Some people use them, some don’t. Here are some reasons for, reasons against, and reasons why. Let’s dive in.
Sometimes Your Hands Hurt
Lifting weights puts stress on the skin as well as the bones, muscles, and tendons under the skin.
Lots of people wear gloves just because it adds a layer of padding and takes away some of the discomfort. As a fitness trainer, I’m happy to let someone put on some gloves so they will want to be there lifting.
We’re usually looking to train a large muscle groups. We’re not doing hand sensitivity training. Yes, lifting more often will get your hands used to the work, but we don’t need to go that long route. Just put some gloves on and be happy.
Gloves Give You More Grip
This is also another key reason people use gloves in the gym. They like the added grip.
Now, some use this as a crutch. They are trying to lift weight that they are really not ready for, so they throw on some gloves for added friction.
Others use this as an additional safety factor. They just feel comfortable knowing there is extra friction there.
I’ve trained a lot of women and many of them just prefer to have that layer of safety between them and the weights.
The Hygiene Benefits of Wearing Gloves
Speaking of having a layer between you and your weights – it is a bit more sanitary.
There are tons of microbes, germs, dead skin and bodily fluids on weights and handles in the gym. It’s not really surprising to see that some people would just rather try not to touch all of that.
Even before the pandemic, gym cleanliness was a thing. I used to be a janitor in a gym, I know how hard it is to clean the sweat and grim off of each surface. Including the bathrooms.
There’s no need to go into detail here about what particles get transferred, but lots of them do. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’ve got a normal immune system. Most people don’t have anything that’s going to kill you if you touch something they touched.
But if you want an extra layer between you and the bugs, throw some gloves on. Even the fingerless ones help.
Gloves Are Part of Your Workout Tool Kit
Have you ever had to wear gloves for anything?
I’ve had gloves specifically for my motorcyle, other ones for skydiving, some for doing mechanic work, exercise, snowboarding, and even some cool ones someone got me for driving when it’s cold.
When you put on gloves to do an activity, you’re fully in it.
You don’t put on gym gloves and go to the bar or do gardening or cook a meal. You put on gym gloves to lift heavy weights.
It is silly, but stuff like this helps you get into the attitude of exercising. I’ve seen someone’s entire attitude about the gym flip when they got new clothes that they could wear while they exercise. Gloves go right along that same route. If you get a new pair of gloves, you want to use them.
Especially if they look cool and fit right.
How often do you get to wear fingerless gloves? There are so few fashion opportunities to sport this look.
Wearing Gloves To Preserve Soft Hands
Many, many women have this as a primary reason for wearing gloves to the gym.
“I hate calluses.” I hear that all the time.
Whether you want calluses or not, they are a natural part of repetitively lifting heavy stuff with your hands. But gloves make it much, much easier.
By spreading out the area of pressure, your hands don’t get these big bumps of dead skin that get dry and scratchy and sometimes just fall off.
This way, a high-class woman can keep her manicure nice and pretty without worrying about her gym time ruining it.
Gloves Help With Injuries and Deformities
You could have cut your hand or scraped it in some way and, while it isn’t fully healed, you can still work out if you’ve got some gloves on it.
I’ve trained people with deformities from birth. One hand just wasn’t formed properly and a glove helped add friction and cushion.
Another individual had broken his hand and where most people have a nice fat area of padding, he had bone. He went through several gloves before he found one that he could use to lift heavy and not have attention on the hand.
Building Up Your Grip Strength
I’ve always been very big on training grip strength and against the use of gloves.
Aside from cosmetic considerations (soft hands) and injuries, I generally shun them.
Grip strength gets overlooked as valid exercise for some reason. But it happens to be one of the most functional things you can train. I would say that it is Step Zero material. Worth training from day one.
If you ever want to be able to do a pull up, you’ve got to first be able to hang from the bar. Don’t just use super-grippy gloves to do the holding for you. You’re not always going to have the gloves when you actually do need to lift something up out there in the real world.
But even if you do use gloves, train your grip strength thoroughly so that you do have an excess of strength in case you find yourself in need.
Women are the most common wearers of workout gloves in my experience.
The purist in me wants to say “No gloves for anyone.” But then something else says “Do whatever is necessary to get people exercising.”
I’m no gym snob and I will train anyone in the gym so long as you are interested in improving your health. If gloves help you work out, use them.
Callused hands are something to be proud of, though. It is something earned. Dudes will compare them and you can see who’s been lifting and who hasn’t.
A 40-year old mom just looks at me like I’m from Planet X when I tell her calluses are cool.
So long as we’re all exercising and staying fit, who cares.