’
- Can produce hand fatigue
Some reasons to use gloves or have them handy in your gym toolbox pertain to all. There are professionals who just can’t have their hands ripped or exposed in the workplace. This can be for practical reasons as the nature of an individual’s work may require the full use of their hands, but it can also relate to business etiquette—shaking hands with someone who has tears and bandages covering their palms isn’t exactly professional.
Safety is an important factor in any sport. For example, the evolution of helmets and pads in football was crucial to increasing safety for players. There was a time when training with weight belts was frowned upon in the CrossFit community, but with the evolution of the sport and the increased demands on athletes, utilizing products such as weight belts to reduce the risk of injury is now a common sight. The same can be said for gloves. Last year during the CrossFit Games we saw numerous athletes sporting gloves as the athletes realized their value and used them when needed.
As an athlete, you should take a page from the Games competitors and use gloves during workouts and exercises that you feel they will be beneficial. If you are performing one rep maxes, low volume movements or even trying to develop rough hands, you don’t really need to use gloves. However, if you are looking to do high volume toes-to-bar or rope climbs, you may want to consider putting a pair on. If you’ve had trouble in the past with tears from specific movements, then it makes sense to invest in some form of hand protection to ensure that your performance doesn’t suffer, and you can come back fresh the next day.
Not all gloves are created equal and very few cater to the demands of CrossFitters or the specific movements the sport brings. Both Reebok and StrongerRx make glove specifically tailored for this—find the one matches your needs and consider buying a pair.
Remember, your gym bag is your tool box. Sometimes you need a wrench, sometimes you need a screwdriver. Sometimes you need a belt, sometimes you need those gloves.